Southern Laos Explorer

Journey deep into Southern Laos to the province of Champasak - home to some of the most fascinating UNESCO World Heritage listed Khmer ruins and time-honored atmosphere while soaking in the fervor of the Mekong River on the Vat Phou Cruise discovering the less-trodden Laos away from the crowds. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Stay in unique accommodations 

Sail the Laotian Mekong River on the  Vat Phou Cruise

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ruins of Champasak

Experience rustic villages and charming environments

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE PAK SE / CHAMPASAK

Arrive Pakse Intl Airport where you will be met where after a simple lunch treat, we visit the weaving village of Ban Saphai. The Mekong-hugging Ban Saphai (Sahphai village) is famous for their weaving. Women
work on large looms underneath their homes producing silk and cotton dresses and other products and are happy to show you how. Afterwards, enroute to Champasak, we visit the temple of Wat Phou Salao in Pakse. The centrepiece of this hilltop temple across the Mekong from Pakse is the giant golden Buddha statue looking out over the city. The views from his perch are as fantastic as you would expect, especially at sunset. Finally, we arrive at the gorgeous Residence Bassac where we spend the next 2 nights. 

Overnight: Residence Bassac, Champasak

Meals: Lunch

 DAY 2: CHAMPASAK (EXCURSION TO THE BOLAVEN PLATEAU)

Today, we enjoy a full day excursion to the Bolaven Plateau, renowned for its coffee plantations, cool climate and spectacular waterfalls. At an altitude of 600 meters, you experience cool fresh air, which is a contrast to
the heat of the plains. The plateau is home to several ethnic groups who have lived there for centuries, mainly, the Laven people, for whom the area is named. There are also many other ethnic groups including lowland Lao, Alak, Suay and Taoy, who can all be seen trading at the local markets. The fertile soil here is perfect for growing high quality coffee beans. Visit the Dao Huang Lao Coffee Company before continuing to one of the coffees and tea plantations. You will have the chance to see how green tea is made and how the coffee beans are roasted. Naturally, you will have the chance to taste the finished product! 

Later, continue to the impressive falls at Tad Fane which at over 120m high are among the most impressive in Laos. After time to take in the natural beauty of the falls, you begin your trek through dense forest where you have the chance to see some of the local birdlife. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest at the base of the falls at Tad Yeaung and consider a dip in the cool water before continuing the trek to the top of the falls. We then have the opportunity later to visit the colourful market at Paksong, the coffee capital of the south and home to the Mon-Khmer ethnic group. Here, you will learn how the coffee is produced from planting to roasting. On our return, we may visit a small museum displaying the history of different ethnic groups (Laven, Taoy, Aluk, etc), a traditional marriage sala and how the local people weave materials.

Overnight: Residence Bassac, Champasak

Meals: Breakfast & Picnic Lunch

DAY 3: CHAMPASAK / EMBARKATION ON VAT PHOU CRUISE

We leave the Residence Bassac this morning for a "long-tail" river boat ride to embark on the Vat Phou Cruise where you have time to be orientated to the vessel and lunch. The highlight of the afternoon is the UNESCO World Heritage Vat Pou ruinsthe majestic pre-Angkorian 10th Century temple complex and the boat’s namesake. The Vat Phou (Wat Phu) ruins are 8km away from Champasak township, where the boat will wait while you take a short 30-minute tuk-tuk ride to the ruins. You have time to visit the museum at the ruins site, walk up to the highest temple and take as many photos as you would like. The view from the shrine is worth the climb. You return to your cruise boat at dusk, where a great opportunity to admire the sunset over the river from the deck of the boat awaits. Dinner is served on-board while the boat docks for the night on the outskirts of a remote Laotian village. 

Overnight: Vat Pou Cruise

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4: CRUISING (HUEI THAMO / OUM MUONG TEMPLE / KHONG ISLAND)

Enjoy breakfast on-board before visiting the village of Huei Thamo, which sits next to the temple at Oum Moung, protected by the Lao forest. Afterwards, return to the boat to continue your cruising Southwards closer to the wild paradise known as the 4,000 Islands. Lunch is taken in the Bridge Restaurant. In the late afternoon, we disembark  from the boat to walk through Ban Deua Tia, a small Laotian Village where the traditional way of life has not changed in centuries.  You will also visit the local school and share some time with the students. Our day’s cruise finishes at the most northern tip of Don Khong, the largest inhabited island in the river archipelago. Enjoy another stunning sunset and take dinner on-board to the sound of the buffalo toads croaking by the river.

Overnight: Vat Pou Cruise

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5: CRUISING (DON KHONE / PHA PENG WATERFALL) / CHAMPASAK

While you have breakfast on the deck, the Vat Phou boat cruises down the Mekong to the small village of Ban Veuthong, where you board a small boat to meander among the 4,000 Islands to Khone Island. You will visit the old French railway, the French colonial house and walk across the bridge that links Khone and Det Islands. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant on Don Khone Island along the banks of the river. This afternoon you will visit the Khone Pha Pheng waterfalls, the “Niagara of the East”.  After your visit to Pha Pheng waterfall, you will be transferred back to Champasak where your cruise journey ends as we disembark and transfer to the Residence Bassac where you spend the night. 

Overnight: Residence Bassac, Champasak

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 6: DEPART PAKSE

Our journey ends today with a transfer to Pakse Intl Airport for your flight departure. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Residence Bassac is located in the attractive, small town of Champasak comprising 14 rooms designed in soothing tones and elegant style and adorned with the restaurants  Soum Noum and Sala along the Mekong River mixing traditional Lao and Mediterranean gastronomy, with a wide choice of fresh, local and aromatic products tastefully prepared by skilled chefs.

Residence Bassac, Champasak

The original Mekong cruise. The Vat Phou Cruise offers  a fantastic opportunity to discover the splendor of the Mekong River and the UNESCO World Heritage Vat Phou Temple on a delightful 3 day voyage aboard a luxurious floating hotel with 12 elegant twin shared cabins, each with a view over the southern Mekong River in Laos. 

Vat Phou Cruise

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