Adventurous Laos

Pack your bags and get ready for this beautiful, culturally immersive journey off the beaten track in Laos! Begin in Luang Prabang, discovering this UNESCO World Heritage city, before heading out into nature to experience river cruises, rural village life, local markets, and a two day trek in a far-flung National Park. Finish your trip at the Plain of Jars archaeological wonder before returning back to Luang Prabang for one last night before your departure. With everything taken care of for you, all you have to do is relax and make the most of every day!

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Luang Prabang Arrival

Luang Prabang Arrival
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Accommodation: Maison Dalabua

Welcome to Laos! Upon arrival to the airport in Luang Prabang, obtain your Laos visa, if you haven't already obtained this prior to traveling. You will then clear Immigration and Customs, before entering into the arrivals area to meet your guide. They will assist you in the transfer to your hotel, where you will check in and spend the rest of the day at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique, remarkably well-preserved cityscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions.

Day 2: Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Monks Alms & City Bike Tour
  • Accommodation: Maison Dalabua
  • Meals: B

Monks Alms & City Bike Tour

If you have no problems to get up at dawn, your guide will accompany you to witness the sacred ritual of monks on their alms rounds, known locally as Sai Bath. Long lines of barefoot monks go true the streets to receive their morning rice from the local villagers (In keeping with our respectful stance regarding local cultures, please observe this sacred ritual from a respectful distance. If you take photographs, do not use a flash and try not to let this interfere with this highly revered ritual). Afterwards, visit the lively Morning Market and be immersed in local lifestyle, observing locals who are doing their grocery shopping. Return to your hotel for breakfast.

Reconvene with your guide to explore this historic and charming World Heritage Town by bicycle. Transfer to begin your journey at the most popular of temples – Wat Xieng Thong. This 500 year old temple is exquisite and is the best example of the classic Luang Prabang style. From here, explore small side streets, along back alleys and through temples – a city that could have been designed with slow travel in mind, a morning walking tour allows you to soak up the ambiance and appreciate the hidden charms of Luang Prabang. Through your guide, feel free to ask the locals questions as they go about their daily lives.

Continue wandering up the peninsula, stopping at temples and other sites as you wish. Visit the National Museum, which is the former Royal Palace. Relics from Laos’ royalist past remain here. Overlooking the palace is Phousi Mountain. It is said that those who do not climb the 328 steps up have not really made it to the city. Venture up the hill and be rewarded with remarkable views of the area. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 3: Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Countryside Cultural Tour & Kuang Si Waterfall
  • Accommodation: Maison Dalabua
  • Meals: B, L

Countryside Cultural Tour & Kuang Si Waterfall

After breakfast this morning, meet your guide and driver to begin a day adventure through the countryside for a more cultural perspective of the area, followed by a visit to the beautiful turquoise waters of Kuang Si Waterfall.

You will begin the drive into the peaceful countryside, stopping to explore a Khmu and Hmong village along the way. These ethnic minorities live closely, and you can compare their life styles, traditions and religions.

The Lowland Lao of Ban Sa-aat lives on the banks of the Mekong and its tributaries and in the cities. They speak Lao, which is closely related to the Thai spoken in Thailand. Ban Long Lao is home to Khmu people, who were the original inhabitants of Northern Laos. They are animists and speak a language belonging to the Austro-Asiatic group of languages. In Ban Long Lao, you will see Hmong and Khmu people live peacefully side by side. The Hmong settlers were the most recent to come to Laos. They built their villages on the mountain tops and practice shifting cultivation of corn and other crops. In Ban Pano and Ban Long Lao, local guides from these villages will show you around. You will have the chance to see houses from inside, traditional dresses and explanations about different craft productions or other common work routines. The villagers are grateful for this additional income and they are proud to welcome visitors from far away!

Finish the tour with a visit to the Kuang Si Waterfall. At the falls, crystal water cascades into idyllic turquoise pools. Bring a bathing suit if you would like to swim! Also take time to visit the nearby Sunbear Refuge to see the adorable protected Asiatic bears, and learn more about the poaching of these endangered creatures. On the way back to town, stop at a buffalo dairy known for their approach to sustainable farming. Here, you'll take a guided tour of the farm and learn how they work with the local community, observe a buffalo feeding and bathing, feed the chickens, pigs and rabbits, and maybe bottle-feed a calf! After, you'll be able to relax and enjoy their cake of the day served with coffee or ice cream before heading back to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 4: Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Local Cooking Experience & Baci Ceremony
  • Accommodation: Maison Dalabua
  • Meals: B, L

Local Cooking Experience & Baci Ceremony

Today, you will be picked up by your local guide and head to a local fresh market, where you'll meet your chef and teacher for the day, Mrs. Noy. After learning about local produce you will board a boat to cross the Mekon River where you will be greeted by friendly villagers and Mrs. Noy's family. This simple, intimate lesson in a private family home will offer insight into Lao life, and of course the local cuisine. After lunch, continue by boat downstream to visit villages where the famous river weed snacks, rice crackers, and other tasty bites are produced. Floating gently down the water, enjoy a Lao rice whiskey tasting as you slowly approach Luang Prabang.

