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Trekking, Northern Laos Jungle & Tribes - 14 Days / 13 Nights
Trekking, Northern Laos Jungle & Tribes - 14 Days / 13 Nights

Trekking, Northern Laos Jungle & Tribes - 14 Days / 13 Nights

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Luang Prabang - Pakbeng - Oudomxay - Nam Kat Yola Pa - Phongsaly - Muang Khua - Muang Gnoi - Nong Khiew - Luang Prabang

Northern Laos is home to some of Southeast Asia’s most affecting scenery as well as a rich tapestry of hill tribe cultures. Over the course of a fortnight, guests will traverse the region’s most remote spots by foot, trekking through lush vegetation in wild and untamed areas where tourists rarely visit.

Day 1 - Arrival Luang Prabang (D)

mekong_river_lao003-d1-185Upon arrival to Luang Prabang airport meet our local Adventure guide and take a short transfer to your Hotel for check in.

Today is free to stroll around town or chill at your hotel with stunning views across the Mekong River and distant hills.

Your welcome dinner will be at Tamarind, one of Luang Prabang’s most famous restaurants, and a great introduction to Lao traditional cuisine. The hotel is a short stroll to the restaurant, both situated in the historical town centre.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Distance & journey times:

Transfer from Airport to Hotel: 15 minutes

Day 2 - Luang Prabang Full Day Walking City Tour (B,L)

phousi_hill-_loq_24-d2-185Wake up early this morning and start exploring this SE Asian gem- whilst wandering down the streets and alleys of the town, you will feel as if you’ve stepped back in time!

Walk up the 365 steps of the Phousi Mountain to enjoy a panoramic view for sunrise, a time when this popular attraction is still calm with the morning mist.

We will discover the architectural and historical wonders of this UNESCO-protected town by foot, the best way to take in the exceptionally tranquil ambiance of the town.

In this full-day guided tour on foot, you will discover the rich cultural and historical heritage of this charming town with visits to French Indochinese buildings and ancient Buddhist temples.

After some breakfast continue your tour to the former Royal Palace (now the National Museum) where you will explore the history of Laos.

Continue to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief and Wat Sene with its golden stencil prints of mythological animals.

Next stop is the Wat Xieng Thong, the most revered temple in Luang Prabang. Located at the end of the peninsula, close to the Mekong, this temple was built in 1560 by King Setthathirat and is decorated with ornate carvings and mosaics

Lunch will be at a famous noodle soup shop. A must try is the Khao Soy soup, a local favorite!

Visit Wat Visoun, the holiest temple in the city, which was entirely rebuilt in 1887 after being destroyed by the invading Black Flags from Southern China. In the courtyard of Wat Visoun stands the Watermelon Stupa shaped like the fruit from which it takes its name. Continue passed Wat Aham, which was first built in the 1500s, and on to Wat That where the ashes of King Sisavang Vong are kept inside the large central stupa.

Finish with the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre, a museum dedicated to exploring the rich diversity of Laos’ ethnic minorities.  Traditional costumes, tools, and artifacts are on display alongside in-depth descriptions and written histories. It is a great opportunity to gain insight in to the Lao people (note: closed on Monday).

Dinner is at leisure tonight. We advise you visit the Storytelling Theater before, not far from your hotel. From 5 to 6PM, you can observe a unique show from Garavek, with the aim of promoting and preserving the traditional stories, myths, legends, and folktales. (not included in cost)

Overnight at Luang Prabang.

Distance & journey times:

Walking and City tour up to: 5 hours

Difficulty: Very Easy 

Day 3 - Luang Prabang - Pak Ou - Pak Beng (B,L,D)

Your guide will pick you up from your hotel at 7am and transfer you to your private boat.

On our way to Pakbeng two stops will be made. The first stop is 2 hours upstream from Luang Prabang at the Pak Ou Caves. Locally referred to as Tam Ting, these two caves are carved out of towering limestone cliffs and contain thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues. The Buddhas range in size from a few centimeters to the size of a human. The caves are also a popular destination for local pilgrimages.

