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Capital to Ancient Capital: A Glimpse of Northern Laos

Experience Northern Laos in five activity-packed days. Begin by immersing yourself in the unique energy of Laos’s current capital, Vientiane, an historic city simultaneously described as metropolitan and sleepy. Interact with the planets friendliest giants; the Asian elephant. Spend a night at Pak Beng Lodge along the banks of the Mekong River and travel by riverboat to UNESCO World Heritage destination and Laos’ former capital, Luang Prabang, a city whose stoic majesty and tranquility have been pristinely maintained.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Take in the sights, sounds and smells of Laos’ ancient capital of Vientiane
  • Seize a unique opportunity to interact and learn about the fascinating Asian elephant at the Xayaboury Conservation Center
  • Savor the picturesque jungle view during a stay at the exquisite Pak Beng Lodge
  • Experience the power of the mighty Mekong river, travel by boat to the Pak Ou caves
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Touch down in Vientiane where a car will be waiting to bring you to your hotel. Check in at one of the two recommended accommodations - the Settha Palace or Green Park Hotel. The rest of the day is yours to make the most of your hotel’s luxurious amenities. Take a dip in the pool, enjoy local cuisine and rest up for the days ahead!

Day 2

Rise with the sun this morning and take a short flight north to Xayaboury, home of the renowned elephant conservation center. After settling into your bungalow, enjoy a typical Lao lunch and take a tour of the elephant hospital. Listen to the mahouts tell you about their practices and strong pachyderm partnerships. Learn how to quickly and safely climb onto the elephant and ride on the animal’s bare back like a professional mahout. Finish the day with a sunset cruise, drinks and hors d’oeuvres followed by dinner and a sound sleep.

Day 3

Enjoy a western-style breakfast and prepare for a mini jungle trek. Today you will meet the elephant youngsters in the nursery, and really interact with these incredible mammals. A six-hour scenic journey will take you to the Pak Beng Lodge. Check in, rest and refresh before a delicious and picturesque dinner overlooking the Mekong River and lush surrounding jungle.

Day 4

Enjoy breakfast overlooking the grand Mekong and observe local fisherman as they begin their day’s work. A boat will take you to the vibrant UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang. A glorious mix of golden temples, crumbling French provincial architecture and mosaic of multiculturalism make this locale one to remember. After checking into one of three recommended luxury properties (Amantaka, Hotel de la Paix or La Residence Phou Vao) spend the evening as you please.Try exploring the colorful night markets and take in the city lights.

Day 5

Enjoy the mystery and majesty of Luang Prabang, a city whose unique history has been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit palaces and monasteries and get swept up by the enchantment of its well-preserved antiquity. After a traditional lunch of Luang Prabang specialties, head to Tai Lue, famed for textiles and weaving. Take a refreshing break from touring at the scenic Kuang Si Waterfall and its crystal-clear surrounding pools. Fit in a few more sites and close the day watching the sunset over the city from the top of Mount Phousi.

Day 6

Enjoy your final morning in Luang Prabang. Go shopping for some last minute keepsakes or simply relax ahead of your onward journey. You will be transferred by private vehicle to the airport for your flight.


Suggested Accommodations

Green Park Boutique Hotel, Settha Palace Hotel

Green Park Boutique Hotel

This stylish boutique hotel is one of the city's finest properties and sits just a short drive outside the centre of Vientiane. Built around a central swimming pool, it is a truly chic and tranquil retreat. Its 34 stylish rooms all come with air conditioning, tea/coffee facilities, satellite TV, a minibar, DVD player and radio, with a balcony/terrace overlooking the pool. There is also a restaurant and bar, with breakfast available to take away for those guests leaving early to go touring. As well as the stunning outdoor pool, there is also massage, a spa, jacuzzi and gym.

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.

Elephant Conservation Center

Elephant Conservation Center

The Elephant Conservation Center in Sayaboury, Laos is so much more than a place to rest your head. The opportunity to stay on protected land in such close proximity to the friendly giants of the Asian jungles is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The center is located at the tip of a naturally-forested peninsula on the banks of the Nam Tien lake. Guests stay in small, traditional stilted bungalows along the lake front. The rustic, comfortable accommodations boast beautiful sunset views over the quiet lake and Elephant Mountain beyond. There is no air conditioning, but most guests have no problem going without it, with the cool, fresh breeze that floats in off the lake. The Center’s restaurant serves up delicious, authentic Lao food, made from fresh, local produce. Your stay at the Conservation Center promises an unforgettable encounter with the natural beauty of Laos.

Pakbeng Lodge

Pakbeng Lodge

Set along the banks of the Mekong River, Pakbeng Lodge is a charming establishment that will fulfill most travel desires. Featuring 30 comfortable rooms, each accommodation is equipped with complimentary bottled water, air-conditioning, a balcony or terrace and modern décor. Guests will have access to a variety of services, including free WiFi, a business center, meeting facilities, dry cleaning, shuttle services, a bar and lounge area and much more. After checking in, patrons can spoil themselves with a massage at the on-site spa and unwind outside in the spacious garden. In the evening, visitors can indulge in authentic Thai and Lao cuisine at the Moonlight and Sunset Restaurants. This delightful hotel is also conveniently-located in the heart of Pakbeng, Laos. Patrons will have easy access to the city’s must-see attractions, which include the famous Mekong Elephant Camp.

Amantaka, Belmond La Residence Phou Vao, 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).


Belmond La Residence Phou Vao

Located on an idyllic hillside around 10 minutes from the centre of Luang Prabang, La Residence Phou Vao is a gorgeous boutique property. Set in 2 acres of tropical garden, the resort was built in traditional Lao style and has fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. The hotel's 34 rooms and suites all have wonderful views, either of the gardens, mountains or infinity pool. The two garden suites have separate living rooms. The hotel restaurant offers superb Lao-French cuisine and is located by the pool. The spa was the first luxury spa in Luang Prabang and also has a stunning 13m fresh water infinity pool.


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.

Meet An Asia Expert
From Travelogues
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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