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Escape: Culture, Cuisine & Yoga

Tours
Escape: Culture, Cuisine & Yoga
DATES

20 June 2020 - 27 June 2020


RATES
from NZD$3199 per person
Single rate from NZD$3899

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 Escape departs with a minimum of 6 guests. If numbers fall below 6 guests, we will offer the Escape 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.


Escape: Culture, Cuisine & Yoga Escape: Culture, Cuisine & Yoga Escape: Culture, Cuisine & Yoga Escape: Culture, Cuisine & Yoga Escape: Culture, Cuisine & Yoga
Escape: Culture, Cuisine & Yoga

CULTURE, CUISINE & YOGA - LAOS

 

Leave everyday life behind, relax & recharge. This Escape in UNESCO Heritage Luang Prabang, Laos, is a perfect combination of a Cultural Immersion, Culinary Experience and Yoga Retreat. This incredible combination of a spiritual and cultural destination, and a divinely gorgeous resort, offers an exceptional week Escape that is restorative for the body, mind and soul. A week for you, where you can truly restore and rebalance. This is not an indulgence - it is an investment in yourself. Simply a bit of self-love!

The relaxed grandeur of Luang Prabang is absolutely captivating. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, strolling down the cobblestone streets, it is not difficult to see why: colonial buildings share quaint lanes with Buddhist temples and traditional Lao wooden homes.

Luang Prabang is the perfect, tranquil setting for an Escape; enjoy daily yoga classes and Yoga Nidra sessions. Sip cocktails on the Mekong River; learn the nuances of Laotian Cuisine and witness one of the most revered traditions in Laos, the Baci Ceremony. Cruise on boats on the Mekong, wander night markets filled with local food & crafts, meet talented Artisans and soak up the surroundings of countryside villages.

Be pampered in a fabulous spa, relax poolside with an afternoon cocktail, shop the multitude of gorgeous local boutique stores and catch up on rest and relaxation!

This Escape is designed for all levels of Yoga experience – including beginners who want to take up yoga or experience the joys of meditation for the first time. It is an escape that will leave you feeling fully rejuvenated, recharged and renewed.

Tour Overview
Duration
7 Nights - JUNE 2020
Start Point
Luang Prabang, Laos
Finish Point
Luang Prabang, Laos
Tour Style
Hosted Escape
Accommodation
Boutique 5* Accommodation
Meals
As per itinerary
Transport
Private air-con van. Boats.
Max Group Size
Min 6. Max 10 guests
Tour Inclusions
  • Arrival & departure transfers *if on recommended flights.
  • x7 nights accommodation at 5* Avani Hotel in a Twin or Single room
  • x7 Breakfasts, x4 Lunches, x5 Dinners
  • Welcome Dinner at Avani Hotel
  • Farewell Dinner at Manda de Laos
  • Loatian BBQ Dinner at Dyen Sabai
  • Lao Cooking Class + Dinner at Tamarind
  • Baci Ceremony & Dinner
  • Kuang Si Waterfalls + lunch at Carpe Diem
  • Visit to social enterprise Buffalo Dairy Farm
  • Living Land Farm Rice Experience + Lunch
  • Nava Mekong cruise to Pak Ou Caves + lunch on board
  • Guided Artisan visits + boutique shopping 
  • Ok Pok Weaving Centre + lunch at Silk Road Cafe
  • City Tour + The Wats of Luang Prabang
  • Village visits, Mekong cruises, 
  • Morning Alms Giving Ceremony
  • All entrances to all sites as per itinerary
  • x5 Morning Group Yoga Classes
  • x2 Yoga Nidra Sessions
  • x1 60 minute Spa session at The Spa
  • Yoga mats provided
  • Hosted by Jemma Wilson: owner of Mai Journeys 
  • National English Speaking Guide
  • Private air-conditioned vehicles for transfers
  • All transfers as per itinerary
  • Private van, Tuk Tuk & boats
Tour Highlights
  • Daily Yoga sessions 
  • Yoga Nidra Sessions x2
  • Massage + spa
  • Local Artisans & boutique stores
  • Night markets + morning markets
  • Visits to local villages 
  • Wats of Luang Prabang
  • Alms at sunrise
  • Baci Ceremony
  • Mekong boat ride
  • Pak Ou Caves
  • Kuang Si Waterfalls
  • Laos Cooking Class
  • Amazing Food
  • Fabulous accommodation
  • Cocktails at sunset

