Contact our Travel Experts: (800)356-8504 or

Destinations Offered > Laos > Highlights of Laos

One thing we hear from returning clients is “I wish we had spent more time in Laos”. This program addresses that need by exposing you to not only the key cities of Luang Prabang and Vientiane but an exploration of rural Laos on a cruise through the “ 4,000 islands” where you see a combination of villages where life has not changed for centuries to remnants of the French colonial past.

12 Days:$4,925 per person inclusive of superior rooms in superior hotels, all meals, comprehensive sightseeing, all admission fees, airfare within Thailand and Laos, two night river cruise, personal guides and private car and driver. International airfare is additional. Participation is limited to six guests.

Ready to book or customize this travel experience?
Please contact one of the Travel Experts at Traterra, our designated booking agent, to begin the creation of your unique experience:
Trip Dossier

Personal Highlights:

• Strolling through the night market in Luang Prabang followed by dinner at L’Elephant, considered one of the city’s best.
• Lunch at a restaurant in Vientiane that trains street children for careers in catering and tourism
• A spectacular sunset as you cruise the “ 4,000 islands” in Southern Laos
• Recalling the French Indochina era in Pakse

Day 1 Depart USA

You board your aircraft for the overnight flight to Thailand and its capital, Bangkok


Day 2 En Route

During your flight you will cross the International Date Line technically "losing" a day but you will regain it on your return flight.


Day 3 Welcome to Thailand

Arriving in Bangkok you will be met by our representative as you exit the plane. They will facilitate your expeditious move through customs and immigration and assist you with the retrieval of your luggage. Once in the arrivals hall you will be introduced to your personal guide and escorted out to your car where your driver is waiting. Arriving at your hotel, your guide will assist with check-in and coordinate the next day's agenda. To help you get the kinks out we have set up a 90 minute Thai massage that will help overcome the jet lag. You then are free to relax in your room with a delightful view over the Chao Phraya River. This evening enjoy a quiet dinner in the hotel and a good night's rest.


Day 4 Flight to Luang Prabang

After breakfast your guide and your driver will be waiting to assist you with your transfer to the airport and checking-in for the flight to Luang Prabang. Upon arrival in Luang Prabang you are met by your guide and taken to the hotel. After a chance to freshen up, you are taken on an orientation tour of this historical and cultural town. You will visit a temple where you have the opportunity to speak with monks or novices who live at the temple and gain insight into the spiritual life of the Lao people. Next you climb the steps to the top of Phou Si Hill located in the centre of town and offering panoramic views of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers, the neighboring mountains and the town. Descend the steps on the other side of the hill and stroll to the nearby night market. Every evening along the main street, the area's ethnic minorities gather to sell their handicrafts and the soft lights of the stalls create a magical market setting. This evening enjoy dining at L'Elephant, one of the city's best restaurants.

B, L, D

Day 5 Experiencing Luang Prabang

If you are an early riser you can experience a very special dawn visit to watch the monks collecting their alms. As the sun begins to rise, long lines of orange-robed monks leave their pagodas and walk barefoot down the streets collecting offerings from Luang Prabang residents, a beautiful, serene ceremony which again highlights the spirituality of the Lao people. Your guide will then take you to the Old town of central Luang Prabang where you can walk through the rows of stalls looking at what is on sale. The locals come here every day to shop for vegetables, fruits and other specialties. Next to the market is the National Museum which was formerly the Royal Palace. You have a privately guided visit examining the art, artifacts and jewels in display. You will have lunch at Tamarind Restaurant where you will have a chance to sample local specialties. After lunch you get a detailed introduction into Lao textiles including the chance to design and dye your own scarf. You then return to your hotel where the chef, Mr. Chantanong will conduct a cooking class. The class is fun and a hands-on way to learn about the ingredients involved and the techniques used to create the local cuisine. At the end of the course, sit down and enjoy a delicious dinner which you have helped to prepare.

B, L, D

Day 6 A Mekong River Cruise

After breakfast you will travel to the peninsula where the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers merge. Here you will board a traditional river boat for a leisurely paced cruise on the Mekong. Passing rural life and peaceful scenery on the banks, you arrive at Pak Ou Caves in which hundreds of images of Buddha are displayed. After visiting the caves you continue cruising until you moor at the foot of beautiful limestone cliffs and enjoy a lunch of typical Lao dishes on board. Returning to town you stop to visit villages known for their creation of Lao textiles and Saa (Mulberry) paper. After returning to the hotel you have some free time before heading for dinner at Couleur Café.

