Leave Chiang Mai behind and step back in time. Or so it feels as you go deeper into the heart and soul of Laos. To a remote place close to the Chinese border. Where the ethnic minorities welcome you with their smiles, the rice paddies and forest remains unspoilt and the explorations truly are beyond imagination. Trek your way through the beautiful forest and friendly villages, kayak the rivers and take in life along the shores. The slowness and beauty is encompassing and after adventureous days you are ready for new explorations. Ready to go Beyond.
Included: Meals: 6 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Accommodation: 7 x nights accommodation at local guesthouses and homestay
Transport: Overland transport: Chiang Mai - Chiang Khong // Huay Xai - Luang Namtha - Pak Beng (Via Oudomxay). Boat from Pak Beng to Luang Prabang on the Mekong River and transport to your Luang Prabang accommodation
Others/Activities: 3 Days/2 Nights Luang Namtha experience with kayaking and local homestay.
There is no overall guide on the tour. There will be drivers who speak limited English and English-speaking tour guide on the 3 days Luang Namtha experience. There will be people to help you at transportation/connection points and local representative offices. Not included: · Drinks
· Any food not mentioned in tour proposal
· Tours and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
· Travel Insurance (compulsory)
· Entrance fee and respectable clothes for the White Temple if you do not have already (covering shoulders and knees)
All other expenses not stated as included in the above
· Go beyond to remote Luang Namtha for a rare glimpse into local village life
· Satisfy curiosity and your adventurous heart with 3 days trekking and kayaking
· Choose to end in Luang Prabang and travel via the mighty Mekong river
Day 1: Chiang Mai to Luang Namtha
You will be picked up at your accommodation between 09.00-09.30 hrs and a minivan will drive you to Chiang Khong. You will have a brief 20 minutes stop at the magical White Temple in Chiang Rai on the way. Expect to arrive in Chiang Khong around 15.00 hrs, where you will exit Thailand and enter Laos (*remember to read our quick guide below!). Once on the other side, you will depart from Huai Xai by bus, and head towards Luang Namtha. Expected arrival at 21:00 (delays may happen, it's Laos!), where you will be picked up and check in to your accommodation for the night.
*Before crossing the Lao border, please remember to check up on the visa requirement for your nationality. We will not be held responsible if you cannot enter Laos. For most travellers, it is possible to obtain 30-days visa-on-arrival for a fee of USD 30 and 1-2 passport photos.We recommend you to NOT exchange money at the border due to excessively high exchange rates (there will be ATMs in Luang Namta), and to bring a bit of patience.
Day 2: Luang Namtha free day
Have breakfast in the morning and decide where you want to go today. You will have a bicycle and a map available for you to explore the sleepy city and its outskirts. Overnight at your accommodation in Luang Namtha. (B)
Day 3: Luang Namtha Trekking – Go through forest areas and stay in local villages
Today is the start of an exciting three day trip which takes you through a variety of different ethnic villages including three Lanten and two Khmu, two of which can only be accessed by foot or by boat.
The trip itself starts in the village of Ban Namleu, a Lanten village. The trail ascends from Ban Nam Leu to the ridge line. Along the trail we will pass through forest in various stages of regeneration as well as some upland fields. The guide will tell you about how we are working with the villagers to conserve and regenerate the forest. As we carry onwards along the trail we will meet local villages who are coming to and from markets. In order to distribute the benefit which our visit brings evenly between villagers we alternate the overnight stay between the two villages of Ban Nam Goy (Lanten) and Ban Nalan Tai (Khmu). If you are staying Ban Nam Goy you will walk another 40 minutes along the bank of the Nam Ha River from Ban Nalan Tai. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Luang Namtha Trekking – Trekking, crossing rivers in search for wildlife.
Stay in local villages
After enjoying breakfast which is prepared by the villages we continue our trek through the forest along the banks of the Nam Ha, an area which is home to monkeys meaning that if we walk quietly and luck is on our side, we may hear or even see them! Along the route we will meet with the villagers in the forest along the way and enjoy picnic lunch together.
After lunch we keep walking until arriving at the Nam Ha River which we cross via a bamboo raft before entering the Nam Ha National Protected Area. Here the trail traverses old growth forests and follows streams along. Here you will notice signs of the abundant wildlife in the area and if lucky there may even be a chance to get a glimpse of one of the many different animals which live in the area. As we continue onwards we cross over the ridge passing through rice paddy fields before reaching the banks of the Nam Tha River, from here we carry on a short while to the Khmu village of Ban Hat Yawng where the villagers will host you in their lodge overnight. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Luang Namtha Kayaking – Paddle down the river past local life and cultivated landscapes
The third day of the trip changes from trekking as the day is spent kayaking on the Nam Tha River which flows through a more densely populated and cultivated landscape giving you plenty to look at while you kayak downstream.
The day is spent leisurely kayaking downstream, along the route depending on season there are some sections of exciting rapids which provide great entertainment for all! The trip ends at the Khmu village of Ban Hat Nalaeng, from here we will return back to Luang Namtha via pickup truck, a journey which takes you along a dusty and bumpy road yet offers some great views along the way.
Arriving back in Luang Namtha you will be taken back to your accommodation where you are free to relax and refresh after the three days of excitement which you have just taken part in. (B,L)
• Infant - 0 to 5 years old are free of charge when travelling and sharing bed with parents
• Child - 6 to 11 Years old pay child prices
Please be aware of:
· The kayaking can be more challenging (fun) during the wet season and is not recommended for children under 10 years old during the peak of the wet season.
· The trails during the trekking in Luang Namtha can get very muddy during the wet season and become more challenging
Local guesthouse in Luang Namtha town, Pak Beng and Luang Prabang.
Home stay during Luang Namtha experience.
Minibus/Bus from Chiang Mai to Luang Namtha
Songtheaw from Luang Namtha bus station to accommodation
Bus from Luang Namtha to Pak Beng (Via Oudomxay)
Boat from Pak Beng to Luang Prabang
Songtheaw from Luang Prabang ferry port to accommodation
Not available during Lao new year (14 th – 16 th April)
All year apart from the dates as mentioned above. The best time to visit is from Nov - Feb when it is dry and the temperature is at its lowest around at around 20-25 degrees. At nighttime the temperature can drop to lower than 10 Degrees in December and January whereas From Mar to May the temperature can rise to above 40 degrees!
In northern Laos the rainy season lasts from the end of May until the end of October and can bring heavy and regular rainfall. Treks in this season can be challenging (though not necessarily). If the weather makes the trek unnecessarily rough, you might be offered to adapt itinerary on the spot. As the weather is unpredictable and beyond our control, we will never know this in advance.
Chiang Khong, Huay Xai, Luang Namtha, Pak Beng, Luang Prabang
Mosquito spray, sun block, long trousers & Shirt, hat, warm jacket if travelling in the cool season, sturdy shoes/boots.