Tour Itinerary

Open all
Day 1 - ARRIVE LUANG PRABANG - Welcome 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 gorgeous Avani Luang Prabang. Located in Luang Prabang’s old town, the hotel is just a five-minute stroll to the Night Market, Royal Palace and Mount Phousi. The hotel features a a 100 feet long swimming pool. Feast all day on East-meets-West favourites, French bistro fare and authentic Lao dishes at one of the most charming Luang Prabang restaurants. Sip fresh coffee, refreshing juices and locally inspired cocktails overlooking the pool or bustling street. After a day spent exploring temples, retreat to AVANISPA for rejuvenation and your own glimpse of nirvana at this spa in Luang Prabang. Perfect your asanas on a quiet lawn or in a peaceful yoga pavilion. Swim laps in the 25 m courtyard pool and refresh with healthy fruit shakes. Enjoy an afternoon cocktail infused with traditional Lao spirits in Main Street Bar and atch the night market come to life with a sundowner.

We will meet early evening in the Main Street 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' restaurant.

Overnight Avani Luang Prabang. (Welcome Dinner)

Day 2 - Yoga, Temples & Food Corner
View

This morning we have our first full morning Yoga session in the Yoga Pavillion.

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 artefacts that belonged to the Royal Family. We then drive or enjoy a leisurely walk to explore some of Luang Prabang’s famed temples including: 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”; Wat That Luang, traditionally the cremation site for Lao royalty; the gorgeous Wat Mai with its detailed golden reliefs depicting scenes from village life; and Wat Xieng Thong, built in the 17th century.  We end the tour 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. There are 328 steps to reach the top - all lined with gorgeous frangipani trees.

We will stop for lunch (own account) before returning to the hotel if you wish. Time for rest and relaxation.

At about 5pm we depart the hotel to spend the evening exploring Luang Prabang’s local food scene by first visiting Luang Prabang’s famous night market. We will explore the small side streets where vendors offer incredible food buffets and different local snacks. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells while our guide explains the various ingredients and cooking methods used in Lao cuisine. After looking and sampling (optional), we continue to Dyen Sabai, a well-known local restaurant for traditional sindad BBQ where dinner is grilled right at the table. After dinner, we return to our hotel.

Overnight Avani Luang Prabang. (B / D - Loatian BBQ)

Day 3 - Yoga, Shopping, Relaxation, Massage & Nidra
View

Early morning Yoga class in the Yoga Pavillion. 

Luang Prabang is filled with charming boutiques and Artisan stores. And shop we will! Enjoy a guided half-day shopping trip 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 or a riverfront shop with treasures gathered from abroad like Hong Kong tea tins, Chinese retro alarm clocks, Mao revolutionary crockery and Burmese Buddhist statuary; 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. 

We will visit the likes of: 
Me Te SaiNaga CreationsCaruso Lao, Pavilion de Jade, Indigo Fabric Shop & Kop Noi Gallery, Naga Creations and Ok Pop Tok. 

Ock Pop Tock Weaving Centre is a social enterprise working primarily in the field of textiles, handicrafts and design. Set in lush tropical gardens and located on the banks of the Mekong, the Living Crafts Centre at Ock Pop Tock is the perfect place to learn more about the incredible world of Lao textiles and handicrafts. Created as a way to allow visitors to observe the impressive skills that go into Lao textiles, the Centre brings the concept of “East Meets West” alive. We will meet the Master Weavers and see silk weaving on your very own on a 30-minute tour. You will learn about Laos textiles from the silkworm to the finished product. You will see how natural dyes are made and be introduced to the most popular weaving techniques in Laos. You can the wander through the weaving room and watch the experts at work.

