- 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 – Full-day Heritage Tour
- Day 3: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves – Kamu Lodge
- Day 4: In Kamu Lodge
- Day 5: Kamu Lodge – Pak Beng
- Day 6: Pak Beng – Oudomxay – Muang La
- Day 7: Muang La – Hill Tribe Village Trek
- Day 8: Muang La – Further Discovery
- Day 9: Muang La – Muang Khua – Nong Khiaw
- Day 10: Nong Khiaw – 100 Waterfall Trek
- Day 11: In Nong Khiaw
- Day 12: Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang – Departure
This tour will show you Laos Northern highlight destinations in 12 days. Learn about the local heritage in Luang Prabang, where traditions are well preserved, and life is the perfect balance between people and nature. Explore the beautiful Kuang Si waterfall and the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. Relax in Kamu Lodge and take in the amazing landscape. Travel to Pak Beng and Oudomxay, where you can discover the wonderful scenery along the Nam Pak River, en route visit some villages of the ethnic minorities. Trek to isolated villages near Muang La and understand more about their daily routine. Ride on a long-tail boat down the Nam Ou River to visit the stunning sights in Muang Khua and Nong Khiaw valley. Before returning to Luang Prabang, you will trek along the local trails to see the most spectacular landscapes of Nong Khiaw – the gorgeous 100 Waterfalls, lush rainforests and dozens of cascading pools.
Arrival in Luang PrabangDay 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 – Full-day Heritage TourDay 2
Wake up early and head by Tuk-Tuk like a local to the peninsula to witness and attend almsgiving. Every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms. This ancient ritual is locally known as “tak bat”. After the ritual, return to the hotel for your breakfast.
Following your breakfast, start a sightseeing tour of this charming city. 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.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you will visit 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.
Continue to explore the 16th century Wat Visoun temple, best known for its enormous stupa and its collection of old gilded Buddhas.
Pay a visit to the Traditional Art and Ethnology Centre (TAEC)**, the only independent resource center in Laos dedicated to the country’s many and diverse ethnic groups. If time permits, you can visit the Ock Pop Tock Living Craft Center, set serenely close to the Mekong, this beautiful, traditionally styled workshop, where weavers, spinners and batik makers produce top-quality fabrics, offers free tours every half-hour.
Feeling suitably enlightened, end your day with a climb to the top of Mount Phousi, the city’s highest point where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city and the Mekong River below.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves – Kamu LodgeDay 3
Start your day with a visit to the Morning Market, a lively street where locals shop for everything from colorful vegetables and exotic fruits to live frogs.
After breakfast and check out of the hotel your private guide and driver will meet you for transfer to the boat pier for a cruise up the Mekong River to Kamu Lodge. Along the way, you will pause to 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.
Arrive at Kamu lodge at noon, check in to your tent and have lunch in the middle of the rice fields.
Kamu Lodge offers a deliberate retreat from the comforts of modern life. Leaving behind WiFi, satellite television, or even an unlimited flow of electricity, Kamu Lodge is a private eco-lodge engaged with low-impact tourism, seeking a balance between tourism and conservation of local culture and ethnic heritage.
The rest of the day is at your leisure. Spend your time to enjoy the comforts of the lodge or have a stroll around the neighborhood. Dinner will be at the Lodge.
Overnight in Kamu Village
In Kamu LodgeDay 4
The “tents” at Kamu Lodge are comfortable fully-appointed. You can just relax and take in the beauty of the landscape.
Apart from the relaxing time, there is so much to do around Kamu Lodge. You can choose from a wide range of activities in the jungle among villages and rice paddies. Participate in hands-on learning about rice planting, or even try your hand at gold panning and archery as the locals do it. The Kamu Lodge is designed to expose you to and give you an opportunity for the hands-on experience of the lifestyle of the Kamu ethnic group.
