ITINERARY BY DAY
Day 1: Luang Prabang – Luang Namtha
It’s a long journey by road today as you drive for seven hours through the pristine countryside of northern Laos. You’ll stop for lunch in a roadside village, and at other points to stretch your legs arriving in the quiet town of Luang Namtha by late afternoon. Tucked in the northwestern corner of Laos, Luang Namtha shares a border with China and Myanmar.
Day 2: Luang Namtha - Muang Sing
During the Vietnam War, the American military dropped more than two million tons of ordnance, today visit the UXO office and hear about the work conducted to remove unexploded ordnance that remains in Laos. Then visit the Golden Stupa situated on the top of a hill just on the outskirts. This afternoon arrive in the town of Muang Sing home to a diverse ethnic minority population.
Day 3: Muang Sing
Today explore villages outside Moung Sing by foot, discovering facts about the area’s ethnic-minority groups at every turn. Take a tuk tuk ride to the village of Ban Don Chai and the start point for your trek. Wander around the village and then set off to Ban Pha Kha, an Akha minority village. The Akha people originally come from China and are predominantly mountain dwellers. Walk through the fields to see the Yao ethnic groups in Ban Sai Leck, Ban Jong Kha and Ban Nam Mai, and see the local women weaving on old wooden looms.
Day 4: Muang Sing – Nong Khiaw
After visiting a buzzing morning market, head back to your guesthouse for breakfast. You will then head to Nong Khiaw, a small town on the banks of the Ou River between hoary limestone mountains. Stop in a H’mong village along the way to see how their traditions differ from those of the area’s other ethnic-minority groups. You’ll also visit a local school and catch a sunset from the Ou River’s banks.
Day 5: Nong Khiaw
Take a cruise upstream to visit the lowland residents of Ban Sopjam. The speciality here is homespun silk and cotton. Learn how to use a loom, the local family will be delighted to teach you. Then head village of Moung Ngoi for lunch and an easy trek to Kang Cave, once a refuge from American bombing raids. After swimming through the cave, head back to Nong Khiaw.
Day 6: Nong Khiaw – Vieng Thong
Travel about six hours by road to Vieng Thong passing through beautiful scenery with lush green sloped mountains, even in the dry season. This small township is nestled on the banks of the Nam Kahn River and is home to Blue Hmong with their colourful dress and low land Lao.
Day 7: Vieng Thong - Muang Kham
It is another long drive to reach the small quiet village of Muang Kham, where you can soothe your muscles in a hot spring!
Day 8: Muang Kham - Phonsavanh
Visit Tham Piew, a cave with a tragic history. During the Secret War the cave offered shelter to the bombing raids by the Americans. In 1968 a bomb was dropped killing all 400 hundred people who were hiding inside. Continue to Xieng Khoang province, the gateway to a mysterious archaeological puzzle, called the Plain of Jars.
Day 9: Phonsavanh
The Plain of Jars, a world-famous archaeological site has stumped curious scientists and historians for decades. Scattered across the plains lie giant stone vessels, some as high as three metres, that are thought to be thousands of years old. After exploring the site in detail, head to Muang Khoun, the one-time capital of Xieng Khoang. Bombing raids have reduced the former royal kingdom to a handful of temple ruins however, traces of its colonial grandeur are still visible.
Day 10: Phonsavanh – Luang Prabang
Continue on to Luang Prabang where your tour will end. You’ve seen the real Laos!