PRE CRUISE Journey to Laos
Fly to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang in northern Laos to behold its most revered temples, cruise the Mekong River and explore remote villages where traditional customs are still practiced.
Day 1 - Sunday, April 12, 2015
After flying into the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, you will transfer to the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit. Check in is 2:00pm. Although every effort will be made to have rooms available before this time, this cannot be guaranteed. The remainder of the day and evening are at your leisure with meals on your own.
Day 2 - Monday, April 13, 2015
Following breakfast at the hotel, you will check out and transfer to the airport for your flight to Luang Prabang, a city at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Upon arriving and after getting your Laos visa issued (for a separate fee), you will proceed to the La Residence Phou Vao hotel to check in and relax.
The afternoon is devoted to visiting several temples or “wats,” beginning with Wat Visoun. Built in the early 1500s, the temple is perhaps the oldest in the city and is known for the rather odd shape of its lotus stupa, which resembles a watermelon. Adjacent lies Wat Aham, which was constructed about 300 years later in a totally different style. Although no longer the center of religious activities in the city, Wat Aham is still striking, especially its red and gold beams and murals depicting Buddhist precepts.
Then, it’s on to Wat Xieng Thong, the largest temple in Luang Prabang. Constructed in the 16th century on the banks of the Mekong River, it is best known for its Tree of Life mural, which describes the Buddhist story.
Finally, you will ascend Phousi Hill in the center of the old town for a magnificent view of the sunset, and then proceed to the La Residence Phou Vao hotel for the evening.
Day 3 - Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Following breakfast at the La Residence Phou Vao hotel, you will transfer to an awaiting boat on the Mekong River, a scenic waterway that snakes through the lush countryside. An hour or so into the cruise, you will stop at the magnificent Pak Ou Caves. While the natural caves are beautiful, it’s what inside that is truly intriguing. The interiors are filled with thousands of Buddha images and statues of all sizes that were donated by local people.
Continuing down the river, you will then visit the village of Ban Sanghai to watch the residents make rice whisky using a traditional technique to distill the spirit. Then after cruising back to the pier, you will return to Luang Prabang to enjoy a traditional Laotian lunch.
Later you will drive to the beautiful multi-tiered Kuangsi waterfalls and then visit the Hmong and Khmu hilltribe village. Both groups are ethnic minorities in northern Laos that follow traditional customs and dress, which presents a fascinating glimpse into a lifestyle that has changed little over the years.
In time, you will transfer back to the La Residence Phou Vao hotel to freshen up before dinner at a renowned restaurant. Afterwards, you will be treated to a private performance of a Baci ceremony, which Laotians traditionally hold to celebrate a special event such as a marriage or birth. You will also visit the wonderfully atmospheric Night Market in Luang Prabang for a bit of shopping before returning to the hotel for the evening.
Day 4 - Wednesday, April 15, 2015
After breakfast and check out at the hotel, you will drive to the Luang Prabang airport for the flight to Bangkok. Upon arriving at Bangkok airport, you will transfer to the ship.
NOTE: There is extensive walking at the temple sites, with steps at Wat Xieng Thong, Phousi Hill and Luang Prabang pier.
Land Program Step by Step:
The order of sites visited may vary to avoid congestion. The times and flights indicated are only approximate, given here for general reference purposes and subject to change.
EXTRA NIGHTS: If you book extra nights through the cruise line, you will be met per the flight details provided and transferred to the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit Hotel. Check in is 2:00pm. Meals other than breakfast, as well as activities, are on your own until Day 2 of the program. Be sure that the cruise line has your up-to-date flight details.
Meet and greet and transfer from the Bangkok airport to the hotel for check-in
Check in is 2:00pm
Remainder of the day and meals are at your leisure
Overnight at the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit
*Please see notes further below regarding excess luggage and luggage storage. Please pack accordingly.
