LUANG PRABANG

Situated in the centre of northern Laos, Luang Prabang is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding cultural, historic and architectural values and its harmonious relationship between the natural and built environment. In the 14th century, the King Fa Ngum founded the first Lao Kingdom, Lane Xang, here in Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang remained the capital of Lane Xang until 1565 when the capital was moved to Vientiane. It remained to serve as the country's spiritual and religious centre. Visitors to Luang Prabang are charmed by the friendly atmosphere of this small town. The town itself offers several unique insights into the history of the region, through excellently preserved Buddhist temples, museum and a variety of Lao, Tai-Lue, Burmese, Chinese and Tai architecture at the Night Market. Luang Prabang sells a large variety of traditional goods. The town is famous for its unique textiles and beautiful mulberry paper.

Famous foods in Luang Prabang are 'Aur Lam' (a thick stew made with the forested herb), 'Sakhan', (meat and eggplants), 'Jaew Bong', (a sauce made with hot chillies and buffalo skin) and 'Khai Pan' (dried river weed lightly fried with sesame seeds and garlic). Some of the most visited sites in Luang Prabang Town are Wat Xieng Thong, Mount Phou Si, Wat Visounnarath (the former Royal Palace) and Wat Manolom. Equally beautiful are the lesser known temples across the Mekong River in Chomphet District. You can take a 1,5-hour walk through the hills and forest opposite the main town to explore the old temple sites and peaceful environment. Just outside of the main town are the beautiful Tad Kwang Si Waterfall, Tham Ting Caves, Ban Xang Hai Village, and the tiered Tad Sae Waterfall. Further out is Muang Ngoi Kao, a quiet village located on the banks of the Nam Ou River surrounded by high karst mountains and sheer limestone cliffs. You can visit these sites on your own or use the services of one of the many tour operators based in the town. Luang Prabang celebrates all of the major Lao festivals in style. The largest, Pi Mai Lao or Lao New Year takes place officially from 13-15 April, but in Luang Prabang, the festival often lasts a full week with a trade fair, 'Miss Lao New Year' contest, parades and religious ceremonies.

In late December Hmong New Year is celebrated. This is a time where the Hmong show off their finest traditional clothing, hold musical performances and other cultural ceremonies. In Luang Prabang, the annual boat races are held in late September, one month earlier than Vientiane and most other places in the country. While in Luang Prabang, you may observe the morning alms giving ceremony, where monks walk through town in single file carrying their alms bowls to give laypeople the opportunity to offer alms and gain merit. Offerings by the people are usually comprised of sticky rice, fruit or simple traditional snacks. Known as 'Binthabat' in Lao, this is a sacred religious ceremony. Tourists may participate in and photograph the ceremony, however, the people of Luang Prabang, especially the monks, ask that this is done is a respectful way and visitors do everything they can not disrupt this ancient tradition.

PACKAGES THAT VISIT

LUANG PRABANG

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Generally, each passenger is allowed to check 1 piece of luggage of 20kg/44lbs on the domestic flights, plus a carry on weighing around 7kg/15lbs. However, this can vary from one airline to the next, so please check with your airline for details. If you have booked a low-cost carrier yourself, then you will need to pay additional fees for checked luggage.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

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All tours provided by Focus Travel do not include travel insurance, so it is highly recommended that you need to have travel insurance cover arranged prior to departure. Having comprehensive travel insurance helps ensure your safety and financial security should the unexpected happen while you’re traveling or before you leave.

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TIPPING

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What is the tipping policy in the country I am visiting?

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In general, tipping is widely accepted as a way to show your appreciation of good service in Asia but is not compulsory. Our travel specialists can provide you with detailed advice during your booking enquiry specific to the destination you are visiting.

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Tipping is not included on all of Focus Travel tours. If you are happy with services provided by your local guides, drivers and tour leader, a tip is appreciated.

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We infrequently need to make minor changes to our itineraries for operational reasons, but our guests’ safety and comfort is always a priority and these changes rarely affect our travelers’ enjoyment. A significant change is one that alters the start or finish city of your tour or affects the duration of your tour. If this happens you will be advised as soon as possible and offered the choice of accepting the amendment, changing to another trip or accepting a full refund.

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Validity to be at least 6 months from return date home.

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Do I need to get a visa and what visa do I require?

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Your travel specialists will let you know if your destination or transit locations require a visa. Should you require a visa, you will need to apply for these approximately 3-4 months prior to your departure. Some destinations recommend applications to be 6 months prior to departure. For more visa information of each country, please click on the links below:
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DRESS CODE

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What is the dress code?

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Generally, smart casual is acceptable on most tours, however some tours may require/recommend per below:
- Comfortable footwear is recommended across all tours.
- Some cultures observe specific dress requirements when visiting religious sites. Our Tour Leaders/Tour Guides will supply more information on tour on any of these requirements.

BEFORE YOU GO

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Please ensure you advise your travel specialists during your booking process if you or any of your travelling companions have special dietary needs or requests. We aim to cater for all requests which are advised at the time of making your booking.

CONTACTING US

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