Spend seven days exploring Luang Prabang on this active Laos tour. Trek through Khmu villages for a firsthand encounter with mountain life in the region. Explore the jungle, trek through mystical caves, interact with elephants, and walk the streets of this charming World Heritage city as you enjoy an active trip to Luang Prabang. Couple this trip with other tours in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Thailand for a full two-week-long Southeast Asia tour.
Witness the daily alms rituals by monks in Luang Prabang, Laos
Trek through Khmu villages and meet families in rural Laos
Interact with elephants at a conservation center dedicated to rescue work
Cruise to Pak Ou Caves and see over 3,000 Buddha Statues inside
Welcome to Laos. Upon arrival in Luang Prabang, obtain the Laos visa on arrival if not obtained beforehand, then clear Immigration and Customs. Proceed into the arrival area and meet the private guide for transfer to the hotel.
Optional: VIP Fast-track and Lao visa fee USD80 per person. Welcome gift: USD20 per person
Day 2: Khmu Villages Trekking
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend your first day in the area on a day-long trek to Khmu Village. Trek two hours through rice paddies and steep slopes to a Khmu village where families and curious young children greet you. Spend time connecting with the people before ascending another hour along ridges and limestone grottos to arrive at a Hmong village. Stop and enjoy the views of the mountains and valleys in this area and learn from your guide about the flora and fauna in the area. Approach another Khmu village for an overnight stay in a family guesthouse here.
Enjoy breakfast in the village this morning before setting out for the hike along a river bank. Arrive at another Khmu village where you board a boat for a ride along the Nam Khan River. Take a dip in the river's waters, if you like, before returning to Luang Prabang before noon today.
This afternoon you have the opportunity to witness a private Baci ceremony at a small village called Ban Khomkhuang. These peaceful villagers are led by their Nai Ban (village chief) who offer visitors tidings of good luck and fortune for their life and travels. The people gently tie cotton cords around your wrists which symbolize luck, friendship, and good health.
Rise early this morning to the sound of the monastery bells at dawn. If you are up early enough you can witness the lines of monks emerging to receive their morning rice from the townspeople. Respectfully wander the streets to witness this sacred ritual as long lines of barefoot monks weave through the streets on their alms rounds. Please observe this from a respectful distance and discourage photographs that interfere with the ritual. Afterward, visit the Morning Market to see an array of meats, vegetables, and spices for sale by local vendors before returning to your hotel for breakfast.
Meet your guide and set out to explore this historic World Heritage city. Start with the most popular and classic Luang Prabang temple, the 500-year-old Wat Xieng Thong. Explore small side streets along alleys and through temples as you get a feel for a city that seems to have been designed with slow travel in mind. Wander up the peninsula further and visit the National Museum (or former Royal Palace). Here see relics from Laos' royalist past and the overlooking Phousi Mountain. Climb the 328 steps to get the best view of the city and breathtaking views of the entire landscape.
This afternoon set out through Laos' scenic countryside to the Pak Ou Caves, a mystical pilgrimage site high above the Mekong River accessed by ferry. Peer into the dark corners to see the more than 3,000 Buddha figurines and faces. Next cruise along the Mekong River on your way back to the city, stopping at two riverside villages along the way. Visit Ban Xang Khong to see the weaving of prized Lao textiles still created on ancient wooden looms. Some villagers here also engage in mulberry paper production. The villagers of the next stop in Ban Xang Hai produce a well-known rice whiskey. Try a swig of this potent drink before continuing back to Luang Prabang.
Today drive three hours to the town of Sayaboury and the Elephant Conservation Center. Your guide at the center takes you on an introductory tour of the facilities to show some of the ongoing projects taking place here. Meet the team of veterinarians and biologists, and of course, the elephants! Mahouts share some of their knowledge about how to interact with these giant animals, and then you may get the opportunity to ride one of the elephants bareback. Get a sense of this magnificent creature while you get used to its steps' sway.
Next, join the elephants' daily bath and learn more about each elephant's personality and character. Elephants are surprisingly good swimmers and love to be in the water. Later at sunset time, board a boat for a calm cruise on Nam Tien Lake. Enjoy drinks and snacks, go for a swim, or just take in the amazing forest backdrop.
Enjoy a short boat trip on the lake this morning before getting the chance to meet the center's new baby elephant Noy. You may also get the chance to feed the baby and his mom from the boat. The center staff introduces you to their research and fieldwork today, including a visit to the Elephant Hospital in Laos. Learn about various conservation efforts being made by the Center as well as the NGO ElefantAsia. You also can visit the Elephant Museum choose to watch a movie about the elephants today, or simply sit and observe the live elephants from the viewing platform!
Return to Luang Prabang in the evening.
Day 7: Return Home
Return home or connect your trip with another extension option in neighboring Vietnam or Cambodia.
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