Tour of Thailand & Laos

Northern Thailand & Laos

 

Discover the shared heritage of Isaan & Laos

 

The provinces of Nan & Muang La for more intrepid travellers

An exceptional tour including the remote & beautiful provinces of northern Thailand & Laos.

A tour created with our Thai partners.

 

Highlights:
  • Above all, the unique nature of the tour
  • The region of Nan, one of the most remote & unspoiled areas of Thailand
  • The city of Nan & the surrounding National Park
  • The road from Nan to Muang La using a little known border crossing
  • Muang La Resort - a haven of tranquility which offers different ways to meet the diverse ethnic groups of northern Laos
  • Descent of the River Nam Ou
  • Pakhou Caves
  • Luang Prabang, the ancient royal capital

 

Day 1 - Chiang Mai - Nan
(././.)

You leave in the morning on the Nokair flight from Chiang Mai and arrive in Nan around 10am. Transfer & check-in at your hotel.

Lunch (not included)

After lunch you set off on a walking tour of Nan including the main sights of the city: Wat Phumin which houses marvellous wall paintings, Wat Chang Kham Woraviharn and its splendid chedi or stupa, Wat Mua Khuang containing a Thai Lu library and the museum which is famous for the Black Elephant Tusk. (Museum is closed on Mondays). Your tour continues on the other side of the river with Wat Chae Hang and finishes with a panoramic view over the city at Wat Phra That Khao Noi.

Dinner (not included) and overnight stay at your hotel.

Laos - Naga Statue

Day 2 - Nan - Bo Klua
(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

In the morning you visit the local market and a local school (in Nan or on the outskirts). You set off for the north-east of Santisuk province via Pak Ruak with its terreced fields carved into the hillside. You follow a picturesque mountain road to Phu Fa where you have a stunning view over the tea plantations, hills and mountains.You have the possibility of stopping at Phu Fa Palace whose terrace offers a splendid panorama of the forests and national park. You continue on to Bo Klua and check-in at the small resort which dominates the village.

You take your lunch in the resort.

After lunch you stroll through the village and learn about the traditional means of extracting salt from the river; the extraction ovens operate non-stop (except during the rainy season). You continue on to Khu Nan National Park and a short walk through the forest brings you to the waterfalls at Saphan. Return to Bo Klua - dinner & overnight stay at the resort.

Laos - Rice fields

Day 3 - Bo Klua - Thai/Laos Border - Muang La
(Breakfast/./Dinner)

After breakfast, you set off for the north of Nan province to reach the border crossing at Huai Kon. Your journey of around 2½ hours (including comfort breaks) takes you on a small mountain road which passes through rice-fields, villages and along narrow valleys and forests. The stunning views make this a memorable journey. Your guide will help with the formalities on the Thai side of the border and then you cross the frontier in a local truck. (Other vehicles are not allowed to take you over the border). Your English-speaking Lao guide is waiting to welcome you into Laos and help with the paperwork for your entry into the country. You set off from the border surrounded by beautiful contryside and your route rises to around 800m above sea level. After around an hours drive, you start to catch glimpses of the famous River Mekong. You cross the river on a barge and after another 15 minutes drive, you arrive in Pakbeng.

Lunch (not included) in one of the local restaurants.

After lunch, you set off for the district of Muang La and Muang La Resort. Your transfer takes around 4½ hours (incuding comfort breaks) and you arrive in the province of Oudom Xai in central northern Laos. The region is rich in mountain scenery and many ethnic minorities live there. In the provincial capital, also called Oudom Xai, Chinese & Vietnamese merchants mingle with the local people as they buy and sell supplies. You continue your journey to Muang La Resort. After checking-in, you have time to explore the Resort; you can relax in the elevated spa filled with water from a nearby geyser, try a traditional Lao sauna or take one of the massages that are available.

Dinner & Overnight stay at Muang La Resort.

Laos - Muang La Resort - Countryside

Day 4 - Muang La
(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

You set off in the morning with a short transfer (15 mins.) to Pak Khai; this pleasant journey gives magnificent views across the Nam Pak River, terraces of rice fields and many small villages. On arrival, you start your trek following footpaths bordered by lush vegetation that snake their way across the mountain streams. You have the chance to meet the local farmers in their rice fields and learn how they cultivate their crops, fish and hunt for small game. You continue on, venturing deeper into the forest and after an hour or so, you reach the village of Ban Phavie - a magnificent Khamu village situated on the side of a hill. After lunch, you continue your trek to refreshing waterfalls where you can relax in the clear, freshwater cascades lulled by the gentle breeze (weather permitting). Around 14h30 you take the path to return to the Resort arriving at the end of the day.

Dinner & overnight stay at Muang La Resort.

 

Day 5 - Muang La
(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

You leave the Resort in a 4x4 to meet two typical Lao communities; the Ikhos people and the Hmong people. Your route offers stunning views as you climb to 1000m above sea level. The first village is an isolated Ikhos community and you take your lunch in the village which offers more magnificent views. The Ikhos people originate from Yunnan Province in China and also from Tibet and their way of life is largely unaffected by modern ways.

After lunch, you continue on to the Hmong village of Ban Tauser (a short trek of around 45 minutes). In the village, you see a differetn way of life - the Hmong people orginate from the high steppes of Tibet. Livestock (pigs, buffaloes etc) plays an important part in village life and consequently the villagers give a great deal of care and attention to their animals. The path leading to the isolated village gives you another chance to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside and a few minutes from the village is a viewpoint with a 360° panorama of the region. You return to the resort at the end of the day.