We will end this epic expedition at Ok Pop Tok, with lunch at the Silk Road Cafe overlooking the Mekong River. 

We return to the hotel for rest and relaxation. Some of you can enjoy your 60 minute massage at The Spa.

We will also have our first Yoga Nidra session in the Yoga Pavillion early evening. 

Evening is free. Those that wish, we can have an Optional evening out. First up is Cocktails at 52 Cocktails & Tapas, then dinner at Tangor.

Overnight  Avani Luang Prabang (B / L)

Day 4 - Yoga, Pak Ou Caves & Baci Ceremony
View

Early morning Yoga class in the Yoga Pavillion.

At about 8.30am, we will depart for the famed Pak Ou Caves. First stop though, is a visit to Vat Xieng Thong, one of the most emblematic temples in Laos. It is located at the top of the peninsula, where the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers meet.

We then embark on a half-day river cruise to the Caves on aboard a long-tail boat. We cruise past scenes of typical Laotian villages barely visible behind thick foliage, wooden canoes bobbing by the shore attached to bamboo poles and floats marking the location of nets and fish traps.

Located next to the mighty Mekong and opposite the mouth of the Mekong and the Ou rivers, we explore the two limestone grottoes which house approximately 4,000 sacred Buddhist statues and images which range from mere centimetres up to 2m (7ft) in height.

Return to Luang Prabang with a stop en route at the village of Ban XangHai, a village famous for its' rice whiskey - locally called 'Lao-Lao'. Sample if you dare!

We have lunch on board the Nava Mekong - in front of Pha Enn Cliff.

We should be back at the hotel by approx 2.30pm.

Rest and relax.

This evening - about 5pm - we embark on a fabulous experience. Baci ceremonies are an integral part of Lao culture, held to celebrate a special event like a marriage, homecoming, or departure. It is based on an ancient belief that the Baci ceremony re-aligns the kwan (or soul) which watches over and the body and its 32 organs. At the ceremony, a village elder (usually a 'wise man') will wrap a white cotton thread around your wrist while chanting an invocation to strengthen the power of the blessing. In Laos, white is the colour of peace, good fortune and warmth. Enjoy this authentic experience with our Hosts and feel refreshed and enlightened by taking part in this ancient practice.

Overnight  Avani Luang Prabang. (B / L / D)

Day 5 - Yoga, Waterfalls & Nidra
View

Early morning Yoga class in the Yoga Pavillion. 

This morning we take our boat across the Mekong to the pottery village of Ban Chan. Here we can see craftsmen at work throwing pots, not on wheels, but by hand. This is not a tourist village. It is a small community trying to make a living primarily by making pottery for the hotels across the river.

We contunue down the river to Muang Khai village where our van will pick us up to drive to the Kuang Si Falls overland. Spend time exploring one of Luang Prabang’s most picturesque sights, the cascading Kuang Si Waterfall with its' electric turquoise waters. Swimming in the refreshing waters is a must, although sometimes the water temperature can be very cool! 

We will have lunch at Carpe Diem Restaurant. 

After lunch, we return to Luang Prabang via the Laos Buffalo Dairy. A visit here will enable you to better understand the environment of this omnipresent animal in Laos and its importance in the communities… and of course, we cannot miss tasting their homemade ice-cream with local flavors and milk coming from their cattle.

We return to the hotel for rest, relaxation and an afternoon Yoga Nidra session. 

Your evening is free. Anyone that wants to could head to Utopia for cocktails on the river. 

Overnight Avani Luang Prabang. (B / L)

Day 6 - Yoga, Living Land Rice Experience, Laotian Cooking Class
View

Early morning Yoga session in the Yoga Pavillion.

