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Spring Festival! Laos Highlights
   
Tour Code: STS-LA-004 Price per person from: From RMB 7,260
Departure Date: Daily Click for Price Details
   
 
Summary:

Steeped in history and filled with beautiful scenery, Laos is quickly emerging as one of Asia's favorite destinations. This week-long tour connects the country's two capitals: from the spiritual and cultural capital of Luang Prabang to the administrative capital of Vientiane. You can visit temples, natural wonders, museums and more as you discover the history and wonders of Laos with our expert guides.

Set on a peninsula along the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, Luang Prabang has a sleepy feel to it as the waters meander along the tree-lined banks. The city is home to thousands of monks and is evidenced by the hundreds of temples that dot the roads and small laneways of the town. Wake up early one morning to watch the serene alms-collecting ceremony where the towns' monks barefoot down the sidewalks to collect offerings from the locals. The line of bright orange robes swish by, dramatically contrasting to the green trees and white buildings behind them.

Whilst in Luang Prabang, visit the Traditional Arts and Ethics Centre to learn about the multitude of ethnic minorities in the country. The Heritage Information Centre will provide insight in to the ongoing conservation projects in this UNESCO World Heritage City. Continue your exploration of Laos culture with a cooking class, a fun way to experience the fresh local cuisine.

Venture away from the main part of Luang Prabang with a trip out to the Kuang Sii waterfalls, where you can swim in the blue waters. Travel up the Mekong by private boat to Pak Ou, where thousands of Buddha statues fill the limestone caves. Spend a night in the peaceful Kamu Lodge, where you can try your hand at planting rice, traditional fishing methods, or simply relax and soak in the scenery of the countryside.

The final stop of your trip is Vientiane, the administrative capital. Although bigger and busier than its northern counterpart, Vientiane is still very sleepy compared to the other capital cities of Asia. A city tour unlocks the hidden charm of Vientiane. Temples such as Sisaket, Simvang, and Phra Keo have an understated elegance and are nestled in courtyards filled with frangipani trees. See the bizarre Patuxai monument, a Lao version of the Arc de Triomphe, and the golden stupa of That Luang, one of Laos' most important religious sites. Learn about one of Laos' delicacies as you watch local coffee being roasted and blended.

Summary Itinetary Prices Features Notes Customize This Trip

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Tour Dates Destinations Today's Activities Meals Include

Laos Highlights - Vientiane and Luang Prabang
9 Days/ 8 Nights 
Depart Daily



Flight schedule-

Date
  Flight No.  Dep. City/ Time   Arrival City / Time                Duration
Day01  VN 901   Beijing / 1545     Hanoi / 1820      3 hr 35 mins
Day02
  VN 869   Hanoi / 0900     Luang Prabang / 0955   55 mins
Day06         QV104           Luang Prabang / 1850     Vientiane / 1930                     40 mins
Day08
  VN 824   Vientiane / 1500    Hanoi / 1550       50 mins
Day09
  VN 900   Hanoi / 1010      Beijing / 1445      3 hr 35 mins

 

Tour Itinerary-
Day 01: Beijing-Hanoi
Take
Vietnam Airlines flight depart Beijing for Hanoi. Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport, and transfer to the hotel by private car.
Overnight in
Hanoi

 

Day 02: Hanoi-Luang Prabang(B)
After breakfast, transfer to airport by private car for flight depart for Luang Prabang. Arrival in Luang Prabang. Welcome to the spiritual capital of
Laos. Once arrived in Luang Prabang, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Time at leisure for the rest of the day.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.

 

Day 03-05: Luang Prabang(B)
Explore yourself in Luang Prabang. Explore Luang Prabang yourself. Sunflower recommend you to visit Pak Ou Caves, which count thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues crammed into the two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. They range in size from a few centimeters to the size of a human. The caves are as well a destination for local pilgrimages.

On the way to the caves and on the way back, do not miss that
Laos has several waterways that has been used in the past and continue to be a way for transportation actually in some area. To use a local boat to cruise a river is probably one of the most rewarding mean to discover the life along the rivers, to observe the daily activities of fishermen and how they live with the river, how they throw their nets in a elegant arm gesture.