The second stop en route to Pakbeng is at the village of Ban Baw. Here you will be able to see the processing of traditional rice alcohol. 

Enjoy a delicious buffet lunch onboard the boat as you continue your cruise along the scenic Mekong River.

Late this afternoon, you will reach the town of Pakbeng. Located halfway between Houay Xay and Luang Prabang this small town is lined with wooden houses along a steep street on the hillside. Depending on the rivers current, you may reach Pakbeng in time to watch the sun set over the river from the balcony of your room. 

Dinner and overnight in Pakbeng

Distance & journey times:

Transfer: 6 hours

Day 4 - Pak Beng - Mekong Elephant Camp and Trek (B,L)

Today, we start the day by crossing the river to Mekong Elephant camp to view and assist with bathing the Elephants.

The camp's pool is designed to allow all 8 elephants to bathe at the same time. Spectators can view the elephant bathing from a platform.

After bathing, visitors are helped on to the Elephants backs to begin our trek.

The trek starts off with a ride down the river bed surrounded by bamboo plants and then continues into the forest. You wind through the surrounding foliage, along paths connecting various different villages. You will be offered the chance to guide your elephants along the path, and take them down to the river to feed. The trek also trains guests in basic mahout techniques.

Alternating between walking and riding on the back of the elephant, the trek passes through countryside typical to this region of Laos. The valleys provide panoramic views over several alluvial plains where you can see sweetcorn and tobacco growing along with traditional houses and gardens.

The view then opens out to the surrounding countryside. Along the way you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the Mekong in the valley below.

If you wish to do a more challenging excursion today, please do inquire.

Return to the Mekong Elephant Camp and enjoy the rest of the day and Dinner at leisure.

Overnight in Pak Beng.

Distance & journey times:

Trekking distance up to: 3 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Day 5 - Pak Beng - Oudomxay (B,L,D)

This morning, enjoy breakfast overlooking the Mekong before a late 10am check out and heading away from the river towards Oudomxay. This is a reasonably straight forward journey, where the landscape is covered with a variety of agricultural farming.  We have the chance to stop at the Ban Yor Pottery village en route along with a few photo stops.

Upon arrival in Oudomxay, enjoy lunch followed by a walk up the towns highest temple, Wat Phu Tat, to get a panoramic view of the surrounding town and countryside.

The rest of the day is spent at leisure.

Overnight in Nam Kat Yola Pa Resort

Distance & journey times:

Transfer: 2.5 hrs -3 hrs

Day 6 - Udomxay - Nam Kat Yola Pa (B,L,D)

The next two days exploring is Eco Tourism at its best! It’s perfect for those seeking a true experience of the Laos rainforest. You will journey through some of the most stunning scenery in the Nam Kat Protected Rain Forest Area. Cross rivers and streams, trek through dense forest and experience true natural beauty. It is predominantly spent trekking through the forest and mountains of pristine trees and designed for moderately active people who love getting into the great outdoors.

Departing from the resort at around 9:00am, we will trek uphill to Houay Soum waterfall. This waterfall has two levels and we’ll get the chance to walk under the falls. A refreshing swim is always a good option to help cool yourself down.

We then trek onwards to a part of the park famous for its many bee hives. This will take about one hour and will be followed by a lunch break. You’ll be amazed by the amount of bees gathering to build their hives on the cliff. Note: this activity mostly takes place during the dry season from November to May.

Dinner and overnight at the Tree House

Distance & journey times:

Trekking distance up to: 6 hours

Difficulty: Medium

Day 7 - Phoupapak Mountain - Sightseeing the Wildlife (B,L,D)

This morning, after breakfast, we depart around 8:30am and delve further into the densely forested mountainside. Whilst trekking we’ll have the opportunity to see animal tracks from monkeys, squirrels and a variety of birds.

We might be lucky and spot monkeys that venture out of the high canopy looking for food. After some lunch we continue trekking downhill and expect to reach the resort around 5:00pm.