In the evening, you take part in a Baci or Welcome Ceremony. In Laos, animist beliefs still persist and one part of these beliefs is that people have 32 souls, one in each of the 32 parts of the body. These souls (or khouane) tend to escape and risk being eaten by evil spirits, creating disease and bring bad luck. The Baci Ceremony recalls these souls to the body. Family & friends gather in a room where an altar of flowers has been made. Strands of cotton radiate from the altar symbolizing the ties with the world of souls. Cakes, fruits, alcohol, incense sticks, candles and silver are also offered to encourage the souls to return. A wise old man who specializes in this ceremony lghts the candles on the altar and prays to the gods. Using meditation and ritual chants, he encourages the souls to return to their home and benefit from the offerings.The ceremony ends with wishes being made and cotton strands are fixed on the wrists of the people present to retain the returned souls. The ceremony is followed by a traditional meal in one of the village houses.

Overnight stay at Muang La Resort.

 

Laos - Luang Prabang - Buddhist Monk

Day 6 - Muang La - Nong Khiaw
(Breakfast/Lunch/.)

You set off by road for Muang Khua, the start point of your cruise on the magnificent River Nam Ou. On the way, you stop to visit a village of the Tai Dam people and learn how the women of the village produce the rice alcohol "Lao Lao" using traditional methods. After around 2½ hours (including stops), you arrive in Muang Khua and embark on your private river cruise boat. The descent of the Nam Ou to Nong Khiaw is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful river journeys in the region. From the comfort of your boat, you discover numerous villages on the banks of the river and magnificent limestone cliffs that rise majestically from the water's edge. During the Vietnam War, the caves in the cliffs served as a refuge for the local people during the American bombardment. of the region. You take a picnic lunch on one of the beaches along the river and arrive in Nong Khiaw at the end of the afternoon.

Dinner (not included) and overnight stay at Nong Khiaw Riverside.

Laos - River Nam Ou

Day 7 - Nong Khiaw - Luang Prabang
(Breakfast/./.)

This morning, you continue your descent of the picturesque River Nam Ou to the point where it flows into the Mekong. As you cruise down the river, you may see women in colourful, traditional costumes panning for gold or fishermen using their traditional nets to catch fish. Before arriving in Luang Prabang, you stop to visit the famous Pakhou Caves. These sacred caves contain hundreds of statues of Buddha, in all shapes & sizes. Lunch (not included) is take in one of the many restaurants in the banks of the Mekong. You continue your journey on the Mekong, arriving in Luang Prabang at the end of the afternoon. Your minibus is waiting to transfer you from the pier to your hotel.

Dinner (not included) and overnight stay at your hotel.

 

Day 8 - Luang Prabang
(Breakfast/./.)

At first light (before breakfast), you witness the daily Alms Ceremony as many monks pass through the old part of the city receiviing donations of rice from the local peope - a truly unforgettable sight. After breakfast, you visit the National Museum which is housed in the former royal palace. Your tour continues to Wat May & Wat Manorom, which is believed to have been built in 1375 by King Sam Sen Thai. This is followed by Wat That Louang which was the former royal crematorium.

Lunch (not included)

In the afternoon, you visit Wat Xieng Thong which sits at the northern end of the peninsula and is agruably one of the most beautiful temples in Laos. As you pass from temple to temple, you see the local people going about their daily routine. You continue on to Wat Phraphoutthat, the monastery of Buddha's footprint - Wat That, the monastery stupa and Wat Sieng Mouane & Wat Choum Khong, the last remaining examples of Xieng Khouang architecture. In the late afternoon, you climb to the summit of Mount Phou Si to enjoy the wonderful view and the amazing sunset. In the evening you can visit the Night Market where the local people sell their handicrafts and silk goods.

Dinner (not included) and overnight stay at your hotel.

Laos - River Mekong - Sunset

Day 9 - Luang Prabang & Kuang Si Falls
(Breakfast/Lunch/.)

Your morning starts with a visit to the Museum of Ethnology. After the museum, you cross the Mekong to visit a village where traditional pottery is made. On the way you stop to visit the small village of Ban Xieng Maene, Wat long Khoun - the Monastery of Blessed Song and Wat Chom Pet - the Monastery of Diamonds which sits on a hill overlooking the Mekong. You leave the peninsula to go to the waterfalls at Kuang Si. The falls are some of the most beautiful in Laos; somewhere the local people like to come to benefit from the cooler temperatures in the hot season. Your picnic lunch (prepared by one of the best restaurants in Luang Prabang) is taken at the falls and you have time to relax and enjoy this natural beauty spot. You return to Luang Prabang in the late afternoon.

Dinner (not included) and overnight stay at your hotel.

 

Day 10 - Luang Prabang
(Breakfast/./.)

You have some free time to browse around the peninsula before your transfer to Luang Prabang Airport (20 minutes by car from the centre of town)

 

 

 

Baci Ceremony

Personal Service

 

  • An English-speaking, experienced, local guide is with you throughout your journey to answer all your questions and needs
  • Each of our clients has a personal travel adviser
  • We are in frequent contact with you, from the moment you arrive to your departure and we are always available for you
  • We ask you to complete a detailed questionnaire and we carefully study all the feedback that we receive
  • We are regularly "out in the field" to ensure the quality and reliability of our partners