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Spirit Of Laos LA

Visiting: Laos , Thailand
Tour Duration 17 Days
 

Reviews for Spirit Of Laos

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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Spirit Of Laos reviews verified by Reevoo

12 reviews

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Spirit Of LaosScores 7.6 out of 10 based on 12 reviews
(9 out of 10)

Chris

I have lots of wonderful memories of yet another fantastic holiday through Explore. The Spirit of Laos tour was great because it took you away from the usual tourist itinerary - well off the beaten track right into the north and included the Plain of Jars. I was delighted that we ended up with 2 nights in Phonsavan rather than the scheduled 1. This gave us time to see sites 1, 2 and 3 rather than the anticipated site 2 only. We also attended a family wedding, dropped in on a local festival and ate with a local family - thanks to our Tour Leader - Khamla (a great guy with a wonderful sense of humour and highly infectious laugh).

The south was also wonderful. Lots of time spent on the water - and a great sighting of Irrawaddy River Dolphins - we were very lucky.

Group size was good - 7 plus our TL. Great food (if you like chilli!), wonderful experiences including Laos ballet and story telling (both in Luang Prabang); up early for sunrise, monks gathering alms, morning markets; wonderful sunsets over the Mekong. The list goes on.

I learnt so much - not just a new country, different culture and customs but the more sobering aspects of the ongoing impact of war on the daily life of the people and how development of this beautiful part of the world is hampered as a result.

The one thing I would change is the amount of time in Vientiane. So very glad this was reduced from 3 to 2 nights but even 2 was too many. We could have arrived as we did, visited the main sites that afternoon and left the next morning giving us more time at any of the other destinations would have been preferable to wasted time in the capital.

Other feedback:

I think the itinerary could be clearer about the amount of time spent travelling. I appreciate that it is not always easy to get around but 'this morning is free in charming Tad Lo before heading back to Thailand for our evening flight' doesn't really indicate that you will be leaving at 10.00 and travelling all day arriving at the hotel in Bangkok about 12 hours later. Not a major issue, we're there to explore which includes travelling - it could just be a bit clearer. And we did drop in on a museum village on the way demonstrating different styles of housing, clothing and crafts. :)

Unfortunately day 13 didn't live up to expectations. I was really looking forward to what sounded like a wonderful day - boat trip, Wat Phu, village life, Ou Mong temple. However, our Wat Phu visit felt rushed and we didn't have time to visit Ou Mong temple - yet we did go to Don Daeng island for half an hour where we walked across burning hot sand, along a street, spoke to a few villagers, had a quick look at a temple and back across burning hot sand. Didn't understand the purpose of that and hope that the locals benefited in some way - otherwise it felt a bit voyeuristic. Do they receive payment for visitors? Maybe it's a requirement that tours visit? It didn't seem to make sense, especially when we missed out Ou Mong as a result. I think the itinerary for that day was ambitious. I think this was also the hottest day (close to 40 degrees) which probably didn't help.

All of that said, I'm now going to sit down and go through the far too many photos taken and relive what was an amazing and educational experience.

Thank you Explore. I'm counting down to my next trip already! (Fitzroy & Torres del Paine in November - can't wait!)
Confirmed traveller: 12 April 2016
Published on: 21 April 2016
(6 out of 10)

Deborah

Windsor
Although I enjoyed Laos I didn't find the country as interesting or beautiful as I was expecting. There was quite a lot of time travelling by minibus and the scenery was not as spectacular as I had been lead to believe, not helped by the haze due to time of year. Luang Prabang was one of the highlights and I would definitely recommend getting a massage while there and visiting the night market. 4000 islands at the very south was the other highlight.
Confirmed traveller: 22 March 2016
Published on: 07 April 2016
(10 out of 10)

Valerie

Repton
Luang Prabang is beautiful and relaxing. Wonderful scenery , a mix between north and south. The Plain of Jars was haunting, so quiet. Irrawaddy dolphins . Small villages. Tad Lo and the waterfalls. Our guide, Khamla , was wonderful. He made Laos 'come alive' for us, it's past, present and it's possible future.
A change could be made to the 3 nights now spent in Vientiane because of the changed flight time to the city--- too long. Two nights would have been enough to see the sights and have free time. There are more beautiful places to spend a few days ambling around eg. Nong Khiaw area- a walk up the river Nam Ou etc. This tour covers so many aspects of Laos, a wonderful taste of the country.
Confirmed traveller: 01 March 2016
Published on: 12 March 2016
(6 out of 10)

Karol

Be warned a lot of time is spent in the coach on small windy roads. Some days we were on the road from 8 am till 6 pm. The accommodation in the small towns is basic but as expected. However, when we stopped in Laung Prabang and Vientiane, both for 3 nights each, I had expected better hotels and rooms than what we were given. The price for the holiday was £4,100 for the two of us excluding flights from the UK. Before we did this trip we had just done a 14 day tour around Cambodia with G Adventures for £1800 for the two of us excluding flights from the UK. The hotels and rooms on this much cheaper trip were far superior to those provided by Explore. We have previously done five trips with G Adventures and two with Intrepid Travel. Both companies are very good and cheaper than Explore. This was our first with Explore and will probably be our last.
Confirmed traveller: 01 March 2016
Published on: 12 March 2016
(8 out of 10)

Roy

Derbyshire
Very enjoyable tour, though the itinerary would benefit from some tweaking, eg spending less time in Vientiane, and more in places like Nongkhiaw or southern Laos.
Confirmed traveller: 01 March 2016
Published on: 09 March 2016
(3 out of 10)

Senaka

London
Explore need to completely rethink this trip and avoid the disaster that happened of their own making.
There is far too much bus travel in a country with poor roads. The bus in the first section wasn't up to the job. The trip should perhaps be split with a northern section including hill tribe treks and two nights in Nong Khiaw (?) and finishing with 3 nights in a better hotel in Luang Prabang etc.
Confirmed traveller: 05 January 2016
Published on: 10 February 2016

We appreciate your suggestions for the itinerary, this is something that is under discussion between our Operations Manager and our local agent. They are currently reviewing the itinerary in its entirety to see if it can be altered in anyway. We really appreciate your feedback on this and we have made sure to pass this on to our Operations Manager, to take into consideration.

(8 out of 10)

Susan

Harrow
The highlights for me included visits to the ethnic villages in the North and observing local street life; the Plain of Jars; helping young students with their English at the Lone Buffalo project; learning about the work of the Mine Action Group in Phonsavan; the beautiful countryside; the Mekong and of course, Luang Prabang.

Even though the country is landlocked, you spend a good portion of the trip on water.
Confirmed traveller: 28 October 2014
Published on: 04 January 2016
(10 out of 10)

Confirmed traveller

What an incredible country! There were so many highlights it is difficult to single out only one, but monks, temples, dolphins on the Mekong river were some.Such an excellent tour guide. Full of useful information and tips. Also, he had a very good sense of humour - important for the long trips on the road!
Confirmed traveller: 24 April 2015
Published on: 07 November 2015
(8 out of 10)

Confirmed traveller

Tasting all the different foods, the elephant ride, boat ride through the cave, giving alms to the monks in Luang Prbang & Sean the tour leader Great, he couldn't do enough for you & no request was unachievable
Confirmed traveller: 27 January 2014
Published on: 07 November 2015
(8 out of 10)

Kathryn

Weymouth
We enjoyed all of it but what made it different to other trips we have taken was the opportunity to be off the beaten track and experiencing a more realistic view of life for the tribal people living in small villages rather than just visiting towns and markets which are similar in other areas of the world.
Confirmed traveller: 03 March 2015
Published on: 22 October 2015