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Temples & Textiles - Laos

Tours
Temples & Textiles - Laos
DATES

19 Sept 2020 - 26 Sept 2020


RATES
from NZD$2650 per person
Single rate from NZD$3099

Hover over rates for other currencies.

*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Room.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*This Hosted Creative Retreat departs with a minimum of 6 guests. If numbers fall below 6 guests, we will offer the Retreat at a reconfigured rate.
*A 'Willing to Share' may be possible on this tour. Please enquire. 
*International Airfares are not included. Please ask for a Quote.
*Please ask about pre-or-post Tour extensions.


Temples & Textiles - Laos Temples & Textiles - Laos Temples & Textiles - Laos Temples & Textiles - Laos Temples & Textiles - Laos
Temples & Textiles - Laos

TEMPLES & TEXTILES - LAOS

 

This Creative Retreat in UNESCO Heritage Luang Prabang, Laos, is a perfect combination of a Cultural Immersion and Creative Exploration. This is an incredible combination of a divine destination, a gorgeous boutique hotel and the chance to learn new crafts and skills. It is a week for you, a week to unwind, a week to be creative and a week to find joy in a group of like-minded ladies.  

Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Luang Prabang sits at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan (Khan River). Golden-roofed wats decorated with mosaics and murals of the life of Buddha are set against a backdrop of verdant greenery and rugged mountains, and colonial buildings share quaint lanes with Buddhist temples and traditional Lao wooden homes. Luang Prabang truly slows your pulse and awakens your imagination.

Luang Prabang is the perfect setting for a Creative Retreat; you have the opportunity to explore the techniques used in various forms of weaving and natural dyeing with the Artisans of Ok Pop Tok; have a go at pottery making in a local potters village; sip cocktails at sunset on the Mekong River; and witness one of the most revered traditions in Laos, Tak Bak – the alms-giving ceremony that is a longstanding tradition in Laos Buddhist culture. We will wander night markets filled with local food & crafts, meet talented generational Artisans and soak up the surroundings of countryside villages.

This Creative Retreat is designed for all levels of Weaving & Dyeing experience – including beginners who want to take up weaving or experience it for the first time. And there will be plenty of time to relax poolside with an afternoon cocktail, shop the multitude of gorgeous local boutique stores and catch up on rest and relaxation.

Tour Overview
Duration
7 Nights - SEPTEMBER 2020
Start Point
Luang Prabang, Laos
Finish Point
Luang Prabang, Laos
Tour Style
Hosted Escape
Accommodation
Boutique Accommodation
Meals
As per itinerary
Transport
Private Van. Boats. Tuk-tuks
Max Group Size
Min 6. Max 10 guests
Tour Inclusions
Tour Highlights
  • 2 fabulous days of Weaving & Natural Dyeing with the women of Ok Pop Tok
  • Local Artisans & boutique stores
  • Night markets + morning markets
  • Visits to local villages + Social Enterprises
  • Wats of Luang Prabang
  • Alms at sunrise
  • Mekong River cruise at sunset 
  • Cocktails at sunset
  • Kuang Si Waterfalls
  • Amazing Food
  • Fabulous accommodation

Tour Itinerary

Open all
Day 1 - ARRIVE LUANG PRABANG - Welcome Cocktail & Dinner
View

Welcome to Luang Prabang, Laos!
You are met at airport & transferred to the hotel. Check in and take time to relax in your gorgeous surroundings.

Your accommodation for the next 7 nights is the Souphattra Boutique Hotel.

We will meet early evening at the pool bar for an Asian inspired Cocktail & to meet everyone before our 'Welcome Dinner'. Dinner will be a set menu of Laotian cuisine at the hotels' Lao Derm restaurant.

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (Welcome Dinner)

Day 2 - Temples, Traditional Arts & Sunset Cruise
View

Located at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan (Khan River), UNESCO-protected Luang Prabang is a beautiful mix of ancient gilded temples, saffron-clad monks, faded Indochinese villas and peaceful river scenery.

