Tracing its history to the 14th century kingdom of Lan Xang (“Million Elephants”), Laos was rescued by France and became its protectorate in the late 19th century after being ransacked by the Chinese Black Flag Army. Many of the French who came to Laos as officials, settlers or missionaries developed a strong affection for the country and "went native" – hardly surprising in view of its appealing people, ancient temples and fabulous forests, mountains, caves and waterfalls. Although it’s now governed by a single party communist politburo, mountain hill tribes still make up nearly half the population, subsistence agriculture is still the norm for many and old hand-crafted traditions continue to hold sway.
Your Laos tour will reveal this little-known country of contrasts in all its extraordinary detail. The cultural heart of Laos is the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, described by UNESCO as Southeast Asia’s best preserved traditional town. A glorious patchwork of French colonial and Lao architecture, you’ll be enthralled by its magnificent Buddhist temples, quaint Royal Palace Museum, quiet back lanes, sizzling open-air restaurants and atmospheric night market. Your enchanting tour of Laos takes you too into the town’s stunning hinterland of forest trails, cool waterfalls and refreshing turquoise pools. For many, though, our two-day boat cruise along the
upper reaches of the river Mekong will be the fascinating highlight of this Laos tour. As well as visiting the Pak Ou Caves, filled with hundreds of Buddha statues of all shapes and sizes, it’s a journey that will transport you way off the beaten track through staggeringly beautiful countryside where each sweeping bend will bring amazing new sights, sounds and discoveries. On this fabulous tour of Laos you’ll be able to see the traditional village and river life of ethnic communities just as it’s always been – a rare experience and privilege that will leave you with wonderful memories for many years to come.
Brilliant tour! Wonderful cities to visit! Hotels in both places were excellent - the Novotel rooms in St Petersburg were much smaller than Marriott in Moscow - but then how much time do you spend in them?! Outstanding breakfas...
Sarah and Kevin Wickham
We have just returned from our first cruise. We had a wonderful time and could not fault the whole experience. The crew of the Lord Byron were all very professional and friendly, the whole service was seamless and spotlessly clean...