Panoramic view of Si Phan Don (4000 Islands) in Laos
Home Southeast Asia Tours Laos Tours 14 Days Laos Essential Tour

Tour Overview

Join in the 14-day Laos quintessential tour to explore all the best parts of this country, including ancient treasures, architectures, profound traditions and stunning natural wonders. Start from the capital Vientiane, you will discover the mysterious Plains of Jars, explore the enchanting Luang Prabang town, experience the exotic traditions and culture in Nong Khiaw, enjoy the leisure time in the region of the 4000 Islands. This is the tour for those who want to explore the best essentials of Laos on one trip.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Enjoy a Vientiane city tour, visit several typical ancient temples: Wat Sisaket, Haw Phra Kaew, Pha That Luang.
  • Visit Xieng Khouang UXO-Survivors' Information Centreto learn how the UXO threaten local Laotians’ safety today.
  • Explore Plain of Jars, a mysterious archaeological complexwith numerous 2000 years old stone jars.
  • See the best ancient temples, natural beauty, and experience the local morning market in the charming UNESCO-protected Luang Prabang
  • Lose yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Kuang Si falls, have fun in the pools, and visit the nearby villages of the H’mong and Lao Loum people.
  • Enjoy leisure trekking through the Nong Khiaw village, and experience the daily work and life of local villagers.
  • Enjoy the peaceful and relaxing vibe in the 4000 islands region, meanwhile, admire the famous Li Phi and Khone Phapeng
  • Have a stop at the UNESCO-listed Wat Phou.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. As your flight lands in Vientiane, your local guide and driver will be ready to welcome you at the Wattay International Airport and transfer you to your hotel in Vientiane. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or discover Vientiane.

    Meal: N/A

    Overnight: Vientiane

  2. After a hotel breakfast, visit Wat Sisaket, the oldest Buddhist wat in Vientiane, to see over 10,000 miniature Buddha statues, row after row of sitting Buddhas, beautiful architecture, and layout from hundreds of years ago.

    Head to Haw Phra Kaew, the former royal temple, now a religious museum displaying numerous religious artworks and treasures. Move on to the gold-covered Pha That Luang, a large Buddhist stupa in the city center that has been regarded as the national monument and symbol of Laos.

    Wat Phra Keo in Vientiane
    Haw Phra Kaew in Vientiane

    Continue your trip to the COPE Museum before you are guided to the Buddha Park (aka Wat Xieng Khouane). Though not a temple, it will entertain you with over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues. The 40-meter-long reclining Buddha is a highlight here.

    Buddha Park in Vientiane
    Impressive statues in Buddha Park

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Vientiane

  3. After breakfast, enjoy your free time at the hotel until our driver transfers you to the airport for your flight to Xieng Khouang - a province once heavily bombed during the Indochina War.

    Notice: flight No. for reference: QV401 VTEXKH 1440 1510 (not daily flight)

    Upon arrival, our guide and driver will be ready to greet you at the arrival hall and transfer you to Xieng Khouang UXO-Survivors' Information Centre (donations are appreciated). The local expert guide will narrate the history behind the bomb parts, information about the Secret War, and tell you how the UXO still threatens locals’ safety today. If you like, you can buy some handicrafts as souvenirs which are all made by the UXO survivors.

    Before driving you to the hotel, the guide will also lead you to visit the MAG center.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Xieng Khouang

  4. After breakfast, expect an exploration through Phonsavan and the Plain of Jars. We will visit 3 popular sites to explore the 2000 years old stone jars.

    A UNESCO-listed site, the Plain of Jars is a mysterious archaeological complex with numerous 2000 years old stone jars scattered around the upland valleys and the lower foothills. The origin of these stone jars is still an enigma today, you can hear the local legends about these jars and enjoy peaceful countryside views from the hilltop.

    Plain of Jars in Laos
    Plain of Jars

    Today you will follow your guide to explore mysterious jars at Sites 1, 2, and 3 which are the most popular sites here, and also visit some local villages to glimpse into local village life. Site 3 with over 150 jars will be a highlight here.

    On the way back, we will pass the former battlefields during the American secret war. Bomb craters from that era can still be seen today.

    Kind Notice: All tourists need to follow the signs and walk along the defined trails because the Plain of Jars was a heavily bombed place during wartime, having been left bombs, UXO, and landmines.

    Then, continue to visit Muang Khoun, the old provincial capital that fortunately escaped the heavy American bombings during the secret war. Muang Khoun is known for its unique sitting giant Buddha and many ruins of ancient pagodas. The foundation and columns of Wat Pia Wat and the 30m stupa from the Lan Xang/Lanna period still stand there after witnessing hundreds of years of history.

    Afterward, take a visit to That Foun Pagoda and That Chonphet Pagoda before you are transferred back to your hotel in Xieng Khouang.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Xieng Khouang

  5. After a hotel breakfast, embark on your scenic journey from Xieng Khouang to Luang Prabang. Driving along the windy roads, your eyes will be feasted by the beautiful countryside, peaceful village views, various colored fields, etc.

    After arrival, check-in at the hotel, then the rest time is free for you.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Luang Prabang

  6. Start today with a visit to Wat Visoun (aka Wat Wisunarat) to see many precious religious artifacts in this oldest Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang. Then visit Wat Xieng Thong, the highest symbol of Buddhism in Laos, to appreciate the characteristics of 16th-century Lao architecture.

    In the afternoon, visit the National Museum which was the former royal palace of Luang Prabang.