This morning we take a half-day walking tour exploring some of the highlights of this incredibly picturesque town. We start with a visit to the Royal Palace, which is now a National Museum housing precious artifacts that belonged to the Royal Family. We then drive or enjoy a leisurely walk to explore some of Luang Prabang’s famed temples including the gorgeous Wat Mai with its detailed golden reliefs depicting scenes from village life. We also visit Wat Visoun, Luang Prabang’s oldest temple. Its' unusually shaped stupa is designed to look like a lotus flower but referred to by locals as “the watermelon stupa”. This temple was destroyed in 1887 by the invading Black Flags from China and was restored in 1930 by Buddhist monks and local people.

We then visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre and take a tour with one of the founders or directors. This 30-minute tour of TAEC's exhibitions provides insight into Laos' ethnic cultures, their traditions, and customs. This is a chance to learn from one of the creators of the museum’s exhibitions itself. The tour will be led by either Thongkhoun Soutthivilay, a Luang Prabang-native who worked at the Luang Prabang National Museum for 10 years; Tara Gujadhur, an American who has worked in Luang Prabang for over 14 years, with a background in anthropology and sustainable tourism development; or Dr. Marie-Pierre Lissoir, TAEC Researcher and Curator, an ethnomusicologist who performed research on the Tai Dam ethnic group of Houaphan Province.

We will stop for lunch at a local café. (to own account).

We end our touring by climbing (optional - only if you wish!!) up to the top of Mount Phousi to admire the panoramic views across the Mekong and Khan rivers as well as the mountain range. It takes you 328 steps to reach the top, and at sunset, the changing colours of the sky are particularly spectacular. The light reflecting on the golden spire of the temple at the top is also beautiful. The stairs are lined up with flamboyant and frangipani trees providing a deserved shade as you walk up and down.

Return to hotel mid-afternoon for rest and relaxation.

This evening, about 5pm, we join a Khopfa-Mekong sunset cruise with light dinner. The cruise starts at 17h30 and we should be back at approx. 19h30. (Drinks not included). 

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / Light Dinner on Sunset Cruise)

Day 3 - Weaving & Dyeing at Ok Pop Tok
View

The production of woven and embroidered textiles is undoubtedly the most prolific of all traditional crafts in Laos which are produced in many different styles and dyed in a range of different colours according to the geographical provenance and ethnicity of the weavers. Traditional weaving techniques are handed down from one generation to the next and various regional styles can be identified according to solid colours, striped pattern or motifs that vary from region to region.

Ock Pop Tok weaving centre is the product of a collaboration between Laotian weaver Veomanee Duangdala and English photographer Joanna Smith. Ock Pop Tok may mean ‘East meets West’ in Lao but the beautiful fabrics produced on the looms are distinctly local.

At Ock Pop Tok they not only make gorgeous textiles and help keep traditional crafts alive, they also value the work of the artisans, farmers and workers by paying them fairly. They help producers develop sustainable business models so they can maintain their independence, there is no child labour involved, and production is environmentally sound.

Ock Pop Tok is also responsible for initiatives such as the Village Weaver Projects, a series of initiatives that create economic opportunities for artisans in rural locations around the country. They help develop ranges of handicrafts that combine craftsmanship and tradition with artistic creativity and market knowledge. Their team of weavers, dyers, designers, and tailors work with local NGOs to teach skills to artisans in villages in 13 different provinces (with 15 different ethnic groups) using their knowledge to help create thriving village enterprises.  

Today is day 1 of our Two Day Weaving & Dyeing experience at Ok Pop Tok. Our class starts with a morning of selecting colours, gathering plants, and the preparing natural dyes using the traditional Lao recipes. Then we dye 3 silk skeins or cotton napkins (ours to keep).

After lunch in our Silk Road Café (included) we each get our own loom. Together with the support of one of the master weavers, we will spend the next day and a half weaving our own silk scarf. This class offers great insight into both weaving and dyeing. Colours and patterns are customisable.

After this amazing day, we return to the hotel and our evening is then free.

For those that have the energy, we can have an Optional evening out of Cocktails & Tapas at 52 Cocktails & Tapas.

