Slow down and soak in the wonders of Laos and Vietnam with a memorable trekking adventure. Between Luang Prabang and Hanoi, discover a region filled with unspoiled nature and teeming with wildlife. Walk through traces of military history, encounter ethnic hill tribes and experience the magic of Southeast Asia.
Stay in homestays for a closer look at the traditions of Thai and Khmu ethnic groups.
Visit historic sites from the Vietnam-America war, hiking to the Vieng Xay caves and crossing the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Trek into Laos’ northern National Park for a unique camping experience and chance to spot exotic wildlife.
Trekkin Luang Prabang to Hanoi - 13 Days / 12 Nights
Welcome to the spiritual capital of Laos!
Upon arrival in Luang Prabang, be met by a local guide and transferred to the hotel for check in and some time to freshen up and relax.
In the late afternoon, meet up with the guide to visit the Xieng Thong Temple, the most revered and ancient temple of Luang Prabang.
Next, climb the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside at sunset. Then take a walk down into the evening hill tribe market to peruse local souvenirs, handicrafts and textiles.
Dinner is included in this tour, which will be a perfect introduction to Laotian cuisine at Tamarind Restaurant, just next to the night market.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
After breakfast, head on a scenic 40-minute drive to Long Lao Village for the start of a nice trekking tour. Before trekking, explore the life and culture of this village where Khamu and Hmong people live harmoniously together.
The Kuang Si trekking trail lead to the Lao hinterland, passing fields and vegetable gardens before reaching the forested mountains which reveal wild scenery and some steep climbs. After a stretch of forest hiking, stop to explore an interesting cave along the way that is said to have been used as a bomb shelter during the Second Indochina War.
In the early afternoon, follow a path through the jungle to visit the incredibly clear waters of Kuang Si Waterfall, one of the most famous waterfalls in Southeast Asia. Take some time to swim and relax in the beautiful turquoise waters and don’t forget to take some photos! (Note: please dress modestly)
Enjoy a local picnic lunch next to the Kuang Si Waterfalls.
Before leaving the area, visit the Asian Black Bear Rescue Centre un by Free The Bears Fund Inc. Just next to the falls, there are currently 23 Asiatic Black Bears living in the sanctuary which have been saved from hunters. The main threat to these bears is poaching due to the belief that their parts are valuable in Chinese medicine. Read about their habits and observe their playful nature whilst learning about the difficulties they are facing.
After the trip, transfer back to the hotel (approximately 45 minutes).
In the late afternoon, get the chance to interact with local people by playing a game of petanque. This simple sport harkens back to colonial days and remains a favourite pastime of Lao people. Enjoy snacks and drinks while the locals provide tips on how to play better.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Depart from Luang Prabang early in the morning (approx. 08:00). Leaving the city behind, and escape into the mountains, arriving to Nong Khiaw around 11:00 in the morning.
After a quick stop to freshen up, begin a trek through unspoilt villages and stunning landscapes. Please expect to get wet, as some of the walking is through small streams. Also be sure to bring a swimsuit for taking a refreshing dip in the waterfall!
Following the Nam Ou River, leave Nong Khiaw on a small walking trail towards the village of Hat Sao.
Stop along the way to enjoy a picnic lunch on the trail.
On arrival to Hat Sao, the guide will explain more about the local lifestyle along the Nam Ou River, in this mixed Lao Lum and Lao Thung village.
From the village, follow small trails through a well-preserved stretch of jungle into the nearby mountainous area. Weaving past rice fields and through the forest, head towards the next highlight: a refreshing waterfall! Take time to relax and cool off in the natural pools while enjoying the scenery.
From there, trek down to the banks of the Nam Ou River and board a local longtail boat to cruise back to Nong Khiaw, arriving late in the afternoon.
Dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight in Nong Khiaw
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and meet at 08:00 for a one-hour boat ride upstream to the starting point of today’s trek.
Start hiking up Phou Pha Deng. The journey takes about two hours, mostly uphill, and leads to a panoramic landscape surrouneded by karst mountains and valleys.
Hike back down the steep trail before getting back to Nong Khiew for a relaxing lunch.
Drive out to Vieng Kham, and discover the bizarre delicacies of the area.
Dinner in a local restaurant.
Overnight in Vieng Kham.
Meet with the guide and driver around 08:30 at the guesthouse in Muang Hiem (Viengthong). After a 30-minute drive in a private car or van through gorgeous mountainous landscapes, arrive at Ban Nam Poung Village, an ethnic Khmu village situated on the edge of the national protected area. Upon arrival, receive a brief orientation of the area and a description of the itinerary by the village guide, porters and cooks at the visitor centre.
At 09:30, hop on a hand tractor (tok tok) – a tractor for plowing rice paddies that can be converted into a transportation vehicle- and pass through this Khmu village. This is a good opportunity to see the daily village life and briefly learn about Khmu culture. The following 7km on the tok tok continues through the village’s rice and corn fields with moderate climbs.
At about 12:00, on the edge of the fields and forest, enjoy a local picnic lunch inside a farmer’s hut. The guides will explain the different management zones of the park and how local people coexist with nature.
After lunch, start trekking into the forest following a 7km trail built and maintained by the village. This trail passes through a thick jungle and mixed deciduous forest. The local guide will point out medicinal plants and spot animal tracks and birds along the way. After approximately four hours of walking, arrive at The Nest’s campsite and be shown to the accommodation for the evening – a hanging spherical “nest”. After checking in, spend some free time to relax, bathe in the nearby river and soak up the tranquil natural setting.
