Luang Prabang, Laos
Start this morning with a visit to one of Laos’ most picturesque temples, Wat Xieng Thong. Located at the end of the peninsula, close to the Mekong River, this temple was erected in 1560 by King Setthathirat and is deeply revered by the Lao people.
Walk to the boat pier, near the temple, to board the Nava Mekong, a beautiful wooden river boat for a cruise up the Mekong to the Pak Ou Caves. The journey takes around 2 hours and along the way you will be surrounded by spectacular views, pass by small villages on the river banks and witness fishermen out for their daily catch.
Upon reaching Pak Ou, disembark to explore the caves. Here you will see thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues crammed into two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. The statues range in size from a few centimeters tall to the size of a human, and the view from the mouth of the cave provides sweeping views of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers. The caves are as well a destination for local pilgrimages, especially during the Lao New Year period of Pii Mai.
Back onboard the Nava Mekong, you will cruise around the waters to a quiet location set amid limestone cliffs where the boat will moor for lunch. A selection of freshly prepared Lao dishes will be served before returning downstream to Luang Prabang.
This afternoon, you will have a chance to learn more about this culturally rich and history city with a guided tour. The city tour begins with a visit to the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, where you will explore the history of Laos. Continue on foot to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief, and Wat Sensoukarahm, which features a beautiful dazzling golden façade.
Optional: If you like ballet we can arrange tickets for the Royal Ballet Theatre. Founded in 2002 the Ballet aims to preserve Laos’ cultural heritage. This evening, enjoy a spectacular performance which includes scenes from the Lao-Ramayana, traditional folk dances and tribal dances.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Belmond La Residence Phou Vao (Garden View Room)