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 4 - Weaving & Dyeing at Ok Pop Tok
View

Today is Day 2 of our Weaving Class at Ok Pop Tok. 

Lunch is again included at the Silk Road cafe.

After another incredibly creative day, we return to the hotel and our evening is again free. 

We can meet at the pool bar for a drink adn de-brief about our amazing last 2 days..

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 5 - Pottery & Waterfalls
View

This morning after breakfast we will cross the river by boat to discover the local daily life on the opposite side of Luang Prabang, an area seen by few visitors. After disembarking at Ban Chan’s boat landing, we have a short walk to Ban Chan village, which specialises in pottery. We will be welcomed by the Lamphet family, and take a tour around the village while learning about traditional Lao life. The Lamphet family started Pottery House Lao Food Tours in cooperation with the Luang Prabang Tourism Department in their village because they felt like the jewels of Laos are found among the people who call it home. For over 400 years the families of this village have been making pottery, and Ancient kings chose this village for their pottery making skills. The families produce a large range of items from beautifully decorated planters to terra-cotta roof tiles, making them almost entirely by hand using the same techniques passed down through the centuries. Only six families still preserve these techniques. On this tour, we will not only get a behind-the-scenes look at these ancient techniques but will also have an opportunity to get hands-on with the clay ourselves. Skilled pottery makers will help guide us as we experience a truly Lao cultural activity. 

We finish this fabulous morning with a traditional Lao lunch cooked by the Lamphet family. We will get a sampling of Luang Prabang traditional foods like khaipan (fried river weed), grilled fish, eggplant dipping sauce, and spicy papaya salad.  

After lunch, we continue to Kuang Si waterfalls by boat, cruising down along the Mekong river. (Upon arrival at Muang Khai village we will be pick up by our minivan and transferred to the waterfalls by road). Kuang Si waterfalls is one of Luang Prabang’s most picturesque sights, with electric turquoise waters. On arriving at the falls, we take a leisurely walk through the park past the Asian Bear Rescue Center. Swimming in the refreshing waters is a must, although sometimes the water temperature can be very cool! 

On the way back to town, *time permitting, we will have a quick stop at the Laos Buffalo Dairy to better understand the environment of this omnipresent animal in Laos and its importance amongst communities… and of course, we can’t miss a taste of their homemade Buffalo ice-cream with local flavours..

We return to the hotel, and our evening is at leisure.

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 6 - Shopping Day! Textiles, Arts & Crafts, Jewellery, Boutique Stores, Antiques - and more!
View

Quaint Luang Prabang is filled with charming boutiques. Today we enjoy a guided (mammoth!) shopping expedition to some of the town’s most unique shops including antiques in an impressive old French mansion filled with silver betel nut pots; Akha-style bracelets and Hmong necklaces; home décor including hand-woven silks by local weavers and indigenous Lao wood handcrafted by master carvers and turners; handcrafted jewellery using a variety of semi-precious stones and silver; handicrafts made from silk and other natural products including packaged spices. 

This list is our guide list. We may visit them, we may not. Depends on how much time we spend in each boutique. And there are some fabulous ones!

So we will visit the likes of: Me Te SaiNaga CreationsCaruso Lao, Pavilion de Jade & Ban Phanom Village. Also: Asiama Gallery, Kop Noi, Mulberries, Passa Paa, Anakha, Hill Tribe Heritage, Fibre2Fabric, Indigo Fabric Shop, Hoi Sang Jewellery, Pathana Boupha Antique House, Celadon & Garden of Eden.

We will also aim for a stop at the TAEC Boutique - the main street branch of the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre's fair trade shop, which sells high quality handmade crafts, all direct from village artisans. 50% of the shop's income goes direct to their rural producers, primarily ethnic minority women.

But of course, all of this shopping of textiles, jewellery and crafts will make us a tad hungry, so we will stop at the mid-way point and have lunch at Heuan Chan Heritage House.

After this amazing, huge day, we will return to our hotel where our evening is at leisure. Perhaps we can meet at the pool bar and compare our buys!

