Luang Prabang: Connect to Elephants



Tour code



Luang Prabang city tour – Baci Ceremony – Pak Ou caves – Pha Tad Ke Garden – Kuang Si waterfalls – Elephant Conservation Center (Xayabouly) – Luang Prabang.

Known as Lane Xang, or the “Land of a Million Elephants”, the Lao PDR historically had large and widely distributed populations of both wild and domesticated elephants. Within this 7-day Laos Elephant Tour, we will discover the Elephant Conservation Center in Xayabouly and the ancient town of Luang Prabang.

Trip highlights:

    Walk along the small street of ancient Prabang and be allured by the charm of the city

    Panoramic view over the ancient town of Luang Prabang during sunset

    The holy Spirit of Baci Ceremony

    The cruise along the Mekong river

    Sensing the skin, the smell, and the breath of the elephant as close as you wish


    Joining the once-in-a-lifetime Baci Ceremony

    Walk along the small street of the ancient Luang Prabang

    Cruising along the mighty Mekong River to visit the mysterious Pak Ou caves

    Strolling around the garden of Pha Tad Ke, the first and only botanical garden in Laos

    Refreshing at the exciting Kuang Si waterfalls

    And the highlighted activities of the tour are the exploration of the Elephant Conservation Center, interacting with Elephant, and learning the efforts to re-enforce our friends back to nature


    The untouched nature along the bank of the Mekong River

    The exciting Kuang Si Waterfalls

    The first and only botanical garden of Pha Tad Ke

    The nature along the way from Luang Prabang to Xayabouly

    The nature at Elephant Conservation Center


    Attending the daily morning almsgiving in Luang Prabang

    Visit the various temples and museums in Luang Prabang to learn about the culture of Laos

    The visit to the local villages during the tour to see the local life



Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

On arrival at the Luang Prabang airport, you will be met and transferred to check-in at the hotel. Situated in the center 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.

After a short rest, you will first visit Royal Palace Museum, which was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. Continue to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief, which is one of the most beautiful temples in town. If time permits, you will take a short walk around the small streets of the city center, watching the life of local people

In the late afternoon, you climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. You then join a private Baci ceremony at a local family. The Baci ceremony as a traditional ritual of the Lao people expresses the spirituality of the country and is a highly memorable experience and a deep insight into Lao culture for the participants. Dinner will be served after that for you to share with the host family. This is the best chance for you to have your first experience of local life and culture.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Wake up as the sun rises, and you prepare to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning almsgiving, which dates to the 14th century. More than 200 Buddhist monks depart from various temples to gather their daily meals from the faithful residents sitting quietly on the streets. Next, you will visit the temporary morning market near the former Royal Palace. Just set on the ground, the local people come here to barter their day’s catch with rice to vegetables, fish, or chicken. It is the best chance to experience the flavor of local life.

For breakfast at the hotel, we will first visit the city’s oldest temple Wat Sene. Afterward, board a private longtail boat for the Mekong River cruise to the famous Pak Ou Caves. Locally called Tam Ting, the caves are filled with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues, coming in a wide range of sizes. During the boat ride, take note of the fishermen and villagers going about their daily life on the river. For many, the Mekong plays an integral role in daily life and represents one of the only means of transportation and commerce.

After visiting the caves, cruise back to Luang Prabang. If time permits, stop at Ban Xang Hay, a village specializing in making rice wine. Once back in Luang Prabang, enjoy lunch at one of the town’s most celebrated restaurants: Tamarind (Closed on Sundays).

On arrival back in the city, visit a visit to the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, a superb piece of Lao temple architecture, which presents a sweeping two-tiered roof and ornate mosaics including a beautiful ‘tree of life ‘glass montage on the rear temple wall. Afterward, you visit the Traditional Art and Ethnology Center (closed on Monday) to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

The Pha Tad Ke boat departs Ban Wat That at 9:00 Am. After a 15-minute leisurely boat trip down the Mekong River, you arrive at Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden. You are listening to a short presentation about the gardens. After that, you walk through the Ginger Garden and the Ethno-botanic Garden. Follow the path through the Limestone Walk and take in the mountainous Mekong landscape. Learn how to make a bamboo stick animal at the site of the hunting lodge of the former royal family. The tour of Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden continues by walking through the Arboretum, Palm Garden, and Bamboo Garden to our viewpoint that overlooks the rice fields. Stop by the Mist House where you will learn more about the importance of biodiversity conservation. Finish your excursion with an optional orchid talk at Pha Tad Ke Nursery. All of the gardens will have introductory panels and labels. You can always ask our expert staff should you have any questions or require more information. 

Enjoy delicious Lao set lunch at the Pha Tad Ke café.

In the afternoon, you continue the cruise downstream of the Mekong river further to Ban Sing, enjoying the peaceful scenery of the countryside. You drive to the beautiful Kuang Si waterfalls, the biggest in the Luang Prabang area with three tiers leading to a 50-meter drop into spectacular azure pools before flowing downstream. The pools also make great swimming holes and are very popular with tourists and locals. You will also take a short visit to the Bear Rescue Center, which houses a couple of dozen animals rescued from the hands of poachers and traffickers. You then take the boat upstream of the Mekong River back to Luang Prabang whilst the sun is setting behind the mountain.

