From Northern Laos to Southern China: a roadtrip unlike any other

ITINERARY: Luang Prabang – Nong Khiau – Oudomxay – Muang La – Luang Nam Tha – Boten – Jinghong (Xishuangbanna) – Mojiang – Duoyishu – Yuanyang – Jianshui – Kunming

DURATION: 16 days and 15 nights on the spot

Day 1

Arrival in Luang Prabang

Note: Upon your arrival at Luang Prabang International Airport, it is possible to obtain your visa on arrival (VOA). Simply bring 1 passport picture along with between USD 30 and 45 / person in cash, visa fees varying from one nationality to another. Make sure your passport is valid at least 6 months beyond your return departure date. Visa on Arrival forms are available before immigration counters.

Welcome by your Lao English-speaking tour guide in the arrival hall and transfer to your hotel by your private minivan for check-in.

In the afternoon, we then ascend to Phou Si hill. The hill commands great views over the town, the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers and the mountainous ranges. It takes you 328 steps to reach the top, and at sunset set, the changing colors of the sky are particularly spectacular. The light reflecting on the golden spire of the temple at the top is also beautiful. The stairs are lined up with flamboyant and frangipani trees providing a deserved shade as you walk up and down.

Once back to ground level, ends your day by stopping at the awakening Hmong minority people Night Market. It is held daily in the streets around the National Museum. Villagers come here to sell their handicrafts.

Accommodation in Luang Prabang.

Day 2

Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfall (B/L)

Breakfast at the hotel.

In this morning, start your tour with The National Museum that used to be the former Royal Palace. Inside the complex of the National Museum, you will see the “Prabang” sacred golden statue, giving its name to the town. Then visit Vat Mai, the former royal temple, TAEC, the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre depicts Laos ‘rich ethnic diversity with themed rotating exhibits. It is hosted in a former French colonial times judge’s mansion and a short visit of the Ock Pop Tok and better understand the richness of textile pattern in Laos and its role in the local economy.

Lunch at Silk Road Café. At the center and enjoy the view along the Mekong river.

This afternoon, we take an excursion to Kuang Si waterfalls, 32 km south-west of Luang Prabang. Kuang Si is a good place to get more familiar with endemic and it is also possible to hike to the top of the falls via a steep trail, and if the weather is good, you might enjoy a swim in the crystal clear water ponds at the foot of the falls.

En route to the falls, your guide will take you to some of the nearby ethnic minority villages for a look into Laotian rural life and a chance to interact with the locals. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Asian Black Bear Rescue Center.

At 7pm – Head to Hive Bar to attend an “Ethnic Fashion Show” (with drinks and snacks). This shows displays more than 95 different costumes from ethnic minority people inhabiting northern Laos. It is the largest private collection of costumes in Asia. They are worn by young Laotian models willing to showcase the rich diversity their country has to offer.

Accommodation in Luang Prabang.

Day 3

Luang Prabang - Elephant Village (B/L)

At 0540AM, head by Tuk-Tuk to the peninsula to witness and attend alms giving. Long lines of monks and novices stroll the street of the town center to collect their daily food subsistence from the worshippers. This ancient ritual is locally known as “tak bat.

 Continue with a visit to the open-air food market that is held daily in the streets nearby the former Royal Palace. Lao people still like buying fresh food. While fridges are widely spread in households, people prefer going to local markets and returning home with fresh ingredients.

Return to the hotel for breakfast.

Today, you will be picked up and transferred to the site of elephant riding at the Elephant Village. Enjoy the impressive experience of approx. 1 hour elephant back ride on the Howdah (Elephant seat) or on your elephant’s neck. Boat trip on the Khan River. Take a return pirogue trip to the Tad Sae Waterfall and spend some time in the clear water. Possibility to swim in the falls, water levels permitting.

Lunch will be provided at the Elephant Village Restaurant (buffet lunch served with drinking water, vegetarian options available).

Return to town and leave the rest of the afternoon free at leisure to explore the local surroundings by yourself.