You could also visit Kuangsi Waterfalls, located at
32 km from Luang Prabang. These waterfalls run through a multilevel limestone formations in the jungle into a series of turquoise blue pools where you may bathing at the foot of the falls if the weather is nice (please wear a sarong, no naked bodies).
Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 06: Luang Prabang-Vientiane(B)
Take a flight to Vientiane. You'll be welcomed at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight in
Vientiane

 

Day 07: Vientiane (B)
Discover the hidden charm of Vientiane which means the city of ''sandal wood''. Vientiane is one of the quietest capital in the world, far away from the usual bustle and hustle Asian capitals, far from the real-estate frenzy of the regional megalopolis. Sunflower recommend you to visit Wat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese invasion in 1828. One of the most beautiful temple of the capital with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues.

Continue with Wat Phra Keo, used as a religious museum where are displayed Lao and Khmer works of art. Just besides, have a look to the Presidential Palace (former French governor Palace. No visit). The next place is Wat Simuang, the most popular and venerated temple in Vientiane which is the guardian of the spirit of the city. Among this location, you will find an angkorian pillar. It is said that, you should turn around 3 times by formulating a wish. If that one becomes true, you have to bring back some offerings.

 

Day 08: Vientiane-Hanoi(B)
After breakfast, free at leisure until your transfer to the airport for flight depart for Hanoi. Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport, and transfer to the hotel by private car.
The rest time is free for
Hanoi. Options include enjoying the many charms that this city has to offer from the many boutique shops, enjoying a traditional 'Water Puppet' show at the Old Quarter, or simply taking a coffee at one of the charming street side coffee shop and watching the world go by.
Overnight in
Hanoi
.

 

Day 09: Hanoi-Beijing(B)
After breakfast in the morning, free at leisure till transfer to the airport by private car for flight depart for Beijing.
 

Hotel List-

               
  Category Adult Share Twin Adult Extra Bed Child Share Existing Bed with Adult Child Extra Bed  
  Standard 7,260 6,720 4,900 5,150  
  First Class A 7,780 6,720 4,900 5,150  
  Superior A 7,700 7,150 5,260 5,700  
  B 7,890 N/A 5,260 N/A  
  C 8,080 7,150 5,260 5,700  
  Deluxe A 8,960 7,400 5,560 5,960  
  B 9,040 7,400 5,560 5,960  
  Luxury A 11,090 8,880 5,980 7,290  
               
 
                   
  Category Hanoi Luang Prabang Vientiane  
  Hotel Name Room Type Hotel Name Room Type Hotel Name Room Type  
  Standard Zen Hotel Standard Room Villa Saykham Hotel Standard Room Avalon Hotel Standard Room  
  First Class A Zen Hotel Deluxe Room Ancient Luang Prabang Deluxe Room City Inn Deluxe Room  
  Superior A Medallion Hotel Deluxe Room Bel Air Hotel Garden View Room Novotel Standard Room  
  B Medallion Hotel Deluxe Room The View Pavillion Hotel Garden View Room Novotel Standard Room  
  C Medallion Hotel Deluxe Room Villa Santi Resort Deluxe Room Novotel Standard Room  
  Deluxe A Medallion Hotel Junior Suite Maison Souvanmaphoum Garden Wing Green Park Classic Room  
  B Medallion Hotel Junior Suite Villa Maly Superior Room Green Park Classic Room  
  Luxury A Intercontinental Westlake Deluxe Hanoi View La Residence Phou Vao Garden View Room Green Park Classic Room  
                   

 

  Price Inclusions and Exclusions

Included features-
· Round trip economy class air ticket
· 8 nights hotel accommodation in Hanoi, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane, based twin sharing one double / twin room
· Meals as indicated in the itinerary, B= Breakfast
· Return airport transfer in Hanoi, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane by private vehicle
· All hotel government tax & service charges


 

