- Active Adventure
- Culture & Heritage
- Learning Discovery
- Nature & Landscapes
- Off The Beaten Path
- Tours for Couples
- Day 1: Arrival in Luang Prabang
- Day 2: Luang Prabang – Half-Day Food & Biking Tour
- Day 3: Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfalls & Heritage Tour
- Day 4: Luang Prabang – Muang La
- Day 5: Muang La – Village Walk – Rice Plantation
- Day 6: Muang La – Muang Khua – Nong Khiaw
- Day 7: Nong Khiaw – 100 Waterfall Trek
- Day 8: Nong Khiaw – Pak Ou Caves – Luang Prabang
- Day 9: Luang Prabang – Village Life Cooking Experience
- Day 10: Luang Prabang – Departure
This tour is built to let you explore the intriguing heritage and gastronomy all in 10 days. Start in Luang Prabang as you bike around the local villages and try some Lao tasty dishes. Embark on a heritage tour to visit the city’s most important places. Enjoy the untouched nature in Oudomxay where you stay in Muong La resort and travel to the nearby villages. Venture to the picturesque Nong Khiaw valley and the mystery Pak Ou Caves. Take a private cruise and admire the landscape along the Mekong River. After, head back to Luang Prabang for a village life cooking experience and gain insight into Buddhism in Laos.
Arrival inDay 1
Saibaidee! Welcome to Luang Prabang, Laos.
Upon arrival at Luang Prabang Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel.
After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of Luang Prabang. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at Friends Restaurant, KhaiPhaen. It’s a social enterprise based restaurant that empowers disadvantaged youth with vocational training amongst other support.
Please note: You must have both a passport and a visa to enter Laos. And your passport must also have at least six months’ validity remaining beyond the date that you enter Laos. You can get a visa on arrival in Laos. Make sure you have two passport-sizes photographs.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Half-Day Food & Biking TourDay 2
After breakfast, meet your tour guide at the hotel lobby. After some tour briefing, you will be fitted with bikes and head for the most famous Lao coffee shop where you sit by the Mekong River enjoying coffee and share the local Lao pastry Khanom Khrok (coconut-rice pancakes).
Next, head to the nearby morning market where locals from the countryside around Luang Prabang sell their goods. Discover different meats, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices and learn from your guide how they are used in Lao kitchens. Each year previously unknown varieties of plants are discovered in this morning market. A few local delicacies will be sampled, as well.
You will then cycle to the Wat That Luang area to eat Khao Poon, a coconut noodle style soup, which is a delicious, rare find in Luang Prabang! A short distance away at Ban Vieng Xay village, you will sit at a local street restaurant and try a variety of food including Naem Khao (a rice noodle crepe, filled with minced meat, mushrooms, and assorted herbs, cut in little pieces, served with a dipping sauce containing minced nuts, lemon, chili, coriander, and sweet fish sauce) and Khao Piak Khao (a local rice soup, that is usually eaten in the morning, slowly cooked with pork meat and meat broth, rounded with crushed black pepper and chopped coriander). Depending on your taste, an egg or fresh chili can be added to this meal.
To burn some calories, cycle across the “old” bridge to the other side of the Nam Khan River. After passing by the “German Butcher”, a stop at the scenic meeting point of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers for some photos and a quick drink of water is in order. Continuing on, cycle through Ban Xieng Lek village to check out local weaving and Saa paper handicrafts. Here is where you see local shops and a non-touristy side of town.
A new restaurant made 100% of bamboo nestled on another river, the Nam Khan is the next stop. The food is to die for and you will have more top-quality local Lao food. Your taste buds won’t know what hit them!
The cycling and food tour ends after midday with your bicycle ride back to the hotel.
Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure. Take a stroll around the hotel neighborhood or climb to the top of Mount Phousi, the city’s highest point where you’ll enjoy the sunset and the sweeping views of the city and the Mekong River below.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfalls & Heritage TourDay 3
Rising early to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning almsgiving, which dates back to the 14th century. Every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms.
Get back to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, you will be picked up and driven to the famous Kuang Si Waterfall, one of the most spectacular swimming holes on the continent. The jungle around the waterfall remains lush and beautiful year-round. The largest waterfalls in the area, Kuang Si comprises of three cascading tiers leading to a 50m (164ft) drop into spectacular azure pools, surrounded by lush jungle.
Before exploring the cascades, pay a visit to the nearby Asian Bear Rescue Centre. Many bears, including Sun Bears and Malayan Black Bears, have been rescued from the clutches of bile farms or wildlife traffickers. A wooden path allows up-close access to these adorable animals in a natural habitat.