B, L, D

Day 7 Journey to Vientiane

This morning, your guide will meet you to take you to the airport for the flight to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Upon arrival a car will meet you and take you for lunch at Makphet which is a charity-run restaurant that supports street children by providing them training and a job at the vocational restaurant. The food is delicious, made from fresh ingredients and prepared in a kitchen which meets the highest international standards of hygiene. After lunch you will visit "Les Artisans Lao" Here, the trainees transform recycled and renewable materials such as bamboo, palm and mulberry leaves into quality notebooks, stationery and printed paper. By visiting the centre you help promote livelihood opportunities for disadvantaged groups as they learn a new sustainable trade. This evening, dinner is at Le Camargue, one of the best tables in town, renowned for its French dishes served in a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

B, L, D

Day 8 Experiencing Vientiane and a Special Baci Ceremony

Start this morning with a visit to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthethirat on the 16th Century, the temple is resplendent as the sun shines on its golden spire. You then enjoy a panoramic view of the city as you climb the stairs to the top of Patuxai, Vientiane's own "Arc de Triomphe". After visiting several other notable temples, you have lunch at "Le Central", a French-style bistro run by French expatriates. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy shopping, sightseeing or a spa treatment. This evening we have arranged for you to participate in a traditional Lao ceremony. The Baci is performed to celebrate an important event such as a wedding, births or for welcoming guests and is a means of expressing good will and good luck to others. The Lao believe that each person has 32 spirits which constitute their spiritual essence and the Baci is the ritual used to call back any escaped spirits into the body. During the Baci, special flower trays and food treats are prepared for the participants while a Buddhist mantra is chanted. After the chanting, cotton threads are tied around the participants' wrist while they receive an individual blessing. Afterwards, as is tradition, all participants will sit down to share a delicious meal. Enjoy authentic Lao cuisine in the comfort of your local hosts' home and spend time talking and interacting with the friendly locals.

B, L, D

Day 9 Pakse and the Wat Phou Cruise

In the morning your guide will take you to the airport and check you in for the flight to Pakse in the south of Laos. Upon arrival in Pakse you will be met and taken to long tail boats which will take you to Champassak where you board the boat and meet your fellow passengers over lunch. You then take an excursion to a mysterious pre-Angkorian 10th Century Temple now designated as a UNESCO world Heritage Site. When the temple was built, it was the most important economic and political centre in the region. You return to Champassak and see superb examples of French colonial architecture. You re-board you boat as she sets sail down river sitting on the deck as the sun sets. The boat docks for the night alongside a remote Laotian village. Dinner is on board.

B, L, D

Day 10 Houay Tomo and the 4,000 Islands

You have breakfast on deck as the boat sets sail for the village of Houay Tomo. You disembark and take a short walk into the forest to view the hidden temple of Oum Muang. You rejoin the boat as she cruises southward enjoying lunch on the deck as you head towards the "4,000 islands". In the afternoon you arrive at Khong Island at Ban Dua Tae a traditional Laotian village where the way of life has not changed in centuries. Kong Island is the biggest island in South Laos and gateway to the 4,000 islands. This area is called Siphandon in Lao and is one of the jewels of the Mekong. It is a unique and breathtaking place with a unique atmosphere, just at the border with Cambodia. Here the Mekong stretches over nine miles wide and has thousands of islands between which the river flows and runs between cascades and rapids. You anchor at Khong Island and enjoy another sunset.

B, L, D

Day 11 Khong Island-Pakse-Bangkok

While enjoying breakfast on deck, the boat makes its way to the small village of Ban Veuthong where you will board a long tail boat to Khone Island. Don Det and Don Khone are two very laidback islands without any cars and located on the border with Cambodia. Here everything is quiet and electricity is only provided in the evening. Don Khone has kept its historic roots to coconut, kapok and bamboo. In colonial times these two islands were the sites of the only railway ever built in Laos. The islands played an important role by linking Laos to Cambodia and Southern Vietnam. To bypass the falls, the French built a railway and a bridge and the bridge still exists today. After your visit you take the long tail boat back to the boat where you have lunch. Moored at the old stone quay you can see French colonial houses and even the old customs post. You disembark the ship and return to Pakse where you catch the flight to Bangkok. Upon arrival in Bangkok you are escorted by our representative to a hotel at the airport where you have dinner and spend the night.