We spend an enjoyable half day on a community-based rice farm situated in the idyllic countryside, surrounded by mountains and rice paddies. The Living Land Company an entirely organic farm, is a Community Enterprise, run by a local team and for the benefit of Lao people. They grow organic vegetables, salad greens, herbs and rice and supply leading restaurants and hotels in Luang Prabang. We will experience the life of a farmer by trying our hand at some farm activities ie platning rice! Alternatively, watch life on the farm unfold from the comfort of a traditional Lao rice house balcony surrounded by rice terraces and an organic vegetable farm. During the experience, you will also have the opportunity to learn about bamboo weaving, blacksmith work, and sugar cane processing. After, tour the organic garden and learn how natural herbs are used in traditional medicine.

We will have lunch at the Living Land restaurant.

We return to the hotel for rest and relaxation. And Spa for some ladies. 

Evening Cooking Class: depart approx 5pm. Due to its landlocked location and relatively low economic status, Lao cuisine is centered on fresh ingredients with almost no processed foods. We spend an enjoyable evening learning about some of the fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors of Lao food. We transfer to Tamarind Restaurant and meet a local culinary expert who will accompany us on a 20min drive to the village of Ban Na Ded where the class is held. Learn which fresh ingredients are used in the dishes and get acquainted with some intriguing and unfamiliar flavors. Create your own varieties of jeow (spicy Lao dipping sauce), mok pa (steamed fish in banana leaf), lemongrass stuffed chicken, gaeng pet (spicy curry), minced fish or the popular papaya salad. We then enjoy our creations for dinner.

Later we return to our hotel. 

Overnight Avani Luang Prabang. (B / L / D - Cooking Class)

Day 7 - Alms Giving, 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 almsgiving, we watch the town come to life during a visit to the morning market before returning to our hotel for breakfast. 

The day is free for rest and relaxation. Or perhaps more shopping? Or perhaps more Spa time? 

This evening we can meet on The Deck for a Cocktail before heading out for our farewell dinner at the divine Manda de Laos restaurant. We will dine under the stars surrounded by a UNESCO classified lily pond, immerse in a tropical ambiance. 

Overnight Avani Luang Prabang. (B / Farewell Dinner)

Day 8 - Departure Day
View

Today is departure day.

Transfer to the airport. Depart.

About this tour

Avani Hotel, Luang Prabang: The Avani Luang Prabang, a former French officer quarters now a modern boutique hideaway, welcomes you with classic-contemporary style while remaining true to this UNESCO World Heritage town’s colonial architectural heritage. Located in a central yet quiet spot in Luang Prabang’s old town, the hotel is just a five-minute stroll to the Night Market, Royal Palace and Mount Phousi. Wake up to cappuccinos and croissants as saffron-robed monks file past in the early morning light. Spread across two storeys in Banyan tree-shaded grounds, all 53 rooms and suites provide open-plan living, with French louvered doors opening out onto a private balcony or terrace for garden and courtyard views. These Zen-like sanctuaries feature teak flooring, indigenous fabrics and sleek design, besides modern comforts. The hotel features a central garden and a 100 feet long swimming pool. 

Vinyasa Yoga: In Vinyasa yoga movement is synchronised to the breath. This style is sometimes also called flow yoga, because of the fluid way that the poses run together and become like a dance. The breath is a vital component because movement from one pose to the next follows an inhale or an exhale. Vinyasa is literally translated from Sanskrit to mean “connection.” The term vinyasa also refers to a specific series of movements that are frequently done between each pose in a series. This is a variation of the Sun Salutations.

Yoga Nidra: Yoga nidra, or yogic sleep as it is commonly known, is an immensely powerful meditation technique, and one of the easiest yoga practices to develop and maintain. Yoga nidra is a practice that everyone can do. All that your body needs to do is lie down on the floor. And even if you can't lie down on the floor, you can still do this practice seated. As you lie down, supported in savasana (corpse pose), all you have to do is follow the voice that is guiding you. Yoga nidra promotes deep rest and relaxation that isn’t found in your average meditation practice. Yoga nidra offers a space to explore what you need in the moment, as well as an opportunity to work on releasing long-held emotions. 

