Plains of Jars, Laos 9 Days

This trip is of a combination of culture, history and nature, including your time in the old Luang Prabang, and to experience the hidden gems of Laos.

Your trip begins in  Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, which still feels like a sleepy city with relaxed charm, tree-lined boulevards, interesting Wats and colorful markets. 

You continue to Phonsavanh (Xieng Khuang) and visit the famous PLAIN OF JARS, a vast area extending around Phonsavanh from the south-west to the north-east. It's mysterious and ancient, which are estimated to be 2,500 to 3,000 years old.

You will end tour in  Luang Prabang, with a tour of a perfectly-preserved blend of rustic colonial architecture and gilded monasteries. 

  • Day 01 Arrive Vientiane
  • Day 02 Explore Vientiane
  • Day 03 Overland to Vang Vieng- Boat trip on Nam Ngum Lake
  • Day 04 Overland Vang Vieng -Phonsavanh
  • Day 05 Tour Plain of Jars
  • Day 06 Overland Phonsavanh - Luang Prabang
  • Day 07 Tour of Luang Prabang
  • Day 08 Excursion to Kuang Si Waterfalls
  • Day 09 Luang Prabang -U.S. or an extension

Day 01 Arrive Vientiane

 Upon arrival in Vientiane, you will be met up and transferred to hotel, followed by a short tour of Vientiane.

Visit an open-air museum, WAT XIENG KHUAN (BUDDHA PARK). This is a collection of whimsical but compelling statues of Buddhist and Hindu gods.

Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 02 Explore Vientiane

MEAL: Breakfast

Tour of Vientiane; the capital city of Laos, Vientiane still feels like a sleepy city with relaxed charm, tree-lined boulevards, interesting Wats and colorful markets. The tour includes:

PHA THAT LUANG; a gleaming golden stupa which is perhaps most important national monument in Laos. HO PHA KEO; the formal royal temple, now a museum with beautiful examples of Buddhist sculpture. WAT SI SAKET, PATUXAI; a monumental arch inspired by the Arc de Triomphe, but executed with Lao motifs and WAT SI MUANG.

End your day at the TALAAT SAO, or the "morning market" (actually open all day), the best place to buy traditional Lao fabrics.

Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 03 Overland to Vang Vieng- Boat trip on Nam Ngum Lake

MEAL: Breakfast

Drive to the north through the scenic province of Vientiane. The climate is pleasant and the views are nice, with mountains and cliffs along the first part of the journey. Visit SALT FIELD in Ban Keun.

Continue for a boat ride on NAM NGUM LAKE, a serene, man-made reservoir which also generates most of the electricity sold to Thailand. Stop at Talat fish market in HuayMor before continuing to VangVieng.

Overnight in VangVieng.

Day 04 Overland Vang Vieng -Phonsavanh

MEAL: Breakfast

Visit Tham Nang PhomHom Cave, located 27 km. away from Vang Vieng. Traveling time from VangVieng takes 45 min one way and it takes about 1 hour to visit and walk around.

Drive from VangVieng to Phonsavanh, with a stop at local villages on the way.

Overnight in Phonsavanh.

Day 05 Tour Plain of Jars

MEAL: Breakfast

In the morning visit the lively local open-air local market. 

Then continue  to the famous Plain of Jars (Sites I and II) and Muang Khoun, a vast area extending around Phonsavanh from the south-west to the north-east. Mysterious and ancient, over 300 huge stone jars apparently carved out of solid rock are scattered around the plateau. The jars vary in size from 1 to 3.25 meters high and weigh up to six tons each. There are several different theories as to the purpose of the jars, which are estimated to be 2,500 to 3,000 years old. According to local legend, King Khun Chuang had them constructed in order to store wine for the celebration of his conquest of the province in the 6th century.

Today's tours will focus on SITE I and SITE II, out of the many sites so far discovered. Stop at BAN NA PIA (War Spoon Village).

Afterwards continue to MUANG KHOUN, an ancient capital and stronghold for the Xieng Khuang royal family, which was destroyed during the Indochina War. The town was rebuilt after 1975 with rows of wooden Lao houses and a market area and is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. Visit WAT PHIA WAT, THAT FOUN and THAT CHOMPHET. 

Overnight in Phonsavanh.

Day 06 Overland Phonsavanh - Luang Prabang

MEAL: Breaakfast

A slow journey along mountain roads with stunning views of the forested mountains, lush valleys and karst formations. Stop at MUANG SUI, visiting the scenic NONG TANG LAKE, rimmed with limestone cliffs, and the extensive cave network of PHA CAVE. Only discovered recently, this cave contains a 5m high Buddha image dating from 777 AD, surrounded by gold and wooden statues of smaller size.  C

Continue to Luang Prabang and overnight.

Day 07 Tour of Luang Prabang

MEAL: Breakfast

Set between the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers, Luang Prabang is an enchanting town filled with historic temples and colonial style buildings. The entire town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Start the day at WAT VISOUN (Wat Wisunalat). The oldest living temple in Luang Prabang, Wat Visoun dates back to 1513 and contains a collection of antique wooden Buddhas. Visit the nearby WAT AHAM before continuing to WAT XIENG THONG, the crowning jewel of all the monasteries and temples in the city. Its many ornate buildings feature exquisite mosaic and gold-stenciled murals. From there, stroll down the main street of Luang Prabang, stopping at some of the many temples that line its sides, including WAT SIBOUNHEUANG, WAT SI MOUNGKHOUN, WAT SOP and WAT SENE.

Continue to the NATIONAL MUSEUM (ROYAL PALACE), a modest but graceful building which combines traditional Lao and French beaux-arts motifs. This turn-of-the century royal residence has been preserved as it was when the royal family last lived here and provides unique insights into the history of Laos.

Then, visit HOR PHRABANG. In the right front corner room of the Palace which opens to the outside, is a collection of the palace's most prized art, including the Phrabang, cast of a gold, silver and bronze alloy. This Buddha stands at 83 cm tall and weighs around 50 kg. Afterwards, visit WAT MAI.

In the late afternoon, visit Mount Phousi for sunset. Climb 328 steps starting from entrance on the opposite side of National Museum or 410 steps on the other side of Khan River to the small temples atop PHOU SI, the 150m high hill which sits in the middle of the town, offering beautiful views over the temples and river.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 08 Excursion to Kuang Si Waterfalls

MEAL: Breakfast

 Morning travel up the Mekong River to the steep limestone cliffs overlooking the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers, home to the THAM PAK OU CAVES. These extraordinary caves are filled with Buddha images, of every style and material imaginable. On the way to Pak Ou Cave, stop at BAN XANG HAI VILLAGE (If time permitted, open 6.00 am - 3 PM pm and closed on every Buddha day), a local village famous for the production of Laolao, the local rice wine whisky.

Visit BAN XANG KHONG, a village near Luang Prabang well known for its traditional handwoven cotton and silk, as well as production of the local sa (mulberry) paper.

Excursion to Kuang Si Waterfalls.  This waterfall is located in a perfect natural setting near Luang Prabang, this multi-tiered waterfall tumbles over limestone formations into a series of turquoise pools. Enjoy swimming in the clear water or just relaxing in the natural environment. Visit local village on the way, before returning to Luang Prabang by vehicle.  

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 09 Luang Prabang -U.S. or an extension

MEAL: Breakfast

Transfer to airport and fly back to U.S. or extend your trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand or other parts of Asia.

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