We meet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel. Your guide will greet you there in later and take you on a leisurely walking tour of this remarkable town. He will customize the itinerary based on your personal interests. However, we recommend beginning your day with a climb up the Naga (river serpent) Stairway up Phousi Mountain to Wat Paa Huak (your guide may be able to arrange for a key from the Abbot to view the spectacular murals) and Wat Thammothayalan, an active monastery with a lovely view of the Nam Khan River. As you wander around town you'll discover prime examples of 19th century French colonial villas and Lao-style homes. We will gladly recommend restaurants to enjoy during your visit. Luang Prabang offers a selection of outstanding Lao, French, and international cuisine. If you like, your guide will join you for an easy-going introduction to Luang Prabang's nightlife.
Day Two: Feed Monks and Window Shop
Rise early if you can. You will not want to miss the early morning spectacle of hundreds of temple monks that silently parade single-file around the city collecting food offerings from townspeople. Unless you are tempted by the smell of freshly baked bread along the streets, return to your hotel for a hearty breakfast. Afterwards your guide will take you to see more of the town's ancient lanes. Among the places we recommend visiting are Wat Xieng Thong, one of LP's most venerated temple complexes dating from 1560. Later, take a break from temple-viewing on Sisavangvong Road, lined with open-air cafes, scrumptious bakeries, busy Internet cafes, and shops selling fabrics, silver and ceramics. If school is in session you might enjoy visiting the students at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.
After lunch we can arrange for you to visit a temple project where young monks are being trained in the fast-disappearing traditional Lao painting and sculpture, or a private school where young blind men are trained in the art of traditional massage, or even the former Royal Palace, now a museum.
Day Three: A Psychedelic Waterfall
This is a lazy day. You spend as much of the day as you like at the spectacular Khuang Sii Waterfall not far from the city. It is one of the most scenic spots near Luang Prabang and a favorite place for local folks to relax. Water comes tumbling down stairway of giant stones high above. The minerals in the rocks give the water an eerie color. If you want to make a day of it you can arrange for a picnic lunch with your hotel, or ask your guide to take care of that for you. If you prefer you can take an early exit and spend the rest of the day shopping or taking in the local art galleries.
Day Four: Kamu Lodge and its Lazy Pleasures
Depart early this morning for a two and a half hour boat trip on the Mekong to Kamu Lodge, a remote eco-resort along the banks of the Mekong River. Along the way you stop at Tham Ting Cave. Over the decades, local people have left Buddha images here. You can see thousand of them by the light of candles. Afterwards, continue upstream through some of the most spectacular natural scenery you may ever see. Arrive in time for lunch. You will enjoy the Lao cooking provided during your stay, including many local specialties made with local organic fruits and vegetables. In the afternoon you will be presented with a number of possible activities if you want to stay busy.
If you have never see rice growing close up, you may want to join the local people as they work with their crop to see how it is done or try your hand at gold panning in the Mekong January to June only). Unless it has rained, you can join the lodge's staff on jungle walks to search for medicinal plants. If you have good boots and strong legs you can trek through the forest to visit remote waterfalls. Perhaps the most interesting thing to do is visit the villages of friendly local ethnic minority people.
Day Five: A Lazy Cruise Down the Mekong
After an early breakfast you return to Luang Prabang by boat, unless you have arranged in advance to stay longer. The downstream trip is slightly faster. Your guide meets you on arrival and sees you to the airport for your onward flight. If your flight is later in the day, we can arrange for the driver and guide to remain with you and mind your luggage until it is time to depart. You will have a chance to see a bit more, enjoy a leisurely lunch or do a bit of shopping.
There are direct flights from Luang Prabang to Siem Reap, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Vientiane, where you can connect to Hanoi or Saigon.
Two Night Itinerary Ends in Chiang Rai, ThailandWe also offer an overnight Way Beyond Luang Prabang trip between Chiang Rai (Northern Thailand) and Luang Prabang, or vice versa. You can combine these two itineraries by adding an extra night either upstream or downstream.
Stay Longer? Of Course You Can!
Most people who visit Luang Prabang do not want to leave! There is much more to see and plenty to do here, although a longer stay should be arranged in advance since hotels are usually fully booked. How about a cooking class or an elephant trek to a nearby village? We have plenty of options to choose from. And do not miss the opportunity to visit Vientiane.