Accommodation in Luang Prabang.

From Northern Laos to Southern China: a roadtrip unlike any other

Day 4

Luang Prabang – Nong Khiau (B/L)

After your breakfast at hotel, leave Luang Prabang Capital for a drive on Road toward Nong Khiau. It takes around 3 hours-drive. The sceneries along the road are stunning with rice paddies, deep forested jungles, winding roads, lakeside views, palm trees and rural villages.

Arrival in Nong Khiau, lunch at the hotel and then, check-in.

In the afternoon, half day hiking tour to one of the most dramatic and scenic mountain top spots in Laos

Mountain View hike around Nong Khiau Nam Ou river valley.

This half day trip will guide you out of Nong Khiau and on top of the second highest point in sight. The short and adventurous trail guides you up into the jungle and ancient high altitude forests surrounding the town. Walking steep through hardly ever visited areas you approach one of the highest points of the region.

We get close to the most scenic view point overlooking the whole valley, the Nam Ou River and the town. The view invites you to rest and hang out on the fresh air mountain top. Stay some time to see the clouds and sceneries changing…

On clear days you can watch as far as 20 km to the northern mountains of Muang Ngoi area. If you come with limited time and can walk steep up and down than that’s a great and short adventure to take home.

Accommodation in Nong Khiau.

Day 5

Nong Khiau – Udomxay - Muang La (B/L)

After breakfast at the hotel, then transfer by road to Muang La via Udomxay province, it takes about 4 hours.

Oudomxay is now an important trading hub and as you leave it behind of you, you will notice the contrast as you head into the unspoiled countryside. This northern region of Laos is very mountainous and green, with rice paddies and plantations dividing areas of thick jungle. You will encounter various tribes on this part of your holiday and even on the drive to the hotel you will pass some villages perched precariously on steep mountainsides and then others in the valleys carved out by ancient rivers.

Stop en route visit some minority villages en routes.

Lunch at local restaurant.

Arrival in Muang La in the afternoon, check-in and free at leisure.

Accommodation in Muang La.

Day 6

Muang La – Ethnic villages – Muang La (B/L)

Breakfast at the hotel.

This full day tour is only walking and between the villages. Transferring by 4×4 is the only way to cover enough ground and climb the steep mountains in order to reach the most untouched and fascinating villages in the regions.

You set off to visit an Ikhos village and a Hmong village; two of the many ethnic groups in Laos. Your route climbs to 1,000m above sea level and offers some magnificent views of the stunning mountain scenery. Your first visit is a completely isolated Ikhos village; this ethnic group originates from Tibet and Yunnan Province in China. You learn about the daily life of the village and how the villagers still follow customs passed down through the centuries.

You will enjoy a picnic lunch with amazing surroundings.

After lunch, an optional short walk (20 minutes) takes you to an abandoned Hmong village with a stunning 360° panorama view. You continue on to visit a Hmong village – this ethnic group originates from the high steppes of Tibet and you will learn about their way of life, the importance of their livestock (pigs, buffaloes…..) and the care that they give to their animals.

After that, we return to the hotel at the end of the day.

Accommodation in Muang La.

From Northern Laos to Southern China: a roadtrip unlike any other

Day 7

Muang La – Luang Namtha (B/L)

After your breakfast at hotel, leave Muang La town for a drive on to Road toward Luang Namtha. It takes around 4 hours-drive.

Lunch at the local restaurant.

Arrival in Luang Namtha in the afternoon and transfer to the hotel.

In the afternoon, please enjoy your free at leisure time.

Accommodation in Luang Namtha.

Day 8

Luang Namtha - Jungle Trek in the Nam Ha NPA (B/L)

Breakfast at the hotel.

Departure from our office by Tuk Tuk to the southern along direct via Ban Nam Ha Villages (Khmu People) around 30 minutes. Next, the local guide who knows everything about the trail and forest will join this tour and take you pass agriculture field around an hour.

