LA1 9 Day Laos Tour

Land of a Million Elephants

9 Day Laos Tour
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Colonial, Imperial Luang Prabang; Mysterious Plain of Jars

INQUIRE ABOUT THIS TRIP
  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices


Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.


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How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?

The easiest way to make a reservation is to contact us by telephone. You can also book online through our website.

A non-refundable $500 deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 60 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s).

Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time.

Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.

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What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?

Should you need to cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing (e-mail preferred) immediately. Deposits are non-refundable, though if you cancel more than 90 days prior to tour departure date, the deposit is transferable to any other tour taken within 12 months of the original tour start date, minus a per person transfer fee (some tours have a 100% nonrefundable/ nontransferable deposit; you will be informed of this at the time of booking). Less than 90 days prior to departure, all monies paid are 100% non-refundable, nontransferable. Name changes are not permitted. We will not grant partial refunds for any unused trip arrangements—voluntarily missed meals, sightseeing, transport, etc—after the trip has commenced, or any refunds to trip members who do not complete any portion of the itinerary for whatever reason. All air tickets are non-refundable and valid only for the flight(s) indicated.

We may cancel departures if forced to do so by unforeseen circumstances such as war, civil unrest, disease outbreaks, catastrophic events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, etc -- things beyond our control that are commonly referred to as “force majeure.” In these instances we will offer 100% credits for all deposits if cancellation takes place more than 60 days prior to tour start date. Such credits can be applied to any future scheduled or custom tour (time limits may apply).

If cancellation occurs within the 60 day period, we will offer to postpone your trip to another departure of the same tour code within 12 months of the original tour start date and your full payment on the postponed tour will remain non-refundable; or, if circumstances do not permit at that time, an alternative will be offered.

Regardless of the timing of cancellation (outside or inside 60 days), we will not be responsible for costs associated with re-issuance or extension of visas, airline policies pertaining to cancellation/change fees, any trip component/s that may be non-refundable from our suppliers, or for any compensation. We strongly recommend that all travellers purchase trip cancellation insurance, either through Adventures Abroad or elsewhere, as this may provide coverage for the above listed circumstances and other perils.

If we cancel your tour due to insufficient enrolment, we will endeavour to find an alternative tour for you, either the same tour on a different date or another tour of your choice. If this is not acceptable, all monies paid will be refunded in full and will constitute full settlement. We will not be responsible for any expenses incurred, such as visas, vaccinations, independently purchase airfare, or any compensation. Notice of cancellation due to insufficient enrolment in any program will be given no later than 60 days prior to trip start date.

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Do you have a shared accommodation program?

Yes! Most tours have a single-share program in which we match you with another single traveller of the same gender. If we are unable to pair you, we will usually absorb the cost of a single room. On some tours a "forced single" will apply; please enquire at time of booking. You will normally be informed of this charge 60 days prior to departure; however, we reserve the right to charge this fee up to your departure and, in rare cases, once you have departed. Upgrading to single room once the tour has begun is subject to availability in each overnight point, and payment must be made immediately to our office or locally to the Tour Leader. If you want to guarantee your own room, a single supplement applies. Payment of single supplement does not, however, guarantee that you will receive a twin size, twin-bedded room.

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I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?

All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location.

This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement.

The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible.

On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available.

Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.

Select a date below to reserve your spot:

Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Tue 03 Nov 2020Wed 11 Nov 2020 $2610 USD Please contact us
Tue 23 Feb 2021Wed 03 Mar 2021 $2610 USD
Tue 02 Nov 2021Wed 10 Nov 2021 $2610 USD
Tue 22 Feb 2022Wed 02 Mar 2022 $2610 USD
Tue 01 Nov 2022Wed 09 Nov 2022 $2610 USD

The above prices are subject to an additional $53 for taxes/fees levied on flights that occur as part of the tour. The internal airfares ARE included (any exceptions are listed in red below), but we list the taxes separately on your invoice as they are beyond our control and can change at any time.


Optional Single Supplement: $485 USD (number of singles limited).


Tour Overview


Regions visited: Southeast Asia
Countries visited: Laos and Thailand


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What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?

Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 60-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.

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Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?

Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.

