Overview

Getting to Laos through Chiang Rai? Then we highly recommend you this outstanding trip from Huay Xay to Luang Prabang, taking advantage of the improvements recently made on the road  heading to Luang Namtha, birthplace of ecotourism in Laos, where we will enjoy a pleasant trek around Nam Ha National Bio-Diversity Conservation Area, getting definitely touched by breathtaking vistas over the thick green forests of these majestic mountains set in the confines of China, Myanmar and Thailand. We will keep on our journey though astonishing natural sceneries, discovering colourful villages inhabited by different ethnic Laotian groups, sailing the waters of Nam Ou River and going through other wonders till we finally reach the extraordinary surroundings of Luang Prabang. 

Highlights

  • Easy trek around autochthonous hill tribe villages while heading to the gem of Luang Namtha.
  • An intermediate-level trek through one of the most impressive routes in Muang La.
  • Memorable cruise on the Nam Ou River.
  • Stunning scenery and remote villages all along our way.
  • Kayaking downstream on the mighty Mekong, discovering different treasures close to Luang Prabang.
  • Rewarding journey all along the way with a rewarding end too when we arrive at the enchanting Luang Prabang.
Huay Xay – Luang Namtha 

Day 1 Huay Xay – Luang Namtha 

Meals: not included | Accommodation: The Boat Landing, Standard room (Luang Namtha)

Following your completion of border formalities, we visit Fort Carnot, an old French military post that features a jail and a watchtower offering great views over the Mekong River and Huay Xay.  We then head out of the town to Luang Namtha. This road has recently been improved, and is now a very smooth and comfortable drive.  

We visit hill tribe villages including Khmu and Lu minorities. In the afternoon, we visit Kao Rao Cave with its impressive limestone formations. We arrive in Luang Namtha mid afternoon where you have the rest of the day at leisure. 

 

 Luang Namtha – Easy day trekking 

Day 2  Luang Namtha – Easy day trekking 

Meals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: The Boat Landing, Standard room (Luang Namtha)

The trip starts with a climb up to Phoumpok Stupa a great view point, offering panoramic views of Luang Nam Tha town. We then head into the jungle with your local guide, who will show you the different types of medicines and foods you can collect in the forest. For lunch you will have a wonderful picnic prepared by your guide and some local villagers.  They will use bamboo pipes to cook either Black Tai or Akha style food and you will dine in the heart of the jungle.

After lunch, we continue trekking for another 45 minutes, and eventually reach Ban Nammutmai, a picturesque Akha minority village built on the hillside.  Here you will learn about the life of this small ethnic minority group. Your guide will translate and explain to you old folklore stories from the locals.  After this village, we travel by pickup truck to the Lanten village of Ban Nam Jang, where they specialize in the making of Saa paper.  

Our trip today ends when we return to the Luang Nam Tha market. Here you will see many of the forest products found along the trail being sold in the market.  You will arrive back at your accommodation by mid afternoon.
 

Luang Namtha – Oudomxay Province

Day 3 Luang Namtha – Oudomxay Province

Meals: breakfast, dinner | Accommodation: Nam Kat Yorla Pa Resort, Superior Room (Oudomxay prov.)

Today we continue our journey south to Oudomxay. Just outside of Luang Namtha, we stop at the Lantern village of Namdeng Nua. Arrive in Oudomxay around noon and continue to Nam Kar Yorla Pa resort. The rest of the day is at leisure.
 

Oudomxay Province – Muang La Trekking

Day 4 Oudomxay Province – Muang La Trekking

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

You set off in the morning in the direction of Pak Khai; this pleasant journey gives you wonderful views across the River Nam Pak, terraced rice fields and the small villages along the banks of the river. On your arrival, you start your 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 entering 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 taking your 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.

Oudomxay prov. – Muang Khua – Nong Khiaw (Boat)

Day 5 Oudomxay prov. – Muang Khua – Nong Khiaw (Boat)

Meals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Mandala Ou resort, Riverside Bungalow (Nong Khiew)

This morning we drive in 2 hours north to the riverside town of Muang Khua where we board our local private boat for an unforgettable cruise 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 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 – Kayaking on the Nam Ou and the Mekong 

Day 6 Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang – Kayaking on the Nam Ou and the Mekong 

Meals: breakfast, Lunch | Accommodation: not included

We leave Nong Khiaw early this morning and follow the Nam Ou 2½ hours to the village of Ban Hatya.  Here we meet our Kayak guide for the day, who will start with some kayaking & safety instructions. We then head-out and paddle downstream the Nam Ou river, until we reach Pha An, where the Nam Ou meets the Mighty Mekong. We stop for a picnic lunch on the sand beach overlooking the karst scenery, before we cross the river and visit the sacred Pak Ou Caves crammed with thousands of Buddha images. 

We continue paddling downstream the Mekong until we reach the island of Done Khoun. We visit the famous Wat Done Khoun temple, and have some snacks before continuing the last leg of our kayaking tour. After another 20 minutes kayaking, we’ll arrive at Ban Pakxeuang, from where we shortly transfer to the hotel, arriving in the late afternoon.

NOTE: Kayaking route: around 23km (an average of 3h30 - 4h) with several stops on the way. Easy-intermediate paddling for those travellers used to outdoor activities, although depending on the season, we can find a few challenging stretches both on the Nam Ou and Mekong rivers. It is anyway a very pleasant experience and also an alternative and green way to visit Pak Ou caves. Nevertheless, the program can always be adapted to your preferences, and the kayaking can be either shortened or replaced by a cruise with a supplement.

Price per person based on group tour

Group Size 2 pax 3-4 pax
Price per person (Oct. 2018 - Apr. 2019) USD 1572 USD 1160
Price per person (May - Sept. 2018 & 2019) USD 1532 USD 1121

 

* 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
  • Activities, visits 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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