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 7 - Alms Giving, Free Time, Farewell Dinner
View

Early morning: departure approx 05.30am. The morning alms round (called “Tak Bat” in Lao) is a living Buddhist tradition for the people of Luang Prabang and dates back generations. For those that wish to, we wake up before dawn to witness and participate in offering alms to a procession of hundreds of saffron-robed monks in the early morning light, truly a spiritual occasion!

After the alms giving, we watch the town come to life during a visit to the morning market, held daily in the streets near the former Royal Palace. Lao people still like buying fresh food – they still prefer going to local markets and returning home with fresh ingredients. 

We return to our hotel for breakfast. 

The rest of the day is all yours for the taking. Rest & relax; shop some more; try another class at Ok Pop Tok; visit the Pak Ou Caves; visit the Pha Tad Ke Botanical garden; or spend a time at The Living Land Farm - a community-based living rice farm set in the countryside, surrounded by mountains and centuries old rice paddies. 

Or you could do nothing but sleep, swim, have a massage and drink a lunch time cocktail. Whatever your pleasure, we will help you organise (or not organise!) anything you like. 

This evening we will meet at the pool bar for a Cocktail before heading out for our farewell dinner at the divine Manda de Laos restaurant. Manda de Laos features Laotian family cuisine specialties from all regions of Laos. We will dine under the stars surrounded by a UNESCO classified lily pond, immerse in a tropical ambiance. Trust me, it is gorgeous.

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / Farewell Dinner)

Day 8 - Departure Day
View

Today is departure day.

Transfer to the airport. Depart.

About this tour

Souphattra Hotel, Luang Prabang: Souphattra Hotel is a charming French-Lao Colonial style property, located in the UNESCO World Heritage area with historical charms as the main design criteria. The hotel features 37 rooms fusing timeless luxury with contemporary comfort. Lao Derm restaurant offers unique home style cooking with authentic Lao ingredients used to create a taste sensation by experienced chefs.
Take a refreshing plunge into the 25 meter swimming pool or sip a chilled cocktail poolside at our delightful pool bar. The Spa at Hotel Souphattra offers a variety of choices, the concept of the treatments has been carefully designed for guests to target specific concerns and help attain personal balance. All of the massages and spa packages work on Integrated Wellness.

Ock Pop Tok, Luang Prabang: Ock Pop Tok weaving centre is the product of a collaboration between Laotian weaver Veomanee Duangdala and English photographer Joanna Smith. Ock Pop Tok may mean ‘East meets West’ in Lao but the beautiful fabrics produced on the looms are distinctly local. They not only make gorgeous textiles and help keep traditional crafts alive, they also value the work of the artisans, farmers and workers by paying them fairly. They help producers develop sustainable business models so they can maintain their independence, there is no child labour involved, and production is environmentally sound. Ock Pop Tok is also responsible for initiatives such as the Village Weaver Projects, a series of initiatives that create economic opportunities for artisans in rural locations around the country. They help develop ranges of handicrafts that combine craftsmanship and tradition with artistic creativity and market knowledge. Their team of weavers, dyers, designers, and tailors work with local NGOs to teach skills to artisans in villages in 13 different provinces (with 15 different ethnic groups) using their knowledge to help create thriving village enterprises.  

Practicalities

Seasons: Laos generally has a two-season weather pattern. The weather patterns are influenced by the wet and dry seasonal winds of Southeast Asia, which create two distinct seasons - dry and wet (also known as Green Season because of the vibrant colour the rains bring). For tranquil, crowd-free travel we travel outside of the peak, dry season months of November to March; but you may need to consider your tolerance of temperatures and humidity - often high by Western standards.

Green Season (May - October) - May and June bring moisture laden air from the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Thailand, bringing greenery back to the region´s countryside. Don't be concerned by the season's showers; the rains form a predictable pattern - clear, sunny mornings and a 60% chance of showers in the mid to late afternoon-and bring green into the countryside. The humidity and temperatures drop to a low around October when the weather can feel almost Mediterranean. The early months of the wet season (May to July) remain very hot and rainfall is often short lived, whilst in the latter months (late July until September) the rains become more constant and can be heavy at times.

