Get back to nature with a short escape in northern Laos. Venture in to the mountains to meet with Hmong and Ahka hill tribes, getting a glimpse of their traditional culture. Then cruise down the Nam Ou River to Nong Khiaw, enjoying after mile of verdant, unspoiled landscapes.
Spend a day in the hills, visiting villages inhabited by the Akha and Hmong people, learning about their traditional customs.
Take a cruise down the Nam Ou river to Nong Khiaw, enjoying views of limestone cliffs and tranquil riverside villages.
Soak in natural hot springs, dine on fabulous food and enjoy the tranquil surroundings of Muang La Lodge.
Hill Tribes & Scenic River Cruise -
Kick off this Luang Prabang countryside tour with an early morning departure from the city, heading north towards the remote province of Oudomxay. Projected travel time is approximately 4 hours, including a stop for a picnic lunch along the way. Dramatic scenery will illustrate the journey to Oudomxay, providing plenty of entertainment and photo opportunities (stops are available upon request.) This northern region of Laos is quite mountainous and green, with rice paddies and plantations dividing areas of thick jungle. Home to a variety of local tribes, the drive out will be scattered with small villages precariously perched on steep mountainsides and set in ancient river-carved valleys.
Passing through Oudomxay, take note of the changes underway. A former sleepy hill town, the provincial capital has developed over the years into an important trade hub, reflecting the changes rapidly spreading throughout the region. The final leg of the journey will exit this busy portion, leading into unspoiled natural surroundings. This contrast will highlight just how special the experiences are in the region’s remaining wilderness.
Arrive at Muang La Resort in the afternoon. Check in, relax, and enjoy the views. Facilities include a spa, sauna, and steam room. As the resort is built next to a natural hot spring, staff fill a small pool every evening with water for guests to relax in. In addition to the nightly hot spring option, evenings are marked by 5-course, set menu dinners of Asian and European influence. Enjoy dining under candlelight accompanied by the soothing sounds of nature.
Overnight in Muang La Resort
Please Note: Evenings can get cold, particularly between November-March. Guests are asked to pack accordingly.
Day Two is a full day of walking in and around nearby villages; no real “trekking” is required.
In order to traverse the steep mountain trails that provide access to the most untouched villages of the region, 4X4 vehicles will be arranged for transport. Special markets or festivals are often held in the region, so inquire ahead of time to plan accordingly.
Set off after breakfast for a visit to the entirely isolated village of Ikho (home to the Akha people.) An ethnic group originating from Tibet and Yunnan, these villagers have seen very few foreigners, so the atmosphere will be noticeably different from other (more visited) ethnic villages. The guide will happily explain daily life amongst the villagers and how they still follow ancient customs passed down through the centuries.
At 1,000 meters above sea level overlooking amazing views, this village provides the perfect spot to settle down for an outdoor picnic lunch.
After lunch, head out of Ikho for an approximate 45-minute walk to the Hmong village of Ban Tauser. The remote route taken to access the village offers beautiful scenery, culminating with a stunning 360° panorama. During this visit, learn all about the history of the Hmong (whose origins reach back to the high steppes of Tibet), their daily way of life, and the great importance of their livestock.
After a full day of exploring, return to the resort.
Dinner and overnight at Muang La Resort
After breakfast, drive for approximately 2 hours to Muang Khua, a small town on the banks of the Nam Ou River. Board a private, longtail boat for a cruise down one of the most scenic stretches of river in Laos. When compared to the Mekong, the Nam Ou is thought to be more dramatic and wild, with considerably less traffic.
Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way, soaking in the various villages that slowly pass downstream.
Nong Khiaw is the day’s final destination, famous for its dramatic limestone mountains. Reach the area by late afternoon, disembarking, and checking into the accommodation along the banks of the Nam Ou River.
Enjoy some down time topped with a breathtaking sunset from the room’s balcony.
Overnight in Nong Khiaw
After a final breakfast along the river, enjoy the scenic 2.5 hour ride from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang.
Arrive in Luang Prabang with the remainder of day open to leisure.
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