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Forgotten Valley

Day 1: Arrival – Luang Prabang

On arrival at the airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. The royal capital of the former Lane Xang Kingdom, Luang Prabang with its gleaming temple roofs, colonial architecture and stunning mountain backdrop retains a unique charm rarely found in all Asia. Here is plenty to see, some of which are the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun, the shrine of Wat Aham and Wat Mai with five tiered roofs. We include these sights in a half day guided tour which ends with a climb to Phousi Hill for a beautiful sunset view of the town and the Mekong River. There are 329 steps leading us on zigzag way past various temples to the sacred, gilded stupa of Wat Phousi at the summit. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 2: Luang Prabang – Pakou – Luang Prabang. (B)

Today we continue seeing Luang Prabang with the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong, which nestles at the meeting of the Mekong and the Nam Khan River. The temple structures are decorated in various ways with gilded stuccoes as well as doorways and the main sim has a marvelous ‘tree life’ mosaic pattern on an outer wall. We embark on a boat for a leisurely trip on the Mekong River, stopping en route at Ban Xang Hai to visit the distillation of local rice wine. Upon leaving this village we wave our wave through the stunning mountain landscape to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. They are crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes, all brought there by devout villagers. After the river trip we drive towards Ban Phanom and visit the hand weaving. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 3: Luang Prabang – Khouangsi Waterfall. (B)

The exploration of Luang Prabang would be not complete without a visit to the national museum at the former Royal Palace. This interesting structure displays a lovely collection of treasures and artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. Heading out of town we embark on a drive south and pass the verdant and rugged scenery to visit   some hill tribe people at  Ban Lao Soung and  Ban Ou . Here we enjoy a walk to the beautiful Khouang Si Falls which are surrounded by lush forest. The waterfall tumbles over multi tiered limestone formations into the cool and clear pools ideal for anyone seeking an enjoyable escape when the heat becomes unbearable. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 4: Luang Prabang – Xieng Khouang (Road). (B)

Upon leaving the town we drive out to Xieng Khouang, which was devastated by American bombing between 1964 and 1973. These back roads are a great way to explore the real Laos. We see very few other travellers, mostly rural dwellers who are just as interested in finding out about our lives as we are of theirs. The drive is very long, but we can make many stops at our pleasure, to stretch our legs and take some wonderful photographs. On arrival we explore the province’s old capital of Muang Khun and the nearby villages. Overnight in Phonsavanh.

Day 5: Xieng Khouang – Vang Vieng (Road). (B)

The “Plan of Jars” is an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are littered all over the plateau. These huge jars are supposedly over 2,000 years old, but most of archaeologists are still mystified about their purpose. We have time today exploring the site and some nearby villages. They are populated by the Hmong hill tribe people who are very poor but have an interesting local culture and a colorful history. we set off on our journey to Vang Vieng. This small and tranquil village is rapidly developed with the advent of tourist, but the beautiful scenery with a mixture of quiet water and limestone outcrops unchanged for century. Depending on roads and traffic conditions our drive will deliver us to Vang Vieng by mid or late afternoon. Overnight in Vang Vieng.

Day 6: Vang Vieng – Vientiane (Road). (B)

An impressive way to start our day is a walk around the bustling central market. Heading out of town we enjoy a short bamboo boat along the Namsong River, which also gives us a taste of adventure as well as an enjoyable exploration of the famous cave of Tham Jang. This was once used by local people as a hideout from Chinese invaders. We also cross the river to Ban Huai Ngai, a very pleasant village where we can explore the different local lifestyle. We then continue traveling by roads to Vientiane. The capital city of Laos is located on the banks of the Mekong River. This small town conjures up exotic images, with the curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French influences. Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 7: Vientiane. (B)

The full day tour of Vientiane begins with a visit to Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane. This amazing structure features remarkable frescoes and Buddha statues. The following sight is the former royal temple of Haw Pha Kaew, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. We also visit the imposing Patouxai Monument well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe before continuing to the great sacred structure and symbol of Laos, That Luang Stupa. Heading out of town we see the Buddha Park, a blend of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures created by mystical monk on parkland located by the Mekong River and the impressive Friendship Bridge which links Laos and Thailand. A perfect way to round off the day is to watch the Atacular sunset over the Mekong River from one of riverside bars. Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 8: Vientiane – Thakhek – Ban Na Hin. (B)

An early morning start to drive towards Khammouane province. Along the way we can make several stops to stretch your legs and take some wonderful pictures. Depending on the road ans traffic conditions, the drive will deliver us at Ban Na Hin, the gateway to Khong Lor Cave, by mid or late afternoon. On arrival wee enjoy a short walk around this charming village, enabling us to understand a little more about their culture and lifestyle. Overnight in Ban Na Hin.

