9-Day Hidden Tribes of Northern Laos

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Tour type

Tour Level: High level

Tour Comfort: Luxury

Tour Period: 9 Days

tour highlights

  • Enjoy the gorgeous views on the Nam Ou River
  • Stay at a resort on the slopes of Phou Fa mountain
  • Visit remote tribes and learn their customs
  • Visit an old French military camp
  • Admire a sacred 400-year-old Buddha image

tour details

Journey to northern Laos and witness incredible scenery, unique cultures and abundant wildlife.

Pick up at Luang Prabang hotel and depart for the journey north. On the way, visit the silk-weaving village of Ban Nayang, populated by Thai Lu who originally came from Sisongbanna in Southern China. Ban Nayang consists of more than 200 households. Lunch en route. Continue to Nong Khiaw, a small town located along the banks of the Nam Ou River.
Take a local riverboat toward Muang Khua and enjoy the stunning views on the Nam Ou River with limestone cliffs and rock formations rising dramatically above the forest. Arrive in Muang Khua before sunset.

Dinner at local restaurant. Accommodation at a guesthouse.
Breakfast at local restaurant. Continue your trip on the mighty Nam Ou River toward Phongsaly. The Nam Ou River, a subsidiary of the Mekong River, begins from a pond at the foothill of the Phou Khoud Mountains (close to the border between Laos and China). On the way, stop at beautiful traditional villages with wooden houses towering on high stilts.
Lunch onboard. Arrive in Hatsa and then continue by car to Phongsaly. Built on the steep slopes of the Phou Fa Mountain (1625 metres), Phongsaly enjoys a cool climate all year round and was once the favourite hill resort of the French residents in Laos.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Before departure, climb 413 steps to the top of Phou Fa Mountain to enjoy a breathtaking view over the dense forests that cover the range and are home to an abundant wildlife such as fowls, sambar deer, barking deer, Java tigers, bears and a very rare species of white reindeer.
Drive toward the Chinese border and visit a village where local people breed bees and distill rice wine. Continue by a soft trek to the Ikhor minority village of Houei Yo. The Ikhor belong to the ethnic Khor group once originally called “Akho or Akha” meaning “older brother” in Lao. They emigrated from South China about 500 years ago due to war and entered the Lanexang kingdom of Laos through the Southwest.
Upon entering Laos, the Khor group divided into sub-tribes: Khor Pho Xang, Debla, Loma, Eupa and Mu Kuew. The women of Khor tribes are skilled in weaving, knitting and ornamental sewing, while the men are excellent woodworkers. The men are often dressed in baggy pants, dark brown long sleeved shirt with silver ornaments.
Lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, continue to Muang Boun Tai, and visit an ancient French military camp.

Dinner at a local restaurant. Accommodation at a guesthouse.
Breakfast at a local restaurant. Drive to Muang La with several stops en route to visit Ikhor, Yao, Hmong, and Khmu minority villages. Arrive in Muang La and visit the Pra Xack Kham temple that houses a sacred Buddha image. The 400-year-old image is said to have supernatural powers and is widely worshipped among people of Muang La district.
There are many mysteries and tales about Pra Xack Kham. One tale dates back to 1879 when King Oun ruled. Six members of the Jeuang army who had stolen the heart of Pra Xack Kham were killed when the branch of the tree they were under fell on them. The villagers searched their belongings and found nothing. Continue to see the hot springs nearby. Lunch en route. Continue to Muang La and upon arrival check in at the hotel.
Dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation at Muang La Resort.
Breakfast at the resort. Explore Muang La and visit the nearby reclining Buddha.
Lunch and dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation at Muang La Resort.
Breakfast at the resort. Visit Oudomxay morning market and then drive to Luang Namtha. On the way, visit Hmong and Lanten villages at Ban Namdeng and Ban Lakkhammai. Recognised by their dark indigo clothing, the Lanten are sometimes called “Lao Houay” (stream Lao) because they choose to live near permanent streams. The women pluck or shave their eyebrows upon reaching puberty and wear their hair in a traditional style, swept up and held in place with beautiful silver jewellery.
Luang Namtha is home to the largest concentration of Lanten villages in Laos and counts about 4,000 Lanten in its population. Like the closely related Mien, the Lanten emigrated from China in search of stability and new mountain rice fields. Legend holds that the Lanten were separated from their older brothers, the Mien, during the flight and made their way alone from China’s Hainan Island through Northern Vietnam, settling here in the 19th century. Lunch en route.
Continue to Muang Sing and check in at the hotel. Since the late 16th century, the small town of Muang Sing has been a traditional Thai cultural nexus as well as a trade centre attracting a large variety of hill tribes.

Dinner and accommodation at the guesthouse.
Breakfast at the guesthouse. Visit the colourful local market where the various minority tribes come early in the morning to sell their products before heading out on a full-day excursion and soft trek to the surrounding hilltribe villages: Ikhor, Yao or Mien, and Lanten. The Yao originally came from Yunnan Province in Southern China.
In their villages, the Yao maintain a large extended family in the same household. Yao women are easily recognised by their high turbans and long indigo gowns bordered with bright pink wool boa collars. Lunch at a local restaurant.

Dinner and accommodation at the guesthouse.
Breakfast at the guesthouse. In the early morning depart for Luang Namtha. On the way, visit an Ikhor minority village and enjoy lunch en route. Continue to Houei Xay visiting a limestone cave at Muang Nale before a late arrival at Houei Xay, located along the Mekong River.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel.

Transfer to the immigration checkpoint and cross the Friendship Bridge to Chiang Khong (Thailand).

includes

  • Accommodation in shared double/twin room with air conditioning (AC) and private bathroom
  • Meals as stated in the programme B= Breakfast, L= Lunch & D= Dinner
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking guides in private air conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Mineral water available in the vehicles

excludes

  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
  • International airfare to / from Laos (quoted separately, if requested)
  • Optional tours
  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Surcharges for Lao Pimai (New Year)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditures, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities, etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking or when available
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme

notes

Upon request, a licensed French, German, Spanish or other language-speaking guide can accompany participants for the whole duration of the trip at an additional cost.

Tour code: HTN9

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