15 Days | 17-31 January, 2017

$AUD5632 per person, joining in Luang Prabang, concluding in Pakse or Vientiane.

Valerie Kirk“I invite you to join with me as we discover and enjoy the beautiful country of Laos, the home for many minority people who still produce and wear colourful fabrics using generation’s old techniques.

Craft skills are very strong and we will see textile skills such as embroidery, dyeing, weaving and fashion, as well as many other crafts including basketwork, and painting. Laos is also home to an abundance of wonderful Buddhist temples and monasteries.

The food is justifiably famous and the Lao are some of the most gentle, relaxed, genuine and sincere people you are ever likely to meet. I’ve been escorting over more than twenty years a series of textile focused travel programs.

On this program I’ll be revisiting one of our original itineraries and witness the strengths of Lao handloom and tribal heritage found in costume and decoration. We meet local artisans as well as internationally acclaimed practitioners. Workshops provide some hands-on experience, and of course galleries, shops and village markets provide opportunities for collectors.”  Valerie Kirk

Dates and Cost

14 days| January 17 -31, 2017 | $AUD5632 per person twin share. 

Joining in Luang Prabang, concluding in Pakse or Vientiane. Minimum 10 people, maximum 16 people.

Highlights

  • Visit the World Heritage sites found at Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Pakse.
  • Witness Buddhist morning ceremonies.
  • Meet artisans and gallery owners.
  • See traditional village textiles as well as exquisite Royal Court inspired silks.
  • View the famous 1,000 islands in southern Lao.
  • Enjoy comfortable hotels and guest houses.
  • Participate in our workshops.
  • Wander about local villages.
  • Indulge in fabulous fresh meals.

Itinerary


Day 1-4: Tuesday 17 January to Friday 20 January – Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang LaosWe arrive in the sleepy northern capital of Luang Prabang, situated on the banks of the Mekong River four nights, allowing ample time to visit famous temples, see private textile collections and generally enjoy the relaxed ambiance of what many consider to be the jewel of South East Asia.
The famous night markets are some of the best you will find anywhere in Asia. Traditional village crafts and textiles are on sale here and locals come from miles around to sell their wares. This is a town best explored on foot and in the afternoons, we highly recommend heading down to the riverside cafes along the Mekong for an iced coffee or refreshing Beer Lao!

Day 5-8: Saturday 21 January to Tuesday 24 January – Vang Vieng and Vientiane

LaosLeaving Luang Prabang we drive south to the national capital of Vientiane. This trip takes us through scenic mountain scenery and past highland Hmong villages. We overnight at Vang Vieng beautifully located within an impressive karst landscape.

In Vientiane we visit the major sights – the Patuxai Monument, historic Wat Sisaket, and the most important Buddhist religious site in the country – the glittering Tat Luang Temple.

During our time in Vientiane we visit weavers in their studios associated with the Lao textile economy. Markets, galleries, workshops,boutiques and massages are on the agenda.

9- 13: Wednesday 25 January to Sunday 29 January – Pakse and Boloven Plateau

Laotian weaverWe fly to Pakse and we travel from the banks of the Mekong to the temperate heights of the Boloven Plateau. We visit villages and should see back strap weaving, significant needlework and dyeing in silk and cotton.

This part of Lao has wonderful scenery with ancient temples such as Wat Phou set in jungle sites, large waterfalls the French attempted to conquer in order to navigate further up the Mekong and pretty scenery both on the plateau and by the Mekong.

Local markets and food stalls are another bonus.

Day 14: Monday 30 January –  Departure

Today we conclude our program with a transfer to Pakse airport. From here you can return home, via Vientiane, or continue to Cambodia where a short flight will have you in Siem Reap. Or it is possible to travel by land across the Mekong into Thailand for personal travel.

The fourth option is to return to Vientiane and enjoy some more travel such as the Plain of Jars or a river cruise on the Mekong (which can also be done before your trip starts).

Day 15: Tuesday – 31 January – Arrive Australia

This morning your flight will arrive into Australia. We trust you’ve had a great journey and we look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions you may have.

Intentionally Different thank you for participating in our program and we look forward to seeing you again.

