Adventure in Northern Laos with Night Safari

10 Days / 9 Nights

  Luang Prabang - Luang Namtha - Muang Sing - Nong Khiaw - Muang Hiam - Phonesavanh

10 Days / 9 Nights

Adventure in Northern Laos with Night Safari

  Luang Prabang - Luang Namtha - Muang Sing - Nong Khiaw - Muang Hiam - Phonesavanh

Discover the remote corners of northern Laos on an adventure that’s truly off the beaten path. Depart Luang Prabang, travelling by foot, car, boat and tuk-tuk to the heart of Laos. Dive into the diverse minority cultures of the region, leaning about their customs and way of life, and spot Laos’ rare wildlife on an adventurous night safari. See the mysterious Plain of Jars and ancient ruins of Xieng Khoang, and marvel at the untouched scenery on this memorable ten-day tour!

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore remote corners of northern Laos, ranging from riverside villages or mountainous communities
  • Meet some of the ethnic minorities that call these places home and learn about their customs, dress and craftsmanship
  • Spot some of the jungle’s wild residents on an adventurous night safari
  • Trek through verdant countryside, and cruise along rivers in the rural countryside
  • Go on a guided wander through the mysterious Plain of Jars and ancient ruins of Xieng Khoang

TOUR INCLUSIONS

  • Tours as mentioned and air-conditioned transfers
  • Sightseeing and permit fees during guided times
  • Meals listed in the itinerary
  • Expert English-speaking local guide
  • Service charges and government VAT tax

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Luang Prabang – Luang Namtha

DAY 1 - Luang Prabang – Luang Namtha

Get ready to truly go off-the-beaten path with this rural adventure! Discover the hidden gems of northern Laos on an adventurous journey through this quaint, lush and remote region.

Travellers who want to get up early have the option to witness the traditional Lao rite of giving alms to the monk. Every morning, some 300 monks silently make their way through the city to collect offerings.

Begin the journey by road today and drive for eight hours through the pristine countryside of northern Laos. Stop for lunch in a roadside village, and at other points to stretch your legs before arriving in the quiet town of Luang Namtha by late afternoon. Tucked in the northwestern corner of Laos, this sleepy town shares a border with China and Myanmar.

DAY 2

DAY 2 - Luang Namtha - Muang Sing

Dive into Laos’ tragic history as you visit the UXO office, learning about the unexploded ordinances still dotting the countryside. Learn about the efforts underway to unearth these bombs that still dot the countryside of Laos, the remainder of bombing campaigns by the United States during the Vietnam War. Known as the Secret War, during this nine-year bombing campaign Laos became the most heavily bomb country in history.

After seeing the work done to find and remove these safely, visit the Golden Stupa on a hilltop just outside of town. Next, transfer to Muang Sing, a beautiful valley town that will serve as the base for exploration of this corner of Northern Laos over the next few nights.

DAY 3

DAY 3 - Muang Sing - Aka Village

Spend the day on a trek through the remote villages outside of Muang Sing to learn about the diverse minority groups that call this place home. Head off in a tuk-tuk to the starting point in Ban Don Chai, wandering around before setting off through this quaint rural area. Stroll through the verdant countryside, arriving in Ban Pha Kha, an Akha village. Explore this fascinating community, of predominantly mountain dwellers, learning about their vivid spiritual practices.

Continue the trek through the fields encountering some Yao villages along the way. Learn about their traditional and intricate weaving practices and tuck into some lunch at a local restaurant. Stop at another Akha village to unveil more about their culture and architecture before hoping back in the tuk-tuk returning to Muang Sing for the night.

DAY 4

DAY 4 - Muang Sing – Nong Khiaw

Visit a buzzing morning market, before heading back to your guesthouse for breakfast. Then set off to Nong Khiaw, a small town on the banks of the Ou River between silvery 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 and pop into a local school to meet the children and see a different side of local life. Wander the sleepy streets of this charming and rustic town before relaxing on the banks of the river for sunset.

DAY 5

DAY 5 - Nong Khiaw

After breakfast on the terrace overlooking the Ou River, embark on a cruise upstream to visit the lowland people of Ban Sopjam who make silk and cotton. Learn how to use a loom and weave with a local family before heading off to Moung Ngoi for lunch and gentle trek to Kang Cave, once a refuge for locals during the war. After exploring and swimming through the cave, cruise back to Nong Khiaw for the night.

