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What better way to enhance your travel experience than to engage with local experts in the fine arts, history, culture, cuisine and more? Here is a selection of some of our special activities.
Baci ceremonies are an integral part of Lao culture. Held to celebrate a special event, it is based on an ancient belief that the human being is a union of organs and the soul watches over each of them. The Baci ceremony calls the soul from wherever it may be roaming back to the body and re-establishes equilibrium. At the end of the ceremony, the village elders wrap a white cotton thread around your wrist while chanting an invocation to strengthen the power of the blessings. Optionally, we can also arrange traditional music and dance after taking part in this ancient practice.
Veo Duangdala and Joanna Smith co-founded the Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre in April 2000. Veo comes from a family renowned for its weaving and Jo left her career in the UK as a magazine photographer in search of something different. Enjoy a private 1.5 hour presentation with one of the co-directors titled “The Silk Road: From Silkworms to Nagas”; looking at the journey of a Lao textile from the creation of silk to the weaving process and the meaning behind different motifs. The spacious grounds of the Living Crafts Center are ideal for relaxing after the seminar and sipping cocktails while watching the sunset.
Visit the serene Wat Sene temple overlooking the whole of Luang Prabang town. Bring offerings such as fruit, candles and incense sticks to offer to the monks and the nuns before partaking in a blessing ceremony that is believed to bring you health, happiness and longevity. After the blessing, a white thread will be tied your wrist – it is believed that this will help you to success in realising your dreams. The blessing ceremony will bring good tidings carried with you throughout the remainder of your journey in Laos and hopefully return home with you.
Why is Mount Phousi called Mount Phousi? What has it got to do with mushrooms and the Ramayana? All questions will be answered when we visit the Garavek Theater, a company based in Luang Prabang, with the aim of promoting and preserving the local myths, legends, and folktales. Every evening, they present a selection of traditional Lao stories in their intimate theatre in Luang Prabang's historic old town. The stories are told in English, by a Lao storyteller, with the live musical accompaniment of the khene - the quintessential Lao folk instrument.
After the performance, transfer to one of the best Lao restaurants in the country. Choose between a typical Luang Prabang meal, a ‘buffet’ of all the local specialties, or be adventurous and try foods usually only found in local markets and private homes… or out in the jungle!
Enjoy your free time like many of the locals in Luang Prabang do - playing a couple of rounds of Petanque. This French game, with the objective to throw or roll a heavy ball as close as possible to a smaller target ball, has been played on courts here since the colonial period.
Team up with your travel companion for a match or if you feel particularly confident, play against a Lao person and see whose technique works best.
After visiting the view point at the bottom of Kuang Si waterfalls, join our food guide and set out on a short trek up to the top collecting herbs, mushrooms, bamboo shoot and other vegetables along the way. Once at the top, help to prepare your truly local Laos “jungle” picnic lunch.
This tour starts in Vientiane early in the morning and we travel to Ban Hatkhai in the south-eastern part of the Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area. Orchids will be spotted all along the way but particularly in the area around the waterfalls. You are guided by local villagers and an orchid expert and you will not only be surprised about the abundance of orchids but get insights into their specific biology and ecology. While hiking through bamboo forests and jungle paths, you will also have the opportunity of getting introduced to many other plants used by the local people for medical purposes or as food supplement. This trip is not only for the serious botanists but for everyone who loves and enjoys nature.
In celebration of the 20th UNESCO Anniversary in December 2015, a book was published that highlights myriad aspects of this unique and charming World Heritage Site. The walking tour we propose you to take, which is based on the book, has been put together by connoisseurs of Luang Prabang, who have been involved for many years in researching, documenting and preserving the town’s traditions and treasures, and starts at the beginning of the town peninsula, where the Mekong and Nam Khan River meet.
