Overview

A dream trip for nature and mountain lovers. A genuine expedition from Luang Prabang to the remote Phongsaly province in the extreme North of the country, sharing border with China and Vietnam. Get ready to bask in the warmth and hospitality of its residents, who belong to more than 25 different ethnicities, to get fascinated by the best preserved forests in the north edge of the country and to enjoy a phenomenal natural scenery during the different stages of your trip. Definitely, a memorable journey which will certainly broaden your horizons!

Highlights

  • Immersion in the far mountainous and diverse Laotian cultures (an overnight with a Mouchi family is also on our menu).
  • Trekking on tropical forests and remote rural settings – the best way to explore Laos' cultural and ethnic diversity.
  • Cruise on a local boat through the wildest and most unspoiled course of the Nam Ou River (the main tributary of the Mekong in Laos).
  • Journeys through possibly the most alluring natural scenic beauty that the country has to offer. 
Luang Prabang – Ban Kat, Oudomxay (by road)

Day 1 Luang Prabang – Ban Kat, Oudomxay (by road)

Meals: not included | Accommodation: Nam Kat Yorla Pa Resort, Superior room (Oudomxay)

This morning we leave Luang Prabang with our guide and head north to Muang La. The morning drive brings us out into rolling countryside where you can admire the beauty of the Nam Ou River and the surrounding rice paddy fields.  

After a lunch stop (not included) at Pakmong, about 3-hour drive north of Luang Prabang, the road twists and the scenery becomes increasingly mountainous.  This section of the journey is a good opportunity to stop and explore some Hmong villages including Ban Xong Ja. We pass through the market town of Oudomxay, then continue onto Namkat Yorla Par, arriving there by late afternoon.  The rest of the day is at leisure to relax.
 

Ban Kat - Muang La Mountains Trek

Day 2 Ban Kat - Muang La Mountains Trek

Meals: breakfast, lunch  | Accommodation: Nam Yorla Pa Resort, Superior room (Oudomxay) 

We set off in the morning in the direction of Pak Khai; this pleasant journey gives us wonderful views across the River Nam Pak, terraced rice fields and the small villages along the banks of the river. Upon our arrival, we start to trek along a mountain trail which follows a mountain stream meandering through the lush vegetation.  

We have the chance to meet the local farmers working in their rice fields and learn how they cultivate their lands, hunt for small game and fish in the mountain stream, before you enter into the tropical rainforest. After around 1½ hours, we leave the forest and arrive in the village of Ban Phavie; a beautiful Khamu village which sits on the top of a hill.

After having lunch in the village, we continue to some nearby waterfalls, where we can relax in the cooling clear waters, lulled by the gentle breeze and tranquility of the falls (weather permitting). At around 14:30, we head back to Nam Kat Yorla Par and arrive in the late afternoon.

Level of difficulty: 3/5 – Walking shoes and sun-hat are recommended. During wet weather, there is a risk of leeches being present in the foliage.
 

Ban Kat – Mouchi trek

Day 3 Ban Kat – Mouchi trek

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Homestay in a Mouchi village

Following an early breakfast this morning, we drive for in 3 hours to Bountai, where we meet our local guide, and continue for 1 hour to the trekking starting point. Following lunch, we hike in 2 ½ -3 hours to a beautiful basic village of the Mouchi tribe. This is 1 of only 6 Mouchi villages in Phongsaly Province. Explore this friendly village together with your guide. As the evening sets in, more and more villagers return from their farms.  Dinner is prepared by the villagers and you overnight with a family in their basic house.

Note: Our overnight will take place in a very basic homestay, where we will need to adapt to the local lifestyle. No running water, no toilets, and a public shower used by the whole community.

 

Mouchi trek – Phongsaly – Tea Plantations

Day 4 Mouchi trek – Phongsaly – Tea Plantations

Meals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Viphaphone Guesthouse, Standard Room (Phongsaly)

Following an breakfast at the village, we trek for a further 2 hours to an Akha Eupa group village.  We then transfer directly to Phongsaly, a 3-hour drive.  

In the afternoon we visit the famous 400 year old tea tree plantations. Here we take an easy walk, discovering the plantations and the nearby villages, where the tea pickers live. These villages aren’t visited very often, but you will be welcomed warmly. You might even be invited for a cup of the local brew.  

End the day with a climb up Phoufa hill to witness a beautiful sunset over the town.
 

Phongsaly - Hatsa - Muang Khua (Boat)

Day 5 Phongsaly - Hatsa - Muang Khua (Boat)

Meals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Sernaly Guesthouse, Standard room (Muang Khua)

After breakfast, we have time to explore Phongsaly old town, before driving to Hatsa, a scenic but bumpy 1½ hour drive. Here, we board our local private boat and cruise down a very wild and uninhabited stretch of the beautiful Nam Ou River, before reaching a sign of modern Laos, in the shape of a Chinese Hydropower Dam project.  We board a local truck to pass by the dam, then board another boat and continue for the second leg of the journey, a 3 hour boat cruise to Muang Khua.  En route we’ll stop for a picnic lunch as well as at Ban Huay Soy, a rarely visited Khmu village.   Arrive in Muang Khua by early evening and check into your hotel.

Note: depending on river conditions and water levels, the second leg of the boat journey may sometimes be undertaken by car.

 

Muang Khua – Nong Khiaw (Boat)     

Day 6 Muang Khua – Nong Khiaw (Boat)     

Meals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Mandala Ou Resort, Riverside room (Nong Khiew)                                       

This morning we board our local private boat for an unforgettable journey down the Nam Ou River to Nong Khiaw.  After around 2 1/2 hours we disembark and board a minivan for a short trip to pass the new Nam Ou Hydropower Dam, before boarding a second boat for the downstream part of the boat journey.

This particular stretch offers stunning scenery and remote villages, including Ban Sob Jaem a Khmu and Hmong village that can only be accessed by boat.  We reach Nong Khiaw by late afternoon.  Upon checking into your hotel, you have the option of taking a short bicycle ride to the picturesque local limestone caves nearby (bicycles available at the resort, and your guide will be happy to assist).

 

Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang  (by road)

Day 7 Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang  (by road)

Meals: breakfast | Accommodation: not included

This morning we head south by road to Luang Prabang. The morning drive brings us out into rolling countryside where you can admire the beauty of the Nam Ou River and the surrounding rice paddy fields.

Along the way we stop to visit the mysterious caves of Pak Ou, two caves set in a limestone cliff facing the Mekong River crammed with thousands Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes.  We arrive in Luang Prabang by lunchtime where you have the rest of the day at leisure.

 

Price per person based on group tour

Group Size 2 pax 3-4 pax
Price per person (Oct. 2018 - Apr. 2019) USD 1709 USD 1243
Price per person (May-Sept 2018 & 2019) USD 1675 USD 1211

 

* Prices valid until Sept. 2019

* Would you like to adapt the itinerary, accommodation or any activity as per your needs and preferences? Then just get in touch with us with your comments at info@handspan.com (we are specialists designing tailor-made trips!) 

* Special prices for groups of more than 4 people and the possibility to connect the tour with other stages of your trip around Indochina, by contacting us at info@handspan.com. 

* A private trip for a solo traveler is also available with a surcharge.

Included

  • Accommodation in shared double room as mentioned on the program
  • Transportation in private vehicle & Boat trip as stated 
  • English speaking guide
  • Visits, activities and admission fee to indicated sights
  • Meals: daily breakfast at hotel, lunch/dinner where stated only 
  • Gov’t tax 

Not included

  • International flights and visas
  • Personal travel Insurance
  • Child or adult in triple sharing room
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses 
  • Supplements on peak season
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