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Come and join Hmong Travel in this educational culinary holiday in the different historical tourist attractions in magnificent Laos. Discover Lao cuisine that is truly distinct from other Southeast Asian cuisines. Also get the chance to see colorful morning and night markets, parks, monuments, and other natural wonders like caves and lagoons. This is a memorable and informative trip that will definitely introduce you to rich food, art, and cultural heritage.
Airport transfer included: Wattay International Airport
You will be accommodated in single or twin rooms in various three-star hotels in Laos. Generally offering free Wi-Fi and free parking, the properties feature air-conditioned rooms that are further equipped with a television and mini-fridge, as well as a private bathroom with shower. Room cleaning is provided every second day and fresh towels, blankets, and sheets are supplied.
You will be greeted by your guide at Wattay International Airport (VTE) then transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay.
For this day, you will visit Buddha Park which is a 25-minute drive from the city center. It is nevertheless fascinating with its huge structures that combine Buddhist and Hindu philosophies. You will also see the That Luang, a large, gold, and covered Buddhist stupa in the center of Vientiane. Since its initial establishment which is suggested to be in the third century, this stupa has undergone several reconstructions as recently as the 1930s due to foreign invasions of the area.
The That Luang is generally regarded as a national symbol and as the most important national monument in Laos. There's also the Patuxai, a war monument also in the center of Vientiane, which was built between 1957 and 1968. Patuxai means "Victory Gate" or "Gate of Triumph" and was formerly called the Anousavary or Anosavari Monument. It is also known by the French as Monument Aux Morts.
You will also get to see the Talat Sao Shopping Mall, a local morning market known for a wide range of colorful textiles including silks, wall-hangings, and other decorative pieces. For very fine handicrafts, you can try one of the many upscale galleries in the city center. Also keep your eyes open for traditional wood carvings, mulberry paper, and a variety of basketry made from bamboo and rattan.
You will have an early breakfast then drive for five hours to reach the tourist-oriented town of Vang Vieng. After checking in to your hotel, you will visit the Tham Pha Chan cave, go kayaking on the Nam Song River, see the sights, and visit the blue lagoon.
Leaving at 7:00 a.m, you will drive through Route 13 and stop for sightseeing at Phou Khoun Phieng Fa to view the Phachao mountain top. You will visit several Hmong and Khmu villages on the way and have lunch at Ban Nam Chat, a small local restaurant.
Afterwards, you will drive to Tham Pha which is also known as the Buddha Cave since there's a huge Buddha statue inside. This was where the Laos army hid as well, using it as a base and hospital during the Vietnam war between 1964 to 1973. You will watch the sunset at Phou Keng mountain where you will find a quarry site of stone jars.
After an early breakfast, you will drive for 40 minutes to the Hmong village of Ban Tha Jok to collect bomb shells for decoration. You will then head over to the bomb crater areas where you will see huge craters in Laotian rice fields.
Next will be a 50-minute drive to see the Plain of Jars Site Three at Ban Xiengdi, a Russian tank wreckage, Plain of Jars Site Two, and the Lao village for Lao-Lao-tasting. Lao-Lao is whisky is made from fermented sticky rice. You will end the day with sunset-viewing at the Plain of Jars Site One.
After an early breakfast, you will drive for eight hours to the capital city of Luang Prabang, stopping over to visit the Tat Sae Waterfalls. You will check in to your hotel, then have dinner at a Mekong riverbank restaurant and visit the Luang Prabang night market.
You will wake up early for an alms-giving ceremony to give your offering to the monks before breakfast. Afterwards, you will take a slow boat upstream to the Pak Ou caves and Ban Sang Hay, a pottery-making village. Going downstream, you will visit Wat Xieng Thong, the oldest temple in Luang Prabang, and the Royal Palace museum. You will end the day with a climb up Mount Phou Si for sightseeing and sunset-viewing.
After breakfast, join a half-day cooking class to experience Lao cuisine which is distinct from other Southeast Asian cuisines. The staple food of the Lao is steamed sticky rice. Lap, such as lap beef, lap pork, or lap chicken, is also a famous component of Lao cuisine. Afterwards, you will also visit the Kuang Si Falls.
You will be transferred to the Luang Prabang bus station or Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ).
This retreat will take place in the different historical, cultural, and tourism sites of Laos, a mountainous and landlocked country in Southeast Asia that has long been isolated from the outside world. It shares its borders with five other countries. A visit to Laos is, in many ways, a trip back in time. Travelers are drawn by its laid-back lifestyle that has disappeared elsewhere in the region. Even its capital city, Vientiane, feels like a relaxed riverfront town.
This country is highly appreciated for its mountainous terrain, monasteries, and colonial architecture that attracts people from various parts of the world. The major places to visit here are Vieng Xai, Pak Ou caves, Vat Phou, and That Luang. There are also many more fun places that will eventually win your heart. As the country opens up with an increasing number of roads and bridges being built, the amazing tourist attractions in Laos are becoming more and more accessible.
All three daily meals are included in the price of this retreat. Breakfasts will feature western food, while lunches and dinners will mostly feature local and traditional Lao dishes.
Please book your flight to arrive at Wattay International Airport (VTE). Transfer from this airport is included. Hmong Travel will pick you up from the airport.