We will hit temperatures up to mid 30's. There will be humidity, and a chance of lovely rain..

The facts

Currency: The currency in Laos is the Laos Kip.
However, US dollars are widely used and most prices will be in US$. When receiving change from a dollar, the cents will be returned to you in local currency. Note that even slightly torn US dollar bills will not be accepted. Credit Cards are accepted in most good hotels and restaurants. ATMs are common in Luang Prabang. 

Tipping / Gratuities:  Guides, Drivers and Hotel Staff appreciate that tipping varies greatly between cultures and countries. There will be further, in-depth information given on Final Tour Documents. 

Visa On Arrival Laos - You can obtain a Visa on arrival at your port of entry. Fill in the arrival documents which you will receive in on the plane or at the border and provide one passport-size photograph. The fee is currently US$30 paid in cash and is valid for 30 days. Please note that you will need a blank page in your passport for the visa as well as at least 6 months validity on your passport. At peak arrival times there may be waiting time for the visa on arrival to be processed. **This CAN change...

Not Included:

  • International Airfares - *PLEASE ASK FOR A QUOTE
  • Travel insurance - *PLEASE ASK FOR A QUOTE
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Visas
  • Laundry unless stated
  • Gratuities
  • Excess baggage
  • Meals & drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages unless specifically described. 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. You should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.

DATES

19 Sept 2020 - 26 Sept 2020


RATES
from NZD$2650 per person
Single rate from NZD$3099

Hover over rates for other currencies.

*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Room.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*This Hosted Creative Retreat departs with a minimum of 6 guests. If numbers fall below 6 guests, we will offer the Retreat at a reconfigured rate.
*A 'Willing to Share' may be possible on this tour. Please enquire. 
*International Airfares are not included. Please ask for a Quote.
*Please ask about pre-or-post Tour extensions.


Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - ARRIVE LUANG PRABANG - Welcome Cocktail & Dinner

Welcome to Luang Prabang, Laos!
You are met at airport & transferred to the hotel. Check in and take time to relax in your gorgeous surroundings.

Your accommodation for the next 7 nights is the Souphattra Boutique Hotel.

We will meet early evening at the pool bar for an Asian inspired Cocktail & to meet everyone before our 'Welcome Dinner'. Dinner will be a set menu of Laotian cuisine at the hotels' Lao Derm restaurant.

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (Welcome Dinner)

Day 2 - Temples, Traditional Arts & Sunset Cruise

Located at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan (Khan River), UNESCO-protected Luang Prabang is a beautiful mix of ancient gilded temples, saffron-clad monks, faded Indochinese villas and peaceful river scenery.

This morning we take a half-day walking tour exploring some of the highlights of this incredibly picturesque town. We start with a visit to the Royal Palace, which is now a National Museum housing precious artifacts that belonged to the Royal Family. We then drive or enjoy a leisurely walk to explore some of Luang Prabang’s famed temples including the gorgeous Wat Mai with its detailed golden reliefs depicting scenes from village life. We also visit Wat Visoun, Luang Prabang’s oldest temple. Its' unusually shaped stupa is designed to look like a lotus flower but referred to by locals as “the watermelon stupa”. This temple was destroyed in 1887 by the invading Black Flags from China and was restored in 1930 by Buddhist monks and local people.

We then visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre and take a tour with one of the founders or directors. This 30-minute tour of TAEC's exhibitions provides insight into Laos' ethnic cultures, their traditions, and customs. This is a chance to learn from one of the creators of the museum’s exhibitions itself. The tour will be led by either Thongkhoun Soutthivilay, a Luang Prabang-native who worked at the Luang Prabang National Museum for 10 years; Tara Gujadhur, an American who has worked in Luang Prabang for over 14 years, with a background in anthropology and sustainable tourism development; or Dr. Marie-Pierre Lissoir, TAEC Researcher and Curator, an ethnomusicologist who performed research on the Tai Dam ethnic group of Houaphan Province.

We will stop for lunch at a local café. (to own account).