Dinner and overnight at Nam Kat Yola Pa Resort

Distance & journey times:

Trekking distance up to: 5 hours

Difficulty: Medium

Day 8 - Oudomxay - Phongsali (B,L,D)

After breakfast we depart for Phongsaly. The road is situated on the mountain slopes and is in good condition. You will see beautiful landscapes, banana plantations, local rural life in the villages that border the road and panoramic views over the surrounding mountains. You can ask your guide to stop whenever you want to take pictures.

You will stop at Ban Bountai around 12:30 and enjoy a picnic lunch or a local soup delicacy. You can also visit the local market.

Continue to Phongsaly for about 4 hours. You will arrive around 16:30 and check-in at your hotel. Phou Fa Hotel is the former Chinese consulate and the best hotel in town.

Once settled your guide will accompany you for a walk through the streets of Phongsaly. The charm of the town is made by the narrow paved streets borded by traditional Chinese houses in wood. Your guide will explain about the history and culture of this multicultural city and the harmony that reigns between Lao people and Chinese immigrants.

You will also visit a Chinese temple where you can enjoy a nice view over a small pond and the town. Finally we walk to Wat Keo, where the monks can be seen playing petanque or football in the early evening.

After your tour, you will enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.

Overnight in Phongsaly

Distance and journey time:

Transfer from Oudomxay to Phongsaly: 7-8 hours

Day 9 - Phongsaly - Multiple Tribe Trek (B,L)

phousi_hill-_loq_24-d2-185After breakfast, you will be driven to Bountai and meet your local guide for the day. Then, transfer to Ban Aya, the village where you will start your trekking. Ban Aya is a Hmong tribe village. After a tour of the village and an opportunity to meet the people, your local guide will lead you on a trek through the amazing jungle and amongst paddie fields. You will also have plenty of chance to view the wonderful landscape of this mountainous area.

Stop en route to enjoy a typical Lao picnic lunch.

After lunch, you will descend to Ban Aneng, another Hmong village located in a lower area. Explore the village and learn more about their cultures and traditions.

You will then visit some other tribal villages of Akha Mouchee, Tai Yag, Laopan and Tai Yue, before going back to Bountai by private car.

Transfer back to your hotel in Phongsaly. The rest of the day is free at leisure.

Overnight in Phongsaly

Distance and journey time:

Transfer from Boun Neua to Phongsaly (42 km): 1 hour

Trekking distance up to : 4-5 hours

Difficulty: Medium

Day 10 - Phongsaly - 400 years old Tea Plantation - Muang Khua (B,D)

After breakfast we visit the famous 400-year-old tea plantation, located in the village of Ban Komaen, about a 30 minute drive south of Phongsaly.

According to some tea experts, this village has some of the oldest tea trees in the world. The large root system of the old trees extends deep into the mineral-rich soil and gives ‘Phongsaly Tea’ its specific aroma and taste. The oldest trees stand 6 m high with a stem up to 30 cm in diameter. These are regularly cut and kept to a reasonable size by the Phunoy people, climbing to pick the precious leaves. They then process and sell this rare tea in cigar-shaped tubes.

The road to Ban Komaen passes through more recent tea plantations and offers a stunning view of Phongsaly and surrounding mountains. In the village a newly built tea-tasting shop serves food and sells the 400-year-old tea. You can also explore the temple with its characteristic Buddha statue with big ears.

Next up we take a 4 hour drive to Muang Khua with a stop en route to have lunch in a local restaurant (not included). Upon arrival we check-in to your where you’ll have time chill until dinner.

Tonights dinner is included at Sayphoun restaurant, overlooking the Nam Ou River.

Overnight in Muang Khua

Distance and journey time:

Transfer from Phongsali to Ban Komaen: 30 mins

Transfer from Ban Komaen to Muang Khua: 4.5 hours

Day 11 - Muang Khua - Muang Gnoi (B,L)

After breakfast at Sayphoun restaurant, you will board a private long tail boat for a cruise down one of the most scenically beautiful stretches of river in Laos. Compared to the Mekong, the Nam Ou is considered more dramatic and wild and also has far less traffic.

Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way and spot various local villages as you cruise downstream.

In the late afternoon you will reach your destination of Muang Gnoi, famed for the dramatic limestone mountains which surround it. Disembark and check in to your accommodation on the banks of the Nam Ou River.

Distance and journey time:

Transfer from Muang Khua to Muang Gnoi by boat: 4 hours

Day 12 - Muang Gnoi - 3 Minorities Trek - Nong Khiew (B,L)

First thing this morning we take a fishing boat about 15 minutes downstream to Ban Sopkhan, a Lao Loum(low land Lao) village, after visiting the village we begin a 2 hour trek through rice fields to Ban Pha Yoong (a Hmong ethnic village), and Ban Tad Lene (a Khmu village). After a picnic lunch, we continue trekking to the village of Ban Sopkong.

From Ban Sopkong we float downriver to Nong Khiew by boat.

Enjoy some time at leisure and don’t miss sunset over the river from your balcony.

Overnight in Nong Khiaw

Distance and journey time:

Transfer from Muang Gnoi to Nong Khiaw by boat: 1 hour

Trekking distance up to: 5 hours

Difficulty: Medium

Day 13 - Nong Khiaw - Luang Prabang (B)

laos-_north-_nong_khiaw_surroundings-d13-185After breakfast, your guide and private driver will transfer you back to Luang Prabang which will take approximately 3 hours.

The rest of today is at leisure for you to enjoy the hotel facilities or wander around the town before your trip back home tomorrow.

Distance and journey time:

Transfer from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang (134 km): 2.5-3 hours

Day 14 - Luang Prabang Departure (B)

Today is at leisure until your transfer to the airport and onward flight.

Distance and journey time:

Transfer to airport: 15 mins


An itinerary may at times be altered by our guides due to local conditions, the skill of participants and other unexpected circumstances. Our priority is always the experience and safety of our clients.

Tour Duration: 14 Days / 13 Nights
Tour Operates: Year Round / On Demand
Tour Price: Available Upon Request

Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs.

Our services include:

  • Luggage transfer
  • Vehicles: (varies based on local conditions and vehicle sizes available). Private air-conditioned vehicle for transfer and back up as itinerary.
  • 1 refillable personal bottle per person
  • Plenty of water provided throughout the day when hiking
  • Snacks and local fruits
  • 1 Exo Adventure Certified English Speaking Guide
  • 1 first aid kit per guide
  • Tips for Drivers and Porters
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Sightseeing tickets where mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Accommodation as listed above.
  • Flight reconfirmations

Our services don’t include:

  • Visa arrangement
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Soft drinks, or beverages beyond water – we can add this into costs at agents request
  • Beverage and alcoholic drinks at mealtimes
  • Tips for Guides, Drivers and Porters
  • Energy drinks or powders, performance bars, or performance gels (Gatorade, Powerbars, Gu, Isostar, etc)
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenditure (Laundry, telephone)
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the itinerary and in the inclusive portion.
  • Other language speaking guides

Important Notes:

  • We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance (covering emergency medical evacuation) for trips to Thailand and Laos.
  • Prices are valid 30 days from date of offer. Past this date price and conditions may be readjusted.
  • The cost of air tickets is subject to change without prior notice by the airlines.
  • Reservations during peak times (Christmas, New Year, National Holidays) may be subject to supplementary charges.
  • Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.
  • Please note that all the above services & tours have yet to be booked, they are proposed for your information only and we will not make any reservations before we receive your confirmation to do so.
  • If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid changes to the program.
  • This trip can be done by Road Bike as well, but clients need provide their own bikes.

Creating Unique Touring Experiences

All the touring itineraries on this website have been carefully crafted by our in-country management teams and represent a series of experiences we can certainly recommend. However, we understand that every travel experience should be as unique and individual as each traveler. Our consultants are waiting to hear from you so that we can tailor or custom design a Laos Adventure Tour to your individual specifications.

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Philippe Groult

Exo Foundation