In the early evening, you will be treated to the refined grace of a private Baci ceremony at private family home in a small village called Ban Mano. These gentle villagers, led by their Nai Ban (village chief) offer visitors tidings of good luck and fortune for their life and travels by gingerly tying cotton cords symbolizing luck, friendship and good health around your wrists. After your day of cultural immersion, you'll be returned to your hotel to spend the rest of the evening free at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 5: Luang Prabang - Nong Khiaw

Luang Prabang - Nong Khiaw
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Pak Ou Caves & Riverside Villages
  • Accommodation: Local Homestay
  • Meals: B

Pak Ou Caves & Riverside Villages

After breakfast, depart through Laos' scenic countryside to the Pak Ou Caves, a mystical pilgrimage site perched high above the Mekong River 27 miles outside of Luang Prabang. On arrival in Ban Pak Ou, a boat will ferry you across the river to reach the Pak Ou caves.

Peering into dark corners, your eyes gradually adjust to reveal the serene faces and figures of more than 3,000 Buddha images, some inlaid with semi-precious stones. That these remain undisturbed in this remote site in one of the world's poorest countries is a testament to the devotion of the people.

Crossing back over to the village, you'll continue your drive to Nong Khiaw. On the way, make a stop at Ban Na Yang, a Luu village. Upon arrival in Nong Khiaw, you'll be transferred to your homestay.
(This service is on a private basis.)

Day 6: Nong Khiaw

Nong Khiaw
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Nong Khiaw Full Day Sightseeing
  • Accommodation: Local Homestay
  • Meals: B

Nong Khiaw Full Day Sightseeing

Around 8:30 AM this morning you will depart from your hotel to enjoy a full day river cruise tour in a traditional longtail boat. Today's journey will include stops to visit several different ethnic villages. One of the villages is famous for its traditional Lao silk and cotton weaving. After spending some time in the village you will turn around and head downstream to Muang Ngoi. Upon arrival, you will have a break and some coffee before heading off on a small hike, which will take you through some gorgeous scenery consisting of limestone cliffs, mountains, and rice paddy fields.

Along the trek, you will visit a historical cave, which was used as a bomb shelter by the Laotians during the second Indochina war. Once you have returned to Muang Ngoi, you will board your boat for a lovely cruise back down the river whilst watching the beautiful sunset over Nong Khiaw, arriving back just before dark. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 7: Nong Khiaw - Vieng Thong

Nong Khiaw - Vieng Thong
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Nong Khiaw - Vieng Thong
  • Accommodation: Local Homestay
  • Meals: B

Today after breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel in Nong Khiaw and begin the long transfer west to Viengthong, our jumping off point for our expedition into nature. Upon arrival in the late afternoon, you'll check in to your local guesthouse and enjoy the rest of the evening free at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 8: Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area

Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Nest Trek
  • Accommodation: The Nest
  • Meals: B, L, D

Nest Trek

This morning at 8:30 AM you will be met by your guide at your guesthouse in Vieng Thong and drive for about 30 minutes through gorgeous mountainous landscapes, before arriving at Ban Nam Poung Village, an ethnic Khmu village situated on the edge of the national protected area boundary.

The village guide, porters, and cooks will meet clients at the village visitor center to provide a brief orientation about the area and the itinerary. At 9:30 AM, you'll board a hand tractor (tok tok) - a device for plowing rice paddies that can be converted into a transportation vehicle and pass through the village. This is a good opportunity to see the daily village life and briefly learn about Khmu culture. The following 7 KM on the tok tok will continue through the village's rice and corn fields with moderate climbs, learning along the way about upland rice cultivation and rural livelihoods. At about 12:00, on the edge of the fields and forest, enjoy a local picnic lunch inside a farmer's hut. The guides will explain the different management zones of the park and how local people coexist with nature.

After lunch, begin trekking into the forest following a 7 KM trail built and maintained by the village. This trail passes through a thick jungle and mixed deciduous forest. The local guide will show you medicinal plants and spot animal tracks and birds along the way. After approximately four hours of walking, you'll arrive at the Nests campsite and will be shown to your accommodation - the hanging spherical "nest". Enjoy a traditional Khmu dinner prepared by the village cooking group at around 6-7 PM, before it becomes dark. It's important to take an early dinner so that the smell of food and fire is not strong when you visit the wildlife observation platform later this evening. Dinner is eaten at the camp and is not allowed at the observation tower.

After dinner, you will receive a briefing about wildlife viewing at the Poung Nied Salt Lick - one of the largest salt licks int he protected area. The guides will inform tourists about the species of animals they may see and explain the rules and expectations for spotlighting. It's important to follow the established rules, such as no talking, no eating, and how to return to the camp in case you need to use the toilet.

We will stay at the observation tower for a few hours, depending on your curiosity and patience, until no later than 11:30 PM. Overnight sleeping in the tower is not allowed in order to reduce any negative impacts and disturbances to the wildlife.

