Day 2 - Vientiane - City Tour - Orchid Farm - Ban Hatkhay (B,L,D)
This morning, enjoy a half-day guided tour to discover the hidden charms of Vientiane, whose name means ‘the city of sandal wood’. Vientiane is one of the quietest capital cities in the world, far away from the bustle and hustle of other Asian capitals.
Your tour begins at the serene Wat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828. It is one of the most beautiful temples in the capital, and its breezy teak covered hallways are filled with thousands of miniature Buddha statues.
Continue on to the nearby Wat Phra Keo. Used as a religious museum, Wat Phra Keo displays a collection of both Lao and Khmer works of art. Also nearby, is the Presidential Palace. Although you are not allowed to visit inside, it is a good glimpse in to the town’s colonial past as this building formerly served as the French governor’s palace.
Visit COPE, an association working to help landmine victims. A visit to the center provides in-depth information about the history of the American/Vietnam war and the lasting impact of unexploded ordinances (UXO) in the area and the efforts underway to clear them.
Continue to the Patuxay monument, Laos’ version of the Arc de Triomphe, where you can climb the stairs to the roof for sweeping panoramic views of the city.
Enjoy a delicious Lao-style lunch at Makphet Restaurant. Established by Friends International (www.friends-international.org), Makphet is a charity-run restaurant aiming to train the area’s street children in the hospitality industry. Professional chefs from around the world have volunteered their time in developing the menus and training the staff. The food is excellent, and the staffs excel in bringing true Lao-hospitality in to their service.
After lunch, your tour takes you to the Orchid Farm, located 20 minutes from the center.
There, you will meet your orchid expert (French & English speaking) who will be your guide. He will show you the orchid farm and you will learn more about the different species and the efforts made to protect these fragile flowers.
Then you will drive to Ban Hatkhay where you will spend the night, arriving around 5:30-6pm. After a short visit of the village, you will enjoy a traditional Lao dinner with the local people.
Overnight in Ban Hatkhay
Distance and time distance:
Vientiane – Orchid Farm: 20 min
Orchid Farm – Ban Hatkhay (100 km): 2 hours