Temples, Monks, Markets


“I am in Luang Prabang, a wonder to the eyes.  The city and its rivers and mountains incontestably the most beautiful spot in Laos.”

Auguste Pavie - the first French vice-consul in Luang Prabang in 1885

Laos is an ancient country with a fascinating culture, striking scenery, with gracious ways and rich traditions.  Visiting Laos is a trip back in time:  brilliant temples and golden buddhas, wet-rice fields, mountains with colorful minority tribes, markets and handicrafts. Start back in time in lovely Luang Prabang, a World Heritage site, with 58 temples and a former Royal Palace filled with thousands of gilded buddhas, silver and lacquer artifacts, followed by the temples, shops, museums and restaurants of Vientiane, the old and new, bustling capital.  In addition to this group tour, Silk and Stones Travel customizes trips to Laos for several days of the essential Luang Prabang experience or several weeks learning to weave at a fiber arts center, with cooking classes, market trips, and languid afternoons along the Mekong.  B,L,D refer to meals included with the group tour.

For additional photographs, see the Laos Photo Album, and the detailed lists of Laos resources.  For more information, please contact Silk and Stones travel Customer Service.


Unspoiled Laos -- Private Trips available anytime

Temples, Treasures, Tribes - October and December

Silk Traditions of Southeast Asia - January


Experiences - unique and irresistible:

  1. Luang Prabang Community/Charity Tour - 7 days to sightsee and visit social enterprise, natural wonders, and eco-lodges

  2. Big Brother Mouse “Book Party” - bring books to a village without a school

  3. Taste of Laos - shop, cook, eat starting in the north with Luang Nam Tha, Luang Prabang, finish with Vientiane

  4. Explore Buddhism with a trip to Luang Prabang’s Buddhist temples

  5. Electric Biking in Luang Prabang to the Kuang Si Waterfall

  6. Baci Ceremony to receive a blessing from the monks

  7. Cycle from Pakse to Siem Reap for an kunusual eco-experience

Day 1 Arrive Luang Prabang

Arrive in Luang Prabang, either from Siem Reap after the Vietnam and Cambodia tours, or on your own with a custom itinerary, for a welcome at the airport and transfer to the hotel.  Convene in the late afternoon to climb the 328 steps of Vat Phousi Hill for an outstanding overview of the city and a slow, lingering, spectacular sunset.  Walk through the Hmong Night Market for dinner at a local bistro.  Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2 Luang Prabang

Rise early for the sunrise at the crossroads in town for the procession of saffron robed monks from Luang Prabang’s
many temples seeking offerings left by the faithful.  After breakfast, tour temples seeking offerings left by the faithful.  After breakfast, tour this city founded on the left bank of the Mekong, previously a religious capital, now a World Heritage site with more than 100 temples, among the most beautiful and most revered in Laos.  Discover Vat Xieng Thong, the Temple of the Royal City, Vat May, Vat Visoun, the oldest temple of the city that resembles no other with its wooden windows inspired by the Khmer Temple of Vat Phou, Vat Aham, and Vat Senna, the first monastery whose roof was to be covered with yellow and red tiles.  Finish in late afternoon with tea or cocktails at an open air restaurant along the Mekong to watch the river ferry.  Dinner on your own and overnight at the hotel.

Day 3 Luang Prabang - Kuang Sy

In the morning, visit the Royal Palace, now the National Museum, before heading off to Khuang Sy waterfall on a local road bordered by villages and rice fields.  Visit villages and enjoy a picnic lunch at the waterfall, swimming in the chalky pools or taking photos of the falls, flowers and the villagers.  Return to Luang Prabang for a stroll around town to see the old French colonial houses, and the hidden alleys.  Stop at Big Brother Mouse to see children studying and conversing in English.  Visit the silk shops and the small Ethnographic Museum.   Stroll through the small lanes to see life in Luang Prabang, unchanged for years.  Dinner on your own.  Overnight at the hotel.

Day 4 Luang Prabang - Pak Ou - Vientiane

In the morning, transfer to the Mekong quay for a boat trip to traditional villages and to visit the sacred caves of Pak Ou, which shelter hundreds of statuettes of Buddha.  The caves offer a splendid view of the Mekong which here mixes its water with that of Nam Ou.  Picnic lunch at the cave.  Or, to deepen your appreciation of the Lao textile traditions and craft, enjoy a morning class and lunch at the Ock Pop Tok weaving center learning to dye and weave silk scarves.  Afternoon at leisure for shopping, spa treatments, or more temples.  Dinner on your own and overnight at the hotel. 

Day 5 Vientiane

Transfer to the airport for flight to Vientiane, capital of Laos, with temples, stupas, and the old market.  Visit Vat Sisaket, considered to be the largest and most beautiful temple in Vientiane, Vat Phra Keo, sheltering the Emerald Buddha, Pha That Louang, the cloister and stupa, the symbol of Laos, representing both Buddhism and Lao’s sovereignty, Patuxai, a monument established in memory of war victims with a panoramic view of Vientiane, and Talat Kua Din, the local produce market opposite Talat Sao.  Dinner on your own, and overnight at the hotel.

Day 6 Vientiane

Further refine your knowledge of Lao arts by visiting Lao Textiles in town, and taking a short weaving or silk dying class at the Houey Hong Center outside of town.  In the afternoon visit the National Museum, shop, or simply relaxing along the Mekong with tea or beer , gather in the late afternoon for a traditional farewell dinner.  Overnight at the hotel.

Day 7 Vientiane outbound

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departure flight home.

Please see Resources and Packing List, Application and Terms and Conditions for additional help planning your trip.  For more information on custom itineraries, contact Silk and Stones Travel.  For visa information, read the Laos Visa Application information, or plan for a visa upon arrival at the airport.

Silk and Stones Travel tours are designed for very small groups, using suppliers and partnerships with local providers, and with sensitivity to the unique environmental, ecological, and cultural opportunities in each country. 

brings the best of travel to unusual places with comfort, safety, and with cultural and environmental sensitivity.  Click on the following to learn about the  group tour itineraries, or to gain insights for designing private, custom trips.

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Buddhas in Luang Prabang