6:00am Breakfast at the hotel and check out
7:00am Transfer to the Bangkok airport
10:05am Fly from Bangkok (Flight PG941, subject to change) to Luang Prabang
12:05pm Process on-arrival visa (separate fee payable upon entry)
1:05pm Transfer from Luang Prabang airport to the hotel for check-in
2:30pm Drive from the hotel to Wat Visoun and Wat Aham
2:45pm Visit Wat Visoun and Wat Aham
3:15pm Drive to Wat Xiang Thong
3:45pm Visit to Wat Xiang Thong
4:45pm Drive to Phousi Hill
5:00pm Visit Phousi Hill until sunset
6:00pm Drive from Phoousi Hill to the hotel
Overnight at La Residence Phou Vao
7:00am Breakfast at the hotel
8:00am Depart for the pier
8:30am Cruise the Mekong River
9:30am Visit the Pak Ou Caves
10:30am Cruise the Mekong River
11:00am Visit Ban Sanghai village
11:30am Cruise back to Luang Prabang
1:00pm Drive to Kuangsi waterfalls
2:00pm Visit Kuangsi waterfalls, Hmong and Khmu village
4:30pm Drive back to the hotel
6:00pm Dinner at a nearby restaurant
7:00pm Private Baci ceremony and Night Market visit
8:00pm Return to the hotel
Overnight at La Residence Phou Vao
6:00am Breakfast at the hotel and check out
10:00am Transfer from the hotel to the Luang Prabang airport
12:45pm Fly from Luang Prabang (Flight PG942, subject to change) to Bangkok
14:50pm Transfer from the airport to the ship
Laos has a tropical monsoon climate with wet and dry seasons. November to April is the cooler, dry season. May is very hot with occasional rain. June to October is the humid and wet monsoon season.
The unit of currency in Laos is the Kip. However, U.S. dollars and Thai Baht are also accepted currencies. ATMs are widely available in Luang Prabang. VISA credit cards are also accepted in many places.
The electric current is 220 volts. Short power blackouts are common in Luang Prabang. In small towns, the current can be off for long periods of time. After dark, it is best to keep a flashlight or candles handy. In most hotels, adaptors are necessary for French and American electronics.
All visitors to Laos require a valid passport with at least 6 months left before it expires. Visas are also required for entry into Laos. A regular tourist visa is valid for up to 30 days and will be issued upon arrival in Laos. Visa prices vary according to your country of residence. For both the USA and United Kingdom, the price is $35 U.S. dollars per person.
**2 passport size color photos will be required for the visa.
**After completing the formalities, you are required to double-check your passport to make sure the stamping is legible to avoid penalty charges on your departure from Laos.
What to Bring:
We recommend bringing a jacket, as it can get quite cool in the evenings. Good walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent are also recommended.
Luggage information for flights:
The maximum weight allowance for your luggage is 20 kilograms (44 lbs) per person.
*Any excess luggage will be taken on Day 2 and stored at the hotel. It will be delivered to the ship and your stateroom on embarkation day. Kindly ensure that any excess luggage is tagged properly with your name and stateroom number on the ship.
Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit
189 Sukhumvit Rd Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Phone: 66 2 126 9999
La Residence Phou Vao by Orient Express
La Résidence Phou Vao, 3 PO Box 50, Luang Prabang, PDR 84330, Laos
Phone: (+856-71) 212194
*We will only substitute hotels in unforeseen situations. If similar hotels are substituted, they will be of equal ratings and standards.
Land cost includes:
? One-night accommodation in Bangkok at the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit (Deluxe Room) or similar hotel
? Two-nights accommodation in Laos at the La Residence Phou Vao (Garden Junior Suite) or similar hotel
? Transfers and sightseeing, local English-speaking guide, and admission fees as per the program
? 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners in Luang Prabang (Dinner include a choice of two glasses of house wine or local beer)
? Gratuities to drivers and guides
? Economy-class flights from Bangkok to Luang Prabang to Bangkok
Please Note: Guests booking their own flights (independent of the cruise line) are responsible for ensuring that the cruise line has the updated departure information so your transfer can be arranged. If you book additional hotel nights independently of the cruise line, a departure transfer is not provided.
Land cost excludes:
? Laos on-arrival visa fee (approximately $35 U.S. dollars per person, subject to change)
? Personal expenses
? Additional sightseeing, meals and beverages not mentioned in this itinerary
? Hotel incidentals including mini bar
Please note: Land programs that encompass multiple days ashore customarily include extensive and prolonged activity, while those of shorter durations typically have more moderate activity levels. However, each program varies and participants should be prepared to negotiate a mixture of surfaces, which may include inclines, cobblestones, sand, gravel or natural paths. There may also be a need to climb steps or stairs on occasion. Guests who utilize a wheelchair and those with mobility concerns are advised to check with the cruise line in advance to see if any portion of the tour program may not be considered suitable for their individual situation.
$1,999 Per Guest