Leaving the bear centre, take a guided trek along trails to the top of the waterfall, enroute picking herbs, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and other wild plants growing in abundance. Try a hand at fishing local style and help prepare a ‘jungle-style’ picnic lunch with your fresh ingredients. Also, you’ll have plenty of time to swim, explore, and photograph the waterfalls as well as you stroll through the lush surrounding jungle.
Return to the city for a sightseeing tour. You’ll first step into the serene calm of one of the city’s most elaborate monasteries, Wat Mai, and then to the former King’s Palace, where you’ll discover the history and present life of Luang Prabang. Next, head to the ancient Wat Xieng Thong temple, which features a spectacular low sweeping roof. It’s Luang Prabang’s most distinctive and recognized monastery.
Proceed to the 16th century Wat Visoun temple, best known for its enormous stupa and its collection of old gilded Buddhas.
Finish your day with a short visit to the UXO Visitor’s Centre to get an incredible insight into the horrific bombings endured by the Lao people and the effect it still has today. The UXO centre is an amazing NGO that does fantastic work, yet just scratches the surface of this little known issue.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Muang LaDay 4
After breakfast and check out of the hotel, meet your guide and driver, and depart Luang Prabang for Muang La. The five-hour driver passing the beautiful mountainous landscape. Around midday, you will arrive Oudomxay (Muang Xai on some maps), the heart of northern Laos. Here you will enjoy delicious northern-style lunch at a local restaurant and then visit That Phouxay overlooking the city and surroundings.
Continue to drive two hours more. You will arrive in Muong La Town and check into your room at Muong La Lodge for some relaxing time after the long drive. You can book a massage from the hotel reception.
Hidden in the small village of Muang-La by the river, Muong La Lodge features 5 wooden villas and 9 traditionally designed guestrooms. Exuding peace tranquillity, and mountain views, the river houses a natural hot spring. The Muang La Lodge is well-known for its incredible food, developed by a Swiss chef who created his menu by combining his European savoir-faire with the fresh and tasteful Lao ingredients.
Enjoy dinner and spend the night at Muong La Lodge.
Overnight in Muong La
Muang La – Village Walk – Rice PlantationDay 5
Set off in the morning by 4×4 for a short drive to Pak Khai. The ride offers some magnificent views over the Nam Pak River, terraced rice fields, and many small villages.
On arrival, you will begin a culture and nature trek on small winding paths that locals use between their villages in the jungle. You will arrive at the Khamu village of Wang Wanh where the villagers make sacks from the fibers of local plants. You will be welcomed by a local family who will take you on an in-depth and hands-on learning experience where you will participate in 14 steps of the rice cycle.
After a morning of fun, enjoy your lunch at the farm ‘sala’, giving a 360° panorama of the wonderful countryside in the valley.
After some siesta time, you will cross the river on a bamboo raft to travel to the Khamu Village of Vieng Kham. The villagers here are well-known for their weaving skills. Continue to the village of Muang La to visit the local school (closed on Sundays) and the temple of Chiao Pha Kham Sing which houses a sacred Buddha. According to those responsible for its protection, the statue simply appeared hundreds of years ago and so that the temple is now a sacred place of pilgrimage.
Return to the lodge in the late afternoon and spend the remainder of the day at your leisure. Relax in the therapeutic on-site hot springs at the Resort.
Overnight in Muong La
Muang La – Muang Khua – Nong KhiawDay 6
After breakfast, you will leave Muang La and travel along a scenic road to Muang Khua where you will board a long-tail boat to begin your scenic journey down the Nam Ou River, discovering numerous villages dotted along the banks of the river and some stunning limestone formations as the sheer cliffs rise from the water’s edge. The cruise trip Nong Khiaw today, is, without doubt, one of the most picturesque cruises in the region!
You will enjoy a barbecue picnic lunch on one of the beaches along the river.
You’ll arrive at Nong Khiaw to check into your bungalow at the Mandala family Resort. This premier bungalow resort is situated high on the banks of the scenic and tranquil Nam Ou river, offering spectacular sunset views over the virgin rain forest, mountains, and the karst limestone cliffs of Nong Khiaw.
Overnight in Nong Khiaw
Nong Khiaw – 100 Waterfall TrekDay 7
After breakfast, embark on a boat trip for one hour on the Nam Ou River. You will arrive at a local Hmong village where you will disembark and follow local trails through the rice paddies to the foot of the forested mountain slopes. Along the way, your guide will explain the local fauna and flora, use of plants for traditional medicine, and local culture and traditions.