Exclusions-
· Air tax—Approx. RMB1,130 per adult, RMB 1,040 per child.
· Alcoholic drinks & drinks at mealtime + Optional visits + Personal expenses (e.g.Telephone, laundry)
· Personal travel insurance (should include helicopter evacuation for Laos & repatriation)
· Personal expenses
· Tips for guide, driver, boat crew & hotels' porters
· Two-Entry Tourist Visa to Vietnam*
  International departure airport tax Phnom Penh or Siem Reap 25 USD per person.
Domestic departure airport tax Phnom Penh or Siem Reap 6 USD per person
· Meals other than those mentioned above
· Other services not clearly indicated in the Package Inclusion above

3 Nagas Auberge Resort
Official Website: none.....
         
3 Nagas Auberge Resort Les 3 Nagas offers 12 superior rooms and 3 exquisite suites where you will find comfort, space and beauty.The welcoming ambiance of our Boutique Hotel inspired by Lao traditions, will give you the unique opportunity to submerge yourself in the Kingdom of the Million Elephants.
Maison Souvanmaphoum Hotel
Official Website: http://www.angsana.com/EN/Properties/Maison-Souvannaphoum
         
Maison Souvanmaphoum Hotel Take a time out to relive the old world charm of Luang Prabang, Laos, at Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel which houses our celebrated Angsana Spa as well as intimate rooms and luxurious suites. Return to the historic residence of Prince Souvannaphouma and a completely different way of life after a long, fulfilling day of exploring the ancient temples and enchanting scenery of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then dine like royalty with a mouth-watering variety of French, Laotian and Indochinese dishes, served up in a casually chic poolside setting.
La Residence Phou Vao
Official Website: http://www.residencephouvao.com/web/plua/la_residence_phou_vao.jsp
         
La Residence Phou Vao Being the only hotel located on Phou Vao Hill, the hill of kites, this luxurious property redefines the standards of relaxation. Enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, the hotel oozes sheer tranquility. The world class spa has a menu as diverse as Laos' landscape and is an ideal way to relax the mind, body and soul. Built with local and traditional Laotian materials, the organic structure adds to the relaxed nature of the hotel. The cozy Phou Vao restaurant resides next to the 24 hour accessible infinity pool. The mountainous backdrop, trees with hanging lanterns and romantic setting makes this an ideal vacation for couples and spa lovers. La Residence Phou Vao Hotel is indeed a unique place of stay!
Green Park Boutique Hotel
Official Website: http://www.greenparkvientiane.com/
         
Green Park Boutique Hotel Green Park Boutique Hotel captures the best elements of contemporary architecture in Laos. The elegance of the interior, both historic and modern, and the glorious setting are combined to create a most distinguished feeling of style, luxury and relaxation in the Laos capital. The hotel is within walking distance of the Morning Market, Victory Gate, the Mekong River and various temples. The airport is just half an hour away by car. All 34 rooms and suites at this hotel are air-conditioned and feature wireless Internet access, cable television, IDD telephone, and a furnished balcony perfect for relaxing and enjoy the beautiful views. Guests can enjoy international cuisine at Sala Nong Chan restaurant, chat over cocktails at Dok Da La lounge, or relax the day away at Champa Lao spa. To make your reservation at the Green Park Boutique Hotel in Vientiane, please use our secure online booking form.
InterContinental
Official Website: http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/hanoi
         
InterContinental Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel is located in the city of Hanoi, 40 minutes drive from Noi Bai International Airport. Set entirely over the Westlake and adjacent to the 800 year old Golden Lotus Pagoda, the hotel features tastefully-decorated guest rooms, five restaurants and bars, a ballroom and four event rooms. All of the guest rooms are spacious and are complemented with in-room conveniences like LCD television, private balconies and either Hanoi, pool or full lake views. Guests can enjoy the hotel's several restaurants and bars, as well as facilities like swimming pool, health club and a conference center.

Luang Prabang Vientiane

Get Around

By plane

The airport is just north of town and has scheduled flights from/to Vientiane, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi and Siem Reap.

Bangkok Airways offer flights from Bangkok and Siem Reap.

Visa-on-Arrival is available at the airport - price is variable based upon your nationality. You need a passport picture to obtain a visa. If you don't have one, they'll scan your picture from your passport and charge you an additional $1.

