In all our programs, some meals will be included and some left at your own discretion (for some specific times, allowing you to discover some neighbourhoods for example).
Meals included will be indicated next to the Day thanks to the following abbreviations : BKF = Breakfast / LUN = Lunch / DIN = Dinner.
Note: Upon your arrival at Vientiane International Airport, it is possible to obtain your visa on arrival (VOA). Simply bring 1 passport picture along with between USD 30 and 45 / person in cash, visa fees varying from one nationality to another. Make sure your passport is valid at least 6 months beyond your return departure date. Visa on Arrival forms are available before immigration counters.
Day 1 = VIENTIANE (LUN/DIN)
Assume the arrival by PG 943 at 11am.
Upon arrival, you will be met by our guide at the arrival hall and assist with a transfer to your hotel for check-in.
Lunch at local restaurant.
In the afternoon, short orientation tour in town by bus and you will start the visit at Vat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese invasion in 1828. It shelters hundreds of statues of Buddha in its walls.
You will also visit Vat Phra Keo, now used as a religious museum where you can see Lao and Khmer works of art. It used to host the “Emerald Buddha” that is now on display at Bangkok’s Royal Palace.
Then we will head to That Luang, the holiest place in Laos and object of an amazing pilgrimage in November. It is iconic and represented on all bank notes and official stamps. It is a golden stupa that crowns a small hill.
Patuxai Monument, also called Anousavari, where you will enjoy a panoramic view over the city from the roof. It is Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe that is located at the top of LanXang Avenue, the Champs Elysees of the Lao capital. You will also visit to COPE center. To learn more about Laos and its history that is not very well known: the Secret War, which corresponds to the Vietnam War (also known as American War from a Vietnamese stand point). Laos is unfortunately the country which has received the most bombs per capita in the entire history. Still today, a good deal of those unexploded ordnance (UXOs) explode as people work in their fields or when children play in the countryside. Laos is actively fighting the use of these cluster bombs and the COPE center will depict and inform visitors on these issues. And part of the complex is actually a medical center where disabled people get new hopes as they receive prosthesis and get new mobility after reeducation.
You will also enjoy walking along the Mekong River, in a very peaceful area…
Dinner at Kong View restaurant (Finger food style).
Accommodation in Vientiane.
Day 2 = BAN NAHIN (BKF/LUN/DIN)
Distance: 400 Km, asphalt road but not always in good condition.
Breakfast at hotel, and you will meet an expert English speaking which will escort and assisting you all along the trip to southern Laos. You will have a short review of the plan and then pick up your key for self-drive* through Laos.
*1 Vehicle for 2 People (driver and passenger). Our expert English speaking guide will be on the front vehicle and 1 machinic man will be on the last vehicle with you.
You will start your engine and leave Vientiane capital following Route 13 south. You will make a first stop at Vat Prabat (The Ancient stupa and Buddha foot print). At the opposite side around 3km from the main road along the Mekong River you can also visit Vat Phonsan. This temple hosts each year the festival of the “Fire ball of the Naga” in October.
Lunch will be taken in a local restaurant en route.
Once in Paksan, capital of Bolikhamsai province, you will leave Highway 13 to go up on a beautiful country road in the direction of Thasi, along the Nam San valley. Once in Thasi you will catch up with the new road connecting the Plain of Jars and Tha Bak to the confluence of the Nam Theun and Nam Kading rivers on Route 8. In Tha Bak, do not miss to go along the courtyards Water to see how the villagers recycled air bombs or the remains of airplanes to make boats, compressors or utensils for their daily life.
Then you will go west on Highway 8 to Ban Nahin (locally called Ban Khounkham, access point to the Konglor cave located 45 km away), passing by a magnificent viewpoint over the Hinboun River Valley. Before stopping for the night, you will continue until km 34 at Phu Pha Man where you will have a magnificent view of the limestone forest that is offered to you and announces the first steps of the Annamite Chain.
Dinner at local restaurant and overnight in Ban Nahin, basic accommodation.
Day 3 = NONGCHAN (BKF/LUN/DIN)
Distance: 255 Km, asphalt road but not always in good condition.
Breakfast at local restaurant, then you will follow Route 8 to the east, which will lead you to Lak Sao (sometimes called Khamkeut). This road was one of the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Second Indochina War.
First stop in Lak Sao, a recent city created in 1968 with a nice little temple and which receives a strong Vietnamese community (Vietnam is about 30km from it). Besides, the city has the atmosphere of border towns.