You will see villagers collecting forest products along the way and experience the Khmu’s life in the forest. Then we walk into the Nam Ha National Park; explore real nature and the Nam Ha River, watch the many kinds of birds and trees, learn from the village guide how to collect food in the forest before stopping for a picnic lunch.

During the trek, we also learn about many plants and the local people’s technique for hunting animals and we continue to trek to the Tuk Tuk pick up place, and they will drive you back to Luang Namtha town.

Itinerary Approx. 5-6 hours.

Trekking Area: Nam Ha National Protected Area- an ASEAN Heritage Site

Moderate, short hill climbs and descents walks up and down of hills

Long day and adventure trek through mountains on the small path and challenging, beautiful nature, jungle forest, Nam Ha River, wild life experience, local picnic lunch.

Accommodation in Luang Namtha.

Day 9

Luang Namtha – Boten – Jinghong (B)

After breakfast at the hotel our vehicle will take us to the border at Boten. At the other side you will be welcomed by your chauffeur.

A 3 to 4 hour drive will take you to Jinghong.

Overnight in Jinghong

From Northern Laos to Southern China: a roadtrip unlike any other

Day 10

Jinghong (B)

In the morning you will visit a minority village specialized in the production of paper. Menghai market in Blang

In the afternoon we will walk in the Nan Nuo mountains, famous for its old tea plantations. The tour will take three hours and it will take you along the Aini tea plantation.

Overnight in Jinghong

Day 11

Jinghong – Mojiang (B)

(4 hours)

Today you will drive to Mojiang with a stop along the way at the Valley of the wild elephants. It is also possible to stop at some villages along the way.

Overnight in Mojiang

Day 12

Mojiang – Duoyishu (B/D)

(6 hours)

On our way to Duoyishy village we will pass the rice terraces of Yuanyang, Yuanjiang and Honghe. We will also watch the sunset over the rice fields of Bada.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Duoyishu

From Northern Laos to Southern China: a roadtrip unlike any other

Day 13

Yuanyang (B/L/D)

(2 hours)

After breakfast we will drive to a village in Yuanyang to visit the morning market. Here, you can meet different ethnic minorities like the Yi, Hani and Dai. We continue to a small Yi village we they have prepared a show full of singing and dancing. Both charming and touching because all revenues go directly to the poor families.

Lunch will also be prepared by one of the participating families.

In the afternoon we will hike for about 2 to 3 hours through beautiful rice terraces and small villages.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 14

Yuanyang - Jianshui (B/L)

(4 hours)

Breakfast at the hotel. You will have the possibility to visit another market before getting on the road to Jianshui. Lunch will be consumed on the road at the residence of a Zhang family at Tuanshan. We will also discover the beautiful double dragon bridge.

In the afternoon, visit the temple of Confucius, the second biggest temple in China after the Qufu temple. The sight consists out of a large park with a pond, several courtyards, beautiful porticos, temples and pavilions. If time permits we can also visit a tofu factory.

Your hotel is situated in the beautiful residence of the Zhu family. The building is one of the best persevered ones in Yunnan, surrounded by courtyards, pavilions and gardens.

Day 15

Jianshui - Kunming (B)

(3.30 hours)

Stroll to the old town in Jianshui which houses a small bird market.

Afterwars we will drive to Shilin. The stone forest is located here. We propose a walk of about 2 hours at the sight between the rocky peaks and through narrow paths, away from the many Chinese tourists.

Back in Kunming we will check into our nicely situated hotel in the centre of Kunming.

In the evening you can attend another traditional sing and dance show ‘Dynamic Yannan’ performed by Yunnan minorities.

From Northern Laos to Southern China: a roadtrip unlike any other

Day 16

Departure (B)

(1 hour)

You have some spare time in the morning. You could stroll to the Emerald Lake, where locals like to dance, sing and play music. Continue to the Yuantong Buddhist Temple 5 to minutes further.

After dinner you will be transported to the Kunming airport.

End of services

Each program is absolutely customizable in terms of duration, itinerary, stops, types of accommodation, inclusions and activities. Anything actually! In line with your wishes and budget constraints.