ASEAN nationals do not need a Visa to enter Laos for stays not exceeding 30 days.

Taxis into town cost about $6, whether you are by yourself or with 3 other people. There is a taxi counter just outside the arrival hall.

By road

Highway 13 connects Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng and Vientiane in the south and via Highway 1 to the north. Highway 13 is sealed and in good shape all the way to Vientiane. Though there have been incidents of violence along this stretch of road in the past, presently it is safe.

There are three bus stations, each a little bit out of town, which serve different directions. Tickets can be bought at every travel agent in town, at the bus station, or when boarding the bus (if there's space). Booking bus tickets through travel agents usually incurs hefty surcharges compared to doing it yourself. Just plan to arrive at the bus station between 30-45 minutes before your departure, and you should have plenty of time to make your purchases before you bus leaves. Tuk-tuk drivers know which bus station to go to for which destination. Ask around for bus schedules.

Vang Vieng- The air-conditioned so-called VIP bus costs 90,000 kip. Mini-buses leave from Vang Vieng at 9 AM and cost 100,000 kip. The trip takes 6-7 hours (on a VERY windy road). The mini-bus station is just north of town.

Vientiane- Air-con VIP bus costs 115,000, more if booked through an agent. It should be noted that tickets purchased in Vientiane to Luang Prabang are more expensive than those purchased in Luang Prabang. Travelers have reported that the VIP bus can been a bit of bumpy ride, but is generally more reliable than the public bus. Those prone to motion sickness should know that this trip travels a winding, mountainous road.

Muang Xay- Takes about 5 hours. Costs 40,000 kip and points onwards, such as Luang Namtha, is done by public minibus only. Big backpacks are carried on the roof. Reservations are usually not necessary, just take care to go early in order to secure a good seat.

Luang Namtha- Takes 8-9 hours. Parts of the road leading from Oudomxay (inermediate stop between Luang Prabang and Luang Namtha) are still under construction and are quite bumpy (as of Nov 09). Direct local bus via Muang Xay at 09.00. Otherwise take bus to Muang Xay and switch there.

Nong Khiaw- 3 hours away by public bus from the Northern Bus Station or 8-10 hrs by boat for about 110,000 kip. From there boats connect to scenic Muang Ngoi Neua.

Huay Xai- Up to 15 hours away. Public buses leave at 09.00 (arrive 12 midnight) or 17.00 (arrive 08.00, normal sleeping bus, not sleeper). Costs 135,000 kip. VIP buses leave on alternating days, tickets purchased at the Northern Bus Station will cost 35,000 kip less than those purchased at an agent in town.

Phonsavan - Bus takes about 8 hours and costs 100,000 Kip leaves Southern Bus Station around 8.00am. Minibus takes around 6 hours and leaves at 9.00am. You should be able to buy your ticket at your guesthouse and arrange to be picked up and taken to the minibus station. You can stay on the minibus until it unloads the local people in the centre of Luang Prabang though tuk-tuk drivers may try to make you get off earlier at the bus station.

By boat

Boats ply the Mekong to and from Huay Xai at the Thai border, stopping in Pakbeng where you can catch overland connections towards the northeast and the border with China. The trip takes 2 days (6h + 8h) by slow boat, or 6 bone-rattling hours by speedboat. There are also operators now offering 2-day "luxury" cruises.

If you have the opportunity, purchase a pillow from a local market before embarking on any boat ride that lasts longer than 2 hours. Expect to spend the night in Pakbeng if you're taking a slow boat (the safest option), or to arrive in Luang Prabang deaf, shaken and either exhausted or exhilarated from six hours in a speedboat. There is also a twice-weekly "one day comfortable boat" between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai, but the cost is significantly higher.

Slow boats leave every day, usually around 8-9AM. The trip to Luang Prabang costs 200,000 kip (July. 2010). If you can, just purchase your tickets at the boat landing because all the tour agencies in town charge a commission, and agents usually don't have reliable information about the quality of the boats. It is not uncommon to have to switch to a new boat in Pakbeng, so you may end up in a boat of higher or lower quality for the second half of the journey.

