Luang Prabang Laos tour
Laos
Highlights of Luang Prabang

Built around Mount Phousi, and nestled in the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers, Luang Prabang offers its quiet splendor to travelers who visit golden-spired temples, wander among markets, and relax in longboats as they cruise the Mekong River to sacred caves filled with resplendent Buddha statues.

Laos Private Trip Overview

In 1975, when the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party came to power, it closed Laos to Westerners and only re-opened its door in the early 1990s. One significant result of this isolation has been the preservation of an Asian culture from a simpler time. With ancient royal palaces and Buddhist temples still dotting the countryside, and much of the landscape still forested, Laos is the second “greenest” Southeast Asian country, as well as an Asian cultural icon that is actively working to protect its rich heritage. Perhaps most telling of its value is that the entire town of Luang Prabang in northern Laos was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995.

UNESCO describes Luang Prabang as the best-preserved traditional town in Southeast Asia, and has taken steps to guarantee preservation of its heritage. Many of Luang Prabang’s temples are being carefully restored, and natural zones along the Mekong River are protected Built around Mount Phousi, and nestled in the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers, Luang Prabang offers quiet splendor as we visit golden-spired temples, wander among markets selling the woven and silver wares of local villagers, and cruise the Mekong River to sacred caves filled with resplendent Buddha statues.
 

Laos Itinerary at a Glance

SAMPLE ITINERARY: Other private customized options are available.

Laos tour map with Boundless JourneysDays 1-2: Arrive in Luang Prabang, Laos. Enjoy a city tour of temples and palaces and meet local monks in their wat. Take a sunset hike up Mount Phousi and explore sacred, Buddha-filled caves. Cruise in a longboat on the Mekong River.
 
Days 3-4: Follow in the footsteps of explorers, riding elephants through the forest and hiking amid plantations and through hill villages. Learn about the fascinating tradition of sericulture - transforming the product of silkworms into weavings for which the region is well known. Depart at your leisure on Day 4.

The Boundless Journeys Advantage

  • A passion for travel. Simply put, we love to travel, and that is woven into every one of our journeys.
  • Unique, award-winning itineraries. Our flexible, hand-crafted journeys have received accolades from the world’s most revered travel publications.
  • Insider connections. There is simply no substitute for traveling with a knowledgeable insider.
  • Small groups. We tread softly, and our average group size is just 6-8 guests.
  • Flexibility to suit your travel style. We offer both small-group departures and Private Collection trips, so that you can choose which works best for you.
  • Customer service that goes the extra mile. There is no request that is too big – or too small – for our staff to handle.
  • Sustainability. We are committed to traveling responsibly – striving to preserve traditions and cultures around the world, and to protect fragile natural habitats.
RESERVE EARLY!
Our tours often fill months in advance, and our maximum group size is smaller than most tour operators. It's very quick and easy to reserve a trip. Give us a call at 800-941-8010 or complete the online Reserve a Trip form. We will confirm your reservation with a $500 per person deposit, payable by check or credit card.
 
QUESTIONS?...CONTACT US.
If you have any questions about the level of comfort, difficulty, or any activities included in this trip, please call Boundless Journeys at 800-941-8010, or Contact Us by e-mail. Our travel experts look forward to helping you choose the perfect adventure!

Group Size

2+ (solo traveler pricing available on request)

Typical Trip Rating (1 Easiest - 5 Most Strenuous)

Description of Trip Ratings

Adventure travel may involve exotic destinations, varying levels of physical exertion, and activities that may be new to you. We want to make sure that you choose the adventure that's right for you from our many one-of-a-kind trips. Each trip is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the easiest, and 5 being the most strenuous. A few of our trips have had a "+" added to the number, indicating something that falls in between. Our Trip Ratings may be found on the trip schedule and on our website. Our detailed itineraries provide additional information on what to expect on the trip you are considering (detailed itineraries are available by mail or e-mail; or you can find them on our website: www.BoundlessJourneys.com). We encourage you to call one of our travel experts with any questions or concerns that you may have. We are happy to assist you in selecting the most appropriate adventure for you.
 