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

20 June 2020 - 27 June 2020


RATES
from NZD$3199 per person
Single rate from NZD$3899

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 Escape departs with a minimum of 6 guests. If numbers fall below 6 guests, we will offer the Escape 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 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 gorgeous Avani Luang Prabang. Located in Luang Prabang’s old town, the hotel is just a five-minute stroll to the Night Market, Royal Palace and Mount Phousi. The hotel features a a 100 feet long swimming pool. Feast all day on East-meets-West favourites, French bistro fare and authentic Lao dishes at one of the most charming Luang Prabang restaurants. Sip fresh coffee, refreshing juices and locally inspired cocktails overlooking the pool or bustling street. After a day spent exploring temples, retreat to AVANISPA for rejuvenation and your own glimpse of nirvana at this spa in Luang Prabang. Perfect your asanas on a quiet lawn or in a peaceful yoga pavilion. Swim laps in the 25 m courtyard pool and refresh with healthy fruit shakes. Enjoy an afternoon cocktail infused with traditional Lao spirits in Main Street Bar and atch the night market come to life with a sundowner.

We will meet early evening in the Main Street 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' restaurant.

Overnight Avani Luang Prabang. (Welcome Dinner)

Day 2 - Yoga, Temples & Food Corner

This morning we have our first full morning Yoga session in the Yoga Pavillion.

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 artefacts that belonged to the Royal Family. We then drive or enjoy a leisurely walk to explore some of Luang Prabang’s famed temples including: 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”; Wat That Luang, traditionally the cremation site for Lao royalty; the gorgeous Wat Mai with its detailed golden reliefs depicting scenes from village life; and Wat Xieng Thong, built in the 17th century.  We end the tour 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. There are 328 steps to reach the top - all lined with gorgeous frangipani trees.

We will stop for lunch (own account) before returning to the hotel if you wish. Time for rest and relaxation.

At about 5pm we depart the hotel to spend the evening exploring Luang Prabang’s local food scene by first visiting Luang Prabang’s famous night market. We will explore the small side streets where vendors offer incredible food buffets and different local snacks. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells while our guide explains the various ingredients and cooking methods used in Lao cuisine. After looking and sampling (optional), we continue to Dyen Sabai, a well-known local restaurant for traditional sindad BBQ where dinner is grilled right at the table. After dinner, we return to our hotel.

Overnight Avani Luang Prabang. (B / D - Loatian BBQ)

Day 3 - Yoga, Shopping, Relaxation, Massage & Nidra

Early morning Yoga class in the Yoga Pavillion. 

Luang Prabang is filled with charming boutiques and Artisan stores. And shop we will! Enjoy a guided half-day shopping trip 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 or a riverfront shop with treasures gathered from abroad like Hong Kong tea tins, Chinese retro alarm clocks, Mao revolutionary crockery and Burmese Buddhist statuary; 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. 

We will visit the likes of: 
Me Te SaiNaga CreationsCaruso Lao, Pavilion de Jade, Indigo Fabric Shop & Kop Noi Gallery, Naga Creations and Ok Pop Tok. 

Ock Pop Tock Weaving Centre is a social enterprise working primarily in the field of textiles, handicrafts and design. Set in lush tropical gardens and located on the banks of the Mekong, the Living Crafts Centre at Ock Pop Tock is the perfect place to learn more about the incredible world of Lao textiles and handicrafts. Created as a way to allow visitors to observe the impressive skills that go into Lao textiles, the Centre brings the concept of “East Meets West” alive. We will meet the Master Weavers and see silk weaving on your very own on a 30-minute tour. You will learn about Laos textiles from the silkworm to the finished product. You will see how natural dyes are made and be introduced to the most popular weaving techniques in Laos. You can the wander through the weaving room and watch the experts at work.