Overnight in Kamu Lodge
Kamu Lodge – Pak BengDay 5
After breakfast and check out of the lodge, you will board a traditional slow boat trip up the Mekong River to Pak Beng. You will make some stops to visit the local villages of different ethnic minorities.
We’ll arrive in Pakbeng in the afternoon and check into the Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge. Sitting by the bank of the Mekong, the Lodge is halfway between the World Heritage Town of Luang Prabang, and Huay Xai, the main border crossing between northern Thailand and northern Laos, both towns reachable within a day by cruise.
Overnight in Pak Beng
Pak Beng – Oudomxay – Muang LaDay 6
After breakfast depart Pak Beng for a four-hour drive to the remote province of Oudom Xai (Muang Xai on some maps), the heart of northern Laos, rich in mountain scenery and many ethnic minorities.
Arrive and check into the luxury Muang La Lodge. Hidden in the small village of Muang-La by the river, this lodge features 5 wooden villas and 9 traditionally designed guestrooms. Exuding peace tranquillity, and mountain views, the river houses a natural hot spring.
After having lunch at the resort, head out to discover the rural life of the Pak La village in Muang La, stroll through the area, and take in the panoramic views over the Nam Pak River. You will learn more about how the Khmu people live in harmony with their environment. The site at Muang La is dominated by the temple of Pha Chiao Sing Kham, 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 Lodge.
Overnight in Muang La
Muang La – Hill Tribe Village TrekDay 7
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.
Continuing into the forest, after 1½ hours you will reach the village of Ban Phavie, a beautiful Khmu village on top of a hill. Here you will enjoy a picnic lunch prepared by your personal guide.
After lunch, continue your trek to a cooling waterfall where you can relax in the clear water cascade (weather permitting). Then return to the lodge for your leisure time.
Enjoy diner and spend the second night at the lodge.
Overnight in Muang La
Muang La – Further DiscoveryDay 8
After breakfast, take another 4×4 ride on a beautiful road along the Nam Pak River to an Ikhos village and a H’mong village; two of the many ethnic groups in Laos. Your route climbs to 1,000m above sea level and offers some magnificent views of the stunning mountain scenery.
Your first visit is a completely isolated Ikhos village. The Ikho people are one of the most reclusive communities in Laos, and originate from Yunnan Province in China and Tibet. It is a remarkable experience to glimpse into the culture and lives of the Ikho, in whose mountain villages you will see houses made of wood and bamboo and learn about their way of life and their belief in the spirit world. The Ikho are known for their method of dyeing their clothes using natural dyes made from the plants of the jungle.
Continue to visit the H’mong village and then enjoy a picnic lunch with amazing surroundings.
After lunch, return to your lodge and spend the rest of the day at your leisure.
Enjoy dinner and spend the last night at Muang La lodge.
Overnight in Muang La
Muang La – Muang Khua – Nong KhiawDay 9
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 10
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
In Nong KhiawDay 11
This is a free day for you for your further explorations of Nong Khiaw. Relax and take in the grandeur of the Karst scenery, and explore nearby caves if you choose.
Overnight in Nong Khiaw
Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang – DepartureDay 12
After breakfast and check out you are taken back to Luang Prabang following the Nam Ou River and traveling you up and over the mountains. 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.
After the village visit, continue on the road to the UNESCO world heritage city of Luang Prabang and then transfer to Luang Prabang airport for a short flight to Bangkok where you connect via your outbound flight home.
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!
- Visit various temple and museum in Luang Prabang to learn about the culture of Laos
- Cruising along the might Mekong river to visit the mysterious Pak Ou caves
- The first sight of the beautiful Muang La Resort
- The panoramic view from the top of the mountain in Muang La, and from the top of Phousi Hill over the ancient town of Luang Prabang
- Trekking to the famous 100 waterfalls in Nong Khiaw
- Cruising along the lazy Nam Ou River and Mekong River, experiencing the authentic lives, and its untouched nature along the way
- The visit to the local villages during the tour to see the local life
- 11 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 7 dinners and 9 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!