    Then, move on to Wat Mai, the most picturesque and most photographed temple in Luang Prabang, featuring golden bas-relief. It once served as a temple for the Lao royal family.

    Wat Mai in Luang Prabang
    Wat Mai in Luang Prabang

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Luang Prabang

  7. Today, you can get up early (optional) to catch the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings. Laos is the only Buddhist nation that still preserves this unique tradition.

    Morning Alms-giving Ceremony in Luang Prabang
    Morning Alms-giving Ceremony

    Then, a short visit to the local morning market is waiting for you for your more in-depth experience of local life.

    After your hotel breakfast, drive along the scenic route to Kuang Si waterfalls. En route, you will pass the endless rice paddies and farms, stopping at some villages of the H’mong and Lao Loum people. You will be introduced to the life of local villagers, and get a rare chance to join in their daily work such as wooden cotton spinning, weaving, rice harvesting, etc.

    After arriving at Kuang Si Waterfalls, you will immerse yourself in the beauty of this three-tiered waterfall when it flows through the limestone jungles and discharges into a series of cascading turquoise pools. You can either have fun around the turquoise pools or enjoy leisure walking along the forest trails.

    Kuang Si Waterfall in Luang Prabang
    People are swimming in the pool of Kuangsi Waterfall

    Drive back to Luang Prabang after the visit. On the way, you can have a short visit to Kuang Si Butterfly Park (closed on Tuesdays).

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Luang Prabang

  8. After breakfast, start your trip to Nong Khiaw. On the way, you will take an upstream cruise along the Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves. The cruise will introduce you to local life as well as many spectacular sceneries. On arrival at Pak Ou Caves (two linked caves), you will be wowed by thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues which are all sacred relics protection.

    Pak Ou Caves in Luang Prabang Laos
    Buddha statues in Pak Ou Caves

    After the Pak Ou Caves visit, continue your trip to Nong Khiaw. Head to the pier for an upstream cruise to Muang Ngoy. Check in at the guesthouse in Muang Ngoy.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Muang Ngoy (in a simple comfortable guesthouse)

  9. After breakfast, cruise back to Nong Khiaw. On the way, stop at Ban Sopkhone village, from where you can enjoy a 2.5-hour trek to Ban Houy Hoi Village to contact locals and get close to their life.

    Then, continue your cruise back to Nong Khiaw. Then drive from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Luang Prabang

  10. After breakfast, your local driver will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Pakse.

    Flight No. for reference: QV  513 LPQPKZ 1040 1220

    Upon arrival, your guide and driver will pick you up at the airport and drive you to Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer temple that was built during the late 10th to early 11th century. It is a combination of Khmer architecture and Hindu religion that has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still served as a place of worship for local Buddhists today.

    Wat Phou in Champasak Laos
    Wat Phou in Champasak

    After the visit, continue driving to Don Khong, the largest island in the Mekong River in the Si Phan Don ("Four Thousand Islands") archipelago. After checking in at the hotel, the rest time is free for you.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Don Khong Island

  11. After a hotel breakfast, head to the pier where you will ride a cruise to Don Khon Island, a pleasant place to relax and enjoy the stunning riverfront scenery.

    Panoramic view of Si Phan Don (4000 Islands) in Laos
    Panoramic view of Si Phan Don (4000 Islands)

    After arriving at Don Khon, take a local tuk-tuk to explore the rich natural beauty with endless rice fields, coconut trees, and colonial vestiges.

    Continue driving west to the Li Phi waterfalls. Close to the Cambodian border, the waterfall is one of the best attractions in the 4000 Islands. Then, it’s time for enjoying authentic local life in Don Det which connects Don Khone with an ancient bridge.

    At the end of the day, check in the hotel on Don Khone.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Don Khon Island

  12. Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, then, cruise to Nakasang village, and drive to Khone Phapheng Waterfalls, the largest waterfall by volume in Southeast Asia which is also regarded as the Niagara Falls of Asia. Enjoy your time to soak up the view of these majestic falls before you move to your hotel in Pakse.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Pakse

  13. After breakfast, hop on the car to Bolaven Plateau. The road will slowly increase in elevation as you approach the plateau. Thanks to the rich soil and cooler weather, you will get a chance to enjoy thriving suburban coffee plantations in the Volcanic Rock area.

    Stunning waterfalls at Bolaven Plateau
    Stunning waterfalls at Bolaven Plateau

    Then visit the amazing Tad Phasuam waterfalls with greenery in the surroundings. The tribal village near the waterfall will show you examples of life and traditional houses of local ethnic groups.

    Next, transfer to Tad Lo falls before you visit Tad Yuang Waterfall and Tad Fane Waterfall.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Pakse

  14. After breakfast, enjoy your free time at the hotel until your driver picks you up at the appointed time (no guide service today). You will be transferred to the airport for your departure international flight. End of your Laos trip.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: N/A

Price Includes

  • 13 nights’ accommodation;
  • Private transport in air-conditioned vehicles;
  • 2 domestic flights: Vientiane t - Xieng Khouang, Luang Prabang - Pakse;
  • Local expert driver and English-speaking guide;
  • 13 breakfasts in the hotel;
  • Entrance fees, performances, boat trips & excursions as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Airport & government taxe;
  • Water on coach.

Price Excludes

  • International flights to/from Laos;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Visa stamp fees;
  • Early check-in & late check-out surcharge;
  • Any personal expenses not included in the itinerary;
  • Meals not mentioned;
  • Drinks not mentioned;
  • Tips & gratuities for guides and drivers.

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