B, L, D

Day 12 Return to USA

Since you are already at the airport, you have the chance to have a leisurely breakfast before meeting your guide who will assist you with the transfer to the airport and check-in. You regain the day lost previously arriving back the same afternoon.

Day 3

Mandarin Oriental
Select a different image from the previews below
“If only all hotels could be like this.” Conde Nast Traveler USA. For almost 130 years royalty, dignitaries, and distinguished travelers have all followed the legendary Chao Phyra River through the heart of Bangkok to the doors of one of the world most luxurious hotels – The Oriental, Bangkok. The rooms and suites are sumptuous. The restaurants and bars are in a class of their own. The spa is one of the most beautiful in the world. All rich in history, filled with the stories of the celebrated guests who have made this hotel an essential stop on their world travels for over a century.
Days 4 - 6
Luang Prabang

La Residence Phou Vao
Select a different image from the previews below
La Residence Phou Vao is a luxury spa hotel with breathtaking views of the mountains and surrounding World Heritage town of Luang Prabang. Experience the unique and peaceful atmosphere of this luxury resort in Laos, and enjoy a warm welcome from some of the most hospitable people in the world.
Days 7 - 8

Settha Palace
Select a different image from the previews below
In the heart of bustling Vientiane stands a remarkable hotel. Built in the early part of the last century, circa 1932, and painstakingly restored to its former imperial glory, the Settha Palace Hotel serves as a testament to the long lost era of classical elegance, gracious service and French colonial charm. Once more owned by the same passionate family that ran the hotel in its heyday before the change of regime to Communism in 1975, no stone has been left unturned and no expense spared in the quest to bring this Vientiane landmark back to life. The Hotel is located right in the city centre, within walking distance of the commercial district, shops, restaurants and tourist attractions
Days 9 - 10
Mekong River

Wat Phou Cruise
Select a different image from the previews below
Enjoy a leisurely cruise along the slow-flowing Mekong River. Embrace its fascinating beauty, while enjoying the exotic scenes of people living in southern Laos and the mystic ancient Khmer ruins. During the three day cruise you stop to visit Wat Phou. This stunning Angkorian temple sits majestically in the hills of the Champassak province. Explore the stately ruins and enjoy the views of the river below as you stand at the top of this architectural masterpiece. The cruise also takes you to the area known as the 'Four Thousand Islands', a section of the Mekong filled with hundreds of small islands. Weave your way past local villages and quiet shorelines, stopping to visit islands and cascading waterfalls. In between stops, your days are spent on board the grand wooden boat. Relax and watch the scenery, dine on fantastic fresh cuisine, watch spectacular sunsets, and gaze at the star-filled sky. This leisurely cruise along the Mekong River is a relaxing and elegant way to experience the beauty and timelessness of southern Laos.
Day 11
Suvarnabhumi Airport

Select a different image from the previews below
The ultra-modern hotel is located just a three-minute walk from the airport’s main terminal connected by a 600 feet, air-conditioned underground walkway. The Novotel features 612 rooms in two square-shaped five-storey buildings, with large open atrium areas in the centre of each structure. The two buildings are also joined by another massive glass atrium designed as the hotel lobby. With a lobby five-stories high, the Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel boasts the largest hotel lobby in the world. The unique design allows for greater environmental control and incorporates the outdoor atrium areas for swimming and recreation. The hotel is aiming to establish itself as the airport’s premium dining area with four restaurants and a bar. The Novotel brand’s innovative all day dining outlet, The Square, serves a variety of popular Western and Asian dishes from an open show kitchen a la minute, showcasing world cuisine with monthly food promotions and specials. Authentic Thai cuisine is offered at Sala Thai Pavilion, while guests can enjoy a choice of either Cantonese cuisine at Gold Village Chinese Restaurant or Sushi and Teppanyaki at Kinsen Japanese Restaurant. The hotel’s Atrium Terrace Lobby Lounge adds a perfect venue to unwind and relax.