Full Itinerary


Day 1 Arrival in Luang Prabang
Arrive in Luang Prabang - Welcome to Laos!

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Luang Prabang: Town Touring
In the 14th century, this city was established as the royal capital by Fa Ngoum, the first monarch of Lan Xang, the "Land of a Million Elephants" (a charming and evocative nickname from times gone by. Latest figures indicate that Loas's population of wild elephants is in the range of 781- 1,202). By this time, the city had already been the seat of local kingdoms for 600 years. According to legend, the site of the town was chosen by two resident hermits and was originally known as Xieng Thong --"Copper Tree City".

We have an orientation of this charming town, with its one main street lined with colonial era buildings housing shops and cafes. We have a chance to explore the town on foot and to climb to the top of Phu Si Hill. Looking directly downwards you can see that the former royal palace has a cruciform ground plan.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Luang Prabang Area
An early departure today takes to the Mekong River for a boat journey to visit the Pak Ou Caves. The boat is long and quite large, covered, with comfortable seat cushions, life jackets and a WC.

The Pak Ou Caves are two clefts in the side of a mountain stuffed with thousands of old Buddha images. The site has long been sacred for the Lao, even prior to Buddhism, when they worshipped spirits. The lower cave has over 4,000 images, ranging from 3 inches to 9 feet tall, stuck into nooks and crannies. The upper cave's Buddha images are placed far back into the cliff, so it's handy to have a flashlight. A real highlight of a trip to the caves is the breathtaking view of the mountains, villages, and fishermen during the 2-hour boat ride.

We return to Luang Prabang and visit the Royal Palace, a museum containing a collection of 15th-17th century Buddha statues including the significant Golden Buddha. The last member of the Lao royalty to live here was Sisavang Vong's son, Crown Prince Sisavang Vatthana. The private chapel is one of the most interesting wings of the palace. Here you will see the priceless gold Phra Bang Buddha in Abhayamudra (dispelling fear). It is made from 90% pure gold and is said to weigh 50 kg (110 lb).

We finish with a tour of the 16th-century Wat Xieng Thong with its richly decorated wooden interior. Wat Mai is another old temple of classic Luang Prabang design with gracefully curved roofs. We see many 400 year old wooden Buddha statues at Wat Wisunalat.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Luang Prabang - Xieng Khouang (Plain of Jars) - Phonsavan
Today we travel by road to Xieng Khouang and the Plain of Jars.

Overnight in Phonsavan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 The Plain of Jars
In the 18th and at the beginning of the 19th century, Xieng Khouang was the center of a kingdom of the Hmong (Meo). In 1832, it was conquered by the Vietnamese, annexing the entire region. The town of Xieng Khouang was totally destroyed during the Vietnam War. Even though it has been rebuilt in 1975, the name Xieng Khouang is now primarily used in reference to the province of the same name.

The highlight of our visit here is the "Plain of Jars." Scattered over the plain are hundreds of enormous limestone jars, each about 1 to 2.5 metres high, with a diameter of about 1 meter. There is still no explanation as to how the clay jars found their way onto the plain, nor what purpose they served. Archaeologists have come up with the wildest theories, among them a claim declaring them brewery cauldrons. More likely, the jars are enormous urns. Many jars were destroyed or damaged during the Vietnam War, when American planes bombed positions of the communist Pathet Lao.

Overnight in Phonsavan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Phonsavan - Vang Vieng
Today we travel by road to Vang Vieng, a small village nestled in a scenic bend in the Nam Song River and surrounded by breathtaking limestone scenery. This is rapidly becoming Laos's premier destination for eco-tourism. The outcrops have inspired many Lao legends and stories in Lao literature and are known as "Phou Suan Mon Nang Eua", meaning "Silk Tree Garden Mountains of the Princess". The area also contains an extensive network of caves some of which are outlets for underground streams.

The latter part of our drive is truly spectacular -- limestone cliffs and sheer drops. About 20 kms before Vang Vieng, we'll stop at a bridge with a lovely view of karsts. There's also an attractive wat immediately before the bridge.

Overnight in Vang Vieng.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Vang Vieng - Viangchan
Today we travel by road to Viangchan (Vientiane), the capital of Laos. Time-permitting we may be able to see a bit of Viangchan today upon arrival.

