Laos is a wonderful trekking destination and the northern part of the country offers the best choice. This tour cuts across northern Laos taking in some challenging treks and beautiful boat rides along the way before finishing in the old royal capital of Luang Prabang.
£1395 per person. CODE LA12D
CHIANGRAI - HUAY XAI- LUANG NAMTHA - MUANG LA – MUANG KHUAO - MUANG NGOI - LUANG PRABANG
Price includes : private transfers, local guides, hotels with daily breakfast, admission fees, boat trips as described in the programme, meals where indicated.
Price excludes : international flights *, visa to Laos (obtainable on arrival), other meals, optional visits, tipping and any service not specified. Single supplement £395
* To make your holidays even more hassle-free, we can purchase international flights on your behalf at competitive prices. Please call for more information.
*** This tour is not recommended for children or people with difficulty walking.
DAY 01 Departure from London Heathrow. Fly to Chiang Rai via Bangkok.
DAY 02 CHIANG RAI (-/-/-)
On arrival at ChiangRai airport in the morning, our representative will transfer you to The Mantrini boutique hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy ChiangRai.
DAY 03 HUAY XAI / LUANG NAMTHA (B/-/-)
After breakfast, take the car to the Thai/Laos border in Chiang Khong. Following completion of border formalities, we head out of the town to Luang Namtha. This road has recently been improved, and is now a very smooth and comfortable drive. We visit hill tribe villages including Khmu and Lu minorities. In the afternoon, visit Kao Rao Cave with its impressive limestone formations, arriving in Luang Namtha mid afternoon where you have the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Luang Namtha at the Boat Landing Guest House.
DAY 04 LUANG NAMTHA / TREKKING (B/L/-)
The trip starts with a climb up to the great view point of Phoumpok Stupa, offering panoramic views of Luang Nam Tha town. We then head into the jungle with your local guide, who will show you the different types of medicines and foods one can collect in the forest. A wonderful picnic lunch will be prepared by your guide and some local villagers. They use bamboo pipes to cook either Black Tai or Akha style food and we dine in the heart of the jungle. After lunch, continue trekking for another 45 minutes, and eventually reach Ban Nammutmai, a picturesque Akha minority village built on the hillside. Here you will learn about the life of this small ethnic minority group. Your guide will translate and explain to you old folklore stories from the locals. After this village, we travel by pickup truck to the Lantern village of Ban Nam Jang, where they specialize in the making of Saa paper. The trip ends on our return to the Luang Nam Tha market. Here you will see many of the forest products found along the trail being sold in the market. Arrive back at your accommodation by mid afternoon for overnight in Luang Namtha.
DAY 05 LUANG NAMTHA / MUANG LA (B/-/D)
After breakfast, we leave for Muang La, for a chance to visit the intriguing Pra Xack Kham Temple with its sacred Buddha image. The 400 years old legendary statue is said to have many supernatural powers, and is widely worshipped among the faithful local Buddhists. We stop overnight in Muang La, famous for its natural hot springs. No activities are planned for the rest of the day so you can stroll around the village or just relax at the riverside retreat, enjoying a massage or time in the hot springs. Overnight in Muang La Resort.
DAY 06 MUANG LA / 4WD ADVENTURE “MEET THE LAO ETHNIC GROUPS” (B/L/D)
Ride a 4x4 to meet the Ikhor and Hmong, two communities typical of Laos. This track is superb and offers an incredible climb up 1000m where you will have a memorable and unique point of view. First visit the beautiful isolated village of the Ikhor, a community from Yunnan and Tibet which has remained extremely traditional. Enjoy lunch with the magnificent view. We continue to the Hmong village of Ban Tauser (45 minutes walk). These ethnic groups originate from Tibet; you will discover their lifestyle and habits, the important place they keep the animals (pigs & buffaloes). The path leading to the village offers many impressive viewpoints, one of which has a unique 360 degree panoramic view of the region. Back to the resort at the end of the day. Dinner and overnight at Muang La Resort.
DAY 07 MUANG LA / MUANG KHUA / NONG KHIAW (B/L/-)
This morning we drive to the riverside town of Muang Khua and board a local private boat for an unforgettable cruise down the Nam Ou River to Nong Khiaw. This particular stretch offers stunning limestone karst scenery and remote villages, including Ban Sob Jaem, a Khmu and Hmong village that can only be accessed by boat. Stop to explore these sights before reaching our accommodation in Nong Khiaw by mid-afternoon. Upon checking into your hotel, you have the option of taking a short bicycle ride to the picturesque local limestone caves nearby. Overnight in Nong Khiaw at Nong Khiaw Riverside Hotel.
DAY 08 NONG KHIAW / LUANG PRABANG (B/L/-)
Today we continue our leisurely trip downstream on the Nam Ou River, enjoying the lush green forests and landscape. Along the way, stop to visit the mysterious caves of Pak Ou, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by devoted pilgrims. We continue our trip down the river to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang. This former royal capital with its gleaming temple roofs, fading colonial architecture and stunning mountain backdrop retains a unique charm rarely found in modern Asia. Transfer to your hotel by private vehicle by early evening. Overnight in Luang Prabang at Apsara Hotel.
DAY 09 LUANG PRABANG (B/-/-)
After breakfast, visit the Royal Palace Museum hosting a range of interesting artefacts for a guided audio tour. We then begin our temple tour taking in some the city’s most beautiful, including the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, representing the classical Luang Prabang style, as well as Wat Mai and Wat Visoun, known as ‘The Water Melon Stupa’ due to its shape. In the afternoon, visit the excellent Arts and Ethnology Centre which gives us a further insight into the ethnic mix and culture of Laos. We then visit the weaving and textile villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek. Our final stop is a climb to Mt Phousi offering a spectacular sunset and a panoramic view over Luang Prabang and the Mekong River. Overnight at Apsara hotel in Luang Prabang.
DAY 10 LUANG PRABANG / KUANG SI WATERFALL (B/-/-)
After breakfast, visit the local Phousi Market, a place where all the locals shop and your guide will show you the diverse offerings on display. We also stop at Ock Pop Tock, a silk weaving centre. Here you will be given a guided tour to explain the silk weaving process. Then drive to Ban Thinkeo, a Hmong village and start trekking with the villagers. Your guide will explain to you the common use of the plants by Hmong people and you will have the chance to cut some vegetables and herbs with the local people. We then continue to Kuang Si Waterfall, where you will enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the beautiful multi-tiered falls. You also have the opportunity to cool off in the turquoise blue pools. Afterwards, return to Luang Prabang in time to catch the sun setting over the Mekong.
DAY 11 LUANG PRABANG / DEPARTURE (B/-/-)
Transfer to the airport for flight home via Bangkok.
DAY 12 Arrive home
***Programme extendible to Central & Southern Laos, Cambodia and Thailand upon request.