Centre & South (10days/9nights)
Vientiane – Hinboun – Kong Lor Cave – Thakhek – Pakse – Bolaven – 4000 Island

Day1. Arrive Vientiane

On arrival in Vientiane, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.  Time permitting, your half day city tour enables us to see the major temples of Vientiane including the oldest, Wat Sisaket, a temple of thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. We also visit Lao national icon, That Luang Stupa, and we stop to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. Overnight in Vientiane

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Day2. Vientiane – Prabath Ponsan – Hin Boun

You will be picked up this morning from your hotel and transferred south along route 13 to the central Lao province of Khammoune.  En route we stop at Prabaht Ponsan, a stupa dating back to the 15th Century.  It is also home to the Budhhas footprint, discovered in 1933, and now an important religious site in Laos. Following lunch we make s stop at the interesting Ban Ton Na Mi Hmong Market, then continue onwards into Khammoune province and into the mountainous area, where a stop at a view point near Khoun Kham offers a breathtaking view over the surrounding area. Our last stop of the day is Ban Thabuk, the ‘bomb boat village’ where they use old bomb casings from the Vietnam War as boats We eventually reach Hin Boun area by midafternoon, where you have the rest of the day at leisure.

Meal: Breakfast/__/__

Day3. Hin Boun – Kong Lor Cave – Hin Boun

After breakfast your lodge, we drive to Kong Lor village and board a small local boat into the famous Kong Lor Cave.  We navigate through the cave, which is over 7km long and includes a spectacular cavern over 100m high, as well as a breathtaking stalagmite gallery which you can explore on foot. On the other side of the cave, we take a short walk past some tobacco drying huts to Ban Pon Ngam, a remote village, where you can enjoy your picnic lunch.  Following lunch, we return through the cave by boat, then continue by river downstream for a 2 hour boat trip, taking in the spectacular limestone scenery en route.  You will then be picked up by car and transferred back to your lodge by late afternoon where you have the rest of the day at leisure

Meal: Breakfast/Lunch/__

Day4. Hin Boun – Thakhek

After breakfast, you will be transferred by car to the Hin Boun River, and board a simple private boat for a spectacular 3 hour boat ride down the Hin Boun River through some of the most spectacular limestone gorges found in Southeast Asia.  We enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the river near Ban Thonglom, then continue by car to Thakek, arriving there by late afternoon, in time for a stroll along the riverfront to enjoy a sunset over the Mekong

Meal: Breakfast/Lunch/__

Day5. Thakhek – Buddha Cave

We depart Thakhek by Tuk-tuk, and follow the old French railway track that was destined for Vietnam but was never finished. Continuing through impressive scenery, you arrive in the village of Ban Nakhang Xang and meet the village guides who will escort you on your trek. Passing through secondary forest your guide will point out forest products that form an important part of local people's food resources. Going through a cave, you enter a striking valley with towering cliffs and forest. The trail follows the shoreline of Nong Thao Lake where you can see local fishermen at
work. On arrival at Tham Nong Paseum cave more adventurous swimmers can explore the cave. The cave is 400 metres long and contains dramatic stalactites and stalagmites. Back in daylight, the trip continues onto Khammouane's famous Buddha cave for a traditional Lao lunch of Mekong fish, sticky rice and spicy papaya salad. After lunch we visit Tham Pa Fa or Buddha cave, which was rediscovered in April 2004. The cave contains 229 bronze Buddhas that are said to be over 300 years old! Time permitting you will also be able to travel by local canoe into the water cave below. Your guide will now escort you back to the village following a different route through the forest, and you will return to Thakek in the late afternoon. Overnight in Thakek

Meal: Breakfast/Lunch/__

Day6. Thakhek – Savannakhet-Pakse

This morning we leave Thakek and stop to visit Tham Pa Fa or Buddha cave, which was rediscovered in April 2004. The cave contains 229 bronze Buddhas that are said to be over 300 years old!  The cave is incredibly picturesque, situated high up in a limestone cliff, which offers great views from the top.  We continue by road south and arrive in Savannakhet in time for lunch.  In the afternoon, we have time to admire the old French Quarter of Savannakhet as well as the sacred That Inhang stupa, before heading out of the town to visit Soundra Salt Factory, to learn about the local working conditions.  We then continue by road to Pakse, stopping to visit Don Khor, a village specializing in Buddha carvings for temples.  We arrive in Pakse by early evening

Meal: Breakfast/Lunch/__

Day7. Pakse-Bolaven Plateau-Tadlo

Today you will be taken by road east into the Bolaven Plateau. The Bolaven Plateau is known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. Our first stop is to visit Houey Ten, a Katu village specializing in knife making. We then stop tea plantation, followed by a stop at Tad Fan Waterfall, a picturesque twin chute waterfall.  We then make a stop at a coffee plantation, en route to Tha Teng Market, a colourful ethnic minority food market. Next we explore another interesting minority village, Ban Bong Neua, an Alak village, that boasts a sacrificial alter, We arrive at the beautiful Tadlo Waterfall in the afternoon, where you have the rest of the day at leisure. You also have the option of a short elephant ride to take in the beautiful scenery

Meal: Breakfast/Lunch/__

Day8. Tadlo-Pakse-Champasak-Wat phou-Don Deang

After breakfast, we head out of the plateau, stopping first at the attractive Paxuam Waterfall. We then transfer to Champassak and onto Wat Phou, another World Heritage Site in Laos, which became recognized by UNESCO in 2002. Wat Phou is the site of ruins which were once part of a temple built some time before Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. It contains some of the most Ancient Khmer architectures which date back to between the 7-11th centuries. In the afternoon you will take the boat across the Mekong to the island of Don Daeng, where you have the rest of the day at leisure to relax, or explore this peaceful island

Meal: Breakfast/__/__

Day9. Don Deang-4000 Island & Surrounding

After an early morning breakfast, we cross over to the mainland and drive south to Ban Hatsaikhoun, where we board a local private boat for a boat tour of the 4000 Islands. We reach the picturesque island of Don Khone by lunchtime, and in the afternoon explore the island by bicycle, admiring some of the old French Colonial buildings and the beautiful Liphi Waterfall. We then return to our boat and head back to the mainland, and visit Khone Phapheng. Khone Phapheng is considered the largest waterfall by volume in South East Asia; this is a really impressive site near the Lao-Cambodian border, set within an area which is teeming with wildlife, making this area one of the most breathtaking destinations in Laos. In the late afternoon we drive back to Don Daeng, arriving there by early evening.

Meal: Breakfast/__/__

Day10. Don Deang-Pakse - Departure

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your departing flight

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