You will arrive at the gorgeous 100 Waterfalls, which has only been on the radar recently and traveled to by foreigners, which is during the late 2000s. For the next 3 hours, you will follow the cascading stream as you ascend the mountain covered in thick virgin rainforest, following the water through dozens of pools, cascades and huge rocks.
After exploring the stunning 100 waterfalls, you will be provided with a delectable lunch at the top of the falls served by your guide in the traditional way – folded banana leaves.
After lunch, take the trails again from the top of the waterfall that is used by the local villagers, which will lead you away from the waterfall and to the village. Behold the stunning sights along the Nam Ou valley, overcrowded with old-growth forests that thrive within the fertile lands. The Nam Ou valley lacks well-paved roads and still carries the natural charm of the olden days without being too overcrowded by people along the trails. Upon arrival to the village, you will be greeted by the friendly smiles of the inhabitants as they are engaged in their daily activities before heading back to Nong Khiaw along with a small boat.
Overnight in Nong Khiaw
Nong Khiaw – Pak Ou Caves – Luang PrabangDay 8
After breakfast and check out of the resort, your guide and driver will collect you from the hotel lobby and transfer you back to Luang Prabang. Along the way, you will pause to visit the village of Ban Na Nyang, which is famous for its traditional cotton weaving. Almost every household has its own weaving loom where the families create beautiful scarves, table cloths, and ornate wall hangings.
Next, you will visit the famous Pak Ou caves which house thousands of Buddha statues of all styles and sizes. There are two caves, both accessed by stairs. The lower cave, Tham Ting, is naturally lit. The upper cave, Tham Phum, is deeper yet easily explored.
After exploring the caves, you will embark on a private boat cruise down the Mekong River for 1.5 hours to Luang Prabang.
After enjoying a delicious lunch at Tamarind Restaurant, transfer to check into your hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.
Tonight you will enjoy dinner at Mango Tree restaurant. The terrace, weather permitting, is awesome, with umbrellas and century-old trees. It sets in a quiet part of Luang Prabang’s main street, ideal for a cozy and intimate dinner away from the busy life.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Village Life Cooking ExperienceDay 9
After breakfast, your private guide and driver will pick you up and take you to the local morning market. Here local people gather to buy and sell local fresh produce like vegetables, seasonal fruits, and river fish. Ethnic minorities from surrounding villages come to sell their produce, sometimes walking many days to get here. Explore this cultural melting pot and find some unique culinary oddities.
Your guide will lead you through the market and assist you with buying some fresh vegetables and meat for your cooking class. Leaving the market, you will take a short walk to the boat pier where you will embark on a motorized boat trip up the Mekong River to a small rural village.
Upon our arrival, you will be welcomed by your host family who will prepare all the cooking equipment before helping you cook. You will cook together with the family and your guide who will be able to assist in translating.
After the food is done, place it on a tray before carrying it to the local temple for the monks. While the monks are eating your guide will take you around the temple to explain about Buddhism in Laos and the day to day lives of the monks who live there.
After the temple, return the tray to the family and prepare for your own lunch. You and the family will eat together, sharing the meal you have prepared.
After lunch, say our goodbyes to the family and return to your hotel in Luang Prabang where the balance of the day is at your leisure. Enjoy the last night in Laos before flying home and getting back to normal life.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – DepartureDay 10
Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Luang Prabang airport for a short flight to Bangkok where you connect via your outbound flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.
Inquire this trip
This sample itinerary was created by our travel experts as inspiration for your next trip. Ready for your customization. You pick to suit your budget, desires, and cultural experiences. The price of this trip will vary, depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and the availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and give us the necessary information to enable us to send you a FREE personalized quote within 48 hours if not sooner!
- Biking through the small peaceful street of Luang Prabang, admiring the life of local people
- Walk around the evergreen nature of Kuang Si waterfalls
- Attending the daily morning alms giving in Luang Prabang
- Visit various temple and museum in Luang Prabang to learn about the culture of Laos
- Experience the first sight of the beautiful Muang La Resort
- Tour to the countryside of Muang La, and learn about the traditional farming technique of Laos people
- Cruising along the lazy Nam Ou River and Mekong River, experiencing the authentic lives, and its untouched nature along the way
- Trekking to the famous 100 waterfalls in Nong Khiaw
- Cruising along the might Mekong river to visit the mysterious Pak Ou caves
- Experience village life cooking experience in Luang Prabang
- 9 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 6 dinners and 8 lunches at well-selected restaurants
- Your own private guide and driver for in-depth cultural touring based on your interests
- Firsthand, sophisticated destination knowledge and recommendations from our locally born travel specialists
- Itineraries that are customized according to your interests and preferences
- A seamless travel experience, including all logistics, hand-picked hotels and restaurants, private airport transfers, internal transportation, and entry visa assistance…etc
- Around-the-clock support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, A/C vehicles, some main meals, all entrance fees, tax, and service charge.