Transfer back to your hotel by tuk tuk. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

In the morning, our driver will transfer you to the meeting point where we will join the minivan of Elephant Conservation Center for the transfer to Xayabouly (about 90 km).

When you arrive at the pier at Nam Tien Lake, you ride a boat to the center. You might have a quick glimpse of one of our elephants while our boat docks. You will have some time to install yourself in your private bungalow before lunch is served. After enjoying a Laotian-style meal, your guide will take you for a visit to the Center’s facilities and present our ongoing projects.

During the hospital visit, our veterinarian and biologist will take you into their world and explain the projects they are undertaking. Through the visit to the only Elephant Hospital in Laos, you will discover the conservation actions implemented by The Elephant Conservation Center. You will then observe the elephants’ daily bath and learn more about our giant guests’ playful characters. Elephants are surprisingly good swimmers and love water. They also use this time to socialize.

After the elephants have washed, you will meet our mahouts, who will show you how they get on and off the elephant and the commands they use. You will then have the opportunity to interact with the elephants with the mahouts at your side. Get a feel for the elephant’s amazing skin and prickly hair, and experience up close the dexterity of their trunk as you offer them some food. Feel free to take photos standing next to our giants!  For those who want to get a feel of being on top of the elephant, mahout style, you can request to do so later on when bringing the elephants to the forest or socialization area.  But this is not central to the experience we propose and is strictly on the neck, not in a chair on the elephant’s back!

While walking the elephants to their nightly resting ground you will witness the unique bond between the mahout and his elephant. Our experienced mahouts use vocal commands to steer the animals through the thick foliage.  As you stroll together with these magnificent creatures into the dense forest of Nam Tien, take a moment! This is the REAL land of elephants!  Your guide will give you some interesting information about the biodiversity of our protected forest.

Before dinner, take some time to take in the surroundings from our viewpoint. You can also go for a swim in the lake or visit the museum. During mealtime, feel free to ask your unresolved questions to the staff or share one of the Lao-style cocktails!

Overnight in the elephant conservation center.

On the second day, you will meet up with the elephants in the forest. After spending the night grazing in the jungle it is time for another bath. Enjoy strolling together with these magnificent creatures in their natural environment. If you wish, you can ask to ride the elephant, bareback on the neck, for a short time on their way through the forest, to get a physical feel for the animal.

When they have had their fill of water they are brought to the Socialization Area. This is an area where the elephants can freely interact during a big part of the day, recreating a semi-natural living environment. Here the elephants can enjoy being elephants. Follow the guide around the perimeter to learn more about the elephants. Take your time on the different platforms to see how a new herd is being formed. This rare opportunity will bring you closer to their natural life, something which is very special about our program and difficult to find anywhere else in Laos.

Lunch is served at one of the viewing platforms. You have some time to let everything sink in.

Following the forest picnic, you can see the resident mother and baby at the nursery. The mahout of the mother stays close by while she and her baby have a bath and play. The mother trusts him around her offspring and even lets him play with her a little bit. Afterward, board our boat for a trip back to the center in time to see the afternoon bath. You will meet our veterinarian or biologist again as they will conduct a target training session. All our elephants are being trained using ‘positive reinforcement techniques to facilitate any necessary treatments. We offer you the chance to follow their work from a safe distance. Afterward, you can walk the elephant back to the forest.

Overnight in the elephant conservation center.

On the third day, our guide and biologist will explain the enrichment activities. Enrichment is a dynamic process for enhancing animal environments within the context of the animal’s behavioral biology. We are providing cognitive enrichment in the form of hidden food, toys, a mud bath, etc. to give the elephants mental stimulation and avoid boredom. They love it! We invite you to take part in this amazing experience by helping our team to prepare the socialization area: cut and hide the food, create elephant toys, etc. to give the elephants a challenge. Once they arrive, you will have the opportunity to observe how the elephants interact with what you have created! This is a novel and unique way to interact with our elephants, contributing directly to their well-being.

After lunch at the restaurant, you can take your time to pack your bags and say goodbye to the staff. Perhaps you would like to take in the scenery for one last time before we bring you back to Luang Prabang. From there, our driver will transfer you back to your hotel.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

You are free to stroll around the town for your exploration before taking the departure flight

Tour info

This sample itinerary was created by our travel experts as inspiration for your next trip. Ready for your customization. You pick to suit your budget, desires, and cultural experiences. The price of this trip will vary, depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and the availability of ground services. Please click on Inquire Now (above) and give us the necessary information to enable us to send you a FREE personalized quote within 48 hours if not sooner!

Our Service Include:
  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English or French speaking guide (for other languages and a national guide supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air-conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Boat trip as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tax & service charge
Our Service exclude:
  • Other non-mentioned meals
  • Other non-mentioned services
  • International Flights from and to Laos
  • Laundry, telephone calls, and personal expenditures
  • Tips, Travel insurance
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