Laos

9-Day Northern Laos Discovery

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Tour type

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Tour Period: 9 Days

tour highlights

  • Observe the unique architecture, culture and traditions of several hilltribes
  • Soft trek to the hill tribe villages around Muang Sing
  • Visit villages known for traditional weaving and rice wine distillation
  • Explore the culture and architectural heritage of Luang Prabang
  • Enjoying the majesty and natural beauty of the Kuangsi Waterfalls

tour details

Northern Laos Discovery Tour offers cultural sightseeing among traditional northern Laos hilltribes and includes some soft trekking. Experience the intimacy of an interaction with an Asian elephant and marvel at the natural beauty of waterfalls and verdant forest-covered hills. Round off the tour by immersing yourself in the architectural heritage and history of timeless Luang Prabang.

 

Why choose this tour?

A must for those who want to discover more about the Ikhor, Lanten and Tao or Mien hilltribes in northern Laos.

You will be met upon arrival at Houay Xai immigration checkpoint to begin your Northern Laos Minority Discovery tour.

Transfer to a car to drive on the route Houay Xai - Luang Namtha. During the trip we will stop to visit, an authentic north Lao village. You will have the opportunity to go walking in the village to explore the daily lifestyle of the villagers. Lunch today will be at a local restaurant. After lunch we will continue the tour, visiting a Khmu village before arriving Luang Namtha.

Dinner and accommodation at The Boat Landing Hotel.
Breakfast at your hotel after which we leave to drive to Muang Sing. En route, you will visit an Ikhor village. 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, Mu Kuew. The women of Khor tribes are skilled in weaving, knitting and ornamental sewing, while the men are excellent woodcrafters. The men are often dressed in baggy pants and dark brown long sleeved shirts with silver ornaments. Continue to visit a Lanten village. The Lanten are sometimes called "Lao Houay" (stream Lao) because they choose to live near permanent rivers. The dark indigo clothing worn by both the men and women immediately identifies them. The women also 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.

Upon arrival in Muang Sing, 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 hilltribes. Lunch is at a local restaurant.

Visit the Muang Sing Exhibitions, which display a collection of cultural artefacts from the area, such as fishing utensils, looms, gongs, bells, pottery, musical instruments and local ethnic costumes. Visit Wat Xieng Jai and Wat Nam Keo Luang, two temples which show the Tai Lu architectural influence.

Dinner tonight at a local restaurant.
Accommodation at Phou Iu II Bungalow Hotel.
Breakfast this morning at the hotel. After breakfast, visit the colourful local market where the various minority people come early in the morning to sell their products. You will then take part in a full day excursion and soft trek with Phou Iu Package to the surrounding hilltribe villages: Ikhor, Yao or Mien, 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, who wear high turbans and long indigo gowns bordered with bright pink wool boa collars, are easily recognised. Lunch to be taken at a local restaurant. Return to Muang Sing in the afternoon.

Dinner will be taken at a local restaurant.
Accommodation at Phou Iu II Bungalow Hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel and then begin the drive back to Luang Namtha. En route, visit the weaving village of Ban Thongpoung and Ban Nam Ngene village to observe the rice wine distillation. Lunch is at a local restaurant in Luang Namtha. After lunch we continue towards Oudomxay and upon arrival, check in at the hotel.

Dinner and accommodation at Charming Lao Hotel.
Breakfast is at the hotel.

Drive to Pakbeng. En route, visit the weaving village of Tai Dam and Ban Kmu village to observe and learn more about traditional weaving and the rice wine distillation process. Lunch is at a local restaurant in Muang Houn. After lunch is complete we continue towards Pakbeng and upon arrival, check in at the hotel.