We end our touring by climbing (optional - only if you wish!!) up to the top of Mount Phousi to admire the panoramic views across the Mekong and Khan rivers as well as the mountain range. It takes you 328 steps to reach the top, and at sunset, the changing colours of the sky are particularly spectacular. The light reflecting on the golden spire of the temple at the top is also beautiful. The stairs are lined up with flamboyant and frangipani trees providing a deserved shade as you walk up and down.

Return to hotel mid-afternoon for rest and relaxation.

This evening, about 5pm, we join a Khopfa-Mekong sunset cruise with light dinner. The cruise starts at 17h30 and we should be back at approx. 19h30. (Drinks not included). 

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / Light Dinner on Sunset Cruise)

Day 3 - Weaving & Dyeing at Ok Pop Tok

The production of woven and embroidered textiles is undoubtedly the most prolific of all traditional crafts in Laos which are produced in many different styles and dyed in a range of different colours according to the geographical provenance and ethnicity of the weavers. Traditional weaving techniques are handed down from one generation to the next and various regional styles can be identified according to solid colours, striped pattern or motifs that vary from region to region.

Ock Pop Tok weaving centre is the product of a collaboration between Laotian weaver Veomanee Duangdala and English photographer Joanna Smith. Ock Pop Tok may mean ‘East meets West’ in Lao but the beautiful fabrics produced on the looms are distinctly local.

At Ock Pop Tok they not only make gorgeous textiles and help keep traditional crafts alive, they also value the work of the artisans, farmers and workers by paying them fairly. They help producers develop sustainable business models so they can maintain their independence, there is no child labour involved, and production is environmentally sound.

Ock Pop Tok is also responsible for initiatives such as the Village Weaver Projects, a series of initiatives that create economic opportunities for artisans in rural locations around the country. They help develop ranges of handicrafts that combine craftsmanship and tradition with artistic creativity and market knowledge. Their team of weavers, dyers, designers, and tailors work with local NGOs to teach skills to artisans in villages in 13 different provinces (with 15 different ethnic groups) using their knowledge to help create thriving village enterprises.  

Today is day 1 of our Two Day Weaving & Dyeing experience at Ok Pop Tok. Our class starts with a morning of selecting colours, gathering plants, and the preparing natural dyes using the traditional Lao recipes. Then we dye 3 silk skeins or cotton napkins (ours to keep).

After lunch in our Silk Road Café (included) we each get our own loom. Together with the support of one of the master weavers, we will spend the next day and a half weaving our own silk scarf. This class offers great insight into both weaving and dyeing. Colours and patterns are customisable.

After this amazing day, we return to the hotel and our evening is then free.

For those that have the energy, we can have an Optional evening out of Cocktails & Tapas at 52 Cocktails & Tapas.

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 4 - Weaving & Dyeing at Ok Pop Tok

Today is Day 2 of our Weaving Class at Ok Pop Tok. 

Lunch is again included at the Silk Road cafe.

After another incredibly creative day, we return to the hotel and our evening is again free. 

We can meet at the pool bar for a drink adn de-brief about our amazing last 2 days..

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 5 - Pottery & Waterfalls

This morning after breakfast we will cross the river by boat to discover the local daily life on the opposite side of Luang Prabang, an area seen by few visitors. After disembarking at Ban Chan’s boat landing, we have a short walk to Ban Chan village, which specialises in pottery. We will be welcomed by the Lamphet family, and take a tour around the village while learning about traditional Lao life. The Lamphet family started Pottery House Lao Food Tours in cooperation with the Luang Prabang Tourism Department in their village because they felt like the jewels of Laos are found among the people who call it home. For over 400 years the families of this village have been making pottery, and Ancient kings chose this village for their pottery making skills. The families produce a large range of items from beautifully decorated planters to terra-cotta roof tiles, making them almost entirely by hand using the same techniques passed down through the centuries. Only six families still preserve these techniques. On this tour, we will not only get a behind-the-scenes look at these ancient techniques but will also have an opportunity to get hands-on with the clay ourselves. Skilled pottery makers will help guide us as we experience a truly Lao cultural activity. 