Set out on foot for an ‘off the beaten track’ walking tour with your local guide and the 20th Anniversary Book in hand. Observe Luang Prabang’s distinct architecture and let your guide tell you stories about the houses you see and the places you pass. After the tour, stroll along a tree-lined lane just off the main road and step into a bygone era. Courtiers of the former royal Lao court built the residences and temples lining the brick path and we will take a break at a lovely little café.
With over 60 Buddhist temples, UNESCO listed Luang Prabang is a town of temples – and monks. Spend time today to meet some of the most senior monks in town and learn more about their life or Buddhism in general.
Visit the home weaving studio of Mrs. Carol Cassidy, an American textiles expert who arrived in Vientiane in 1989 and was so impressed by the quality and diversity of weaving in Laos that she set up the Lao Textiles Studio which now employs over 40 local weavers who create naturally dyed and woven silk pieces reflecting traditional Lao designs.
Take a step back in time as you’re transferred to the serenity of the Silk Road Café located on the banks of the Mekong River. Sip on your cocktail whilst the sun sets and enjoy an exclusive, private Q&A session with our local expert on Laos – a European who has called Luang Prabang home for over 20 years. Formerly a consultant for UNESCO, he’ll share with you his enthusiasm and passion for Lao culture, history, customs and the natural environment.
In the morning or late afternoon, enjoy a private visit and breakfast/cocktail at the Kuang Si Butterfly Park. You will have the park all to yourself as you are being guided through by one of its owners. Afterwards, sit down in the parks café for a delicious breakfast or Lao cocktail and snacks, and learn more about the beautiful butterflies as well as their habitat. This is great addition to any Kuang Si Waterfall tour and ideal for someone looking for a special experience or for a family wanting a fun time with their children.
High in the mountains surrounding the city of Luang Prabang, dwell a bouquet of diverse hill tribes who produce a rare specialty highland Arabica coffee. Meet a local expat who has been living in Laos working in agriculture. He has been part of a coffee promotion initiative to provide farmers an alternative to growing opium. Learn about the different types of coffee beans produced in Luang Prabang and what positive effects the project is having on the locals. Have a chance to see coffee being roasted and of course taste the final product of these fine Lao Arabica beans in the form of a latte, cappuccino or the local specialty, the Luang Prabang espresso.
In the morning, drive in the direction of Kuang Si waterfall where the organic farm of Ms. Vandara, a published Lao cookbook author, is located. Start your cooking class with selecting items from the garden and learn in this beautiful environment how to prepare Lao food under the guidance of Mrs. Vandara. In the afternoon, say goodbye and head to the Kuang Si Waterfall and National park for a leisurely hike or swim. For the more adventurous, you can continue to the top of the main waterfall before returning to Luang Prabang in the afternoon.
Take part in an intimate dining experience in La Residence Phou Vao’s Spirit Gardens. The entrance to the garden is lit by 500 glistening candles and the 7-course dinner which follows will leave you full and fulfilled with lasting memories of a special evening.
For foodies who want to get a taste of the local flavor, head to Luang Prabang's famous night market. Walk through the market and head towards the small side streets where vendors offer ‘food buffets’ and different local snacks. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells while your guide explains the different cooking methods or ingredients to you. After looking and trying (if you want!) head to a famous local restaurant for Sindad BBQ, a "BBQ at your table" type of Laos traditional way of cooking which is very popular with the locals.
Depart from Luang Prabang town in the late afternoon on the luxurious Amantaka Boat for a cruise up and down stream. The Mekong River plays an intrinsic role in everyday life for those living along its shores. From the boat, observe the local villages and rural life along the tree-lined banks of the river. Enjoy the cool breeze off the water with a refreshing cocktail and canapés, and experience a magical sunset over the Mekong River.
Enhance your travel experience by hiring your very own helicopter for the day. Let us whisk you away to the famous ‘Plain of Jars’ or to other destinations within Laos. Additionally, we can offer scenic flights of the capital, Vientiane, and aerial photography flights.