Then your route will take you to the south, along one of the segments of what is called "The Loop" to the reservoir Nam Theun 2 which was built in 2007 with the hydropower dam to supply electricity to the country and its neighbors. At the time being it was the biggest dam in the world.
You will cross splendid karst and forest landscapes before reaching the banks of the lake in Ban Talang. The lake with its numerous emerging trunks exudes a certain atmosphere, do not miss the picture from the bridge of Namnian.
You will proceed to Gnommalath where the dam management offices are located.
Lunch en route and dinner at local restaurant.
Then about 90km of road will lead you to the small town of Nongchan on the border with Vietnam where you will spend the night.
Night in Nongchan, basic accommodation.
Day 4 = SEPON (BKF/LUN/DIN)
Distance: 130Km, road not always in good condition.
Breakfast in a local restaurant, then we will continue the journey south following the Ho Chi Minh trail. It was actually a network of several thousand kilometers of trails on horseback between Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia to flee and avoid the American bombing.
From Nongchan, you will go to Vilabuly by following parts of the trail through splendid landscapes. Vilabuly is home to one of Laos' most important copper and gold mines, the Sepon mine. You will continue to Sepon on Route 9, an important route of communication between Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Free lunch on the way.
Dinner at local restaurant, and night in Sepon (basic accommodation).
Day 5 = TAAOY (BKF/LUN/DIN)
Distance: about 110km, road not always in good condition.
Breakfast at local restaurant, and you will continue to Ban Dong where you will find the Ho Chi Minh trail and the remnants of the war. It includes buildings destroyed during the Battle of Lam Son 719 during the first half of 1971, craters left by explosions of bombs, remains of tanks and other military vehicles.
If the timing allows and if it is open, visit the Museum of War in Ban Dong to better understand the conflict from the point of view of Laos.
Then you will continue along the Trail for about 35km to reach Ban Nong where remains of the war are still found too. You will pass for the occasion by a suspension bridge that was built by the Vietnamese at the end of the war.
You will continue by the tracks of our circuit in direction of Taaoy following the Dong Phou Vieng National Park as well as that of Xe Xap. Taaoy played a fairly important role in the area during the conflict with Highway 96, which was also one of the parts of the trail network. On many occasions, you will have the opportunity to discover and observe the remains of the war and its recycling by the local populations.
Throughout the day, you will also pass through several ethnic villages including Katang, Suay, Pako, Katu, Taaoy.
Note: do not expect to see locals in traditional costumes. They wear it only on rare festive occasions.
Lunch en route.
Dinner at local restaurant and overnight in Taaoy, basic accommodation.
Day 6 = SEKONG (BKF/LUN/DIN)
Distance: about 80km, partly asphalt road but not always in good condition.
Breakfast at local restaurant or at the Taaoy market.
From Taaoy you will drive to Sekong on the banks of the Kong River, passing through Kaleum.
Around Sekong, in the direction of Attapeu, you will be able to go to several waterfalls towards the Alak village of Ban Mun Hua Mung. The Xe Nam Noi River crosses several breakpoints in the form of falls like those of Tad Houakone or Tad Phek.
You will continue along the eastern border of the Bolaven Plateau where you will enter in Ban Phoukham (km 52) for 17km and finally reach the impressive falls of Xe Katamtok in the heart of the jungle. Lunch en route.
Dinner at local restaurant and overnight in Sekong.
Day 7 = CHAMPASAK (BKF/LUN/DIN)
Distance: about 180 Km, road not always in good condition.
Breakfast at local restaurant, then you will drive to Paksong on road 11 & 16A and continue to Champasak town via Ban Mai & Kietngong. You will pass through Ban Kietngong near Mount Phou Asa and wetland park where you may have the opportunity to see semi-wild elephants feeding. Picnic lunch along the way.
Check-in at hotel and free at leisure.
In the evening, farewell dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation at the River Resort.
Day 8 = PAKSE (BKF/LUN/DIN)
Breakfast at your hotel, and free time for leisure until your transfer to Pakse airport for your flight out.
Note that it is also possible to drive overland to Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani airport to catch a flight to Bangkok.
End of our services
EACH PROGRAM IS HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE IN TERMS OF DURATION, ITINERARY, STOPS, TYPES OF ACCOMMODATION, INCLUSIONS AND ACTIVITIES, IN ORDER TO BE TOTALLY IN LINE WITH YOUR INTERESTS, YOUR TRIP PROJECT AND YOUR BUDGET CONSTRAINTS.