EASIEST 1
 
Our easiest trips are generally hotel-based cultural and nature journeys that offer light activity. Walks and hikes (approximately 2 to 4 hours) are through gentle terrain with little elevation gain or loss. Altitude is not a factor on these tours. Other activities, such as snorkeling or sea kayaking, are optional. Examples: Galapagos Islands Cruise, Tanzania, and Vietnam.
 
EASY TO MODERATE 2
 
Hotel nights and/or deluxe, safari-style camping. Walking, hiking (approximately 3 to 5 hours), kayaking, or other activities on most days. Trails and paths are through rolling countryside, with occasional steep trails with up to 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Many of our hotel-based walking trips are in this category. Examples: Tuscany & Umbria, Turkey, and Bhutan.
 
MODERATE 3
 
Hotel or inn-based hiking trips, that involve full day hikes (approximately 4 to 6 hours), mostly on unpaved trails and paths through hilly terrain with typical elevation gains and losses of 1,000 to 2,000 feet. There may be occasional steep sections of trail. Examples: Slovenia, Amalfi Coast, Spain.
 
MODERATE TO STRENUOUS 4
 
Full day hikes (approximately 5 to 7 hours) through mountainous terrain with significant elevation gains and losses (2,000 to 3,000 feet). Terrain may be rugged with uneven footpaths. The average altitude is generally no more than 12,000 feet. Vehicle support is limited. These trips may involve some full-service camping or simple accommodations in remote locations. Examples: Tour du Mont Blanc, Peru Trek, Haute Route.
 
MOST STRENUOUS 5
 
Full-day trekking (approximately 6 to 8 hours) through rugged mountainous terrain with steep climbs and descents and the following present: elevation gains and losses of as much as 4,000 feet, altitude that exceeds 12,000 feet, and rugged uneven footpaths with some exposure. These trips typically offer minimal to no vehicle support and include full-service camping in a remote setting.

Activity Details

Easy cultural touring with walking tours and one moderate hike.

Meeting Point

Luang Prabang, Laos

Departure Point

Luang Prabang, Laos

Traveling to and From

Most Convenient Airport:
Luang Prabang International Airport, Luang Prabang (airport code LPQ)

Meeting Time and Place:
Luang Prabang International Airport, Luang Prabang upon arrival of your international flight. Boundless Journeys must have your Arrival & Departure Information form on file at least 45 days ahead of time in order to arrange this arrival transfer.

Departure Time and Place:
Luang Prabang International Airport, Luang Prabang in time for your departing flight on Day 4. You may depart at your leisure; however, if you would like to participate in the suggested activities on the morning of Day 4, we suggest a mid-afternoon or later departure.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Trip Rating
Boundless Journeys’ trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Typically, Highlights of Luang Prabang is rated 2, easy to moderate on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). The walks on this trip are day walks and hikes with minimal vehicle support. The walking and hiking will be over varying terrain (some of it hilly), 2-4 hours a day, broken up by rest and meals. This Private Collection trip offers a certain degree of flexibility to make the trip more challenging or leisurely to suit you and your companions.

Preparing for this Trip
While this is an easy to moderate cultural exploration that can be enjoyed by anyone with a reasonable degree of health, the more well-prepared you are for the activities on this trip, the more you will enjoy yourself! Consider engaging in moderate aerobic activities (walking, jogging, cycling) for at least 30-45 minutes several times a week for 4-6 weeks before the trip. Consult your doctor before undertaking any new fitness program. 

Leadership
This trip extension offers an expert local Luang Prabang guide. From your arrival to your departure, your airport transfers and daily activities will be seamlessly coordinated by our local team of transfer drivers and your guide.

Weather
The weather in Luang Prabang is warm to hot year round, with a marked increase in humidity and rainfall during the summer months. Therefore, we recommend travel to Laos from October-March. Following are the average temperatures and precipitation in Luang Prabang:
                   high          low     precip.

January:     82°F        56°F     0.6"
March:        93°F        63°F     1.2"
May:           95°F        73°F     6.4"
July:           90°F        74°F     9.1"
October:     89°F        69°F    3.1"
December:  81°F       59°F     0.5"

You can obtain more detailed weather information at www.weatherbase.com.