In the evening, enjoy a traditional Khmu dinner prepared by the village cooking group as darkness begins to settle. It’s important to take an early dinner so that the smell of food and fire is not strong while visiting the wildlife observation platform later in the evening. Dinner is eaten at the camp and is not allowed at the observation tower.
After dinner, receive a briefing about wildlife viewing at the Poung Nied Salt Lick – one of the largest salt licks in the protected area. The guides will explain the species of animals that can be seen, as well as the rules and expectations for spotlighting.
Stay at the observation tower for a few hours (depending on curiosity and patience) until no later than 23:30. Overnight sleeping on the tower is not allowed in order to reduce any negative impacts and disturbances to the wildlife.
The most common animals are Sambar and barking deer (AKA muntjak) and various species of civets, although, if lucky, it’s also possible to see bears, and several species of wild cats and other exotic critters.
Note! Please wear warm clothes as it can be quite cold in the late evening/night time
Overnight in The Nests
Before breakfast, walk with the guide back to the salt lick to identify different wildlife tracks. Spend approximately an hour in the observation platform, as morning is a great time for bird watching. Afterwards, follow the guide to check the camera traps and help change the camera trap memory cards.
Once back to the camp, enjoy breakfast and help the guide to sort photos of wildlife taken by the camera traps during the previous night. These photos will be uploaded to the website after the trip for viewing and download.
Twelve surrounding villages involved in this project receive monetary bonuses in the form of a village development fund based on the number and type of wildlife spotted at night and captured by the camera traps. (This fee is included in the tour price.)
Trek back through the forest to the village’s fields, and enjoy a farmer’s picnic before riding the tok tok (hand tractor) back to the village. After arriving in the village, bid farewell to the hosts and be transferred back to Muang Hiem by private truck or van. Arrive in Muang Hiem around 4-5pm.
Take the rest of the afternoon to relax.
Meet up with the rest of the group for dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight in Vieng Kham.
Leave early this morning and drive to Vieng Xay, an uncommon visited area, the cradle of communism in Laos. Arrive in time for lunch.
Spend the afternoon exploring Viengxay.
The town of Viengxay contains hundreds of caves which sheltered local people and the country's future leaders for a vital period in world history.
In the 1960s Laos was caught up in the conflict known to the world as the Vietnam War. For nine years, from 1964 to 1973, more than 20,000 people lived in a 'hidden city' they built inside the limestone peaks all around the area to try to survive daily aircraft bombing raids directed by US forces.
They were only able to farm or work at night, so inside the caves they built everything they needed for their society to survive, including schools, hospitals, markets, a radio station and the headquarters of the Lao Patriotic Front - also known as the Pathet Lao.
Take and audio tour that tells the story of the 'hidden city' through the history that created it and interviews with local people. Discover the area's beauty as well as its fascinating hidden history.
Overnight in Vieng Xay.
After breakfast, be transferred for approximately an hour and a half from Vieng Xay to Na Meo. Here, receive assistance while crossing the border between Laos and Vietnam.
Reach Vietnam around 10:00 and, after formality, transfer for two and a half hours to Pu Luong Nature Reserve (103km). Walk on a village road lined with stilted homes of the ethnic Thai people who inhabit the area. After arriving at Hieu Village, be warmly welcomed by the homestay owner and then have dinner and a chat with the host family. Fall asleep with the comforting hum of Hieu Waterfall just outside the house.
Note: All homestays in Vietnam are traditional wooden houses shared with the local host. There will be a simple mattress, blanket, mosquito net and pillow. Simple sleeping bags are available as well. There will be a common bathroom with hot water for showering and a western toilet
Enjoy dreamlike waterfall scenery at dawn and walk around the village to interact with local people. Have a hearty breakfast at the homestay and say good bye the host family and villagers. Then trek along the stream and through rice terrace paddies for between 10 and 12km (5-6 hours). Enjoy a picnic lunch en route before arriving at the next homestay.
Shower and enjoy dinner with the host family before tucking in for the evening.
Overnight at local homestay
After breakfast, trek to Kho Muong Village. This trail has some steep climbs and a few stream crossings. Although the trek becomes increasingly remote, one is never far from a villager tending to their fields. Pass by steep limestone mountains and caves through the dense rain forests, all within the confines of Pu Luong Nature Reserve
The accommodation for the evening is perhaps the most remote of the village homestays. Trek to a recently discovered and now protected cave, home to rare bats. It is a fantastic tour around the cavernous hollow interior, untouched as yet by fairy lights and concrete trails.
Overnight at the local homestay
Today’s hike is mostly on a village path through terraced rice paddies and across streams, as well as an unpaved old French road -part of the original Ho Chi Minh Trail. Take a break from the heat of the midday enjoying a home-cooked lunch in a local home before continuing to a village nestled amongst steep karst mountains.
It is recommended to stroll around the villages and join in as the villagers go about their daily live -a perfect up-close encounter with the local culture. Alternatively, relax in one of the three eco homestays. Overnight, stay in a traditional Ban Hang-style stilted house.
Overnight at local homestay
After a leisurely breakfast,make a short hike through the terraced rice fields and bamboo forests. Arrive at meeting point with the driver and take a bus to Mai Chau for lunch. After lunch, take time to walk around Mai Chau Village to buy some souvenirs. Then say goodbye to Mai Chau and transfer three hours back to Hanoi.
Overnight in Hanoi
This day is free at leisure until transferring to the airport for an onward flight.
“Hotel check out time is at 12:00, late checkout subject to availability and not included”
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