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About VESA

VESA’s humanitarian and conservation projects aim to provide direct action support to communities in parts of the world overlooked by traditional charities and aid organisations.

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Travel Info

From the minute you book your trip we provide you with everything you need to know, so you get the most out of your VESA experience. 

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Trip Extension

Chasing Waterfalls • 11 days

Extend your trip to explore some of the best natural wonders Laos has to offer. ‘Chasing Waterfalls’ takes you on a cultural journey, travelling like a local on Laos’ unique and inspiring lakes. You’ll get a taste for some of the delicious local dishes, such as fresh, fried and smoked fish as well as some Lao Hai, a traditional rice wine. Hiking along Laos’ mountainous paths, you’ll arrive at some of the most beautiful natural waterfalls with a well-deserved dip in the lagoons. After a week experiencing Laos as a local, you’ll be left feeling inspired with many unforgettable memories.

Day 1 Visit Nam Ngum Lake

We leave the bright lights of Vang Vieng behind us to explore some of the less‑touristed, natural wonders of Laos for the next 10 days. Travelling like the Lao on a Songthaew (literally, 2 benches), we head for Thaheua, a thriving fishing village. After seeing fresh fish, dried fish and smoked fish on an unbelievable number of market stalls, we head for The Lake. Nam Ngum Lake is a vast 70km long reservoir. We take a boat to a tiny island, where we’ll camp, BBQ and watch the lights of the traditional Lao fishing contraptions under a starlit sky.

Accommodation:

Camping, Nam Ngum Island

Meals included:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 2 See the Eighth Wonder of the World

After breakfast, we cross this huge lake by boat to the Nam Ngum Dam passing lakeside villages, before taking a minibus through great Lao scenery to Ban Na Hin, the Gateway to Konglor Cave, arguably the Eighth Wonder of the World. Cameras ready for the epic shot from the view point.

Accommodation:

Xaychaleun Guest House, Ban Na Hin

Meals included:

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3 Trek to Nam Sa Nam Waterfall

We trek to Nam Sa Nam waterfall and to another incredibly photogenic viewpoint, before heading to Konglor Cave for a 7.5km boat ride under a mountain and a walk to the authentic Lao village, Ban Natan where we stay and eat with your local hosts in wooden Lao houses.

Accommodation:

Homestay, Ban Na Hin

Meals included:

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 Banish bad spirits at the ancient Lao Baci ceremony

Watch a real Lao village wake up. The local industry is growing and drying tobacco leaves and today, we join them at work in the fields before a picnic lunch by the river.

Later, you will experience the ancient Lao Baci ceremony which will banish bad spirits and welcome in good spirits to wish us a safe onward journey. We share a dinner with our new Lao friends and join them in drinking Lao Hai, a delicious traditional rice wine.

Accommodation:

Village Dorm, Ban Na Hin

Meals included:

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5 Trek to Konglor village

After breakfast we take a tractor trailer back to the river. Optional hike (competent enthusiasts only): spend 3-6 hours hiking back over the mountain. Everyone else catches the boat back under the mountain and relaxes at the blue lagoon. Lunch and dinner at Konglor and overnight in nice guesthouse.

Accommodation:

Guesthouse, Konglor Village

Meals included:

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6 Visit the Mighty Mekong river

A long drive today towards Pakse, following the course of the Mighty Mekong river. We stop at Napong, a quaint market village, where you will see all kinds of Lao delicacies for sale. Snails, silk-worm grubs and you can sample Ping Kai, the tastiest BBQ chicken in Laos.

We then visit Wat Phu, a World Heritage site at Champasak. This beautiful Khmer Temple is best seen at sunset – and that’s what you’ll see.

Accommodation:

Hostel accommodation Pakse

Meals included:

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7 See 4 beautiful waterfalls

A short drive today to visit 3 beautiful waterfalls and have a coffee tasting. With only 7 million people, Laos has 46 different ethnic groups and we’ll visit some more today. The climate of the Bolaven Plateau is perfect for growing coffee beans and we’ll visit a coffee plantation in this scenic area.

The first waterfall TadFane has zip lines set up across the canyon and over the waterfall with the option to have coffee at a table suspended over the canyon.. Cost between US$40 (regular zip) and US$70 (with the coffee experience on the line).

At the second waterfall, Tad Gneuang, there are markets and restaurants on the path down and you can swim and sunbathe around the river.

The final waterfall for the day is Tadlo where we swim in the river,set up a campfire and have a barbecue.

Overnight in a beautiful location at Tad Lo waterfall in nice bungalows.

Accommodation:

Palamei Bungalows

Meals included:

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8-9 See the tiny islands in the Mekong

Now, we head for 2 days on ‘4,000 Islands’, probably the most “chilled” place in Southeast Asia. This group of tiny islands nestle in the Mekong, many of them no more than clumps of grass.

We stay on Don Det (3km x 2km), linked to Don Khone by an old French colonial railway bridge.

Ideal for wandering or relaxing, there are waterfalls, rapids and relics of France’s dream of a thriving Indo-China. If you’re lucky you can spot a rare, freshwater Irrawaddy dolphin on our kayak trip (dependent on water levels).

Accommodation:

Bungalows Don Det, 4,000 Is

Day 10 Overnight drive through South Laos

Farewell to the ‘backpacker heaven’ of ‘4,000 Islands’. After breakfast we have a free morning to swim or hire bikes then lunch and a boat back across the Mekong for a drive to Wat Phu temple to explore the ruins, see golden Buddha statue and watch the sunset. 

We then head off on an overnight drive through the South Laos scenery to Vientiane with happy memories of Laos, Lao people and new friends for life.

Accommodation:

Overnight mini bus

Day 11 Flight home

Transfer to the airport for your flight or a day tour for those departing on an evening flight.

What’s included?

Accommodation

10 nights accommodation

Transport

All transportation

Meals

Breakfast, lunch and dinner for 10 days and drinking water, where required

Activities

All activities. Optional zip-lining on Day 7: US$40 - 70

Team

VESA team leader and local guide

Costs

To secure your place with VESA a non-refundable deposit is payable immediately after you have received notification of your acceptance to participate in the program. The balance or final payment of the program costs is due 45 days before departure.

Non-refundable deposit* AUD$200
Final payment** AUD$799
Chasing Waterfalls extension 2020-2021 Total: AUD$999
Non-refundable deposit* NZD$250
Final payment** NZD$799
Chasing Waterfalls extension 2020-2021 Total: NZD$1049
* The non-refundable deposit must be paid immediately after you have received notification of your acceptance to participate in the program. ** The final payment of the program costs is due 45 days before departure. * The non-refundable deposit must be paid immediately after you have received notification of your acceptance to participate in the program. ** The final payment of the program costs is due 45 days before departure.

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About Laos

Find out everything to know about what Laos has to offer.

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Costs

Find out how much the Laos Elephant Encountered project costs and what's included.

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Fundraising

Learn how to actively fundraise
to help pay for your trip.

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