Fly to Bangkok.
We arrive into Bangkok in the early evening and will be met at by a local representative who will escort you to your comfortable hotel. The evening is free to relax.
This morning you will be picked up early and taken to Bangkok airport and your morning flight to Luang Prabang. You will be met by Andy at Luang Prabang Airport and take a short transfer to your guesthouse. There will be free time to explore the city in the afternoon and this evening is your first chance to indulge in Laotian food at a local restaurant for an optional group meal.
It may be a long journey to get to Pak Xeng (2 hours each way), but without suitable accommodation nearby, we will be very happy to return to our comfortable accommodation after a day's working on a new Learning Centre for this remote village.
Situated a little closer to Luang Prabang, we will be working with the children at a local secondary school. The nature of the project work will vary depending on how much has been completed before we arrive and both days will show a very different side to the communities surrounding Luang Prabang. Our evenings are free to explore the night market or enjoy a treat with a relaxing Laos massage (approx. GBP4 per hour).
Today is free to relax after a few days' hard work or to explore Luang Prabang further, maybe even a visit to Kwang Si Waterfalls. There will also be time to enjoy a boat journey along the Mekong River with the local charity organisation CLI who have been helping various remote communities along the Mekong and Ou rivers for many years.
For those up at dawn there is the chance to witness the daily parade of saffron-robed monks receiving alms. Then after an early breakfast, we drive south to the town of Vang Vieng. Set on the banks of the Nam Song (Song River), we arrive into a truly beautiful location. Our stunning journey takes approximately 7-8 hours on roads that wind their way through the surrounding hills and limestone mountains jutting sharply above flat river valleys. Our reward for this journey is relaxing at our well situated hotel on the banks of the River Song, as the sun goes down over Vang Vieng.
Day 8 - 9
Over the next two days we will spend some time undertaking more project work at Vang Vieng primary school a short walk away from our hotel. Though a state school, there is little funding to maintain and improve the facility and we join hands with a local organisation to help continue the on-going improvements. We will also help by conducting games, sports and English lessons.
There will also be plenty of time to explore this tourist-friendly town, set between limestone karst towers that pierce the countryside and rolling hills. Optional excursions and activities are easily arranged and there are plenty of opportunities for walks in the surrounding hills, visits to the numerous caves that punctuate the limestone scenery or even kayaking down the Song River. There are a number of Lao and minority tribe villages in the area, which can also be easily reached in a day trip. Bicycles can also be hired for those who wish to tour the beautiful countryside on two wheels. Alternatively just sit back, relax and soak up the beautiful view.
We leave Vang Vieng in the morning and descend from the hills to the capital Vientiane, which translates as Sandalwood City. Our hotel is located near the banks of the Mekong River and the afternoon is free to explore this interesting colonial city before we meet up in the evening for a group meal (optional).
We have more free time today to relax, visit temples, walk the Mekong promenade or maybe take a tuk-tuk out to the Buddha Park outside the city. There is also a visit that can be arranged to the COPE Museum to learn about landmine victims, (Laos being the most bombed country in history). We join up again in the afternoon to head over the border into Thailand from where we board our overnight sleeper train back to Bangkok.
We arrive in Bangkok in the morning and head straight to our hotel where we hope to check in early. Today there is free time to see some of Bangkok's famous sites including a wander around the markets of the surrounding area, a visit to one of Bangkok's most iconic sites, the nearby Grand Palace, or simply to relax by the pool on our rooftop terrace. Alternatively, an optional guided tour can be arranged locally.
After an early breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight to London.