The trip  price includes:

  • Accommodation for 13 nights on a twin-share basis in 3-4 star hotels and lodge. (A single room can be requested for the hotel nights at an additional fee of $848).
  • All breakfasts, most lunches and dinners.
  • Two domestic flights in Laos (or, one flight in Lao, and one to Siem Reap).
  • Comprehensive touring program including sightseeing to iconic attractions by private vehicle.
  • Visits to many textile workshops, galleries, weaving centres, markets and villages.
  • Services of Tour Escort and Guest Lecturer, Valerie Kirk.
  • Services of well-qualified local guides.
  • Entrance fees to museums, galleries, and attractions included and mentioned in the itinerary. Additional visits and visit to other attractions are at traveller’s expense
  • Comprehensive information kits.

Items not included are:

Airline, airport and government taxes, visa fees; travel insurance; health costs; personal expenditure, communication expenses and shopping.

What We Provide


Accommodation

Includes personally selected guesthouses and hotels. Our selection criteria include central location, charm, cleanliness, cultural integrity, uniqueness, and standard of service. All rooms have private western-style bathrooms and comfortable beds. Some have pools while others have pleasant gardens. Where choice is limited we select the most appropriate hotels for our guests.

Meals

Dining on our programs are an adventure unto themselves as we explore regional delicacies and patronise some of the best restaurants and local cafes. We don’t include all meals, as we prefer our guests to have as wide a choice as possible.

Road Travel

Is by spacious air-conditioned mini-bus, along with experienced local guides, assisting Valerie to provide you with information throughout the program. Some roads are winding so travel sickness medication may be useful for some.

International  Air Travel

Thai Airways International is the simplest airline to use for the flights required. There are other possibly slightly cheaper but more complicated options. We can assist with your flights at attractive prices. Stopovers enroute are possible. So too are upgrades to Business Class. Call us to discuss options.

Overall  Style

Valerie’s trips excel when it comes to personal attention and relevant information. This includes information on where to dine, where to purchase textiles and other products, explanations on ethnic minorities and their textile practice along with answers to the myriad of other questions our guests pose.

Apart from good and relevant information, we include attractive accommodation, good sightseeing opportunities, plenty of ‘getting-to-meet-the-locals’ encounters and of course, great dining opportunities from exquisite restaurants to quaint local cafes. We don’t hold your hand all the way so there are ‘free time’ periods to allow you to rest, explore on your own, or simply visit a café for an iced coffee.

Past guests have found our ‘style’ very much to their liking and we trust you will also.

Who should join this program?

Firstly, anyone with an interest in textiles should join. However, as there is much more included in the program, others with an interest in Asian crafts, history and religion would also enjoy this study tour. There is opportunity for short to medium walks throughout, so a reasonable level of fitness is an advantage.  A ‘sense of adventure’ is required for the trip.  As this is a Study Tour with comprehensive notes and information provided, some guests may receive a tax concession. Check with your financial advisor.

Additional Travel

If you would like to travel on to other regions of Indochina such as Vietnam or Cambodia, please let us know, so we can develop an individual travel program for you. We have designed exciting itineraries for our clients throughout the region for many years.

Reservations

Email to: robert@intent.id.au or send an inquiry.

To secure your place, please email your intention to join Valerie in Laos. You will then receive a reservation form to complete. Your option is held for seven days secured by receipt of a non-refundable deposit of $500 per person.

‘The Paperwork’

Following receipt of your deposit, information sheets, Lao visa application forms, invoices and other documentation will be forwarded to you. When our group is complete and after final payment, air tickets and travel documents will be sent out. Then it is only a short time before your wonderful textile experience begins!

Your expert tour host

valerie3Valerie Kirk, Tapestry Weaver, Senior Lecturer and Head of Textiles, Australian National University will accompany this tour as Guest Lecturer. Her medium is woven tapestry and she is represented in a number of collections in Australia and overseas. Valerie is recognised internationally for her work as an educator and is devoted to encouraging an appreciation and understanding of textiles through her knowledge, along with direct contact with practitioners. Valerie has a wealth of information and is an accomplished tour manager, with over 20 years of accompanying our textile focused tours. You will be in capable and informed hands.