Program & Schedule
The Culture Week will kick off with an introduction to Laos customs, do’s and dont’s and Laotian language classes. Further in the week, you can try your hand at local agriculture practices, meditation classes with a local monk, Laotian cooking classes, hikes through caves, mountains, lush nature and more! We’ll also enjoy a delicious and authentic riverside dinner overlooking the Thailand across the Mekong!
And of course, we couldn’t miss the chance to show you the ins and outs of the capital city, one which is quite different to other cities in Southeast Asia. We will visit the ever-amazing Golden Pagoda, find our way through the maze that is Laotian markets, learn about the country’s turmoiled past, how it still affects Laotian life to date at the COPE Center as well as experiencing the country’s fight for Independence at Victory Monument.
Aims & Objectives
- Give you an understanding of Laotian customs, language, and history
- Help you settle into the local lifestyle for a longer stay
- Introduction meeting
- Laotian language classes and introduction to local customs
- Vegetable planting
- Visit the local village
- Make flower offerings for the local temple
- Laotian cooking classes
- Barbeque at the accommodation
- Depart for Vientiane
- Visit Cope Center and UXO exhibition
- Visit the morning market
- Visit Victory Monument
- Visit Patuxai, Golden Pagoda, Wat Sisaket Buddhist temples
- Dinner at the riverside
- NIght market and free time
- Back to Naxaythong
- Movie night at the accommodation
- Hike and picnic overlooking the city of Vientiane
- Meditation lessons
- Karaoke night at a local restaurant
- Visit your future placement to get acquainted with the next week’s program
- Free time
Participant Criteria & Requirements
Minimum age: -
Maximum age: -
Minimum English level: Basic
CRB required: No
Passport copy required: On Signup
Resume copy required: On Signup
Required qualification: None
- Document(s) must be submitted 2 weeks prior to arrival date
- Good fitness required for the half day hike included in the program
Living & Location
Ban Houakhoua Village is located in the Naxaythong District, located about 25 kilometers from Vientiane, the country’s capital. This location allows for the best of both worlds, its rural nature will give you a taste of Laos while still being close enough to the city!
The accommodation is tucked away in the countryside of Laos, allowing you to get a true taste of Laotian sceneries. It has a sports area where you can play football or volleyball with other participants!
It is surrounded by rice fields and lakes, which you can take advantage of through activities such as swimming and boating.
We offer a variety of Western and delicious Laotian dishes accompanied with a lot of fruit.
You can find simple groceries and beverages sold in two local restaurants located next to the accommodation. There are also shops and a local market located 3 minutes and 10 minutes away respectively, by foot. There is also a pharmacy and local clinic located less than 5 kilometers away.
There is a lake-side makeshift restaurant just for us, where you can enjoy the evenings and order Western or Laotian food at reasonable prices.
Vientiane is located about 25 kilometers away and it is very easy to reach via public transport from our center and back. Anything that you might need can be found there, with its numerous shopping malls, a cinema and local markets to explore! There are also bikes available for you to use to explore the area during the afternoons.
The closest ATM machine can be found on the main road to Vientiane, approximately 5 kilometers from the accommodation. We advise all participants to bring some local currency with them for personal expenses, although you don’t need a lot of money when you stay with us, participants can exchange money or use the ATM at the airport when they arrive.
Activities & Events
These optional activities can be enjoyed by all participants of all programs staying at this location:
There is a BBQ night every Tuesday, which provides a perfect opportunity to relax and spend time with other participants on our lakeside restaurant!
Cozy movie night at the accommodation
We will head to a local restaurant (or if preferred stay in our location) to enjoy one of Southeast Asia’s favorite activities - Karaoke! (or “sing a song”, as the locals like to call it)
Sights & Surroundings
A laid-back, French-influenced city situated on the banks of the Mekong River and is located only 25 minutes away from our center. This ancient city, is different from any other capital city in Southeast Asia. With its authentic Laotian and French colonial style, it truly is ‘a pearl at the Mekong”.
A favorite go-to place for our participants during their weekends! The city is a major backpacker hub, made famous thanks to its nightlife and outdoor activities such as biking, hiking and kayaking.
Although a bit further afield it is still worth the journey for sure. It is one of the most beautiful towns in Southeast Asia thanks to its alluring mountainous landscapes and riverside location!
From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):
Name: Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Population: 7 million
Currency: Kip (LAK)
Time zone: ICT +7:00
Once known as the ‘land of a million elephants’, Laos is the only landlocked country in Asia, bordered by Burma, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. It became a French protectorate in 1893 and finally became an independent country in 1953 with a constitutional monarchy. This monarchy however was shortly ended by a long civil war. Today Laos is a single-party socialist republic whilst remaining strongly influenced by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Vietnam People’s Army. The Laotian people make up roughly 60% of the population whilst indigenous groups and hill tribes account for 40% of the Laotian population.
It is a country that has a lot to offer whether it’s the underground river caves, the white-water rapids and jungle zip lines for thrill seekers, the beautiful forests for trekkers and nature lovers or the wonderful cuisine for the foodies!
The average temperature in Laos is around 29°C although in the cooler months, temperatures can drop to around 15-20°C. It has a tropical monsoon climate with its rainy season spanning from May to October. The dry season can be subdivided into two categories: the cool, dry season spanning from November to February and then the hot, dry season which lasts from March up to April.
High season in Laos tends to be from November to March when the temperatures are more agreeable, note that prices rise accordingly during this period too! July and August can be quite wet with high humidity but the landscape becomes especially greener during this time. The low season months can be found from April to June and September to October. April and May are especially hot, this is when temperatures are most likely to reach 40°C, the months of September and October can be incredibly wet as well.
Like its neighbours Cambodia and Thailand, Theravada Buddhism is the dominant form of religion in Laos and has a significant influence in Laotian culture, playing a role in its language, art, literature and performing arts.
It is a country that has managed to retain its authenticity and traditions, more so than some of its neighbours which are becoming increasingly modernised and succumbing to western influences in many ways.
The staple food in Laos is steamed sticky rice, which is thought to have originated in Laos. The Laotian people are thought of as the largest consumers of sticky rice in the world. Galangal (comparable to ginger), lemongrass, and padaek (fermented fish sauce) are all important ingredients in Lao cuisine.