What’s Not Included?
Your international flights from and to Laos, the entry visa to Laos, personal expense, tips to guide and driver.
How to Plan a successful Trip to Laos, Step-by-Step
Why to Visit Laos
Where to Go
When to Go
Obtain a Laos Visa
How to book a tour
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Why to Visit Laos
The sleeping beauty of Southeast Asia, the Republic of Laos has been isolated for decades and therefore tourism is still very much in its infancy here. Time seems to slow down in Laos, as even in the capital city, Vientiane, the pace of life is refreshingly unhurried. The government is instigating a green approach to its development, with the intention of keeping Laos’ pristine ecological system as natural as possible. This makes Laos a dream destination for nature and wildlife lovers, who are seeking for the true meaning of getting away from it all.
Besides being a land where no one is in a hurry, Laos is also a land of Buddhist traditions where you will find saffron-robed teens peek curiously out from wats (temples). And while earning the title of being the world’s most heavily bombed country hardly seems like a ringing endorsement, a visit to Luang Prabang’s World Heritage temples soothes the soul. Explore Vientiane, the world’s smallest capital, as it moves at the same serene pace as the Mekong river floating by its shores.
Where to Go
Most popular sites of Laos
• Luang Prabang – a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, best known for its high concentration of Buddhist temples and serene location on the banks of Mekong
• The Mekong River – runs from the north-west to the most southern tip of Laos, forming a natural border with Thailand; cruising on the river provides a great opportunity to see some of the more remote areas of the country which are often inaccessible by road
• Plain of Jars – see the dotted landscape of Laos with hundreds of mysterious and centuries-old stone jars
When to Go
The best time to visit Laos is between November and March. During this time the country experiences the least amount of rainfall without becoming too hot.
Laos has two distinct seasons – wet and dry.
The dry season runs from November to April. November to February is cooler while March and April are blisteringly hot, with April being the hottest month.
The wet season runs from May to October, though it may start a little early in a couple of Laos’ Northern provinces. August is the wettest month.
Obtain a Laos Visa
Visas can be obtained prior to arrival from Lao embassies and consulates abroad, through a tour company recognized by the Lao PDR, or on arrival at the international checkpoint.
Visas must be used within three months of being issued, but the validity of the visa starts from the day of entry into Laos. Tourist & business visas last for 30 days, and can be extended twice for 30 days each time, ideally through travel agencies.
The Lao criteria for visa photos are 5 cm high x 4 cm wide (but half a centimeter off within these sizes is acceptable), on a plain or light-colored background eg white or light cream. FYI, for those wishing to obtain a Lao passport, the passport photo criteria is the same as above, but the size is 6 cm high x 4 cm wide.
Notes: On entering Laos, ensure that you receive an entry stamp in your passport, as the fine for not having one is high.
Visa on Arrival (VOA)
Where to get a VOA
- Wattay International Airport in Vientiane
- Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang
- Pakse Internatioanl Airport in Champasack
- Savannakhet International Airport in Savannakhet
China – Laos
- Mohan, Yunnan – Botene, Luang Namtha
Thailand – Laos
- Chiangkhong, Chiang Rai – Houixay, Bokeo
- Nakaxeng, Loei – Kaenthao, Sayabouly
- Houi Koln, Nan – Nam Ngeun, Sayabouly
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, Nongkhay – Vientiane
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II, Moukdahan – Savannakhet
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge III, Nakorn Phanom – Khammouane
- Chongmek, Ubol Ratchathani – Vangtao, Champasack
Vietnam – Laos
- Nameo, Thanh Hoa – Banleui, Huaphanh
- Namkan, Nge An – Namkan, Xieng Khouang
- Keoneua, Ha Tinh – Nampao (Lak Sao), Bolikhamxay
- Laobao, Quang Tri – Dansavanh, Savannakhet
Cambodia – Laos
- Dong Calor, Cambodia – Veun Kham, Champasack
Unfortunately, citizens of the following countries are ineligible for a VOA and will have to apply at their nearest Lao embassy/consulate, unless they are on official visits and hold a guarantee from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR:
Middle East – Turkey, Syria
South Asia – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Africa – Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Swaziland, Tonga, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Pacific – Nauru
How to book a tour
Booking your holiday with Indochina Pioneer cannot be easier! Follow our 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Browse our website www.indochinapioneer.com for tours, cruises and other destination information.
