Explore beautiful Southern Laos on this 9-day luxury journey through sleepy cities, coffee plantations, temple ruins, and river villages. Enjoy breathtaking mountain scenery by visiting the stunning Tad Fane waterfall, with its dizzying drop, and taking a dip in the pools of Tad Yeung. In the 4,000 Islands, enjoy the laid-back pace of Don Khone and Don Daeng Islands, explore local villages, and gain an inside peak into local Lao culture.
You'll start your 9-day luxury tour of Southern Laos in Pakse. This former administrative French colonial city is located at the junction of the Mekong and Xe Don rivers, and sports stunning water and mountain views. Home to ancient temples, French colonial architecture and lazy riverside restaurants, Pakse is a fantastic launch point for exploring the laid-back Southern Laos region. There is a selection of international hotels here – we recommend the Champasak Palace Hotel or the Champasak Grand Hotel.
The Bolaven Plateau, which presides over Pakse, is home to a growing number of coffee plantations, and today you'll embark upon an excursion to the agricultural village of Ban Katuu. Here, you'll get a glimpse of local coffee production and sample fresh Lao coffee. Go on to visit Talat Dao Heung Market near the Japanese Bridge, where you can bargain for coffee and browse colorful stalls of spices, dried fish, fresh fruits, and Lao sweets. In the evening, relax and enjoy a dinner at a local restaurant before retiring to your hotel.
Today you'll explore another of the Bolaven Plateau's famous features: Tad Fane waterfall. Situated in dense rainforest, this waterfall has twin streams that plunge from an impressive height of 800 feet. Next you'll drive to Tad Yeung waterfall and the surrounding coffee plantation and enjoy a swim in its cool, clear waters. Return to your hotel in Pakse this evening.
Make your way to Champasak today (1 hour's drive) to visit the ancient ruins of Wat Phu. Outdating Angkor Wat by almost 500 years, these ruins offer insight into the region's cultural heritage and still function today as a Buddhist worship site. This UNESCO World Heritage Site features intricate stone carvings bearing Hindu deities and moss-covered remains of shrines and courtyards. After exploring the site, you'll make your way to La Folie Lodge, on the banks of the Mekong. La Folie Lodge's wooden bungalows offer fantastic water, garden, and mountain views.
Today, intrepid travelers can enjoy a tour of the river communities of Don Daeng. This area in the Mekong comprises more than 4,000 islands of various sizes, characterized by their laid-back pace the rustic wooden bungalows that comprise them. You'll get a rare glimpse of river life by visiting one of these communities, touring a local school, and meeting village elders. You'll eat with the residents, enjoying a traditional local meal of papaya salad (som tum), sticky rice, and grilled fish.
The tiny island of Don Khone is your destination today. Measuring only 1.5 by 2.5 miles, this sleepy village sports thatch-roof huts and swaying palms, as well as a collection of old colonial buildings. Take a tour of the colonial holdovers today, visiting old French villas and the narrow gauge railway that was constructed during World War II. Check into the Auberge Sala Don Khone tonight, a beautiful riverfront property that boasts a restored French colonial house and a floating restaurant offering wide views of the Mekong.
There's only one way to really explore the waters surrounding Don Khone and that's by kayak. Today you can do just that with the assistance of a local guide who can show you where the calmest and most picturesque waterways are. Alternatively, you take to the river with an experienced kayaker and tackle some of its more challenging eddies and rapids. In the afternoon, you'll take a local boat ride to spot Irrawaddy dolphins. Numbers of Irrawaddy dolphins in the area are critically low, but tourism drives support to conserve these friendly creatures, who can most typically be seen at the southern tip of the island. Return to your resort in Don Khone tonight.
Today you'll visit nearby islands, and take a day-trip to the silk weaving village of Ban Saphai. Ban Saphai is the historic capital of weaving in Champasak and it's here where you'll get a demonstration in "mut mee" weaving from local craftspeople and have the chance to pick up a traditional shoulder sash or skirt. Afterwards, explore the islands at your leisure by bicycle – the islands' most popular form of transport. Return to your resort on the riverside in Don Khone tonight.
Today you'll return to Pakse for your international departure flight.
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.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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