Day 09: Ban Na Hin – Khong Lor – Ban Na Hin. (B)

The amazing cave of Khong Lor has a length of 7.5km and was formed by the Hinboun River, which flows though the cave year round. Today we take a short drive to Khong Lor Cave, stopping en route for a short walk to Ban Na Hin for a walk to That Mouang and That Namsanam Waterfalls. We then embark on a small boat for an impressive excursion through the main cave to the valley beyond, stopping to observe the stalactite formations. The cave is till used by local villages as an route access. Overnight in Ban Na Hin.

Day 10: Ban Na Hin – Savanakhet – Pakse. (B)

Upon leaving Ban Na Hin we continue venturing in southern Laos with the next stop being Pakse, the capital city of the south. Along the way we make stop at Sananakhet. This fast growwing town becomes an important trade center between Vietnam and Laos. There is not much to see in this town but it is still a necessary stop for lunch. We arrive in Pakse Town by mid afternoon and have time to stroll around to catch our first glimpse of the town. Overnight in Pakse.

Day 11: Pakse –Tadlo. (B)

The next destination of our trip will be Tatlo. We drive past many lush plantations, hills, forests and villages. The deep contrast of lush vegetation and red surface of basaltic soil is incredible all along the way. Along the way we visit the Atacular waterfall of Tad Fan and the nearby villages, home of the Kato hilltribe group. These ethnic minorities still retain their age old cultural traditions and are recognisably distinct from each other by their dress. We continue our journey through Paksong and Boloven Plateau. A part of our pleasure of travelling in this region is to observe the beautiful countryside and meet local people. Overnight in Tadlo.

Day 12: Tadlo – Wat Phou – Donkhone.(B)

The views of stumbling water and lush vegetation around the waterfalls is nothing short of Atacular.  Upon leaving this landmark we drive back to Pakse and enjoy a leisurely trip to the former royal capital of Champasak, our base for exploring the ruin of Wat Phu. This impressive site is well known as the most important Hindu sanctuary of the Khmer Empire between 9th and 13th century. The festival of this site is yearly held during the full moon in February and attracts numerous pilgrims from all over southern Laos. After an enjoyable visit to the ruin of Wat Phu, we make set off journey down to 4000 island, our final destination. Overnight in Don Khone Island.

Day 13: Donkhone – Khong Island – Surrounding.(B)

Heading out of town we embark on a long tail boat for venturing into the widest reach of the Mekong River from where thousands of islets jut out in dry season, giving this area a lovely name” Si Phan Done”. Along the way we will anchor at the peaceful island of Ban Khone for a visit to the many relics of French colonial era and the marvelous rushing Liphi waterfall also called the “Corridor of the Devil” and explore the local villages of Ban Khone, where the era of French colonial houses and bridge and its retrace the old colonial past with seeing the first Lao railway with its locomotive. We board a small long tail motor boat leisurely fishery villages and if we have luck, we may be seen the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Mekong dolphin at Ban Hang Khone. Overnight in Done Khone Island.

Day 14:  Done Khone Island – Cambodia Border.(B)

Breakfast, we board a boat to Ban Nakasung and take a short drive to the Lao – Cambodia border, en route visiting  the Khone Phapheng waterfall, the South East Asia’s biggest waterfall, known as the Niagara of the East. The trip ends after transfer to the Lao-Cambodia border at Veukham or Dong Kalor border gate.

Tour includes

- Hotel accommodation in Siem Reap (Angkor)
- Daily Breakfasts
- Transport
- Tours and excursions as described
- English speaking guide
- All Entrance Fees

Tour excludes

- International Airfare
- Lunch & Dinner
- Airport tax & personal expense
- Cambodia visa fee (Visitors can obtained visa upon arrival at US$ 27 with 2 photos)