We will end this epic expedition at Ok Pop Tok, with lunch at the Silk Road Cafe overlooking the Mekong River. 

We return to the hotel for rest and relaxation. Some of you can enjoy your 60 minute massage at The Spa.

We will also have our first Yoga Nidra session in the Yoga Pavillion early evening. 

Evening is free. Those that wish, we can have an Optional evening out. First up is Cocktails at 52 Cocktails & Tapas, then dinner at Tangor.

Overnight  Avani Luang Prabang (B / L)

Day 4 - Yoga, Pak Ou Caves & Baci Ceremony

Early morning Yoga class in the Yoga Pavillion.

At about 8.30am, we will depart for the famed Pak Ou Caves. First stop though, is a visit to Vat Xieng Thong, one of the most emblematic temples in Laos. It is located at the top of the peninsula, where the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers meet.

We then embark on a half-day river cruise to the Caves on aboard a long-tail boat. We cruise past scenes of typical Laotian villages barely visible behind thick foliage, wooden canoes bobbing by the shore attached to bamboo poles and floats marking the location of nets and fish traps.

Located next to the mighty Mekong and opposite the mouth of the Mekong and the Ou rivers, we explore the two limestone grottoes which house approximately 4,000 sacred Buddhist statues and images which range from mere centimetres up to 2m (7ft) in height.

Return to Luang Prabang with a stop en route at the village of Ban XangHai, a village famous for its' rice whiskey - locally called 'Lao-Lao'. Sample if you dare!

We have lunch on board the Nava Mekong - in front of Pha Enn Cliff.

We should be back at the hotel by approx 2.30pm.

Rest and relax.

This evening - about 5pm - we embark on a fabulous experience. Baci ceremonies are an integral part of Lao culture, held to celebrate a special event like a marriage, homecoming, or departure. It is based on an ancient belief that the Baci ceremony re-aligns the kwan (or soul) which watches over and the body and its 32 organs. At the ceremony, a village elder (usually a 'wise man') will wrap a white cotton thread around your wrist while chanting an invocation to strengthen the power of the blessing. In Laos, white is the colour of peace, good fortune and warmth. Enjoy this authentic experience with our Hosts and feel refreshed and enlightened by taking part in this ancient practice.

Overnight  Avani Luang Prabang. (B / L / D)

Day 5 - Yoga, Waterfalls & Nidra

Early morning Yoga class in the Yoga Pavillion. 

This morning we take our boat across the Mekong to the pottery village of Ban Chan. Here we can see craftsmen at work throwing pots, not on wheels, but by hand. This is not a tourist village. It is a small community trying to make a living primarily by making pottery for the hotels across the river.

We contunue down the river to Muang Khai village where our van will pick us up to drive to the Kuang Si Falls overland. Spend time exploring one of Luang Prabang’s most picturesque sights, the cascading Kuang Si Waterfall with its' electric turquoise waters. Swimming in the refreshing waters is a must, although sometimes the water temperature can be very cool! 

We will have lunch at Carpe Diem Restaurant. 

After lunch, we return to Luang Prabang via the Laos Buffalo Dairy. A visit here will enable you to better understand the environment of this omnipresent animal in Laos and its importance in the communities… and of course, we cannot miss tasting their homemade ice-cream with local flavors and milk coming from their cattle.

We return to the hotel for rest, relaxation and an afternoon Yoga Nidra session. 

Your evening is free. Anyone that wants to could head to Utopia for cocktails on the river. 

Overnight Avani Luang Prabang. (B / L)

Day 6 - Yoga, Living Land Rice Experience, Laotian Cooking Class

Early morning Yoga session in the Yoga Pavillion.

