Kong Lor Adventure 8days/7nights

Vientiane-Kong Lor-Thakek-Luang Prabang

This week long tour enables you to explore the must see sights of Vientiane and Luang Prabang, as well as an off the beaten track adventure to the little visited and remote Khammoune Province. Khammoune is most famous for the spectacular Kong Lor Cave, over 7km long, as well as some of the most beautiful limestone karst scnery in Southeast Asia.

Itinerary

Day1. Arrival – Vientiane – half day city tour
Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Your half day city tour, begin with the oldest, Wat Sisaket with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. Enroute to Lao's national precious heritage, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane's own Arc de Triumph. Wat Si Muang, site of the lak meuang (pillar-stone) of Vientiane, Si Muang temple is home to the guardian spirit of the statues. You have the option to visit the excellent COPE exhibition centre, highlighting a much overlooked aspect of Laos and a major problem many of the local people face on a day to day basis in the form of unexploded ordnance as a result of heavy bombing campaigns during the Vietnam War era. A spectacular view of the Mekong River at sunset is a perfect way to finish the day.
Overnight in Vientiane.
Meals: _/_/_

Day2. Vientiane – Hin Boun (Road)
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 Mae 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 mid afternoon, where you have the rest of the day at leisure. (The road journey today takes approximately 5-6hours including stops on the way)
Overnight in Hin Boun Khammouane
Meals: Breakfast/_/_

Day3. Hin Boun – Kong Lor – Thakek
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, and transfer directly by car to Thakek, arriving there by late afternoon, in time for a stroll along the riverfront to enjoy a sunset over the Mekong. (The road journey today takes approximately 3-4hours including stops on the way)
Overnight in Thakek.
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/_

Day4. Thakek – Buddha Cave and trekking
We depart Thakek 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.
Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/_
Note: Moderate trekking, a good standard of fitness is required. During rainy season (MaySeptember) the programme may be changed without prior warning to accommodate the local conditions.

 

Day5. Thakek – Vientiane – Luang Prabang (Road and Flight)
This morning we depart Thakek, heading north for the five hour drive to Vientiane in time for your afternoon flight to Luang Prabang. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Meals: Breakfast/_/_

Day6. Luang Prabang – city tour
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning ritual of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms from the faithful residents. This procession is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the tradition. Afterwards, we have the option of visiting the local morning market, before returning to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast we visit the Royal Palace Museum which hosts a range of interesting artefacts and a guided audio tour (closed on Tuesday). We then begin our temple tour taking in some the cities most beautiful, including the nearby Wat Mai, the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, representing the classical Luang Prabang style, as well as Wat Visoun, known as 'The Water Melon Stupa' due to its shape. We also visit the excellent Arts and Ethnology Centre which gives us a further insight into the ethnic mix and culture of Laos (closed on Monday). In the afternoon we drive out of the town where you have the option of stopping to visit Khmu, Hmong and Lao Loum villages, representing the main ethnic groups of Laos. This then takes us to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pools or walk along the forest trails. We then return to Luang Prabang by early evening in time for a sunset view over the Mekong.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Meals: Breakfast/_/_

Day7. Luang Prabang Boat trip to Pak Ou Caves
After breakfast, we board a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which gives us a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside. Our first stop is the village of Ban Muangkeo where weaving of Local traditional textiles and Loa rice whisky distillation after tasting rice whisky for high energy we start a short trek to reach the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. An optional lunch can be taken at the local restaurant overlooking the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Ou river. We then return to Luang Prabang on the way stop to visit the weaving and textile villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek. We arrive back in Luang Prabang by mid afternoon.
Late this afternoon stretching your legs climb Mount Phousi, these offers a spectacular sunset and a panoramic view over Luang Prabang and the Mekong River. Afterwards, strolling through the night market (open between 5pm-10pm) setting in downtown selling a large variety of local textiles and ethnic handicrafts.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Meals: Breakfast/_/_
Note: during rainy season (May-September) the itinerary is subject to change due to the weather conditions, an alternative programme is available.

Day8. Luang Prabang – Departure
Depending on your departing flight you may have time at leisure before your transfer to the
airport for departure.
Meals: Breakfast/_/_

Photographs
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