We appreciated traveling in remote areas...the slice-of-life experiences made the trip worthwhile.
Party of four from Missouri & Tokyo

Classic Laos

This 7-day journey takes you from the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang to the Don Khone archipelago in the south. Along this route, you’ll encounter hill tribes, go elephant trekking, hike through pristine rainforest, explore ancient temple sites and visit the relaxed islands of Don Khone, enjoying a touch of luxury everywhere you go. 

Highlights   Pricing
  • A trip to an elephant camp where you’ll trek on elephant-back through jungle
  • Go for a leisurely hike to the picturesque Kuang Si Falls just outside Luang Prabang
  • Visit ancient temple ruins in the countryside of Champasak
  • Cruise the Mekong to Don Khone, keeping an eye out for Irrawaddy dolphins along the way 
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

You’ll begin your 8-day journey in Luang Prabang, unique in that the entire city is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just outside the city is a well-respected elephant camp where you’ll get the chance to be trained as a mahout (elephant handler) and enjoy a jungle trek on atop one of the beautiful giants.   You’ll also receive a monk’s blessing during a private temple visit, and hike up Mount Phou Si, where you’ll enjoy a picnic and see some of the best views of city and the Mekong River. In the evening, you’ll settle into your hotel - Luang Prabang has a great range of accommodation, and we recommend the prestigious Amantaka, with its historic French colonial architecture. 

Day 2

Rise early this morning, in time to watch monks as they walk through the city receiving alms. Each morning, a procession of monks passes through the streets collecting food offerings from locals, which is then brought back to the monastery and shared. Next, you’ll enjoy a cruise along the Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves where more than 10,000 small Buddha statues have been stored. It’s considered bad luck to keep a damaged Buddha statue, so rather than dispose of them, they are kept here. In the evening, enjoy a cooking class where you’ll use fresh local produce to create an authentic Lao dish. Enjoy another evening in your Luang Prabang hotel. 

Day 3

The mountains surrounding Luang Prabang are home to several beautiful waterfalls, and today you’ll walk to Kuang Si Falls, a striking three-tiered waterfall located in lush forest. The falls are  accessible via wooden walkways and bridges, making this a leisurely journey; there’s even the option of swimming in one of the crystal clear pools. After working up an appetite, you’ll enjoy lunch in a Khmu village. The Khmu are one of the largest ethnic groups in northern Laos, numbering approximately 450,000, with a strong sense of tradition and intriguing folklore. In the afternoon, you’ll pay a visit to Luang Prabang’s main temple, Wat Xieng Thong. You’ll have the chance to hold a private session with a monk here to learn more about Buddhist beliefs and life in the monastery. Return to your hotel in Luang Prabang tonight. 

Day 4

Today, you’re flying off to the nation’s capital - Vientiane. Here, you’ll first visit the golden Pha That Luang stupa, a national monument which dates back to the third century. Next, you’ll take a trip to the Talat Sao Market, an indoor complex of stalls offering everything from electronics to amulets and traditional Lao silk sarongs. After that, visit the Laos Textile Museum, where you can view the creative silk designs of local legend Carol Cassidy, an international ambassador for Lao silk weaving. Tonight, check in to one of the best hotels in Vientiane - we recommend the Settha Palace for luxurious rooms and excellent service. 

Day 5

Fly on to Champasak Province today, a lush green region of rivers and rice fields bordered by Thailand and Cambodia. Your first stop is Wat Phu, where a historian will guide you through this ancient complex, providing historical context and answering any questions. Next, enjoy a meal in Ban Wat That Village, a laidback township with friendly people and beautiful scenery, where you can enjoy a leisurely afternoon. Tonight you’ll check into the charming La Folie Lodge on Dong Daeng Island, complete with river views and manicured gardens.  

Day 6

Explore more of Champasak today with a hike to the ruins of Um Tomo Temple, a Khmer-style temple located on the bank of the Mekong amid trees and rice fields. Next, it’s on to view traditional wood carvings in a local village, after which you will end the day’s expeditions with an insightful trip to Champasak Provincial Museum in Pakse. Here, you can learn more about the region by viewing historic documents and artifacts. Return to La Folie Lodge this evening. 