We spend an enjoyable half day on a community-based rice farm situated in the idyllic countryside, surrounded by mountains and rice paddies. The Living Land Company an entirely organic farm, is a Community Enterprise, run by a local team and for the benefit of Lao people. They grow organic vegetables, salad greens, herbs and rice and supply leading restaurants and hotels in Luang Prabang. We will experience the life of a farmer by trying our hand at some farm activities ie platning rice! Alternatively, watch life on the farm unfold from the comfort of a traditional Lao rice house balcony surrounded by rice terraces and an organic vegetable farm. During the experience, you will also have the opportunity to learn about bamboo weaving, blacksmith work, and sugar cane processing. After, tour the organic garden and learn how natural herbs are used in traditional medicine.

We will have lunch at the Living Land restaurant.

We return to the hotel for rest and relaxation. And Spa for some ladies. 

Evening Cooking Class: depart approx 5pm. Due to its landlocked location and relatively low economic status, Lao cuisine is centered on fresh ingredients with almost no processed foods. We spend an enjoyable evening learning about some of the fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors of Lao food. We transfer to Tamarind Restaurant and meet a local culinary expert who will accompany us on a 20min drive to the village of Ban Na Ded where the class is held. Learn which fresh ingredients are used in the dishes and get acquainted with some intriguing and unfamiliar flavors. Create your own varieties of jeow (spicy Lao dipping sauce), mok pa (steamed fish in banana leaf), lemongrass stuffed chicken, gaeng pet (spicy curry), minced fish or the popular papaya salad. We then enjoy our creations for dinner.

Later we return to our hotel. 

Overnight Avani Luang Prabang. (B / L / D - Cooking Class)

Day 7 - Alms Giving, 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 almsgiving, we watch the town come to life during a visit to the morning market before returning to our hotel for breakfast. 

The day is free for rest and relaxation. Or perhaps more shopping? Or perhaps more Spa time? 

This evening we can meet on The Deck for a Cocktail before heading out for our farewell dinner at the divine Manda de Laos restaurant. We will dine under the stars surrounded by a UNESCO classified lily pond, immerse in a tropical ambiance. 

Overnight Avani Luang Prabang. (B / Farewell Dinner)

Day 8 - Departure Day

Today is departure day.

Transfer to the airport. Depart.

About this tour

Avani Hotel, Luang Prabang: The Avani Luang Prabang, a former French officer quarters now a modern boutique hideaway, welcomes you with classic-contemporary style while remaining true to this UNESCO World Heritage town’s colonial architectural heritage. Located in a central yet quiet spot in Luang Prabang’s old town, the hotel is just a five-minute stroll to the Night Market, Royal Palace and Mount Phousi. Wake up to cappuccinos and croissants as saffron-robed monks file past in the early morning light. Spread across two storeys in Banyan tree-shaded grounds, all 53 rooms and suites provide open-plan living, with French louvered doors opening out onto a private balcony or terrace for garden and courtyard views. These Zen-like sanctuaries feature teak flooring, indigenous fabrics and sleek design, besides modern comforts. The hotel features a central garden and a 100 feet long swimming pool. 

Vinyasa Yoga: In Vinyasa yoga movement is synchronised to the breath. This style is sometimes also called flow yoga, because of the fluid way that the poses run together and become like a dance. The breath is a vital component because movement from one pose to the next follows an inhale or an exhale. Vinyasa is literally translated from Sanskrit to mean “connection.” The term vinyasa also refers to a specific series of movements that are frequently done between each pose in a series. This is a variation of the Sun Salutations.

Yoga Nidra: Yoga nidra, or yogic sleep as it is commonly known, is an immensely powerful meditation technique, and one of the easiest yoga practices to develop and maintain. Yoga nidra is a practice that everyone can do. All that your body needs to do is lie down on the floor. And even if you can't lie down on the floor, you can still do this practice seated. As you lie down, supported in savasana (corpse pose), all you have to do is follow the voice that is guiding you. Yoga nidra promotes deep rest and relaxation that isn’t found in your average meditation practice. Yoga nidra offers a space to explore what you need in the moment, as well as an opportunity to work on releasing long-held emotions. 

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.