We finish this fabulous morning with a traditional Lao lunch cooked by the Lamphet family. We will get a sampling of Luang Prabang traditional foods like khaipan (fried river weed), grilled fish, eggplant dipping sauce, and spicy papaya salad.  

After lunch, we continue to Kuang Si waterfalls by boat, cruising down along the Mekong river. (Upon arrival at Muang Khai village we will be pick up by our minivan and transferred to the waterfalls by road). Kuang Si waterfalls is one of Luang Prabang’s most picturesque sights, with electric turquoise waters. On arriving at the falls, we take a leisurely walk through the park past the Asian Bear Rescue Center. Swimming in the refreshing waters is a must, although sometimes the water temperature can be very cool! 

On the way back to town, *time permitting, we will have a quick stop at the Laos Buffalo Dairy to better understand the environment of this omnipresent animal in Laos and its importance amongst communities… and of course, we can’t miss a taste of their homemade Buffalo ice-cream with local flavours..

We return to the hotel, and our evening is at leisure.

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 6 - Shopping Day! Textiles, Arts & Crafts, Jewellery, Boutique Stores, Antiques - and more!

Quaint Luang Prabang is filled with charming boutiques. Today we enjoy a guided (mammoth!) shopping expedition to some of the town’s most unique shops including antiques in an impressive old French mansion filled with silver betel nut pots; Akha-style bracelets and Hmong necklaces; home décor including hand-woven silks by local weavers and indigenous Lao wood handcrafted by master carvers and turners; handcrafted jewellery using a variety of semi-precious stones and silver; handicrafts made from silk and other natural products including packaged spices. 

This list is our guide list. We may visit them, we may not. Depends on how much time we spend in each boutique. And there are some fabulous ones!

So we will visit the likes of: Me Te SaiNaga CreationsCaruso Lao, Pavilion de Jade & Ban Phanom Village. Also: Asiama Gallery, Kop Noi, Mulberries, Passa Paa, Anakha, Hill Tribe Heritage, Fibre2Fabric, Indigo Fabric Shop, Hoi Sang Jewellery, Pathana Boupha Antique House, Celadon & Garden of Eden.

We will also aim for a stop at the TAEC Boutique - the main street branch of the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre's fair trade shop, which sells high quality handmade crafts, all direct from village artisans. 50% of the shop's income goes direct to their rural producers, primarily ethnic minority women.

But of course, all of this shopping of textiles, jewellery and crafts will make us a tad hungry, so we will stop at the mid-way point and have lunch at Heuan Chan Heritage House.

After this amazing, huge day, we will return to our hotel where our evening is at leisure. Perhaps we can meet at the pool bar and compare our buys!

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 7 - Alms Giving, Free Time, Farewell Dinner

Early morning: departure approx 05.30am. The morning alms round (called “Tak Bat” in Lao) is a living Buddhist tradition for the people of Luang Prabang and dates back generations. For those that wish to, we wake up before dawn to witness and participate in offering alms to a procession of hundreds of saffron-robed monks in the early morning light, truly a spiritual occasion!

After the alms giving, we watch the town come to life during a visit to the morning market, held daily in the streets near the former Royal Palace. Lao people still like buying fresh food – they still prefer going to local markets and returning home with fresh ingredients. 

We return to our hotel for breakfast. 

The rest of the day is all yours for the taking. Rest & relax; shop some more; try another class at Ok Pop Tok; visit the Pak Ou Caves; visit the Pha Tad Ke Botanical garden; or spend a time at The Living Land Farm - a community-based living rice farm set in the countryside, surrounded by mountains and centuries old rice paddies. 

Or you could do nothing but sleep, swim, have a massage and drink a lunch time cocktail. Whatever your pleasure, we will help you organise (or not organise!) anything you like. 

This evening we will meet at the pool bar for a Cocktail before heading out for our farewell dinner at the divine Manda de Laos restaurant. Manda de Laos features Laotian family cuisine specialties from all regions of Laos. We will dine under the stars surrounded by a UNESCO classified lily pond, immerse in a tropical ambiance. Trust me, it is gorgeous.

