Benelux Visits Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang tourism stakeholders, the Luang Prabang Travel Agents Association (LUTA), along with Singapore Airlines and Silk Air, hosted a special FAM trip for 12 top Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg), travel agents and media from 26-30 April, to give them greater insight into the UNESCO city’s tourism potential.

The Fam trip poses with a banner

The trip placed decision makers, representing TUI, Kras, Footprints, Asia Tours, as well as editors from “Asian Way of Life” and “Travel Media”, in four diverse hotels – Luang Prabang View, Mekong Riverview, Sanakeo Boutique, and the Satri House – for their 5-day exploration.  

LUTA tapped Asia Ban Hao Travel on Day 1 to take the group on a city tour. They visited the National Museum, several temples including Vat Xieng Tong, and handicraft shops to better understand local ethnic crafts such as textiles and bamboo products. The day ended with a meal and traditional ethnic group fashion show at the Parasol Blanc hotel.

The Day 2 itinerary featured Kuang Si Waterfall, with plenty of stops on the way. Treasure Travel Laos first took the group to the Elephant Camp to walk with the elephants, and then paused at  the Free the Bears Sanctuary. The falls came next, with a short hike and dip in the natural pools, before heading off to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC). The day ended at the Mekong Riverview for dinner and to inspect the property.

Day 3 headed to the hills with White Elephant Adventures for a 90-minute trek to a Hmong village, where the group ate a traditional lunch on bamboo dishes, explored the village to experience their way of life, and see a coffee plantation. The chic Apsara hotel on the Nam Khan River hosted dinner, before the group descended on 525 Cocktails and Tapas for top-shelf mixed drinks and homemade creations to add an Asian touch.

The group remained active on Sunday, when Day 4 sent them to Nahm Dong Park to fly on zip lines, learn about making sa paper, investigate caves, inspect a fruit farm, explore the hilly terrain to panoramic views, and enjoy a lunch with locally grown organic vegetables. The afternoon landed them on a Bounmi Cruises boat for a leisurely ride with spectacular views to Pak Ou Caves and its endless number of ancient Buddha images. Whiskey Village was the next port of call, before the sunset cruise, with cocktails, back to town.  

In the early morning of Day 5, the group gathered next to a school near temples to observe and pay respect to a procession of hundreds of monks, while they received their daily alms from faithful local Buddhists.  

Before departing, the participating Benelux travel agents expressed great interest in offering tours to Luang Prabang, and the itineraries opened their eyes to more of what the UNESCO city has to offer. Enterprises taking part in the FAM trip thanked the agents for coming, and Singapore Airlines and Silk Air for supporting tourism in Luang Prabang.