Explore Northern and Central Laos - 13 Days

Duration: 13 days 12 night

Destination: Houai Xai - Luang Namtha-Khmu Camp - Nammat Mai -Nong Khiow Village - Luang Prabang-Phonsavanh - Vang Vieng-Vientiane

From US $957 Tour Enquiry
This tour offers the chance to experience the diversity of wildlife and the spectacular natural beauty of northern Laos. You start at Houai Xai across the border from Chiang Khong, Thailand, then travel to Luang Namtha and visit ethnic villages along the way. You travel deep into the Nam Ha Conservation Area, for a true eco-experience. You hike along clear forest streams into the pristine forest and beside soaring mountains, and learn about the plants and wildlife of the area. At camp dinner is cooked on an open fire, and you fall asleep listening to the sounds of the forest. You watch the sunrise from atop a hill, and explore the forest for bird and animal life, then home-stay in an ethnic Akha village. Learn about an ancient form of agriculture, and have a picnic in an upland field. The scenery on the drive to Nong Khiow is quite spectacular, and from there, you take a boat trip down the Ou River to Luang Prabang, stop at the Pak Ou Caves. In Luang Prabang you explore this marvelous city, and see ancient temples. Head out of town through verdant countryside, and walk through the green forest to Khuang Si Falls, and swim in the cool, clear pools. Next is Xieng Khouang, almost completely destroyed by bombing during the Vetnam War, and from Phonsavanh we explore the mysterious Plain of Jars. At Vang Vieng you see the spectacularly beautiful scenery of quiet rivers and huge limestone cliffs, and take a boat trip down the Nam Song River, and explore the famous Tham Jang Cave. Then it is on to Vientiane, and of course a tour of the sights of the capital is on the agenda. Then it is time to watch a spectacular sunset over the Mekong River, and reflect on your remarkable adventure in Northern Laos.

Tour brief

Day 1: Houai Xai Arrival
Day 2: Houai Xai - Luang Namtha
Day 3: Luang Namtha - Nam Ha Conservation Area (Trekking)
Day 4: Khmu Camp - Nammat Mai Village (Trekking)
Day 5: Nammat Mai Village (Trekking)
Day 6: Nammat Mai Village - Nong Khiow Village
Day 7: Nong Khiow Village - Luang Prabang
Day 8: Luang Prabang - Khuang Si Waterfall
Day 9: Luang Prabang - Xieng Khouang Province (Phonsavanh)
Day 10: Phonsavanh - Vang Vieng
Day 11: Vang Vieng - Vientiane
Day 12: Vientiane City Tour
Day 13: Vientiane Departure
 

Itinerary

Trip Grade: Challenging
- This tour requires many hours of hiking and trekking. It should be undertaken by those who are physically fit and who have experience in trekking and hiking.
- Accommodation for Adventure Trips is in budget hotels, with breakfast included.

Day 1: Arrival Chiang Rai – transfer to Houai Xai
On your arrival at Chiang Rai airport you will meet your guide and get transfer to Chiang Khong with Houexay border. After passing the border you will take a boat to be transferred to your hotel. You will also have a short briefing on the itinerary for the tour.
Overnight is in Houai Xai hotel.

Day 2: Houai Xai - Luang Namtha
In the morning after breakfast, we drive about 6 or 7 hours to Luang Namtha. There are stops along the way at scenic viewpoints to take pictures of the beautiful panorama. We also stop to visit a Hmong village. After arriving in Luang Namtha, we visit a Thai Dam village where we see silkworm cultivation.
Overnight is in Luang Namtha hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 3: Luang Namtha - Nam Ha Conservation Area (Trekking)