DAY 6

DAY 6 - Nong Khiaw – Muang Hiam

Travel about six hours by road to Muang Hiam (also referred to as Vieng Thong) passing through beautiful scenery of lush rainforest covered sloped mountains along the way, even in the dry season. This small township is nestled on the banks of the Nam Kahn River and is home to Blue Hmong and low land Laotians. Muang Hiam itself, does not have much flare, however, it is on the doorstep of the vast Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park Area, where tigers once roamed. Check into the accommodation for some rest in this quaint local village.

DAY 7

DAY 7 - Muang Hiam - Night Safari

Get ready for an adventurous day in the wild, exploring the depths of the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park. After breakfast, embark on a two-hour drive through the scenic mountains until arriving at Ban Son Koua. Marking the start of the Nam Nern.

Night Safari tour, enjoy a short introduction into the daily life and animist beliefs of the villagers at this Khmu Village before hopping on a longtail boat and cruising along the Nam Nern River to the park substation. Take in the idyllic atmosphere of the rainforest and look out for monitor lizards and interesting birds.

Upon arrival, enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by the local villagers and spend some time relaxing at tonight’s accommodation. Learn more about the project’s efforts in supporting the livelihood of the local people and protecting the wildlife and environment.

In the afternoon, continue the river journey, before getting off the boat and hiking into the forest to a salt lick. Listen to a local guide and find out how they track deer and other wildlife following tracks and scat.

Get comfortable around a campfire on a sandy, flat bank and tuck in a picnic dinner whilst listening to the guides telling Khmu folktales. After stories of dragons and ghosts, the guides will explain what animals might be encountered and clarify the rules of the night safari.

Once the night has settled and it’s completely dark, kick back on a boat and float down the river with the engines off. Pay attention to the guides who will use hand signals to point out any animals along the way. If lucky, travellers might spot Sambar deer, barking deer, otters, loris, civets, owls and porcupines. Arrive back at camp and settle in for the night in a Lao style bungalow.

DAY 8

DAY 8 - Night Safari - Phonsavan

Start the day early with a refreshing morning walk through the jungle, learning of the use of some medicinal plants found in the area. The guides will also give some insight into the history of this region which once served as a settlement during the Secret War. Back in the village, enjoy a well-deserved breakfast before returning by boat to the starting point of this jungle adventure. At a certain stretch, journey at a relaxing pace with engines off, trying to get a glimpse of some of the forest’s wild residents along the way.

After this incredible safari experience, continue onwards to Phonsavan in Xieng Khoang province, the gateway to a mysterious archaeological puzzle, called the Plain of Jars. Check into the accommodation and spend the rest of the day at leisure in this area steeped in history.

DAY 9

DAY 9 - Phonsavan - Plain Of Jars

Unearth the unknown today, on a visit to the famous and fascinating Plain of Jars. Scattered across a vast landscape of rice fields and forests, these giant vessels, some as big as three metres tall and one metre wide, are believed to be most likely stone urns that date back to the Iron Age. These mesmerizing megaliths are quite mysterious, with various archaeological theories as to their purpose and placement, but none certain.

Local lore also provides captivating explanations, rumours such as the jars holding whiskey for the thirsty giants that lived in the mountains over Phonsavan. Go on a guided wander through one of the plains, sticking to the clearly marked pathway, as going off it may be dangerous. This area was the most heavily bombed during the Secret War, many unexploded ordinances still hidden in the foliage, so best to stay with the guide.

Head to Muang Khoun next, the once royal seat of the small kingdom of Xieng Khouang. Five hundred years ago, it was known for its opulent stupas, but over time it has faced invasions from east and west, pillaging by bandits from the north and seemingly endless bombing campaigns. Now, it is a ghost of its former glory, making it a mesmerising place to explore.

DAY 10

DAY 10 - Phonsavan – Luang Prabang

Check out after breakfast and hop in a private vehicle, transferring back to Luang Prabang. Enjoy a few stops along the way as well as for a scenic lunch in the countryside. Take this time to reflect on this incredible adventure in rural Northern Laos, a journey truly off-the-beaten track.

Arrive in Luang Prabang at late that afternoon, before catching a flight onward to the next destination.

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