Northern Laos Tour: Explore the incredible countryside and cultures of Northern Laos with this incredible five-day itinerary. Starting from the country’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed former royal capital, Luang Prabang, visitors are taken on a journey through lush landscapes, across soaring mountains and to colourful villages, to get a true taste of this unspoiled land. Guests are transported by 4×4, boat and on foot along dirt tracks, bamboo bridges and winding rivers, for a truly immerse experience. And with high-end hotels and resorts awaiting at the end of the day, this is the perfect choice for the soft adventure seeker.
Northern Laos Tour: Day 1 – Luang Prabang – Muang La (L,D)
Depart Luang Prabang this morning and journey north, heading towards the remote province of Oudomxay. Expect a total journey time of approximately 6 hours, including stopping for a picnic lunch along the way. The road is a little bumpy in places but you will pass through all sorts of dramatic scenery to keep you entertained and can stop whenever you wish to. This northern region of Laos is very mountainous and very green, with rice paddies and plantations dividing areas of thick jungle. You will encounter various tribes on this trip and even on this first journey you will pass some villages perched precariously on steep mountainsides and then others in the valleys carved out by ancient rivers.
You will pass through the provincial capital; Oudomxay. Once a very sleepy town, this has become an important trading hub and shows the changes which are happening rapidly in the region. This makes the final leg of the journey, away from the busy town and in to unspoiled nature, all the more exciting. The contrast also highlights just how special the experiences are in the remaining wilderness.
Arrive at Muang La Resort in the late afternoon. Check in, relax and enjoy the views. Facilities include a spa, sauna and steam room (it does get cold in the evenings here, especially November – March). The resort is built next to a natural hot spring and they fill a small pool every evening with water from the hot spring. Evenings are a real treat here, with 5 course set menus combining Asian and European influences, to be enjoyed by candle-light with the sounds of nature.
Dinner and overnight in Muang La Resort.
Northern Laos Tour: Day 2 – Muang La – Trekking to Phongsavanh (MLR4-A) (B,L,D)
This full day tour includes approximately 5 hours of walking and a transfer of approximately 50 minutes. After breakfast, you will be driven for around 25 minutes by 4×4, following the Nam Pak River before taking a small mountain road, overlooking the Nam Ko River, to the start point. Begin trekking along a narrow mountain trail, through the lush forest.
Arrive in the Kamu village of Huay Ho where life flows at a relaxed pace. You guide will answer any questions you may have and can explain about the life of the villagers. Interesting topics include their animist beliefs and ceremonies as well as the different tools they use in the fields around the village.
You set off from the village following a narrow trail, climbing from the river alongside a mountain stream which feeds in to it. Pass through rice fields and reach the Lao Loum village of Ban , which sits at the heart of a beautiful little valley. It will now be time for a well-deserved picnic lunch in the lush countryside of northern Laos.
After lunch, you follow a mountain trail overlooking the magnificent scenery and pass through farms in the heart of the local countryside, with some breathtaking panoramic views. Your guide will take the time to explain how the local people use the plants and herbs of the forest to feed themselves and sometimes heal themselves, using the medicinal properties of the local flora.
Continue your trek, crossing small bamboo bridges as you descend to the Yang village of Long Ya. You will learn how the peaceful life of the villagers is interspersed with different communal activities: drying herbs and vegetables, setting animal traps and preparing their meals using the local produce. The village is well known for the production of rice alcohol (“Lao Lao”) and also houses a small Buddhist temple.
A further 2 kilometres takes you to the hidden temple of Wat Hoytinphabath, which houses a 35m long reclining statue of Buddha. Numerous effigies and symbols glorifying Buddha can be found in the central temple which also contains footprints of Buddha embedded in stone. The temple is completely in harmony with its surroundings and exudes serenity. Leave the village following a dirt road along the River Huay Ya and enjoy the stunning mountain scenery before you arrive back at the resort, in the late afternoon, for a well-deserved rest.
Dinner and overnight in Muang La Resort
Northern Laos Tour: Day 3 – Meet The Ethnic Groups of Northern Laos (MLR7) (B,L,D)
This full day tour includes no ‘real trekking’, only walking through and between villages. Travelling by 4×4 is the only way to cover enough ground and climb the steep mountains in order to reach the most untouched and fascinating villages in the region. Speak to your guide to check if there are any special markets or festivals happening today, as the itinerary can sometimes be flexible.
Set off after breakfast to visit an entirely isolated Ikhos village. This ethnic group originates from Tibet and Yunnan and these villagers have seen very few foreigners. You may notice a different atmosphere here compared to other villages which are more used to seeing visitors. Your guide can teach you about the daily life of the villagers and how they still follow ancient customs passed down through the centuries.
Here you are more than 1,000m above sea level and the views are magnificent, making it great picnic spot.
After lunch, you leave the village walk for approximately 45 minutes to the Hmong village of Ban Tauser. The remote route to the village takes you to a viewpoint with a stunning 360° panorama. The Hmong originate in the high steppes of Tibet and you will learn 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
Northern Laos Tour: Day 4 – Muang La – Muang Khua – Nong Khiaw (B,L)
After breakfast, you will be driven approximately 2 hours to Muang Khua, a small town on the banks of the Nam Ou River. Here 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 Nong Khiaw, famed for the dramatic limestone mountains which surround it. Disembark and check in to your accommodation on the banks of the Nam Ou River. Enjoy some time at leisure and don’t miss sunset over the river from your balcony.
Overnight in Nong Khiaw
Northern Laos Tour: Day 5 – Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang By Boat (Via Pak Ou Caves) (B,L)
After breakfast travel down the Nam Ou River by private boat on your way to Luang Prabang. As you cruise down the river, watch the local fishermen and the lifestyle of the riverside residents. The cruise down the spectacular Nam Ou River will take roughly 3.5 hours and you will enjoy a picnic lunch along the way.
Stop for a visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, 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 downstream for another 2 hours to Luang Prabang, with the option to stop at a local village along the way (discuss with your guide). You will be met at the boat pier in Luang Prabang for a private transfer to your hotel or the airport.
(Note: there is an option to drive from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang, taking approximately 2.5 hours but this does not allow a stop at the Pak Ou Caves)
Northern Laos Tour: Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs, private basis not join in, please inquire for pricing which varies depending on accommodation standards.
Northern Laos Tour: What’s Included:
Hotel accommodation in shared twin/double room.
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.
Northern Laos Tour: What’s NOT Included:
International and domestic flights (quoted separately).
Meals other than mentioned above.
Camera/video entrance fees.
Travel insurance, tips, visa.
Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.
Northern Laos Tour: 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.