Upon arrival at the border gate, you are met by local guide and transfer to pier. The tradional boat leaves houeixai pier at 08:00hrs for downstream a cruise on Mighty Mekong River to Pakbeng. Enroute one stop is made to observe rural life along the river bank and visit minority ethnic groups; your lunch serves on board. We expect to arrive in Pakbeng before sunset. Dinner is served on the terrace overlooking the River. Overnight in Pakbeng (L,D)
Breakfast, follow by finding the elephants, elephant bathing and feeding before the descent to the Khamu village of Houay Ka where you can take part in traditional basket-making lessons. Lunch is taken on the summit of a hill overlooking the camp site which offers a magnificent view. After lunch, the trek continues, either by elephant or on foot, down to the camp site along the length of a stream crossing forests and fields before arriving back in late-afternoon. After a break, you go down to the village of Houay Ka once more for a barbecue meal with the villagers using locally-sourced ingredients including, depending on the season, the herbs collected the previous afternoon. Return to the camp site and heading back to hotel. Overnight in Pakbeng (B, L, D)
Transfer from your hotel to the boat pier. At 08:00 am after breakfast, we will pick you up at your hotel and bring you to the pier. You will board on a private boat for a 2 hours cruise on the Mekong River up to Thasouang village. There, a private minivan will take you across the mountain to Hongsa, where you will enjoy lunch at the restaurant. After lunch, you will visit Ban Viengkeo village, located 5 km out of Hongsa. This traditional Tai Lue village is well-known all over the country for its knowledge in elephant handling. You will have a walk in the village to admire the Tai Lue traditional houses made of wooden tiles and massive pilars. Most of houses are hosting hand-weaving machine. You will have the opportunity to discover the traditional weaving technique. At 2:30pm, you will continue your journey to Sayaboury. After 3 hours driving through an untouched tropical forest, you will reach Sayaboury city in the late afternoon. A short boat trip on the Nam Tien Lake will take you to the Elephant Conservation Center, just on time to enjoy sunset in immaculate nature! Welcome to your idyllic holiday destination, the Land of the Asian Elephant! After settling in to your bungalow, you will have time to relax before dinner (visit the elephant museum, swim or simply relax on the lake shore). Overnight in Elephant Conservation Center Bungalow. (B, L, D)
Enjoy a western-style breakfast served in our restaurant. Guided visit of the center with veterinarians. You are going to see the only hospital dedicated to elephants in Laos. A vet will talk to you about their work and will show you around. Then, you will have the opportunity to see, observe and learn about the mysterious pachyderm at the museum and at the mahout school. Interacting with elephants (Step 1). The Mahouts will then show you the three different ways to get up and down from an elephant in the traditional way (bareback). If you are interested, you may give it a try. Lunch. For lunch, enjoy a variety of Lao foods served at our restaurant. Discover the Nursery. After lunch, you will visit our elephant nursery. It is located deep inside the forest where the baby elephants are learning how to sustain themselves closely watched by mum. You will receive information about the reproduction program set up by the NGO ElefantAsiawhile watching their play. Elephant Bath, Elephants are surprisingly good swimmers and love water. You will witness the unique bond between the mahout and his elephant. Follow the elephants to their nightly resting place. You will be welcomed to join the mahouts for a walk in the forest to take the elephants back to their nightly resting place. Using your knowledge recently acquired about commanding an elephant, it should not be a problem for you to take part in the action. Sunset cruise on the lake. Take a boat trip on the lake to watch the sunset over the islands while enjoying a fresh drink and snacks. Before dinner, you will have time to visit the elephant museum, swim or simply relax on the lake shore. Overnight in Elephant Conservation Center Bungalow. (B, L, D)
Enjoy a western-style breakfast served in our restaurant. Walk with elephants and explore the forest. After a safety briefing, you will join the elephants for their daily exercise, an hour walk in the surrounding tropical forest. Stay close to the elephant, he will show you the way. Your guide will teach you how Lao people use plants and trees collected in the jungle. Interacting with elephants (Step 2). You are now going to spend some intimate time at the Yard with Mae Khamon, Mae Bounnam, Mae Dok and Phu Thongkhoon, the four resident elephants. Elephants have a delicate diet, and under professional guidance, you will feed them. You may as well learn how to ride bareback, the traditional way, sitting on the neck with the help of mahouts and guides. For lunch, enjoy a variety of Lao foods served at our restaurant. Transfer back to Luang Prabang by minivan.After lunch, you will leave the ECC by boat where you could have a last stunning view on the lake. We will then bring you back to the Luang Prabang by minivan. Arrival at your Hotel at around 6 pm. Luang Prabang, which is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia and it was officially proclaimed aUNESCO World HeritageProperty in 1995. Overnight in Luang Prabang (B, L)
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (often in the form of sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the ritual.
AM:We explore, Wat Visoun and Wat Mai. Later, visit the former Royal Palace, now a National Museum (closed Tuesdays) where you will find ornate, gilded and brocaded reception rooms, as well as artefacts including the Prabang, a large holy image, which was given in the 14th century by the Khmers to King Fa Ngum. At sunset we climb the nearby temple-topped hill of Mount Phousi where you’ll catch a lovely view over the town and the Mekong River.
PM: We travel out of the town this afternoon and visit the most beautiful waterfall in Luang Prabang. On the way, we visit Phousi Market, where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings. Laos is also known for its traditional handicrafts, and today we will visit the villages of Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene and the weaving village of Ban Phanom which are populated by Lao ethnic minority groups. We spend time at the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you Take a dip in the inviting pools or walk along the forest paths. We return to Luang Prabang city by late afternoon and visit the Night Market, where you can find the lovely selection of handmade textiles from local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang (B)
After breakfast, we enjoy a short-guided tour of the city’s oldest temple, Wat Visoun and the shrines of Wat Aham and Wat Mai and Wat Sene and the magnificentWat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low, representing the classical architecture of Luang Prabang. We then embark on a boat journey upstream along the Mekong River, which gives us a beautiful view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. En route, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where local rice wine is produced. On our return, we stop at the local villages of Ban Xiengmene and Ban Chan then continue to see the royal temple at Wat Longkhoun. Once back in Luang Prabang city we take a short drive to Ban Xieng Lek and Ban Xang Khong, famous for its hand weaving and conduct handmade Sa paper (jute paper) with local villagers. Overnight in Luang Prabang (B)