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Phongsaly Loop - 6 Days / 5 Nights
Phongsaly Loop - 6 Days / 5 Nights

Phongsaly Loop - 6 Days / 5 Nights

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Luang Pabang - Oudomxay - Phongsaly - Muang Khua - Muang Ngoi - Nong Khiaw

Rich in natural beauty and steeped in the culture of the tribes that inhabit its jungle-clad hillsides, northern Laos is one of Southeast Asia’s most precious assets. What’s more, it is relatively under-travelled, making it all the more fascinating for visitors who want to experience the region’s centuries-old traditions. One of the best routes for those who wish to tackle northern Laos is the Phongsaly Loop. Kicking off in the former royal capital of Luang Prabang, the journey encompasses everything from golden temples to hotels built in former Chinese consulates. There’s little doubt that one of the area’s chief draws are its spectacular landscapes, which are among the most affecting in the whole of Asia. Expect a beguiling tapestry of mist-shrouded mountains that tumble down to spectacular river valleys. Unsurprisingly, trekking is a highlight with routes taking walkers through evergreen mountains and on to spectacular ridges.

Day 1 - Luang Prabang - Oudomxay

After lunch, you will leave for Oudomxay. On the way, you can observe the local rural life, local markets on the side of the road, clear views on corn and banana plantations and amazing views over the mountains.

Arriving in Oudomxay, you will visit Wat That Pha, a temple located on a hill with a panoramic view on Oudomxay city and the surrounding mountains. During the sunset, this is a perfect spot to take amazing pictures.

Arrive in Oudomxay around 5:30pm and check-in at your hotel.

The rest of the day is free at leisure.

Overnight in Oudomxay


Distance and journey time:

Luang Prabang – Oudomxay (193 km): 3-4 hours

Day 2 - Oudomxay - Phongsaly (B,L,D)


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

You will stop at Ban Bountai around 12:30 and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. 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.

Then, 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 you more 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 Phongsaly. Then walk to the quiet Wat Keo, where the monks are playing petanque or football in the evening.

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

Overnight in Phongsaly


Distance and journey time:

Oudomxay – Phongsaly (230 km): 7 hours

Day 3 - Phongsaly - Multiple Tribe Trek (B,L)


After 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 the visit of the village and its people, your local guide will lead you trek through the amazing jungle and green rice fields. On the way, you will enjoy seeing wonderful landscapes of the 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:

Boun Neua – Phongsaly (42 km): 1 hour

Trek: 4-5 hours – Level: easy to moderate

Day 4 - Phongsaly - 400 years old Tea Plantation - Muang Khua (B,D)

After breakfast in town, you will be transferred to the famous 400-year-old tea plantation, located in the village of Ban Komaen, about 30 minutes south from 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. There are regularly cut and kept to a reasonable size by 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 is passing through more recent tea plantations and offers a stunning view on Phongsaly and surrounding mountains. In the village a newly built tea-tasting shop serves some food and sells the 400-year-old tea. You can also have a look to the temple and its characteristic Buddha statue with big ears.
After the visit, you will drive to Muang Khua for about 4 hours.

Stop en route to have lunch in a local restaurant (not included).

Arrival in Muang Khua and check-in at your hotel.

A dinner is included at Sayphoun restaurant, which has a nice view over Nam Ou River.

Overnight in Muang Khua


Distance and journey time:

Phongsali – Ban Komaen: 30 min

Ban Komaen – Muang Khua: 4 hours

Day 5 - Muang Khua - Muang Ngoi - Trekking (B)

 img_5005_185After breakfast at Sayphoun restaurant, you will board a private longtail 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.

Arrive in Muang Ngoi on time for lunch time and check-in at your hotel.

After lunch, you will enjoy a soft trekking tour to see the most beautiful unspoiled nature, particularly mountain landscape around Muang Ngoi.

Your guide will meet you at your hotel at 1:30pm, your guide will meet you at your hotel to begin a soft trekking during 30 minutes to visit Tham Kaang, the former sheltering cave for local villagers during Indochina war (1960-1972). It has never been damaged and offers beautiful surrounding.

After visiting the cave, you will walk again 30 minutes through rice fields to Ban Na, a village of T'ai Deng ethnic group. After visiting local’s working and living condition, you will return to Muang Ngoi. On the way back to Muang Ngoi you will have beautiful panorama view.

You will arrive in Muang Ngoi at about 16:30.

The rest of the day is free at leisure. Don’t miss the sunset on the river from your balcony!

Overnight in Muang Ngoi


Distance and journey time:

Muang Khua – Muang Ngoi by boat: 4-5 hours

Day 6 - Muang Ngoi - Nong Khiaw - Luang Prabang - Departure (B)

After breakfast, you will embark for 45 minutes on your way to Nong Khiaw, which is famed for the dramatic limestone mountains which surround it.

Arrival in Nong Khiaw, your guide and private driver will transfer you back to Luang Prabang, taking approximately 2.5 hours.

A transfer to the airport is included for your onward flight.


Distance and journey time:

Muang Ngoi – Nong Khiaw by boat: 45 min

Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang (134 km): 2,5-3 hours


IMPORTANT NOTE: Please note that the accommodation in Phongsaly is standard and the touristic infrastructures in the North of Laos are not well developed. Therefore we do not recommend this tour for older people or disabled people.

Tour Duration: 6 Days/5 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:

  • Hotel accommodation in shared twin/double room with daily breakfast.
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • Tours and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicles.
  • English speaking local guide (for other languages supplements apply)
  • All entrance fees as indicated in itinerary.

Our Services do not Include:

  • International and domestic flights (quoted separately).
  • Meals other than mentioned above.
  • Camera/video entrance fees.
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance, tips, visa
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.


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 tour to your individual specifications.

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Philippe Groult

Exo Foundation