A journey back in time, the feel when Chiang Mai has been left behind and 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. Then south you go, the sun shimmers in the water and you give in to the mother of Rivers, the Mekong. Flowing on her waters, she will gently bring you to the charming laidback city of Luang Prabang. Where the place is still slow and the nature is rough and incredibly breath-taking. Explore the outskirts, trek and bike through the local villages, pass lush rice paddies and meet the playing children. Head towards Vang Vieng, to the outskirts through rivers streams and waterfalls, across open valleys and down steep mountain slopes. Trek, zipline and abseil your way through the rough surroundings, a treat for the adventurous. Then off you are to urban life in Vientiane. Bike through the rice fields, Kayak the rivers. A land that truly are beyond the Ordinary.
Included: Meals: 15 x Breakfasts, 9 x Lunch, 4 x Dinners
Accommodation: 1 Night at basic guesthouse in Chiang Khong, 1 Night at hotel in Luang Namtha, 1 Night at basic guesthouse in Pakbeng, 3 Nights at hotel in Luang Prabang, 4 Nights at home stay in Luang Prabang and Luang Namtha outskirts, 3 Nights at hotel in Vang Vieng, 2 Nights at hotel in Vientiane, 1 Night on the mountain top in a bamboo hut during ‘Vang Vieng Challenge’ and 1 Night in overnight train
Transport: Minibus/Bus from Chiang Mai to Luang Namtha. Songtheaw from Luang Namtha bus station to accommodation and bus from Luang Namtha to Pak Beng (Via Oudomxay). Public boat from Pak Beng to Luang Prabang, Songtheaw from Luang Prabang ferry port to accommodation in Luang Prabang. Bus from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng, Songtheaw from Vang Vieng bus station to accommodation, Private minibus from Vang Vieng to Vientiane (Via Nam Ngum lake) Boat on Nam Ngum Lake, Bicycle & Kayak in Vientiane, sleeper train from Nong Khai to Bangkok
English speaking tour guide: There is no overall tour guide on the tour. There will be guide during the trip as follows: English speaking guide during three day trip in Luang Namtha. English speaking guide during trip from Pak Beng to Luang Prabang. During weaving/dyeing course and during two days, one night trip in Luang Prabang. English speaking guide on the two day Vang Vieng Challenge, day trip from Vang Vieng to Vientiane (Via Nam Ngum) And during cycling and kayaking down the Mekong in Vientiane. 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
· Enjoy a fantastic three day trip of kayaking and trekking
· Relax on the slow boat as you cruise down the mighty Mekong River
· Learn traditional weaving or dyeing techniques as you take part in a half day class
· Cycle and trek through the beautiful countryside
· Explore the UNESCO World heritage city of Luang Prabang
· Travel along a beautiful mountain road from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng
· Take part in the exhilarating Vang Vieng Challenge
· Enjoy lunch on board a boat cruising the largest lake in Laos, Nam Ngum
· Cycle along the river banks and Kayak down the Mighty Mekong River
· Nostalgic overnight train journey from Nong Khai to Bangkok
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 remote 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 villagers who are going to and coming from the market. 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 and in search for wildlife.
Stay with local villagers
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, 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 Nam Tha 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 as you kayak downstream.
The day is spent leisurely kayaking downstream, along the route dependant 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. (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
· No child sized bicycles are available during the trip in Luang Prabang
· The weaving class is not generally suitable for children under 12 Years old however the dyeing is suitable for all ages
· The bicycle tracks on the overnight trip in Luang Prabang can get muddy during the wet season (June to September)
· The Vang Vieng Challenge is more difficult in the wet season due the muddy trails and high river levels etc.. It is not recommended for Children under 10 years old during this time of year.
· The cycling in Vientiane can be muddy during the wet season and the flow of the river fast during this time also.
Comfortable standard hotels or guesthouses, local village homestay, bamboo hut on the mountain top and overnight train
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
Bicycle during trip in to the countryside in Luang Prabang
Bus from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng
Songtheaw from Vang Vieng bus station to accommodation
Private minibus from Vang Vieng to Vientiane (Via Nam Ngum lake)
Boat on Nam Ngum Lake
Bicycle & Kayak in Vientiane
Shared minibus from Vientiane to Nong Khai train station
Overnight sleeper train (2nd Class Air Conditioned carriage) From Nong Khai to Bangkok
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.