Overnight in Viangchan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Viangchan Touring
Today's sightseeing takes us to Pha That Luang, a gold-covered large Buddhist stupa in the centre of the city. Since its initial establishment, suggested to be in the 3rd century, the stupa has undergone several reconstructions as recently as the 1930s due to foreign invasions of the area. It is generally regarded as the most important national monument in Laos and a national symbol. The architecture of the building includes many references to Lao culture and identity, and so has become a symbol of Lao nationalism.

We also stop at Haw Pha Kaew, a temple now serving as a museum of religious artifacts. It was a royal family temple for worshiping the Jade Buddha and holding religious ceremonies. The magnificent temple is three storeys high with gorgeous palace hall and huge Buddha altar. However, in 1779 A.D, the King of Siam with his army invaded the city and looted the Jade Buddha as well. Many precious collections can be seen there, such as the gold throne, the wood carving of high quality and statues of Buddha of various sizes and shapes.

We also travel to Buddha Park (aka Xieng Khuan), a famous sculpture park with more than 200 religious statues including a huge 40-metre high reclining Buddha image. It was built in 1958 by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat, a monk who studied both Buddhism and Hinduism. This explains why his park is full not only of Buddha images but also of Hindu gods as well as demons and animals from both beliefs. The most outstanding ones include Indra, the king of Hindu gods riding the three-headed elephant (aka Erawan and Airavata), a four-armed deity sitting on a horse and an artistic deity with 12 faces and many hands, each holding interesting objects. They are all equally impressive not only because of their enormous size but because they are full of interesting details and interesting motifs.

This evening you may wish to take a stroll along the river front and take in the giant sprawling market, with its instantly recognizable red-roofed stalls and crowds of people who come to snap up a bargain or just soak up the laidback Mekong atmosphere.

PLEASE NOTE that some or all of today's sightseeing and your departure tomorrow may be managed and guided by one of our local associates. This is due to the fact that your Tour Leader may be leaving early in the day with travellers who have chosen to extend their tour to include Vietnam.

Overnight in Viangchan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 Depart
Departure from Viangchan

BON VOYAGE!!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map


*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Mouang Luang Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Luang Prabang
Country: Laos

A 10-minute walk from town on a quiet street, the Mouang Loung is adorned with traditional Lao temple-style roofs. The
... are clean, with parquet floors and marble-tiled bathrooms (all with tubs). Street-side rooms have balconies. There's an open-air Lao restaurant in the back, and just above it is an enormous balcony reserved for Baci ceremonies. Mouang Luang has the distinction of being one of the only hotels in town with a pool.


Read More.


Trip Information


Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner (at local restaurants and some hotels) are included daily. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for drivers, restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving/departing on tour dates.

Exclusions

International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, most lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), domestic and international (if applicable) air taxes, visa fees, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, not included meals, visas and locally paid departure taxes.

Seasonality and Weather

Our tours in SE Asia operate during the cooler, drier time of year, Nov-Apr. That said, however, the entire region experiences a warm-hot tropical climate with humidity and a chance of rain showers at any time. Inland regions can experience extreme heat, especially Feb-Apr, when it is also very dry and landscapes are brown. The Plain of Jars can be downright cold and damp, especially late Nov-Jan. Overall you should prepare for warm, sticky weather with the possibility of rain and some chilly nights/mornings in a few locales.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Land transport throughout will be by private air-conditioned bus. Most of the driving days are not long. The tour is not strenuous though it is busy; you must be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and long days. Porters are available at hotels but you must be able to manage with your baggage at airports.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.

Accommodation

Hotels used on tour are modern, comfortable, well-located, air-conditioned, 3&4 star properties with en suite bath / toilet. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins. Laundry facilities are available at most hotels for a reasonable price. Safe deposit boxes are available in most hotels either free or for a nominal fee. Most hotel rooms are well equipped and likely include hairdryers and irons, minibar fridge, TV. All are air-conditioned. Most hotels provide complimentary purified drinking water. Some hotels have swimming pools.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader, driver, local step-on guides in various locales.

Group Size

10-18 (plus Tour Leader)

LA1 TRIP DETAILS

DURATION9 days

TOUR STARTLuang Prabang

TOUR ENDViangchan

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