For early risers, there is a very special dawn visit to watch the monks collecting the alms. As the sun begins to rise, long lines of orange-robed monks leave their pagodas and walk barefoot down the streets collecting offerings from Luang Prabang residents. It is a beautiful, serene ceremony that highlights the spiritualism of the Laos people.
Return to the hotel for breakfast.
Transfer by vehicle to the historical old town of central Luang Prabang where your tour begins at the fresh market. Accompanied by your guide, walk through the rows of stalls looking at what is on sale. The locals come here every day to shop for vegetables, fruits and other exotic specialties and delicacies. The market is adjacent to the National Museum, your next stop. Once the Royal Palace of Laos, the National Museum is filled with art, artifacts, and jewels and a visit examines the history and rich culture of the country.
After this, continue your tour of Luang Prabang by visiting some of the city’s most important temples. Start at Wat Visoun, where you will see the famous Watermelon Stupa, shaped like the fruit from which it takes its name. 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 will also visit Wat Aham where you will see the altar of the 2 guardian spirits of Luang Prabang.
Enjoy lunch in town at Tamarind restaurant where you will have a chance to sample unusual local specialties not available back home.
This afternoon head to Ock Pop Tok to discover more about textiles in Laos- including their history, production, and cultural significance. You will have a chance to design and/or dye your own scarf.
Take a break at Le Patio Café, located inside the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center (TAEC), and sip a local brew of coffee. Then, take a tour of TAEC, a museum dedicated to exploring the rich diversity of Laos’ ethnic minorities. Traditional costumes, tools, and artifacts are on display alongside in-depth descriptions and written histories. It is a great opportunity to gain insight in to the Lao people.
Late this afternoon, experience the wonderful flavors of Lao cuisine with a Lao cooking class. Led by Chef Mr. Chantanong from The Residence Phou Vao, the cooking course is a fun, hands-on way to learn about the ingredients involved and techniques used to create the local cuisine. The cooking class can be organized in the main kitchen or outside, in front of the pool, overlooking the Phousi mountain.
At the end of the course, sit down to enjoy a delicious dinner which you have helped prepare. Participants will also receive a book of Lao recipes and a certificate from the chef.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Belmond La Residence Phou Vao 5*