Get around 

Getting around Vientiane is generally easy, as the traffic is far less murderous than in larger Southeast Asian cities like Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City. Street signage is, however, rather lacking though in the center more and more signs are appearing. Where there are signs displaying street names these are bilingual Lao and French. The Lao word "thanon" on these signs is translated by "rue", "avenue" or "boulevard", in many cases without any apparent logic. Therefore the Lao word "thanon" is used throughout this article.

The map on the right, which is fully to scale, covers the center only. Maps covering a larger area are available at bookshops and some mini-marts, but are not as detailed and not always to scale. Many storefronts feature addresses in Roman letters, and these are often the best way to determine the street one is walking. People navigate using landmarks, so name the nearest embassy, hotel or temple to where you want to go.

Since 2006 a major road upgrading project has been going on in the town center and out of it up to way past the airport in the west and the Friendship Bridge in the east, financed by the Japanese government and planned and overseen by Japanese engineers. Largely gone are the hazards presented by missing drainage gully covers and sidewalks upturned by tree roots. Almost no trees have been cut - amazing! In downtown Vientiane the through roads Thanons Setthathirat and Samsenthai and the side roads connecting them and down to the river now have sealed surfaces and sidewalks, and there is decent street lighting. A one-way traffic regime is in place (but the police are not enforcing it), and parking regulations have also been introduced. Markings for pedestrian crossings have been painted on the new roads, but the local drivers regard them as decoration. Don't rely on them!

Vientiane's rainwater drainage system, which also takes care of "grey water" from baths, sinks, laundry, etc. consists of gullies on the roadside, usually covered by concrete slabs. These slabs are sometimes damaged and very precariously balanced, or even missing altogether; people rapidly learn to take care before stepping on anything that looks like a slab! Waste from toilets is or should be collected in septic tanks (at every house), but those gullies can nevertheless smell abominably. In the center things have improved markedly as a result of the road upgrading. The smell from the gullies is now no longer very noticeable.

Note: do not rely on the Google Earth view of Vientiane for locating the sights: many locations put there by well-meaning users (the "Google Earth Community") are clearly in the wrong place, not just a block or so away but some even in a wrong part of the town!

By taxi

Vientiane has a small fleet of genuine taxis retired from Bangkok, usually found lurking at the Friendship Bridge, the airport or in front of large hotels. Fares are set by bargaining, so figure on around US$0.50 per km or US$20-40 to hire one for the day, depending on car type and distance.

Taxi Vientiane Capital Lao Group Co. Ltd. (21-454168, 21-454088, 90 Th Nongbone) advertises 20,000 kip for the 1st km, then 2,000 kip every 300m.

By tuk-tuk or jumbo

Tuk-tuks and their bigger cousins jumbos are ubiquitous in Vientiane. To charter a tuk-tuk/jumbo, agree on the fare in advance (do not pay more than 40K Kip per hour); short hops within the city shouldn't cost more than 10,000 kip per person, although as a tourist you may have difficulty bargaining to less than that. All the tuk-tuk drivers carry a fare card for popular destinations but these fares are ridiculously inflated. Do not pay these bogus, published fares. Walking away can make the fare drop quickly. Also do not insult them with ridiculous offers such as 10,000 Kip for four people no matter how short the distance. Share jumbos running on set routes, eg. Th Lan Xang to Pha That Luang, charge a fixed 10,000 Kip. Tuk-tuks lined in front the Mekong bank restaurants or other busy areas will try to charge you 30-50K even for short trips. It's not worth trying to bargain as they won't go anywhere with a normal (10K) fare. Walk a few blocks and you can cut a deal much closer to the local price.

By bus

Rattly old blue-and-white buses and newer white minibuses connect the center to the suburban districts, but they are not equipped with air-con and have no signage in English, although route numbers are usually (not always) posted on the front. The only bus likely to be of use to the casual visitor is the bus to/from the Friendship Bridge, which continues on to Buddha Park for a fixed fare of 5000K. (The bus to Wattay International Airport goes near the airport but not qu