After breakfast in the hotel, we travel by songtaew to the Nam Ha Natioanl Biodiversity Conservation Area, for a true eco-experience. We meet our guides at Don Sai Village, and from there we hike along a forest stream into the mountains of the conservation area. Along the way, you learn about indigenous plants and animals, and our guide will show you how to collect wild herbs and vegetables for our dinner we will cook over an open fire. That night you fall asleep with listening to the sounds of the forest. There is also the opportunity to go wildlife spotting at night.
Overnight is in Khumu Camp Huts.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 4: Khmu Camp - Nammat Mai Village

If you wake up early, you can climb up the hills above the camp and watch the sunrise. Explore the nearby forests and watch bird life, or help the village cooks prepare a traditional Khmu breakfast. After breakfast, we set off on a moderate walk through the forest, and our village guides will go ahead to prepare a picnic lunch for you in the forest. We arrive at Nammat Mai Village, an ethnic Akha village, and take a tour of the village. You relax and enjoy the simplicity of Akha village life, and share a meal of fresh food with our village hosts. Here you also can see how the forest is reclaiming another old village site.
Overnight is in Nammat Mai Village Home-stay.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 5: Nammat Mai Village

Today we get up early to go to traditional hunting grounds where our Akha guide will demonstrate bird calls to attract birds. Then we go to a forest camp to enjoy a hearty Akha breakfast. After breakfast, we start the journey back to the village and stop in upland fields along the way to learn about this ancient form of agriculture. We have a kind of picnic lunch in the upland field of one of the villagers. At the end the trek, we stop in a new Akha village. If there is time, we will go to the provincial market where you can see the many forest products in the market that you saw on your trek.
Overnight is in Nammat Mai Village Home-stay.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 6: Nammat Mai Village - Nong Khiow Village
After breakfast we have a long drive to Nong Khiow. The road conditions in this part of the country will very much depend on the weather, therefore in the rainy season there may be landslides and delays. The scenery on this route however is quite spectacular. It is mostly forested with some slash and burn agriculture, and with many hill villages (Hmong and Khamu) along the way.
Overnight is in Nong Khiow Guesthouse.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 7: Nong Khiow Village - Luang Prabang
After breakfast in the morning there will be some time to spend in the village before we board a wooden boat for a trip down the Ou River. On our way to Luang Prabang, we stop to visit the Pak Ou Caves, where we climb up the steps on the limestone cliff to reach the caves containing thousands of Buddha statues. We then continue on our cruise, and arrive in Luang Prabang around noon. In the afternoon, after checking in to your hotel, you will have time to relax and unwind. Later we explore a bit of this unique and ancient city, and see the magnificent temples of Wat Visoun, Wat Mai and Wat Xieng Thong. Wat Xieng Thong, the golden temple, was built in 1559, and is decorated in brilliant red and gold designs, mosaic motifs, and has an imposing tiled roof. It is the city's oldest temple, and one of the best examples of the Luang Prabang architectural style. We also take in the Night Market where you can shop for local handicrafts.
Overnight is in Luang Prabang hotel.

Breakfast and Lunch included.

Day 8: Luang Prabang - Khuang Si Waterfall
We start in the morning with a visit to the National Museum, where you learn about Lao history from ancient times to the revolutionary period. We then visit Ban Xangkhong, a weaving village, and then head out of town to drive south through verdant and rugged countryside to visit the hill tribe people of Ban Lao Soung and Ban Ou. Here we enjoy a walk through the green forest to the beautiful Khuang Si Falls. The water cascades over multi tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools, ideal for taking a dip, to refresh from the heat and humidity. On our return to Luang Prabang, we watch the sunset, and see Buddha's footprints at Wat Siphouthabath.
Overnight is in Luang Prabang hotel.

Breakfast and Lunch included.

Day 9: Luang Prabang - Xieng Khouang Province (Phonsavanh)

After an early breakfast, we leave Luang Prabang and drive to Xieng Khouang. This province and the ancient capital were devastated by heavy American bombing between 1964 and 1973. There are very few other travelers on the road, and you get to see the rural backcountry of Laos. The drive is very long, but we make stops when we want to stretch our legs, and take photos of the beautiful countryside. When we arrive, we explore the old capital of Xieng Khouang, now called Muang Khun. If time permits we will also explore some nearby villages.
Overnight is in Phonsavanh hotel.

