A highly recommended optional early start provides the opportunity to participate in the Alms ceremony (Tak Bat), a centuries old daily morning ritual. Saffron-clad monks stream out in procession from the old town's temples to collect offerings of Alms from the faithful residents. After the captivating experience, we wander back to the hotel through the lively morning market where we witness the trading of all manner of local wares.
Following breakfast, enjoy a short-guided tour of the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground -the best representation of classical Laotian architecture- before boarding a cruise upstream on the Mekong River. Marvel at the soaring karst formations as we meander up the Mekong to the site of the mysterious of Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. After our exploration we return to town by road.
In the afternoon we head out, this time south, passing through local Lao ethnic minority villages toward the impressive Khuang Si Waterfall. As we walk through the forest to the falls, we can visit the Free the Bears sanctuary, an important place for the rehabilitation of Moon, Sun and Sloth bears confiscated from the traditional medicine trade. The lower turquoise pools of Khuang Si waterfall are a great place for refreshing dip or choose to climb up through the forest toward the upper sections.
Please note: The alms giving ceremony is a daily religious event not a show for tourists. Therefore, please be respectful - dress conservatively, turn camera flashes off and follow the instructions of your guide.
Overnight in Luang Prabang