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Best time to go: January to April, October to December
8 Nights | from £2,729pp
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Holiday type: Tailor-made
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- Find gilded temples and rich traditions in hypnotic Luang Prabang
- Join locals and orange-robed monks for an atmospheric alms-giving at dawn
- Haggle for Laos silks and Buddhist keepsakes in lively Vientiane
- Cruise along the Mekong River, discovering hidden temples and tiny villages
- Drift between the wild and wonderful Four Thousand Islands
Day 1 - UK / Bangkok
Maximise your time by flying overnight from the UK to Bangkok.
Day 2 - Bangkok / Luang Prabang
It's a short flight from Bangkok to Luang Prabang, arguably Laos' most intoxicating town. It sits at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, fragranced by frangipanis, shimmering with gilded temples and wandered by monks in bright-orange robes. Soak up the easy-going atmosphere, drink good coffee, and visit the 'Watermelon Stupa' – named for its semi-spherical shape – and Wat Mai, Luang Prabang's most richly decorated temple. Spend the evening at a traditional Baci ceremony, a ritual involving flowers, music and dance that is said to bestow the protective power of the spirits on visitors.
Sofitel Luang Prabang
Day 3 - Luang Prabang
Rise early to join the locals offering alms to the Buddhist monks, a mesmerising way to start the day. After breakfast, sail down a scenic stretch of the Mekong, to the limestone Pak Ou Caves, which are heaving with Buddha images left by devotees over the centuries. On the return, drop anchor at one of the local whiskey and weaving villages, to learn about their lifestyle and trade.
Sofitel Luang Prabang | Meals: Breakfast
Day 4 - Luang Prabang / Vientiane
Vientiane, a short flight from Luang Prabang, is Laos' lively capital – home to the impressive Wat Phra Keo, the National Museum and imposing Patuxai (Victory Gate), which remembers those who fought in the struggle for independence. After a tour around these highlights, hit the main market, where you can haggle for everything from Lao silks and jewellery to electronic goods and Buddhist keepsakes.
Settha Palace | Meals: Breakfast
Day 5 - Vientiane / Pakse
Fly south to Pakse, and relax at the River Resort, which gazes out over the Mekong and the mountains. Spend your evening having sunset drinks on the small island opposite.
The River Resort | Meals: Breakfast
Day 6 - Vat Phou Cruise
The Mekong is the lifeblood of Laos, and a cruise on its southern waters is the best way to see how the country ticks. Board a glorious former teak-wood ferry and set sail for Champasak, to explore the ruins of the tenth-century Vat Phou temple complex, then enjoy a mouthwatering sunset dinner as you drift down the lazy river.
Vat Phou Cruise | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Vat Phou Cruise
After a glittering sunrise and an on board breakfast, the first stop is the tiny village of Huei Thamo; from here, a short walk through the jungle leads to the mysterious, hidden Oum Muong temple ruins. The boat then continues south, winding through the wild paradise of the Four Thousand Islands, docking at the small, time-untouched village of Ban Deua Tia for the night.
Vat Phou Cruise | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Don Khon / Ubon Ratchathani
Get deeper in amongst this leafy, sleepy archipelago by hopping onto a smaller boat at Ban Veuthong. Float between the innumerable out-crops and sandbars, and haul ashore at Khone Island, to walk across the bridge to Det Island then tuck into a traditional Lao buffet lunch. There's time for a visit to Pha Pheng waterfall – the 'Niagara of the East' – before the drive to the Thai border, to bid goodbye to Laos and spend a night in temple-dotted Ubon Ratchathani.
Tohsang Khonjiam Resort & Spa | Meals: Breakfast
Day 9 - Ubon Ratchathani / UK
Head for Ubon Ratchathani Airport to begin your journey home via Bangkok.
At A&K all of our journeys are individually tailored to suit your needs and timescale. As a guide, this 9 day suggested holiday will cost from £2,729 per person, based on two sharing, including international flights.
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Meet the Orient & Indian Subcontinent Team
Annie, Brandon, Debbie, Margaret, Vicky Smith, Lynne and Rachel - are experts in designing travel experiences across the region to suit your personal needs, interests and budget.
Best time to be there
The cooler part of the dry season, November to February is when Laos is at its best, avoiding the torrential rains of the summer months, and the sweltering heat of April and May.
Luang Prabang or Vientiane via Bangkok
13 hours via Bangkok
GMT + 7 hours
Issued on arrival
Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area