Breakfast included.

Day 10: Phonsavanh - Plain of Jars - Vang Vieng

In the morning we set out to explore the mysterious Plain of Jars. This is a remarkable archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars lie scattered over the plateau. It is estimated that the huge jars are some 2,000 years old, but it is still a mystery as to what they were actually used for. We also have time today to explore some nearby Hmong hill tribe villages and learn about their culture and history.
Then we are off on a drive to Vang Vieng. This was once a small and tranquil village but is rapidly developing into a tourist town. However, the scenery around Vang Vieng is beautiful, with quiet rivers and limestone outcroppings with caves. Depending on the road conditions and the traffic, we should arrive in Vang Vieng by mid or late afternoon.
Overnight is in Vang Vieng hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 11: Vang Vieng - Vientiane

After breakfast, we start the day with a walk around the bustling central market. Then we take a short bamboo boat trip on the Nam Song River for a little adventure, and we also explore the famous Tham Jang Cave. This cave was once used by local people as a bunker against Chinese invaders. We also cross the river to the village of Ban Huai Ngai where we explore the local lifestyle of the people. We then continue our journey to the capital of Laos, Vientiane.
Overnight is in Vientiane hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 12: Vientiane City Tour

Today after breakfast, our tour of the city begins with a visit to Wat Sisaket. This is the oldest temple in Vientiane, and it is an amazing temple with remarkable frescoes and Buddha statues. Next, we visit the former royal temple of Haw Pha Kaew, which once held the famous Emerald Buddha. We also see the Patouxai Monument, known as the Arc de Triumph of Vientiane, and then continue to the sacred symbol of Laos, the That Luang Stupa. Heading a little way out of town near the Friendship Bridge over the Mekong River between Laos and Thailand, we visit Buddha Park. This park on the banks of the Mekong River has a blend of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures created by a monk. We return to Vientiane, and you may want to watch a spectacular sunset over the Mekong River from a riverside restaurant.
Overnight is in Vientiane hotel.

Breakfast and Lunch included.

Day 13: Vientiane Departure

After breakfast, there will be free time for you to get ready for your departure transfer. However, if your departure is later in the day, you can visit the Morning Market for some last minute shopping, or go to the weaving village of Ban Nong Bouathong. When it is time for your departure, you will be transferred to your departure point.

Breakfast included.

This is a suggested adventure itinerary. At WaytoVietnam Travel, we specialize in custom tours designed to fit your needs and requirements. Please let us know the type of individual, customized tour you would like, and we can arrange it for you.
 

Inclusions

    • English speaking guide (Other languages available on request)
    • Private transfer and transport in safe, clean, well maintained vehicles
    • Breakfast is at hotel, and other meals as noted in the itinerary
    • All entrance fees & permits during guided tours
    • Accommodation in budget hotel or guesthouse 2 person room share. Tax included.
    • Home-stay in Nammat Mai Village, Khumu forest camp huts.
    • Private boat trips as indicated in itinerary
    • Arrival and departure transfers

Exclusions

    • Airfare and taxes not included in tour
    • Food and drink not noted in the itinerary
    • Visa fees
    • Entrance fees and permits not part of itinerary
    • Personal travel insurance (Compulsory for all travellers)
    • Personal expenses (ex. telephone, laundry charges, souvenirs, etc.)
    • Tips and gratuities

Hotels

Houai Xai : Mekong Hotel
Luang Namtha : Boatlanding Lodge
Khumu Camp : Homestay
Nammat Mai : Homestay
Nong Khiow : Sunset Guesthouse
Luang Prabang : Vang Thong Hotel
Phonsavanh : Vasna Hotel
Vang Vieng : Thavisouk Hotel
Vientiane : Family Hotel Laos

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