Day 1 Dec. 30 2008
Arrive at SFO to check in 11/2 to 2 hours prior to departure.
Day 2: Dec. 31 2008
Depart at 12:10 AM aboard Eva Airways for Tai Pei.
Day 3: Jan. 1 2009
Tai Pei/Bangkok/Vientiane (B,L,D) Happy New Year! We arrive in Tai Pei, make a transfer for our flight to Bangkok, connect to our flight to Vientiane, Laos, arriving at 6:40 PM. We apply for entry visa upon arrival and meet our Laotian local guide, and are transferred to Novotel hotel.
Day 4: Jan. 2
Vientiane (B) Begin our day on our private bus with a guided tour of the National Museum for an overview of Laotian history. Then we embark on a city tour, beginning with Watt Pakeo, the original home of the revered Emerald Buddha. On to Anousavari known as the “Vientiane arc de Triumph, then we visit Wat Sisaket--the house of thousands of graceful Buddha images, and the Pra Thatluang stupa, where the the relic of Lord Buddha is kept. Our last stop is the colorful market with a wide array of woven silk textiles. In the evening we visit a famed local restaurant that features Laotian specialties and a folk dance performance.
Day 5: Jan. 3
Vientiane (B, L) Today we visit the Wat Sok Pa Luang temple in Vientiane, famed for instruction in Vipassana meditation. A forest temple, well-known for its herb garden, it was created by a well known Buddhist nun, Mother Khow Keow, who will lead us on a meditation walk through the garden. We will partake in their herbal steam bath, perfumed by thirty two medicinal herbs that soak the skin as they waft through the wooden floor. Afterward we will enjoy a cup of herbal tea and lay down for a gentle massage in the forest. Besides a visit to Wat Sok Pa Luang, we’ll visit the Makphet training restaurant for street children and also the Les Artisans Laos center in Vientiane to see the trainees working and invite you to support them by purchasing their crafts. Our final visit is to the Cooperative Orthonic and Prosthetic Visitors Center to review their programs for prosthetic limbs for Laotians with missing limbs.
Day 6: Jan. 4
Vientiane/ Luang Prabang (B) Depart for a flight to Luang Prabang, A beautiful French-Colonial style World Heritage town registered by UNESCO. Check into our hotel in the ancient capital of the Lao Kingdom, beautifully situated between two rivers, and surrounded by forest enshrined hills. Here time appears to have stood still, giving the visitor an vision of the old Asia. After checking into your hotel, we will take a walking tour down the Mekong riverside, including the local market, and finally visiting the Wat Xieng Thong, built by the local king in 1560 and considered the most beautiful in Luang Prabang. Evening meal of local specialties.
Day 7: Jan. 5
Luang Prabang (B) Early morning we start with a predawn walk in the temple district to participate in the daily ceremony to earn merit by giving rice to the monks who file down the street with their begging bowls. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Morning tour of several important local temples: Wat Visoun, a temple for the Vietnamese migrants, and Wat Ahman, where giant puppets representing the ancestors of the local people (Grandmother and Grandfather) are stored. In the afternoon we begin our service project with Big Brother Mouse. Late afternoon chanting in a local Wat.
Day 8: Jan. 6
Luang Prabang (B) Breakfast followed by a visit the National Museum housed in the former Royal Palace. The collection of former sovereign artifacts and treasures reflect the richness of the Lao throne from the early Kings to last sovereign. Then we scale the holy Phousi mountain, climbing 238 steps, and providing an overview of Luang Prabang town and visiting the stupa at the top. After wards we will have lunch at a charming cafe overlooking the Nam Khan River. Afternoon return to our service project, and then to another beautiful Wat to participate in afternoon chants.
Day 9 Jan. 7
Luang Prabang (B,L) A fun, educational and supportive visit to the local Elephant Camp, established as an NGO in 2003 to offer a retirement community for retired elephants from the logging industry. We are introduced to the project, then take a trail ride to the Tad Sae waterfall. Lunch at the camp, followed by an easy kayak trip (about 3 hours, class 1-2) with stops at interesting locales, and arrive back in Luang Prabang in the afternoon in time for chanting.
Day 10 Jan. 8
Luang Prabang (B) Morning visit the Akha Hill tribe people, then we travel a short distance to a ethnic Hunan village of weavers. Afternoon return to our service project at Big Brother Mouse and our late afternoon meditation. Evening performance of dance and music at the Palace.
Day 11 Jan. 9
Luang Prabang (B, L) This morning we gather at the Tum Tum Cheng Restaurant and Cooking school for a fun and fascinating workshop in the history of local cuisine, while learning to prepare local delicacies. We begin with a visit to the market, and work our way through 5 courses, culminating with lunch. Afternoon return to Big Brother Mouse and chanting at another local Wat.
Day 12 Jan. 10
Luang Prabang (B) Morning excursion by boat up the Nam Ou river, one of the most beautiful in Laos. At its juncture at the Mekong river we’ll visit the Tamting holy cave, housing thousands of Buddha's brought by devotees. Following this, we continue on to Ban Shanghai distillation village, where they produce alcohol from sticky rice. Return to Luang Prabang for lunch by the Mekong River. Late afternoon we join the monks and novices for their late afternoon chants at the Wat Nong temple. Proceed back to the Palace grounds for another venue of traditional dance.
