Kuangsi Waterfall in Luang Prabang
Home Southeast Asia Tours Laos Tours 9 Days Laos Iconic Highlights Tour

Tour Overview

Explore all the iconic highlights of Laos on this 9 days tour. Starting from Luang Prabang city, you will be escorted by a local English-speaking guide to explore all the highlights in Vientiane, Vang Vieng, and Xieng Khouang.

Besides the landmarks like Pak Ou Caves, Plain of Jars, and Khuang Si Waterfall, you will also follow your guide to marvel at the stunning sunset of Nam Song River, learn local history and architecture in many local temples like Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Sisaket, etc., and experience Laotian daily life by visiting some local markets, rural villages, and hill tribes.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Explore Plain of Jars, a mysterious archaeological complex.
  • Observe locals’ life and see many local colonial architectures when you wander along the streets in Vientiane.
  • Uncover the famous Tham Phu Kham Cave and Blue Lagoon on the limestone cliffs around Vang Vieng.
  • Adventure to Kuang Si Waterfall to enjoy the natural beauty and have fun around the pools.
  • Visit Wat Xieng Thong, the largest temple in Luang Prabang to see time-honored Lao architecture.
  • Be wowed by the numerous Buddha statues when you visit Pak Ou Caves.

Day-by-day Itinerary

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  1. Welcome to Luang Prabang! After arriving at the airport, you will be welcomed and transferred to the local hotel for checking-in. The rest of the day is free for you to take a rest or explore this city yourself.

    Meal: N/A

    Overnight: Luang Prabang

  2. Start today with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum (closed on Tuesday) which presents a wealth of interesting artifacts. Then relax on an upstream cruise along the Mekong River before you reach the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. Located by the Mekong River, Pak Ou Caves are two linked caves, in which you’ll discover thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues.

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

    During the cruise to Pak Ou Caves, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery along both banks of the Mekong River, and glimpse into local life by visiting Ban Xanghai village, villagers here are good at making local rice wine.

    After back to the city, visit the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong, the largest temple in Luang Prabang that will introduce you to characteristics of 16th-century Lao architecture: exquisite wall carvings, sweeping 2-tiered roof, ornate mosaics, etc. Then head to Traditional Art and Ethnology Center to learn about the interesting local ethnic culture. Get to the peaceful Wat Siphouthabaht for the stunning sunset.

    Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang
    Wat Xieng Thong

    Before getting back to your hotel, enjoy an exciting time at a local night market where you can see various handmade textiles made by local villagers.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Luang Prabang

  3. 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 in Luang Prabang

    Then, a short visit to the local morning market is waiting for you. The market is near Royal Palace,  where you can find all manner of items, including fresh vegetables, steamed fish, frogs, etc., a good place to experience real local life.

    Back to the hotel for breakfast, then get to the top of Phousi Hill (you’ll need to take 329 steps) to enjoy a bird's view of Luang Prabang City and the Mekong River. Head to Wat Visoun, the oldest temple in Luang Prabang which can date back to 1513.

    Luang Prabang panoramic view from Phousi Hill
    Luang Prabang panoramic view from Phousi Hill

    You will then be escorted to the Kuang Si Waterfall to enjoy the beautiful surrounding scenery. It’s a relaxing time when you can either have fun around the turquoise pools or enjoy leisure walking along the forest trails.

    Kuangsi Waterfall in Luang Prabang
    Kuangsi Waterfall in Luang Prabang

    For those who are interested in butterflies and local flora, you can also take an optional 15 minutes tour at the nearby Kuang Si Falls Butterfly Park (closed on Tuesdays).

    As Laotian traditional crafts are also very famous, on today’s trip we will also arrange a short visit to the Ock Pop Tock Living Craft Center for you to meet the Master Weavers and see they make silk weaving.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Luang Prabang

  4. After breakfast, embark on your trip to Xieng Khouang which will take about 8 hours.

    On the way, we will stop at some rural villages for you to rest and look into local rural life and ethnic people. Upon arrival at Phonsavan (the capital of Xieng Khouang), check into your hotel to have a rest. Sleep tight!

    Xieng Khouang is a province once heavily bombed during Indochina War, it is also known for the historic Plain of Jars.