The most common animals that you may spot include Sambar and barking deer, and various species of civets, although if you are lucky you may also see other protected animals such as bears, and several species of wild cats.

**Please wear warm clothes, as it can be quite cold in the late evening

Day 9: Vieng Thong - Xieng Khuang

Vieng Thong - Xieng Khuang
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Nest Trek
  • Accommodation: Vansana Plain of Jars Hotel
  • Meals: B

Nest Trek

Before breakfast, your guide will walk you back to the salt lick to identify different wildlife tracks. You will also spend approximately one hour on the observation platform, as morning is a great time for bird-watching. Afterwards, follow the guide to check the camera traps and help change the memory cards.

Once back to camp, enjoy breakfast and help your guide to sort photos of wildlife taken by the camera traps during the previous night. These photos will be uploaded to the website after your trip for viewing and download. Twelve surrounding villages involved in this project receive monetary bonuses in the form of a village development fund based on the number and type of wildlife spotted at night and captured by the camera traps, and your tour price contributes to this bonus.

Trekking back through the forest to the village's fields, enjoy a farmer's picnic lunch before riding the tok tok back to the village. When you arrive in the early afternoon, your village hosts will bid you goodbye, and you will be transferred back to Xieng Khuan and the Plain of Jars for your 2 night stay.

Day 10: Xieng Khuang

Xieng Khuang
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Plain of Jars & Lone Buffalo Foundation
  • Accommodation: Vansana Plain of Jars Hotel
  • Meals: B

Plain of Jars & Lone Buffalo Foundation

Today, you will be picked up at the airport and travel to the Plain of Jars - an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are littered all over the plateau. The creators of these artifacts and how they came to be here is a mystery. Along the way, you'll have a chance to visit a village working to improve themselves after the war - using scrap metal from exploded bombs, villagers make spoons and bracelets to sell.

Later this afternoon, you'll visit the Lone Buffalo Foundation. This special project offers young people free English courses taught by a native speaker. In addition to English, students are given the chance to develop computer skills and participate in physical activities, promoting the Lone Buffalo Foundation's philosophy of an integrated and holistic approach to language development. Meeting foreigners with different accents to practice English is a special event for students and helps them overcome their fear and shyness of speaking publically. (This service is on a private basis.) (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 11: Xieng Khuang - Luang Prabang

Xieng Khuang - Luang Prabang
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Internal Transfer
  • Accommodation: Maison Dalabua
  • Meals: B

After breakfast, begin the long but beautiful scenic drive from Phonsavan to Luang Prabang, stopping at a local market along the way. {Approximately 7-8 hours}. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 12: Luang Prabang Departure

Luang Prabang Departure
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Meals: B

Although your Laos adventure must come to an end today, you will be leaving with new friends, amazing experiences and memories to cherish for the rest of your life. Once you have checked out of your hotel in Luang Prabang, you will be met by your driver and transferred to the airport in good time to board your international departure flight.

We wish you safe and happy travels home! (This service is on a private basis.)

Accommodation

Maison Dalabua

Maison Dalabua

Maison Dalabua is just 5 minutes walk from the central area, with easy access to the night market, Grand Palace and down town area. The hotel stands on one of the most serene locations of Luang Prabang, away from the hustle and bustle. Surrounded by beautiful lotus ponds, Maison Dalabua offers spacious air-conditioned rooms with private bathroom facilities, cable TV, amd a minibar. Lotus du Spa provides traditional massages by trained masseuses. The hotel also provides a tour desk which helps organize day activities to local attractions. Guests can rent bicycles at Maison Dalabua. Rim Naam Restaurant serves local and western dishes, while Rabiang Bua Bar serves warm beverages and refreshing cocktails.

Local Homestay

Enjoy the unique opportunity to spend the night in a traditional house with a local family. This extraordinary cultural experience reveals an authentic world, usually never seen by travelers. Immerse yourself in the community, truly get to know the people and see how they live their day to day lives.

The Nest

Trek to the heart of the protected area and overnight in spherical baskets hanging from the trees – ‘The Nests’. Verify wildlife camera traps and try your luck to spot wildlife from the observation tower overlooking a salt lick that attracts animals such as the rare Sambar deer from far and wide.

Vansana Plain of Jars Hotel

Vansana Plain of Jars Hotel

Perched on top of a hill in Phonsavan, Xieng Khouang, Vansana Plain of Jars Hotel offers great 360-degree views of Phonsavan town and the surrounding fields and mountains. Quiet and peaceful, this popular property not only boasts an excellent views from your private balcony or the restaurant, but also comfortable guest rooms, experienced friendly staff and a free shuttle bus to drop you into Phonsavan at your request.

Pricing and Details

Starting from $ 2,598 per person

*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.

Price Includes

  • Full support before, during & after your trip
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Tours/activities as mentioned
  • Transport as mentioned

Price Excludes

  • International & domestic flights
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance visas when applicable
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers
  • Taxes and fees

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