Dinner and accommodation at Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge.
First thing this morning, you can enjoy a non-riding elephant activity which includes an Elephant trek (30 minutes) and an elephant bath (10 minutes). After saying good bye to the elephants return to the hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, take a traditional slow boat towards Luang Prabang. Lunch is provided on board. En route, stop at Pak Ou and visit the sacred caves which house over a thousand Buddha statues. On arrival in Luang Prabang, transfer and check in at your hotel. This former royal capital, with its gleaming temple roofs, fading colonial architecture and stunning mountain backdrop, retains a unique charm rarely found in all of Asia.

Dinner and accommodation at Sanctuary Luang Prabang.
Breakfast is at your hotel before heading out for a tour of this beautiful city.

This morning visit Wat Visoun, the oldest temple in Luang Prabang and the site of the impressive Singhalese style That Makmo stupa. Then walk to the nearby Wat Aham, which is one of the city's major tutelary shrines, dedicated to revered spirits Deveta Luang and ancestors Pu Gneu Ya Gneu.

We also visit Wat Xieng Thong, considered the most beautiful temple. The sim of the Wat represents the classic Luang Prabang temple architecture with roofs that sweep low to the ground. In the compound stand several small chapels housing bronze Buddha images, which were displayed in Paris in 1911. Near the East gate stands the Royal Funeral Chapel. Inside are an impressive 12-metre high funeral chariot and various funeral urns of the Royal Family. The gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel depicts a semi-erotic episode from Ramayana. Also look out for the “tree of life” montage on the rear temple wall. Lunch today is at Cafe Ban Vat Sene.

After lunch visit the former King's Palace, now known as the National Museum and displaying a collection of personal artefacts of the Royal Family: photos, musical equipment and gifts received from foreign countries. Visit Wat Mai, built in 1796, famous for the five - tiered roof of its wooden sim built in the standard of Luang Prabang style. For a different perspective we climb Wat Phousi Hill for a stunning 360-degree view over the city.

At the end of the day, relax and enjoy a Luang Prabang sunset at Wat Prabaht Tai, located along the Mekong River.

Dinner tonight is at 3 Nagas Restaurant.
Accommodation at Sanctuary Luang Prabang.
After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, depart by road to the Kuang Si Waterfalls (30km, approximately 1-hour drive). Arrive at the waterfalls which tumble over multi-tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools that are ideal for swimming and relaxing by. Visit the "Bear Lao" Bear Sanctuary on the path up to the pools of the waterfall and see the bears, which are rescued from bear bile farms and illegal private zoos, in their rehabilitation enclosures. On the way to the waterfalls, visit minority villages for a glimpse into their lifestyle. Visit the recently opened Butterfly Park (closed on Tuesdays), where you can see a large variety of colourful butterflies and orchids. Visiting this park, contributes to the education of local children about biology and will help raise awareness about the vulnerability of Laos' ecosystem and how local people can preserve it.
After breakfast at your hotel, visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center (closed on Mondays), a small private museum about minority groups where you can learn about ethnic cultures and traditional arts. The exhibits contain text, photographs and objects from villages throughout the north of Laos.

After your visit, transfer to the airport for your departure (air-ticket not included in tour price).

customise the tour

  • On Day 7 or 8 or 9 add in an Alms Giving with iMekong early morning cruise
  • On Day 7 or 8 or 9 add in an early morning private yoga session
  • On day 8 add a private Baci ceremony in the early evening before dinner

inclusive

  • Sightseeing tours and transfer services are by private vehicle, as detailed in our itinerary
  • English Speaking Guide
  • Accommodation in shared double/ twin room with air-condition (AC) and private bathroom
  • Meal Breakfast and Lunch as per mention as program
  • All entrance fees, boat fees for the places as mentioned in the program
  • Water available on vehicle
  • Service charges, Government taxes

exclusive

  • Compulsory X’mas and New Year Eve dinners
  • International airfare to / from other destination
  • Domestic airfare
  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Optional tour
  • High Season Surcharge
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditure, such as meals, drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme.

notes

Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road & river conditions, and room availability.

Tour code: LPQDLNLM9

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