    Meal: Breakfast, Lunch

    Overnight: Phonsavanh in Xieng Khouang

  5. After breakfast, start your adventure journey through Phonsavan and the Plain of Jars.

    The Plain of Jars is a huge and mysterious archaeological complex with stone jars over 2000 years old and of different sizes (from 70cm up to 3 or 4 meters) scattered around the upland valleys and the lower foothills. The origin of these stone jars is still an enigma today, French archaeologist Madeleine Colani has led several kinds of research and suggested that they might be ancient graves.

    Plain of Jars in Laos
    Plain of Jars

    Today, we will explore 3 sites in the Plain of Jars, and also visit some local villages.

    • Site 1: the biggest site that is settled at Thong Hai Hin.
    • Site 2: at Hai Hin on Phou Salator.
    • Site 3: in Hai Hin Lat Khai, scattered with over 150 jars, the most impressive one.

    Close to site 3 is Ban Xiengdi, you will admire Buddha images in a small monastery there.

    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.

    This afternoon, enjoy your trip to Muang Khoun, the old provincial capital that was well-preserved for 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.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Xieng Khouang

  6. Today will be a relaxing day for exploring local culture and history.

    After breakfast, visit nearby villages of the Hmong hill tribe and Tai Dam people for an authentic experience of their vibrant culture and time-honored history. Then a scenic drive will take you to Vang Vieng. A small town alongside the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng retains its peaceful scenery and unspoiled limestone outcrops despite the growth of local tourism.

    Then, drive to Vang Vieng to stay overnight. We will arrive in Vang Vieng by mid or late afternoon, the rest time is for you to rest or explore by yourself.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Vang Vieng

  7. This morning, explore the daily life in Laos rural area by visiting a local market in the town.

    Local market in Vang Vieng
    Local market in Vang Vieng

    Then, move to Organic Farm Vang Vieng (OFVV) to see how they use natural materials and traditional farming methods to grow crops and raise animals.

    Follow your guide to explore numerous caves and limestone cliffs around the resort complex of Vang Vieng, the most famous are Tham Phu Kham Cave and Blue Lagoon. Then cross the river to experience the pleasant countryside lifestyle in Ban Huai Ngae Village.

    Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng
    Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng

    Then, say goodbye to Vang Vieng, and embark on the trip to Vientiane. En route, visit Vang Xang dating back to the 11th century.

    Combing Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, and French influences, Vientiane evokes an exotic feeling.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Vientiane

  8. After breakfast, follow your guide to discover the hidden charms of Vientiane. This quiet capital city is the ideal place to escape hustle and bustle.

    Your first stop is Wat Sisaket, the only temple that survived the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828, featuring over 10,000 miniature Buddha statues and beautiful architecture and layout from hundreds of years ago.

    Wat Sisaket in Vientiane
    The roof of Wat Sisaket

    Continue to visit Wat Phra Keo, a religious museum with numerous works of art from both Laos and Khmer. An outside visit to Presidential Palace will show you the town’s colonial past.

    Wat Phra Keo in Vientiane
    Wat Phra Keo in Vientiane

    Visit COPE (a local association that works to help landmine victims) for an in-depth understanding of the American/Vietnam war and how the unexploded ordinances (UXO) impact the area.

    Get to Patuxay monument to climb to the roof of Laos’ “Arc de Triomphe”. Next, head to That Luang temple to see the sunset shining upon the golden spire of this 16th-century architecture.

    Marvel at the stunning sunset along the banks of the Mekong River before back to your hotel.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: Vientiane

  9. Enjoy your free time at the hotel before your driver transfers you to the airport for departure.

    Meal: Breakfast

    Overnight: N/A

Price Includes

  • Transportation in private vehicles with air-conditioning;
  • 8 nights accommodation in twin/double shared room;
  • English-speaking guide;
  • Boat trip as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Admission fee to indicated sights;
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Gov’t tax and service charge;
  • Luggage handling and water.

Price Excludes

  • Visa stamping fee;
  • All air tickets;
  • Travel Insurance of all kinds;
  • Single room supplemental fee;
  • Guide of other languages;
  • Rates for peak tourist season or special events;
  • Tips;
  • Other personal expenses.

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