When to Go
The cooler dry season lasts from October to March. In October and November, arriving just after the rainy season, you’ll have the benefit of being there for the newly greened trees and rice paddies, as well as clearer air quality that can be expected at this time of year. December through March remain much drier and a less hot than during the summer months. However, it is possible to have some rain at any time of year.

Laos Accommodations

Nights 1-3: Hotel de la Paix
Luang Prabang, Laos

Hotel Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang, Laos Boundless JourneysAn all-suite boutique hotel boasting among the most spacious rooms in Luang Prabang. Sited on the grounds of a former governor's residence just five minutes from town, this beautifully designed hotel blends colonial style with regional Asian influences. Sun-filled courtyards, shimmering pools and frangipani-scented gardens provide a welcome retreat after a day's exploration.

Laos Detailed Itinerary

SAMPLE ITINERARY: Other private customized options are available.

DAY 1
Wat Xiengthong and Mount Phousi

Walking – easy, 2-3 hours.

Welcome to Laos! Upon arrival in Luang Prabang you will have to obtain your Lao visa before completing immigration procedures. You are then meet by your Lao guide who will transfer you to your hotel. Check into the hotel and enjoy an introduction to Lao specialties over lunch, before embarking on a walking tour of this enchanting town. 
 
We begin at Wat Xiengthong, a temple built around 1560 by King Setthathirat, and now home to the national museum. We then continue to Wat Khili for an opportunity to meet some of the young novice monks residing at the Wat to learn about life in the monastery. You may want to share something about your life in return; postcards from your hometown are a fun way to explain where you are from.
 
This afternoon, if the weather is good, we may climb the 300-plus steps to the top of Mount Phousi for sunset over the city, and the Mekong and Khan rivers.
Hotel de la Paix, Luang Prabang
Lunch included

 
DAY 2

Pac Ou Caves and Village Exploration
Walking – easy to moderate, 2-3 hours.

Today we explore villages along the Mekong River by boat and on foot. After breakfast, we cross the Mekong River by boat and visit Ban Chan, a village known for its traditional pottery – a variety including vases, flower pots, and figurines. We then continue by boat to Ban Xieng Men, another typical Lao village. From here, we can hike to Wat Chom Phet, a temple built by the Thai army in 1880. Climb about 100 steps to visit this small, ruined temple from which you have an undisturbed view over the Mekong River and Luang Prabang.
 
From the temple, we walk to Wat Long Khun, where we will board our boat again to take us to the village of Ban Khok Sa Mouy. These peaceful villagers, led by their Nai Ban (village chief) offer visitors tidings of good luck and fortune for their life and travels by gently tying cotton cords symbolizing luck, friendship and good health around your wrists, in a so-called baci ceremony.

For lunch, we find a nice spot along the river to enjoy a picnic lunch. Afterwards we cruise upstream, and have the pleasure of taking in life on the river banks: solitary fishermen throwing their nets, grazing water buffalo, and women panning for gold on our way to the Pac Ou caves, situated at the Mekong’s confluence with the Nam Ou River. Here we explore sacred hollows in the limestone cliffs, once inhabited by Buddhist monks, which are now thought to be the home of guardian spirits. Many Lao pilgrims make their way here annually, on the Lao New Year, to visit the countless gilded Buddha statues. From the river, we climb a series of steps to the lower cave and enter into its candlelit recess. Those looking for a bit of an invigorating challenge may continue still higher to the upper caves, before crossing the river to meet our vehicle for the return journey to Luang Prabang.

Tonight we board tuk-tuks (three-wheeled, local taxis), to make our way to dinner in town at one of our favorite restaurants.
Hotel de la Paix, Luang Prabang
All meals included

 
DAY 3
Elephant safari and Hmong Hill Tribe


Elephant ride – easy, 1.5 hours; hiking – moderate, about 2 hours.

Early risers will have the opportunity to observe the pageantry of the local monks making their morning alms rounds. With countless saffron robes aglow in the early morning light, Luang Prabang quietly comes to life. It is truly a special time to be on these city streets. Your guide can arrange for you to give alms to the many monks who come out each morning across Luang Prabang if you like, before returning to the hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, we embark on a journey back in time. On the 16th of October, 1883, the French explorer Dr. Neis explored the Huay Sae Valley on elephants, and today we follow his path. We begin with a drive to an elephant camp where we are introduced to the Asian elephant, smaller and more docile than their African cousins. 
 