Day 7

Today you’ll embark upon a river cruise to Don Khone, navigating through an archipelago of more than 4,000 small islands. It’s here in the brackish waters of the Mekong that the famous Irrawaddy dolphins can be spotted, with some luck, frolicking amid the mangroves. The islands here are home to countless small villages, and you’ll have the chance to visit them and bicycle through the area, stopping for a relaxed lunch by the water. Spend the night at the Auberge Sala Don Khone, a resort comprising floating cabins offering wide Mekong views. 

Day 8

Rise early and enjoy the morning along the banks of the mighty Mekong. This morning, you'll return to Luang Prabang for your international departure flight.


Suggested Accommodations

Amantaka, Sofitel Luang Prabang


Amantaka is set south of Phousi Mountain and close to the banks of the Mekong River and the Luang Prabang Night Market. The resort, an old French colonial building, is surrounded by a spacious courtyard, and has 24 suites – eight deluxe suites, four pool suites, eight Khan suites, two Mekong suites and two Amantaka suites, all with spacious interior and exterior living areas. Facilities include a spa, a fitness center, a library and a boutique art gallery. Amantaka is little more than a ten- minute drive from Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ).


Sofitel Luang Prabang

Sofitel Luang Prabang, located in a refurbished French colonial fort, is one of Luang Prabang's most historic luxury hotels. Sofitel Luang Prabang is an all-suite property with 23 suites and pool suites, all designed in contemporary style with a bathtub, free WiFi, flat-screen TV, DVD player and iPod, as well as a private terrace/garden area. An all-day dining restaurant serves classic Lao cuisine, and the colonial-style bar is a great spot to enjoy a cocktail by the fireplace. The hotel also has a spa and library.

Settha Palace Hotel

Settha Palace Hotel

The historic Settha Palace Hotel is centrally located in Vientiane within walking distance of the Mekong River, Thatluang Stupa, Namphu Fountain, and other cultural highlights. Built in French colonial style circa 1932 and restored and reopened in 1999, the hotel has 22 rooms and three suites, all featuring rosewood four-poster beds and armoires, and WiFi connectivity. For dining, La Belle Epoque offers French cuisine, and the Sidewalk Café is a pleasant open-air venue offering Asian and international dishes. Amenities include a spa, pool and Jacuzzi; however there is no fitness center. Additionally, there is a business center with Internet and fax services. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from Wattai International Airport and a 25-minute drive to Thadeua, where there is a border bridge to Thailand.

La Folie Lodge

La Folie Lodge

Located on the island of Don Daeng not far from Champasak and Wat Phou, La Folie is a French-run lodge situated on the banks of the Mekong. Guests arrive by boat onto a sandy beach. The lodge consists of 24 rooms housed in 12 charming wooden bungalows, all with balconies offering magnificent river views and equipped with air conditioning, TV, WiFi and en-suite bathrooms. The poolside restaurant, open-aired but sheltered by a graceful wooden roof, offers continental cuisine and Asian specialties, from early morning breakfast to late-night snacks, and there is also an excellent wine list.

Auberge Sala Don Khone

Auberge Sala Don Khone

Known for its excellent service, the Auberge Sala Don Khone in Champasak offers both amenities and choices for the discerning yet adventurous traveler. Situated right along the Mekong River within a short distance of both Wat Phu and the “four thousand islands,” the resort offers three different types of rooms, each with their own distinctive design and allure: eight boutique, floating cabins with spacious rooms and verandas that offer beautiful vistas of the Mekong from your room while floating on the river; eight rooms in a traditional Lao residence built entirely of rosewood and decorated with local art and objects; and ten bungalow residences, which offer an experience closer to camping in their simplicity. Amenities include laundry services, a restaurant serving Lao, Thai and European food with jazz music, and a business center. The Auberge Sala Don Khone is approximately one hour by car from Pakse International Airport (PKZ), with daily service to Vientiane (VTE), Siem Reap (REP), and Savannakhet Airports (ZVK).
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall loves travelling throughout Laos, in particular the remote tribal areas in the north & south of the country.
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