Day 13 Jan. 11
Day 14: Jan. 12
Luang Prabang (B,D) Breakfast, followed by an excursion overland to a beautiful short trek to the stunning Kuangsi waterfall. We have lunch there, then perhaps enjoy swimming in the falls. On return we stop at Ban Sangkong, a village making paper from mulberry trees. Evening meal in the home of a local family, noted for their excellent cooking, and a traditional Baci (blessing) ceremony to wish you luck and happiness in the coming year.
Transit: Return to the USA or visit Thailand (your return flight is routed through Bangkok) or book or optional 4 day, five night package to Angkor Wat in neighboring Cambodia.
- 2 nights at the Novotel Hotel in Vientiane
- 8 nights at Lao Wooden House in Luang Prabang
- Flight from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, and all transfers from hotel to airport.
- Breakfast each day, 3 lunches and 1 dinner.
- Excursion to Kuangsi waterfall, Ban Sangkong paper-making village
- Traditional Baci (blessing) ceremony
- Excursion by boat to the Tamting holy cave & to Ban Shanghai distillation village.
- 3 performances of traditional dance.
- Cooking class of local cuisine
- Visit to traditional Hill tribe and weaving villages
- Visit to the local Elephant Camp including a trail ride to the Tad Sae waterfall and return by kayak.
- Visit to the Royal Palace, the holy Phousi mountain, Wat Visoun, Wat Ahman, Wat Xieng Thong, and an orientation walking tour of Luang Prabang.
- Guided tour of the National Historical Museum, City tour of Vientiane, Watt Pakeo, Anousavari monument, Wat Sisaket
- Visit the Wat Sok Pa Luang temple including a meditation walk, herbal steam bath, a gentle massage.
- Visit to the Makphet training restaurant and Les Artisans Laos center, and the Cooperative Orthonic and Prosthetic Visitors Center.
- Donations to Big Brother Mouse and the Orthonic and Prosthetic Center.
- Pre-trip Information. Services of tour organizer/leader Made Surya as well as local guide in Laos.
- Tips and dana for meditation Instructor
- Meals where not indicated
- Visa fees and airport taxes
Cost: Ground portion:$1756.00 Air Portion: $1490.00 (as of 5/20/2008) based on two people sharing a twin or double-bedded room. Single supplement available ($236.00). Minimum 10, maximum 16 participants. Please note that price of airfare may rise due to fuel costs.
Deposits/ Penalties: A $350.00 refundable deposit reserves trip space. A penalty fee of $75.00 will be charged for all cancellations received in writing. After tickets have been issued airline penalties will occur. No refunds will be made after departure. Final payments are due 60 days prior to departure.
Trip leader: Madé Surya BS. While a graduate student in Economics at Udayana University in Bali, founded the Mountain Climbing Club, now boasting about 200 members. He has been organizing and leading study tours for 21 years and has assisted scholars and film crews in Exploring Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Greece and Italy. He has previously led many active tours, and remains a favorite guide and friend to former clients. Surya has published essays in Hinduism Today, and is currently researching traditional Balinese Healing techniques.
Airline Options: Participants may depart and return at any time. Participants are urged to sign up early and make plans regarding dates, as we are traveling during High Season. You may wish to opt for an upgrade to Eva Evergreen Class. The cabin is small and quiet, situated in the nose of the plane. The seats have a long pitch and recline with footrest and private armrests. These seats are limited and should be reserved ASAP. Current price for upgrade (which may change) is $333.00. Contact our travel agent, Wendy Simon at Pacific Harbor Travel, Santa Cruz (local calls: 427-5002, or 1-800 435-9463) for further details.
Terms and Conditions: In case of unexpected situations, the tour leader reserves the right to cancel or postpone any event. Festivals and special events will be incorporated into the itinerary as optional excursions. Anyone who leaves the tour at any time FOR ANY REASON is on their own. There will be no refunds for missed tour activities and no substitutions.
Accommodations: Are based on double occupancy. We stay in clean, comfortable locally-owned hotels with private baths. In Vientiane we are at the 3 star Novotel Hotel. In Luang Prabang we stay in a simple, newly renovated historic Guest House, located in the heart of the Old Town. Those needing additional comfort may upgrade to the Apsara Boutique Hotel for an additional $240.00 (double).
Medical: This trip is not extremely rigorous, but neither ourselves nor our organization assumes liability regarding provisions of medical care. Participants are urged to check their insurance coverage to be sure it is adequate. You must be in good general health; it is vital that persons with medical problems make them known to us well before departure. The trip leader has the right to disqualify any member from the group at any time if considered medically necessary or to avoid endangering the group, or if the participant in question is physically unfit for the rigors of the trip. Trip members should have a personal supply of medications which they may need. At this time no inoculations are required to enter Laos or Cambodia, so it is up to you and your doctor.
Responsibility of Trip Members: Luggage must be kept to 44 lbs each, the maximum allowed by domestic flights. Trip members are held responsible for being in sufficient good health to undertake the trip. Trip members are responsible for preparing for the trip by studying the itinerary and pre-departure information packets sent by Danu Enterprise and for bringing the appropriate clothing and equipment as advised.
Additional Options: We are also offering a four night visit to Angkor Wat in neighboring Cambodia which can be enjoyed at the beginning or ending of this trip. Trip members may also join us for our tour, immediately following, in Vietnam. Contact us for further information.
For further information contact Danu Emterpriese, (831) 476-0543, email@example.com
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