Overnight Souphattra Boutique Hotel (B / Farewell Dinner)

Day 8 - Departure Day

Today is departure day.

Transfer to the airport. Depart.

About this tour

Souphattra Hotel, Luang Prabang: Souphattra Hotel is a charming French-Lao Colonial style property, located in the UNESCO World Heritage area with historical charms as the main design criteria. The hotel features 37 rooms fusing timeless luxury with contemporary comfort. Lao Derm restaurant offers unique home style cooking with authentic Lao ingredients used to create a taste sensation by experienced chefs.
Take a refreshing plunge into the 25 meter swimming pool or sip a chilled cocktail poolside at our delightful pool bar. The Spa at Hotel Souphattra offers a variety of choices, the concept of the treatments has been carefully designed for guests to target specific concerns and help attain personal balance. All of the massages and spa packages work on Integrated Wellness.

Ock Pop Tok, Luang Prabang: Ock Pop Tok weaving centre is the product of a collaboration between Laotian weaver Veomanee Duangdala and English photographer Joanna Smith. Ock Pop Tok may mean ‘East meets West’ in Lao but the beautiful fabrics produced on the looms are distinctly local. They not only make gorgeous textiles and help keep traditional crafts alive, they also value the work of the artisans, farmers and workers by paying them fairly. They help producers develop sustainable business models so they can maintain their independence, there is no child labour involved, and production is environmentally sound. Ock Pop Tok is also responsible for initiatives such as the Village Weaver Projects, a series of initiatives that create economic opportunities for artisans in rural locations around the country. They help develop ranges of handicrafts that combine craftsmanship and tradition with artistic creativity and market knowledge. Their team of weavers, dyers, designers, and tailors work with local NGOs to teach skills to artisans in villages in 13 different provinces (with 15 different ethnic groups) using their knowledge to help create thriving village enterprises.  

Practicalities

Seasons: Laos generally has a two-season weather pattern. The weather patterns are influenced by the wet and dry seasonal winds of Southeast Asia, which create two distinct seasons - dry and wet (also known as Green Season because of the vibrant colour the rains bring). For tranquil, crowd-free travel we travel outside of the peak, dry season months of November to March; but you may need to consider your tolerance of temperatures and humidity - often high by Western standards.

Green Season (May - October) - May and June bring moisture laden air from the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Thailand, bringing greenery back to the region´s countryside. Don't be concerned by the season's showers; the rains form a predictable pattern - clear, sunny mornings and a 60% chance of showers in the mid to late afternoon-and bring green into the countryside. The humidity and temperatures drop to a low around October when the weather can feel almost Mediterranean. The early months of the wet season (May to July) remain very hot and rainfall is often short lived, whilst in the latter months (late July until September) the rains become more constant and can be heavy at times.

We will hit temperatures up to mid 30's. There will be humidity, and a chance of lovely rain..

The facts

Currency: The currency in Laos is the Laos Kip.
However, US dollars are widely used and most prices will be in US$. When receiving change from a dollar, the cents will be returned to you in local currency. Note that even slightly torn US dollar bills will not be accepted. Credit Cards are accepted in most good hotels and restaurants. ATMs are common in Luang Prabang. 

Tipping / Gratuities:  Guides, Drivers and Hotel Staff appreciate that tipping varies greatly between cultures and countries. There will be further, in-depth information given on Final Tour Documents. 

Visa On Arrival Laos - You can obtain a Visa on arrival at your port of entry. Fill in the arrival documents which you will receive in on the plane or at the border and provide one passport-size photograph. The fee is currently US$30 paid in cash and is valid for 30 days. Please note that you will need a blank page in your passport for the visa as well as at least 6 months validity on your passport. At peak arrival times there may be waiting time for the visa on arrival to be processed. **This CAN change...

Not Included:

  • International Airfares - *PLEASE ASK FOR A QUOTE
  • Travel insurance - *PLEASE ASK FOR A QUOTE
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Visas
  • Laundry unless stated
  • Gratuities
  • Excess baggage
  • Meals & drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages unless specifically described. 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. You should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.