In remote Laos, discover an Asia from decades past, a tranquil, unpopulated Buddhist nation. Explore cloud forest, hike to isolated hilltribe villages, cruise the Mekong, cycle the lush forests, and visit elephant sanctuaries along the Mekong. These are only a few of the many unqique, private activities and experiences we may arrange for your trip in Laos.
Enjoy a delightful, intimate and non-riding elephant experience. Our favorite elephant camp in Southeast Asia is home for a couple dozen of young, endangered Asian elephants you can meet up close, learning about their care and working hands-on to feed, wash and trek with the gentle animals.
The mission of the sanctuary is managing a respectful environment for understanding elephants providing meaningful and rich interactive learning experiences about the animals and their care. Spend time and connect with elephants in a progressive, positive and natural way representing a strong trend of these camps ensuring increasingly humane and ethical treatment of elephants across Laos and beyond its borders. The camp uses activity fees and donations in their work to preserve and protect both domesticated elephants and those that still remain in the wild today.
In Laos, a traditional Baci, or “calling of the soul,” is a ceremony that celebrates a special event, including marriage, a homecoming, birth, annual festivals, and to welcome visitors. A mother is given a baci after she has recovered form a birth, the sick are given baci to facilitate a cure, officials are honored by baci, and novice monks are wished luck with a baci before entering the temple. The Baci ceremony can take place any day of the week and all year long, preferably before noon or before sunset.
Enjoy a special private baci in the home of a local family, learning about local life and being treated to local dishes.
Imagine one of the last undeveloped and most beautiful regions of Southeast Asia. After savoring Luang Prabang's sublime and old-world setting, majestic architecture, fabulous cuisine, and luxurious resorts, travel north for biking and trekking in the bucolic Nam Ou River Valley.
North of Luang Prabang is are some of the most beautiful, unspoiled landscapes in Indochina. The Nam Ou river valley is surrounded by towering karst limestone peaks, lush primitive jungle, and small rice villages surrounded by emerald-green rice paddies.
From short cruises in and around Luang Prabang, such as the spectacular gorges of the Nam Ou River valley, to longer cruises from the Golden Triangle, there is an abundance of options to exploring the rivers of picturesque Laos.
Enjoy a pleasant and picturesque dinner cruise along the Mekong, with views of the town and jungle landscapes beyond while dining on delicious Lao cuisine. We can also arrange longer private, long-tail cruises to remote jungles, or a short dinner cruise for your family on the Mekong from Luang Prabang.
Weaving has a long tradition in Laos, and the sinh, a long wraparound skirt worn by most Lao women is everywhere. Weaving, in cotton or silk, is still mostly done by hand in villages on simple wooden looms where skilled weavers are held in high regard. Textile-making techniques and patterns vary widely according to the hilltribe group and geographic location. Luang Prabang patterns, for example, feature gold and silver brocade, while Khmer-influenced patterns are found in the south. Motifs are often based on folktales, legendary creatures, nature, or geo¬metric patterns.
Designs from the northeast are highly prized-they have achieved "antique" status because the hilltribe weaving tradition in that zone was severely disrupted by decades of war; attempts have been made to revive lost patterns. Recipes for mixing natural textile dyes are closely guarded secrets; the dyes derive from tamarind, turmeric, and indigo, among other sources.
Experience Laos hand-on through traditional textiles with master weavers and guided by experienced teachers. We may arrange a visit to a local silk farm, learning about production, or enjoying a class understanding the techniques for wrapping silk and the natural dyeing process of the weft threads, which render the pattern, followed by weaving your own Ikat scarf as a souvenir.
"Through the scratched window he could see the sun reflecting golden from half a dozen temple stupas, two rivers converging around the town, and a white shrine, like a delicious meringue, sitting on top of a hill overlooking the old royal palace." Excerpt from The Thirty Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill
Indeed, if there on thing Laos is known for is being a land of monks, rich with gilded temples, pagodas, and ancient monasteries. Witness deep Buddhist spirituality at the heart of Laos. With no economy to speak of, Buddhism in Laos is as strong as it has ever been, especially in picturesque Luang Prabang, a city covered with gleaming gold temple stupas. Let us facilitate personal encounters with monks to understand this important facet of life in Laos.
Luang Prabang has a delightful cooking school, one of our favorites, low key, informal and taught within a pleasant courtyard of a small restaurant. Discover the influences of Thailand and other neighbors on Lao cuisine. The class visits a local market in the morning, and afterwards leaning to prepare a handful of classic Lao dishes, including lap.
Wellness is new to Laos, specifically Luang Prabang but there are now a few wonderful options. Spa, meditation, massage, diet, and magnificent natural settings offer an alternative to long-time but busier places in Thailand. Enjoy yoga, monastery meditation, and relaxation in sublime Luang Prabang.