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OVERVIEW

Luang Prabang / Muang La / Pak Beng / Nong Khiaw

Enter Laos through a rural bordertown and travel the country to meet some of indigenous tribes. Witness their unique culture and beautiful artisan crafts. Travel towards UNESCO World Heritage site Luang Prabang for the last leg of the trip and find inner peace through meditation and a selection of excursions.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
THE LUXE DIFFERENCE

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Tour Highlights for Zen Tour of Laos
Discover Lao’s backcountry and its ethnic tribes

Discover Lao’s backcountry and its ethnic tribes

Take the road less traveled and see untouched parts of the country

Experience a scenic river cruise downstream

Experience a scenic river cruise downstream

Float down the gorgeous and quiet Nam Ou river on a private longtail

Explore Zen Luang Prabang

Explore Zen Luang Prabang

Visit a selection of sights, spas and join a meditation and yoga session

Exo Travel

ITINERARY

Zen Tour of Laos - 8 Days / 7 Nights

DAY 1 - Houay Xay - Pakbeng MealsMEALS [L|D]

Exo TravelHouay Xay – Pakbeng by boat (150 kilometres): 6 hours

Begin this Zen tour of Laos on the Thai side of the border, in the town of Chiang Khong. Please arrive before 08:00 at the Thai immigration office and proceed through customs to the Laos side. After crossing the Lao border of Houay Xay, our guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to the join-in cruise boat, heading for Pakbeng.

En route, a stop will be made at a local hill tribe settlement to learn a bit about the local customs and traditions here.

Enjoy a delicious set menu onboard as the boat cruises along the scenic Mekong River.

Late in the afternoon the boat will reach the town of Pakbeng. Halfway between Houay Xay and Luang Prabang, this small, dynamic town is lined with wooden houses along a steep street on the hillside. Depending on the river's current, the boat may reach Pakbeng in time to watch the sun set over the river.

Enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Overnight in Pakbeng

DAY 2 - Pakbeng - Muang La MealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelPakbeng – Muang La: 4.5 hours

After breakfast, head for the Muang La Elephant camp to participate in the daily bathing of the elephants. Then, enjoy a mini-trek with elephants during about 30 minutes and learn more about this endangered species.

After lunch at the hotel, depart Pakbeng and journey north, heading towards the remote province of Oudomxay.

Passing through Oudomxay, take note of how this once quiet town was transformed into an important trade hub. Upon arrival to the Muang La Resort, 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, the staff happily fills a small pool every evening with the hot spring water.

Evenings are a real treat here, with 5 course set menus combining Asian and European influences.

Dinner and overnight in Muang La Resort

DAY 3 - Muang La - Meet the ethnic groups of Northern LaosMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Begin the day with a departure just after breakfast for the entirely isolated Ikhos village. This ethnic group originates from Tibet and Yunnan and these villagers have seen very few foreigners. Because of this, the village will have an entirely unique feel. The guide will happily explain the daily life of the villagers and how they still follow ancient customs passed down through the centuries.

The site is located more than 1,000m above sea level, which proves to be the perfect place for a picnic lunch.

After lunch, leave the village for a 45-minute walk to the Hmong village of Ban Tauser. The remote route to the village leads to a viewpoint with a stunning 360° panorama. The Hmong originate in the high steppes of Tibet; a visit here will teach about their way of life, including the great importance of their livestock.

Return to the resort at the end of the day.

Dinner and overnight in Muang La Resort

DAY 4 - Muang La - Muang Khua - Nong KhiawMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelMuang La – Muang Khua (76 kilometres): 3 hours Muang Khua – Nong Khiaw (105 kilometres): 5 hours

After breakfast, drive approximately 2 hours to Muang Khua, a small town on the banks of the Nam Ou River. Arriving here, board a private longtail boat for the cruise down one of the most scenically beautiful stretches of river in Laos. Compared to the Mekong, the Nam Ou is considered more dramatic, wild and also has far less traffic.

Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch along the way and spot various local villages during the downstream cruise.

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

Enjoy some time at leisure (we suggest to try the sauna!) and don’t miss the sunset over the river!

Dinner will be served at the hotel.

Overnight in Nong Khiaw

DAY 5 - Nong Khiaw - Luang Prabang MealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelNong Khiaw – Luang Prabang (135 kilometres): 3 hours

After breakfast, you will start the drive to Luang Prabang.

Optional: Pak Ou Caves

Stop for a visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, located at the confluence of the Nam Ou and Mekong rivers. Locally referred to as Tam Ting, these two caves are carved out of towering limestone cliffs and contain thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues.

Continue for another hour to Luang Prabang, check-in at the hotel and freshen up.