Should you find something that matches your interest, fill in the REQUEST A FREE QUOTE forms. Can’t find something that fits your needs? Then fill the BUILD YOUR OWN TRIP or CONTACT US form and click SUBMIT.
Then sit back! One of our travel experts will get back to you shortly with our customized package and most favorable offer!
In a hurry? Don’t like filling forms? Then call +84 982 116 630 (Mr. Lam) or +84 983 145 799 (Mr. Quyen). We’re available 24/7 and would be more than happy to talk! Certainly, your request will be carefully noted and a nicely crafted package with a pleasant price will follow!
Step 2: Reviewing/ Customizing our offer!
It’s your holiday so everything should be exactly what you want! We encourage your careful review of what we offer, letting us know what changes you would like to make. We’ll be more than happy to fine-tune the tour to fit best your interests, budget and time! This step may require several emails/call exchanges until perfect!
Step 3: Confirming/Paying/ Packing for the trip!
Once you’re satisfied with the customized tour, please let us know and Indochina Pioneer will need a few working hours to place reservations for all of the tour services. As soon as the availability and reservations of the services are confirmed, we will request a deposit. Please refer our Payment Guide for more details.
Once your deposit is received by Indochina Pioneer, we will send you the service voucher which confirms all the services of the tour and provides ground contact details and a guide for the final payment schedule.
And then you start counting down the day for your most fabulous trip!
Booking Amendment & Cancellations:
Booking Amendment: Flexibility is our strongest point. You can amend your booking even after it is made. Just contact your salesperson or contact us at [email protected] with your booking number. Our reservations team is glad to amend your booking with your preferable alternatives. Please kindly note that you will be responsible for any change of the final price caused by your amendment requests.
Travel smart with Indochina Pioneer!
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Packing Checklist – Be sure to check them all 😉
- Travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher)
- Money (cash, credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques and money pouch)
- Day pack for your personal needs during the day
- Camera and extra memory cards and batteries
- Cell phone and cell phone charger
- Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)
- Travel plug/international adapter
- Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication)
- Prescription glasses / contacts and if necessary, contact lens solution
Best to bring along
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Refillable water bottle with filter
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Comfortable clothing, either light or heavy options, depending on the season you are travelling
- Clothes suitable for visiting temples (long pants / skirts, long sleeved tops)
- Waterproof jacket / raincoat / umbrella
- Hat & sunglasses
- Bathing suit
- Ear plugs & eye mask
- Sleep sheet for home stays / trains
- Lightweight travel towel
- Local language phrasebook
Reviews on Our Service
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
We had a wonderful 7-day trip last July; Kata was awesome to work with. So professional, reliable and helpful!
"Lifetime of Memories"
Lam did an amazing job putting together an itinerary based on phone/text conversations. We told him the where and what and he did the rest. The accommodations were beyond expectation, the guides were unbelievably friendly, and the places we were taken were spectacular. Having guides and drivers is worth every penny. So much time and money would have been wasted had we tried to accomplish this ourselves.
We got to experience so much more because of our guides local knowledge. Lastly, how great it was not to worry about how we were getting to the next adventure. Had we not used Indochina Pioneer I truly believe I wouldn’t have as many astonishing memories.
"Amazing 30 Day Journey with Indochina Pioneer"
If you are looking for a private tour of SE Asia, look no further than Indochina Pioneer. I recently returned from a 30-day private tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all arranged by Indochina Pioneer and could not have been happier with everything they arranged for me. They are top-notch from working directly with you on planning your trip, arranging visas, having individuals at the airports to meet and walk you through everything when entering the countries, having amazing tour guides and drivers as well as organizing everything for you on the ground and being there to help you all along the way if you have any questions or problems. My tour was amazing with not only the normal tourist sights, but many off the beaten track sights and with your own guides, you learn so much more from these individuals who actually live in the places you will visit. I can’t recommend this tour agency enough. If you are looking to travel to any of the locations Indochina Pioneer has tours, you must book through them, you will not be disappointed.
"Excellent from the very beginning"
We had 21 days on a private tour and every detail was perfectly arranged. Perhaps, the Spanish speaking skills of guides can ve improved, but overall they were very helpful and committed with their job. I want to highlight the performance of Juan (Hanoi), Miguel (Hoi An), Chao (Ho Chi Minh City) and La (Luang Prabang, Laos).
Hotels were as we asked and the timing for the visits was very good.
I recommend this travel agency!