We ride across the Nam Khan River and continue for 1.5 hours, until we reach a great place to rest and enjoy a wonderful Lao lunch next to a waterfall. Depending on the water level you can take a dip in the crystal clear natural pool. After lunch, continue on foot along the marvelous Huay Sae stream, across bamboo bridges and past waterfalls, fantastic limestone formations, and turquoise pools framed by dense jungle.
 
Upon reaching a more demanding trail that leads uphill, porter horses from the Hmong hill tribe are waiting for us to carry our supplies. Accompanied by these strong little porter-horses you will hike for the last 30 minutes through fields, plantations, and teak forest. Back at the Nam Khan River, a comfortable bamboo raft is waiting for you to return by river to the camp. Along the way, there is time to relax and observe the traditional lives of farmers and fishermen along the river.

Upon arrival back at the camp we return by vehicle to Luang Prabang, where you are free to explore on your own this evening.
Hotel de la Paix, Luang Prabang
Breakfast and lunch included

 
DAY 4

Exploring Silk Production and Departure

This morning, venture to the outskirts of Luang Prabang to visit a local silk weaving cooperative. Here, nestled in a stunning riverside garden you’ll meet local artisans and learn to prepare natural dyes and dye your own silk scarves, a lovely momento of your time in Laos. Each step, from the care of silkworms, production and use of natural dyes, and demonstration of weaving techniques will be explored. 

This afternoon we return to Luang Prabang in time for your departing flight.
Breakfast included.


Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary to take advantage of weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these should the need arise.

Suggested Trip Length

4 days

When to Go

Upcoming Trips:

This trip extension is available year-round on the dates that work for you. October-March bring the best weather. As it is an ideal extension to our Vietnam: Cultural Exploration tour, there may be other participants.

Prefer a group departure?
Africa | Asia | Europe | Latin America | South Pacific

Land Cost (through March, 2015)

$1,995 per person

2015 Land Cost Details

All rates based on a minimum of two guests. Please inquire for solo traveler pricing, holiday periods, and for dates past  March 31, 2015.

Single supplement

$645

View Single Supplement Policy

Single Supplements:

Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!

*This does not apply to cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Please see these trip pages for more details.

What's Included

  • Expert local guide
  • All accommodations
  • Private ground transport including airport transfers
  • Meals as noted in the itinerary
  • Entry fees
  • All activities as noted in the itinerary

 

Please complete the following information to request a reservation. A trip deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your reservation (payable by check or major credit card). Once we receive your request we will contact you within one business day to confirm availability and answer any questions you may have.

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About our guides
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work – the mark of a truly great leader – our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own.

Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.

Featured Guide

Laos Tour guide - Daravon Xayavong - Boundless JourneysDaravon Xayavong: Daravon’s experience working with one of Laos’ premier hotels provided the ideal stepping-stone for making the change to guiding several years ago. In addition to sharing her wealth of knowledge about Luang Prabang and Laos, Daravon – a Luang Prabang area native – enjoys introducing Boundless Journeys’ guests to her local village, where visitors are often greeted with a traditional baci ceremony.

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Picture Yourself Here:

Exploring historic temples and Buddhist shrines

Immersing yourself in local culture -- hiking to hill tribe villages and meeting locals to learn about their traditional crafts

Embarking on an elephant-back adventure and cruising the mighty Mekong River in longboats

Upcoming Trips:

This trip extension is available year-round on the dates that work for you. October-March bring the best weather. As it is an ideal extension to our Vietnam: Cultural Exploration tour, there may be other participants.

Extension Options:

An Ideal Extension for:

What others have said...

The guides were the best I have ever experienced. I would definitely travel with you again and recommend you to my friends!

-T. Lofton, Springboro, OH
 

Latest Blog Posts About Laos

Giving Alms Respectfully While in Laos

It’s a picture postcard sight: a long line of orange-clad monks proceeding down a main street collecting alms from the town’s Buddhist faithful. Increasingly, tourists are flocking to witness the spectacle in Luang Prabang.

Read More from the Boundless Journeys Blog »

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