Lunch is free at leisure.

Architectural Insight Tour with Francis Engelmann (by tuktuk)

Enjoy some historical and cultural insight into the rich architectural history of the majestic UNESCO World Heritage Town of Luang Prabang. Embark on a tour alongside Francis Engelmann, who will share his deep knowledge of Lao culture. He has been researching ancient sites in Laos for more than 20 years and was involved in the studies preparing the nomination of Luang Prabang as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

As day comes to an end, climb the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi. Enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside as the sun sets. On the way back down the mountain, there is an option to explore the nearby evening hill tribe market, where a range of handicrafts and textiles can be found. After the visit, head back to the hotel.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

DAY 6 - Luang Prabang - Mind Body and Soul MealsMEALS [B|L|D]

A day of mind retreat offers new perspective and helps explore, relax and expand the mind. It brings positive energy into your body, mind and spirit.

At 6:30, when the world is asleep and the mind not clouded with the day’s affairs, a Welcome the Day meditation session will give deepest of rest. Next, slowly waken the body and limber the limbs by Morning Mantras – a series of stretching exercises.

A healthy breakfast at 8:30 followed by leisure or reflection time.

Be back to practices with a 30 minute Intention Session.

Enjoy lunch at the restaurant, and then enjoy a few hour rests on your own.  Relax by the swimming pool, soaking up the uninterrupted mountain views or pamper yourself with a custom-designed spa treatment at the hotel’s award winning spa.

At 16:00, continue with a yoga and meditation session – a series of melody of exercise and movement with elements of focus and co-ordination. (If the weather is hot, this session can be offered by the small private pool)

Overnight in Luang Prabang

DAY 7 - Luang PrabangMealsMEALS [B|D]

Exo TravelLuang Prabang – Kuang Si (32 km): 1 hour

Optional: Alms Offering (Tak Bat)

For centuries monks and novices have left their temples every day and walked through the town accepting alms from the local townsfolk; a way for people to gain merit and for the monastic community to maintain contact with their community. Though there is a procession in town, witness the experience in the quieter location in front of the hotel.

After the experience, travel by road to the Kuang Si Waterfalls. After a gentle walk of around 10 minutes, a private champagne breakfast will be waiting in a beautiful, secluded spot overlooking the falls’ natural turquoise pools. Every object has been sourced locally, from the hand-woven tablecloth and basketry to the freshly squeezed fruit juice and “Champagne of Coffee”, which is grown in the Boloven Plateau, southern Laos.

After enjoying a leisurely breakfast, spend some time walking around the various levels of the waterfall.  It is also possible to swim in the natural pools (please dress modestly).

On the road back to Luang Prabang, there is an optonal visit to the Free The Bears Fund Inc. This is a sanctuary housing 23 Asiatic Bears that have been rescued from poachers. Visit the bears around 10:00 when they’re the most active (and before many tourists come).

Then transfer back to Luang Prabang after a fascinating morning and enjoy some free time at leisure.

In the evening, take part in one of Laos’ oldest traditions: the Baci. The purpose of the Baci is to call back escaped spirits to the body, something done before major events such as weddings, births, travel and farewells.

Transport will be provided from the hotel to the countryside temple of Wat Phou Kouey, on the outskirts of Luang Prabang, where the candlelit ceremony will take place.

Transport will be provided from the ceremony back to town for a unique wine dinner at Tangor. Tangor serves a selection of Western food with purely Southeast Asian flavors, paired with excellent wines. (Note: closed on Sunday)

Overnight in Luang Prabang

DAY 8 - Luang Prabang - DepartureMealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelLuang Prabang – Luang Prabang Airport (4 km): 15 min

Enjoy some free time at leisure before transport (provided) to the airport for the departing flight.

Exo Travel

HOTELS & Details

Our Services Include:

  • 1 day cruise with stops and visits en route
  • Meals as mentioned (B,L,D)
  • Entrance fees
  • Assistance of English/French speaking cruise escort during the cruise
  • Coffee, tea, water

Our Services do not Include:

  • Transfers before the cruise
  • Alcoholic drinks & drinks at mealtime + Optional visits + Personal expenses (Telephone, laundry…)
  • Visa stamping fee for Laos (visa on arrival, valid 30 days: 30 to 42US$ upon client’s nationality + 1 photo and a passport valid more than 6 month after return date). Subject to change without prior notice

 

ATTENTION: Visa on arrival pay more 1 USD/Pax every Saturday and Sunday

  • Personal travel insurance (should include helicopter evacuation for Laos & repatriation)
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips for guide, driver, boat crew & hotels’ porters
  • Meals other than those mentioned above
  • All air tickets with airport and departure taxes
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the Package Inclusion 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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