Hot air balloon over Laos

Luxurious Laos

Trip code
LXL001

You no longer have to rough it to experience the best of Laos. Want proof? Look no further.

Stay in French-colonial villas, riverside lodges, and remote mountain resorts. Take private tours with local experts, and see the scenery from a hot air balloon. Combining classic destinations with a little bit of off-piste, Luxurious Laos is a showcase of the very best of Southeast Asia’s most underrated destination.

Pricing

Price based on 5* accommodation
From
A$6,700
pp

Key facts

11 nights/12 days
Explore the landmarks of Vientiane with an expert guide, tour Carol Cassidy’s weaving workshop, and visit the Buddhist photography archives of Luang Prabang with its founder and director
Go hot air ballooning over the Nathong Valley, tour the karsts and caves of Vang Vieng by boat and bike, go on two different cruises on the Mekong River, trek through the mountains to a Khmu minority village, and explore the caves at Tham Jang and Pak Ou
Enjoy a Lao barbecue on a street-food tour of Vientiane, and take a private cooking class in Luang Prabang
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DAY 1-2 VIENTIANE DAY 5-7, 11-12 LUANG PRABANG DAY 3-4 VANG VIENG DAY 8-9 MUANG LA DAY 10 PAKBENG
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DAY 1-2 VIENTIANE DAY 5-7, 11-12 LUANG PRABANG DAY 3-4 VANG VIENG DAY 8-9 MUANG LA DAY 10 PAKBENG

All transfers are by private car with a guide and driver, with the exception of your final cruise down the Mekong River from Pakbeng to Luang Prabang.

What's great

This trip is entirely overland, so you can fully appreciate the scenery that makes Laos so special

We’ve included a diverse range of landscapes, so you’ll get to see towns, villages, rivers and limestone karsts

There are plenty of included experiences designed to get you beneath the surface of Lao culture, including time with local experts

You’ll get to venture away from the usual tourist trail with a few days in remote Muang La

Things to consider

The accommodation on this trip is the absolute best that Laos has to offer, but it occasionally falls short of international standards. Trust us, the locations are worth it!

The mountainous scenery and remote locations mean some of your transfers will be pretty bendy and bumpy

With the exception of Muang La, this itinerary won’t get you too far off the beaten track

The cruise from Pakbeng to Luang Prabang only departs twice a week

A moderate level of fitness is required for the trekking and cycling

The experience

To stay in Laos’s finest accommodation, you need to stick quite closely to the tourist trail. If you want to get further off the beaten track, let us know — we can adapt this trip, or design one completely from scratch.

Day 1-2

Vientiane

Vientiane is one of the best places in Laos to get a taste of real, everyday city life – and that’s what you’ll be doing from the moment you arrive. After a night of exploring food markets and eating sindat barbecue with the locals (in spots you won’t find in Lonely Planet), tour the city’s colonial monuments and Buddhist wats, then visit the COPE Centre to learn about the lasting effects of American bombing during the 1970s – all with a private guide to put history in context. Finally, visit the studio of textile artist Carol Cassidy, a weaving expert whose incredible breadth of knowledge will allow you to get beneath the surface of this rich and intricate art form.

Patuxay Monument in Vientiane, Laos

Highlights

Experience a traditional Lao sindat barbecue, cooked on a grill over a bucket of hot coals

Tour Vientiane’s temples and monuments with a private guide

Meet textile artist Carol Cassidy for a private tour of her weaving workshop and studio

Try some innovative local cocktails at a bar with views over the Mekong

Weaving demonstration at Carol Cassidy's workshop in Vientiane

Day 3-4

Vang Vieng

Pass through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in Asia to arrive at Vang Vieng: a spectacular landscape of jagged karst pinnacles, wound through with rivers and riddled with limestone caves. During your stay, you’ll get to appreciate this magnificent scenery from every vantage point — from high in the skies to deep underground. Soar up above at dawn for a private hot air balloon ride, then get beneath the mountains to see chambers filled with otherworldly stalagmites and stalactites. In between, explore the jungles and mountains with an adventure guide, swim in a blue lagoon, have lunch at an organic farm, and take a ride down the Nam Khan by longtail boat.

Hot air balloon over Vang Vieng

Highlights

Enjoy a drive through some of the most spectacular scenery in Laos

Take a private hot air balloon ride over the Nathong Valley

Explore Vang Vieng’s stunning karst scenery by bike and boat

Vang Vieng landscape

The finer detail

  • Breakfast every day
  • Five lunches: one at a restaurant in Vientiane; one at an organic farm in Vientiane; one you’ll make yourself during a cookery class at Tamarind; one during your stay in Muang La; one onboard your cruise down the Mekong River
  • Four dinners: a street food tour in Vientiane; two during your stay in Muang La; one on the banks of the Mekong River in Pakbeng
  • Three full-day experiences: explore Vang Vieng by bicycle & boat; introduction to the heritage of Luang Prabang; a trek through Laos’ minority villages
  • Five half-day experiences: city tour of Vientiane; meet weaving expert Carol Cassidy; visit Tham Jang cave; hot-air balloon ride over the Nathong valley; private cookery class at Tamarind
  • Two evening experiences: a street food tour of Vientiane by tuk tuk; private sunset cruise on the Mekong River
  • Day cruise from Pakbeng to Luang Prabang
  • All accommodation
  • All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
  • All domestic transfers and transport

Day 1:

Car transfer from Vientiane airport to hotel (15 minutes)

Day 3:

Car transfer from Vientiane to Vang Vieng (3.5 hours, plus sightseeing)

Day 5:

Car transfer from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang (4 hours, plus sightseeing)

Day 8:

Car transfer from Luang Prabang to Muang La (5 hours, plus optional stops)

Day 10:

Car transfer from Muang La to Pakbeng (4 hours)

Day 11:

Cruise from Pakbeng down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang (9 hours)

Day 12:

Car transfer from town to Luang Prabang airport (15 minutes)

  • International flights
  • Any necessary visas
  • Any lunches or dinners unless stated
  • Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
  • Tipping and personal expenses