Trip Description & Day-by-day Itinerary
Taking this Laos 10 Day Tour you can experience the best of what Laos can offer from the famous UNESCO Heritage Site of ancient Luang Prabang to the remote area of Kamu Lodge, the place where electricity is still in the future plan. The cruise upstream the Mekong River is the experience that no one wants to miss when visiting Laos (this is the most important trading route of the northern Laos in the past when travelling among the zigzagging mountain paths is something impossible). It is also the chance for you to experience the amazing resort of Muang La Resort and its surrounding area (the home of many ethnic groups), the place that you never want to say goodbye. The great nature of Nong Khiaw is also what makes your luggage more heavy with full of fun experience.
DAY 1: ARRIVE LUANG PRABANG
On arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to check in the hotel. The rest of the day is your own time at leisure. Overnight in Luang Prabang
DAY 2: LUANG PRABANG & KUANG SI WATERFALLS
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. From there, we will take a short visit to the morning local market near the Royal Palace. At the market, you can find anything from rice, to fresh vegetables, to steamed fish, frogs, and anything else that might be the day’s catch, just set up on the ground, this is what the locals do every day. This is really the chance for you to get a real flavor of the local culture.
Breakfast, we visit Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. Our next stop in the city is the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. We will also take a look at the Traditional Art & Ethonology Center to learn about the many Lao ethnic groups. Laos is also known for its traditional crafts, and today you will visit local villages of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay, a Hmong village, Ban Ou a Laoloum village and Ban Thapene, a Khmu village. This then takes us to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pools or walk along the forest trails.
Before returning to Luang Prabang, we stop to visit the Kuang Si Falls Butterfly Park, one of the must-visit spots, newly opened on January 2014. Arriving in Luang Prabang, we ascend the 329 steps to the top of Phousi Hill for a beautiful sunrise view of the city and its glowing reflection on the Mekong River. Overnight in Luang Prabang
DAY 3: LUANG PRA BANG -> PAK OU CAVE -> KAMU LODGE
Board on a traditional Long River boat at Kamu Lodge pier at 08:30am and take a leisurely cruise upstream while enjoying the refreshments served on the boat. Marvel at the thousands of gold Buddha statues placed in sacred Pak Ou caves by devotees. Most people failed to marvel at Pak Ou towering limestone cliff. Continue upriver and you would reach Kamu Lodge around noon. A Refreshing welcome drink is served. You can check into your super-size tents with attached modern bathroom amenities and facilities. You will enjoy lunch in an airy SALA settled in the middle of ice paddy fields.
After lunch, you can choose to either relax or to enjoy the traditional Kamu lifestyles and activities such as rice planting and harvesting in surrounding rice fields, gold panning in the Mekong (anything you find is Yours!), traditional fishing techniques (you can sample your catch for dinner!), visit of the Kamu village, archery contest.
Dinner is a feast by Kamu tribe standards. We want you to see the world from the Kamu’s eyes. After dinner, retire to your tent.
DAY 4: KAMU LODGE -> PAKBENG
You are free in the morning to stroll around the lodge and the surrounding village. The boat Shompoo Cruise will arrive at around 9:30Am to pick you up for the cruise upstream to Pakbeng, a small village located on the Mekong River. Along the way, we will stop at Ban Baw, which is famous for its traditional hand weaving. Arriving in Pakbeng at around mid-afternoon, you will check in your hotel before take an orientation walk around the town. Overnight in Pakbeng
Note: departure schedule of Shompoo Cruise: Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday
DAY 5: PAK BENG -> MUONG LA
Early morning, we will take the small motor boat crossing the Mekong River to the Mekong Elephant Camp. After strolling around we will enjoy the elephant riding to the nearby jungle and mountain, where the panoramic view of the mountainous area may take your breath away. After that, we hop on the car and continue our expedition north into the province of Oudomxay, which is very famous for its many ethnic groups. Here we have the 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 in Muang La, famous for its natural hot springs for the night. 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 sometime in the hot springs. Overnight in Muang La
DAY 6: MUONG LA TREKKING
Day by 4×4 to meet Ikhos villages and Hmong, two communities typical of Laos. The track you will use is superb and offers an incredible climb up to 1000m where you will have a memorable and unique point of view. You will visit first a beautiful village Ikho totally isolated. This community from Yunnan and Tibet has remained extremely traditional. Lunch will be taken on a magnificent view. We join in after the Hmong village of Ban Tauser (45 minutes walking). This ethnic group, originating high steppes of Tibet, you will discover their habits, the important place that keep the animals (pigs, buffaloes…) in their lifestyle and care they provide. The path leading to the village completely isolated offers many viewpoints impressive. A few minutes from the village is a viewpoint with a 360 degree panorama on the region… unique. Back to the resort at the end of the day.
DAY 7: MUANG LA -> MUANG KHUA -> MUANG NGOI -> NONG KHIAW
In the morning, we will depart for Muang Khua, the small town along the way to Tay Trang Border with Vietnam. From there, we will board on a long-tail boat downstream the Nam Ou River to Nong Khiaw, the lovely boutique town along the lazy Nam Ou River. The scenery along the way is said to be the most beautiful part of the gently Nam Ou River. Along the way, we may make a short stop to enjoy the drink at one of the bars in Muang Ngoi overlooking the Nam Ou River. We arrive in Nong Khiaw just in time to catch the sunset before checking in your simple guesthouse. Overnight in Nong Khiaw
DAY 8: NONG KHIAW -> 100 WATERFALLS -> NONG KHIAW
Start this day of adventure with a peaceful boat ride on the Nam Ou River where you will be able to explore a small Lao village along the riverside. Learn about the villagers and their way of life along this Northern Laos River before beginning the ‘100 Waterfalls Adventure Trail’!
Walking through small streams and rice paddies, you will arrive at the bottom of the 100 Waterfalls which were only first explored in October 2008! For the next few hours you will see only water and jungle and hear the constant sound of clear waterfall cascades. The pools around you are very inviting for a refreshing splash.
Your guide will lead you through the cascades and prepare a local style lunch that you can enjoy on the falls surrounded by amazingly green nature.
A small village trail on the top of the ‘100 Waterfalls’ will lead us on our hike back down into the valley, offering wide views over the expansive Nam Ou valley. Once back in the village we will have some more time to experience the daily life of the Nam Ou riverside village before heading back to Nong Khiaw (Nong Khiau) by boat.
DAY 9: NONG KHIAW -> LUANG PRABANG
In the morning, we visit the historical cave of Phathok. The Nong Khiaw villagers used this cave as a war shelter during the “Secret War”, to shelter people from bombs dropped in the region. It is about a 30 minute gentle walk from Nong Khiaw town and takes you through beautiful scenery. Learn more about a secret part of the Lao history and explore the historical caves with your guide. From the cave you will have a beautiful view of rice paddies and the valley. Walk back to Nong Khiaw along a small path through the rice paddies.
In the afternoon, we will transfer back to Luang Prabang with minivan. Along the way, we will also stop at ban Pak Ou, where we will take the small motor boat to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. We will arrive in Luang Prabang just in time to catch the sunset. Tour finishes after transferring to your hotel
DAY 10: DEPARTURE
You are free before taking the departure flight. End.