|Day 1 : Arrive in Ban Houai Xai
After crossing the border between Thailand and Laos, you will arrive in Ban Houai Xai, a small typical town ; check in at the guesthouse that we will have booked for you.
At 18.00 pm your local Lao guide will come to meet you. He will give you a short briefing on the itinerary for the coming days.
|Day 2 : Drive to Luang Namtha
After breakfast, we take a minibus to Luang Namtha. The journey is about 6 or 7 hours with stops on the way to take pictures of the beautiful panorama, and also tovisit a village of the Hmong Musur hill tribe village.
Once in Luang Namtha we can also visit a Thai Dam village where silkworms are cultivated then it is onto to your hotel for your overnight in Luang Namtha.
|Day 3 : Trekking in the Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area
We leave Luang Namtha by songtaew to drive north into the Nam Ha Natioanl Biodiversity Conservation Area and meet our village hosts at Don Sai village. We hike along a forested stream into the mountains of the Nam Ha conservation area taing time to learn about the plants and animals. The guides and villagers will show you how to collect wild herbs and vegetables for dinner which you will cook over an open fire with your Khmu hosts.
Then you can fall asleep to the sounds of the forest. If you want to go wildlife spotting at night then this is the place to do it. Make sure you have a good flashlight or head lamp along with you to look for wildlife.
|Day 4 : Walk to the Khmu Camp
Wake early to watch the sunrise from atop the mountains above the camp and see the bird life in the forest. Explore the nearby forests or help the village cooks prepare a traditional Khmu breakfast. Then set off on a moderate walk through the Nam Ha forest. The village guides will go ahead to prepare a picnic lunch for you in the forest.
Arrive at Nammat Mai village – an Akha ethnic group village. Tour the village or just relax and enjoy the simplicity of Akha village life. Share a meal of fresh food with your friendly village hosts. Here you will have a chance to see how the forest is reclaiming an old village site.
|Day 5 : A day in a village
Get up early before breakfast to go to the hunting grounds. Your Akha guide will try to call birds. He may or may not be successful but if he can’t find any wildlife for you to see, he will show you their signs. Return to the camp to enjoy an Akha breakfast prepared by your hosts. After breakfast start the journey back to town. Stop in upland fields along the way to learn about this ancient form of agriculture. Enjoy a homemade lunch in an upland field of one of the villagers.
Before finishing the trek stop in the new village of your Akha hosts. If time allows ask your guide to take you to the provincial market. See how many forest products are in the market and how many of them you saw on your trek.
|Day 6 : Drive to Nong Khiow
We have a long drive to Nong Khiow today. The condition of the roads in this part of the country very much depends on the weather and therefore you should be prepared for some landslides and delays.
The scenery however is spectacular – mostly forested with slash and burn cultivation and with many hill villages along the way (Hmong and Khamu villages) Overnight in Nong Khiow (B)
|Day 7 : By sampan to Luang Prabang
After breakfast you will have some time left to enjoy the village life before we board our wooden sampan and continue our trip on the Ou River. Before reaching Luang Prabang, we will stop to visit the Pak Ou Caves, where we climb steps up the limestone cliffs to reach the sacred Buddhist shrine. We will arrive in Luang Prabang around lunch time.
In the afternoon you will have some time to relax and unwind or to explore a bit of this World Heritage City. We will enjoy a sightseeing tour of the magnificent temples: Wat Visoun, Wat Mai and Wat Xieng Thong (the golden temple built in 1559). This is strikingly decorated in brilliant red and gold designs, with an imposing tiled roof and mosaic motifs. It is the city’s oldest temple and one of the best examples of Luang Prabang architectural style. We will explore the Night Market where you will be able to find lovely handicrafts made by our local people, Overnight in Luang Prabang (B)
|Day 8 : Sightseeing in Luang Prabang and the Khuang Si Waterfall
We will start with a visit to the National Museum, which gives a brief presentation of the various leaders and fighters of Lao history, from ancient times up to the new revolution period. We then visit Ban Xangkhong, a weaving village. Heading out of town we embark on a drive south and pass the verdant and rugged scenery to visit some hill tribe people at Ban Lao Soung and Ban Ou.
Here we enjoy a walk to the beautiful Khuang Si Falls which are surrounded by lush forest. The waterfall tumbles over multi tiered limestone formations into the cool and clear pools – ideal for anyone seeking an enjoyable escape when the heat becomes unbearable. On our return we go to see the sunset and the Buddha’s footprints at Wat Siphouthabath. Overnight in Luang Prabang
|Day 9 : Drive to Xieng Khouang
Upon leaving the town we drive out to Xieng Khouang, which was devastated by American bombing between 1964 and 1973. These back roads are a great way to explore the real Laos. We see very few other travelers – mostly rural dwellers who are just as interested in finding out about our lives as we are of theirs.
The drive is very long, but we can make many stops at our pleasure, to stretch our legs and take some wonderful photographs. On arrival we explore the province’s old capital of Muang Khun and the nearby villages. Overnight in Phonsavanh. (B)
|Day 10 : Drive to Vang Vieng
The Plan of Jars is an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are littered all over the plateau. These huge jars are supposedly over 2,000 years old, but most of archaeologists are still mystified about their purpose. We have time today to explore both the site and some nearby villages populated by the Hmong hill tribe people who are very poor but have an interesting local culture and a colorful history.
Then we set off on our journey to Vang Vieng. This small and tranquil village is rapidly developing with the advent of tourists, but the beautiful scenery with its mixture of quiet waters and limestone outcrops has remained unchanged for centuries. Depending on the roads and traffic conditions our drive will deliver us to Vang Vieng by mid or late afternoon. Overnight in Vang Vieng (B)
|Day 11 : By Boat and Road to Vientiane
An impressive way to start our day is a walk around the bustling central market. Heading out of town we enjoy a short bamboo boat trip along the Namsong River, which not only gives us a taste of adventure but also allows us to enjoy exploring the famous cave of Tham Jang. This was once used by local people as a hideout from Chinese invaders. We also cross the river to Ban Huai Ngai, a very pleasant village where we can explore the different local lifestyle.
We then continue travelling by road to Vientiane, the capital city of Laos on the banks of the Mekong River. This small town conjures up exotic images, with its curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and French influences. Overnight in Vientiane (B)
|Day 12 : Tour Vientiane
Our full day tour of Vientiane begins with a visit to Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple still standing in the town. This amazing structure features remarkable frescoes and Buddha statues. Next we visit the former royal temple of Haw Pha Kaew, which once housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. We also visit the imposing Patouxai Monument – well known as Vientiane s own Arc de Triomphe before we continue on to the great sacred structure and symbol of Laos – That Luang Stupa.
Heading out of town we see the Buddha Park, a blend of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures created by a mystical monk on parkland on the banks of the Mekong River and close to the impressive Friendship Bridge linking Laos and Thailand. A perfect way to round off the day is to watch the spectacular sunset over the Mekong River from one of the riverside bars. Overnight in Vientiane (B)
|Day 13 : Depart Vientiane
After breakfast, we visit the Morning Market and the weaving village of Ban Nong Bouathong (if time permits).
The tour ends after your transfer to Wattay Airport or the Friendship Bridge for departure. (B)