Remote Asia Travel

                                                   Get Remote  -  Get Real                   Info@remoteasia.com  | (856)20 2202 2139

Southern Laos and the Hidden City

                                                                                                                   13 days, 12 nights                                                                        Photo Gallery for this trip

Introduction


Remote Asia style, this journey begins with the far Northeast and concludes in the Deep South and travels amid isolated areas as well as some of the most fantastic scenery of Laos .  Learn and explore as you reach into areas off the beaten track while rewarding yourself with a memorable expedition.

 

Brief Itinerary


Day 1: Fly Vientiane – Xam Neua
Day 2: Pathet Laos Caves Tour
Day 3: Xam Neua - Nam Neun - Phonsavan Day 4: Plain of Jars Tour – Muong Khun
Day 5: Phonsavan – Thathom – Paksan
Day 6: Paksan – Na Hin – Kong Lor – Boat ride on the underground river – Na Hi
Day 7: Na Hin – Lak Sao - Gnommalath – Tha Khek
Day 8: Tha Khek – Seno - Pakse
Day 9: Pakse – Wat Phou – Tad Fane
Day 10: Tad Fane – Tad Lo –  Salavan - the Katang village - Salavan
Day 11: Salavan - Sekong – Attapeu - Paam - Attapeu
Day 12: Attapeu – Paksong - Pakse
Day 13: Pakse Departure


Day to Day Itinerary


Day 1: Fly Vientiane – Xam Neua

We take the afternoon flight to Sam Neua. On arrival, you check into your hotel and take a short walk visiting the town.

Xam Neua, one of the country’s least visited provincial capitals of Hua Phan Province, sets against a backdrop of picturesque mountains, forested hills and rice fields.  It is a staging post for the road to Vieng Xai caves.  The original town was obliterated by US bombing but has since been reborn and is a thriving trading center for northeastern Laos.


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out list
Transit : 1 hour flight/ short transfer airport
Meal plan: D


Day 2:  Pathet Laos Caves Tour

We don’t have to wait any longer to visit the Hidden Caves City. The very scenic drive toward Lao – Vietnamese border leads us to the former Pathet Lao Revolutionary headquarters with its famous hundred limestone cliffs and caves from the Indochina War.  The journey from Xam Neua is possibly one of the most picturesque in Laos, passing rice terraces, pagodas, charcoal and copper-colored karst formations, misty mountain peaks emerging from dense jungle. 

We first visit Khayson Cave , the office and residence of the Pathet Lao chief with its various rooms inside. We continue to Souphanouvong Cave also called Red Prince Cave, the office and residence of royalty and Prince Souphanouvong. Our last visit before lunch is Nouhak Cave , named for Nouhak Phoumsavang who served as Lao PDR president from 1992 to 1998.

After lunch, we continue to visit Soldier Cave and Hospital Cave. The Hospital Cave is one of the deepest caves, which was used for hospital facilities. If time permits, we can visit other caves which housed weaving mills, printing press and other facilities needed by the Pathet lao to remain self-sufficient

Vieng Xai is in a stunning setting, similar to Ha Long Bay Vietnam, Guilin China and Vang Vieng, Laos.  Opportunities for taking photos of the landscape are many today and stops are at your request! We return to Xam Neua for the second night


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out list
Transit : 1 hour
Walking time:
3 – 4 hours
Walking difficulty: Easy/moderate
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 3: Xam Neua - Nam Neun - Phonsavan

Departing early from Phonsavan, we drive east with our first stop at Saleuy weaving village, where you may purchase handicrafts directly from the maker and keep you money in the area. We continue on to Hing Tang (Suan Hin), a collection of standing stones often compared to Stonehenge.  This archaeological site remains a mystery but is believed to be related to the Plain of Jars.  Our last stop is made at Tham Piew Cave . The cave was used by local people during the Second Indochina War as a bomb shelter but unfortunately became the site of where over 400 villages were killed in a US air strike against supposed insurgents from Vietnam.  From the cave entry is a great view of the forest and plains below with a stream and small irrigation dam at the base of the cliff completing a stunning view.

Phonsavan is reached by late afternoon. It is the main town of Xieng Khuang Province, surrounded by huge mountains, the highest of which is Phu Bia.


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out lis
Transit: 6 - 7 hours
Walking time: 1 hour
Walking difficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 4: Plain of Jars Tour – Muong Khun

After breakfast, we drive to Site 1 of Plain of Jars for a visit. We continue by car to Site 2 and hike to Site 3 (hiking is difficult in the rainy season from June to September). The sites are covering an area of around 1000 square kilometers, at an altitude of 1000 metres.  It gets its name from the hundreds of stone jars scattered across the landscape, ranging in site from 1-2.5 meters in height.  There is considerable speculation as to the origin of the jars.

After exploring 3 sites with interesting stories about the Indochina War, we drive to Muong Khoun for lunch. Muong Khoun was once the capital of Xieng Khoang Province. There is time to visit temples such as Wat Chom Phet and Wat That Phoun which were built the same time as That Luang in Vientiane. We can also visit some colonial building and old Lao Military Base that was seriously damaged by American bombs.

On the way back to Phonsavan, we can stop by village where local people collect scrap metals which are partly from UXO and bomb shell.


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out list
Transit: 2 hour
Walking time: 3 hours
Walking difficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L


Day 5: Phonsavan – Thathom – Paksan

An early departure will be needed. The tough road is taking us through remote and forested areas where villagers still live with very minor impact by modernization. The entire area is inhabited by Hmong ethnic minority. There are several river crossings with no bridges and are sometimes difficult in wet season – or impassable.

We’ll have a simple lunch in Thathom. Thathom locates at the mid point between Phonsavan and Paksan via dirt road No 10. This remote village has never been an attraction on a tourist map. That’s why we are here! It’s a rugged drive and when we meet paved road at Paksan, we stop for the night


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out list
Transit : 2 hour
Walking time : 3 hours
Walking difficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L


Day 6: Paksan – Na Hin – Kong Lor – Boat ride on the underground river – Na Hin

We continue our journey to one of the most amazing cave and underground river of Laos. We first drive to Ban Nahin through a large kart mountain area. From Na Hin, we continue through the beautiful karst landscape to Konglor Village, and then take boat ride on an underground river through the 7km long Konglor Cave . We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch at the mouth of the cave.

The cave is a truly one of the natural wonders of Laos. You can rest and swim in the beautiful blue lagoon at the mouth of the cave while our guides prepare you for a cave exploration upstream through the other side of this long cave. After exploring the cave, we return to Na Hin for the night. Ban Na Hin sits in lush valley surrounded by tall karst peaks. The town is small and not much to do.  Most people retire early here, this is a sleepy little town in Laos.


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out list
Transit : 3 hour by car/1 and 1/2 hour long tail boat
Walking time : 1 hour
Walking difficulty: Easy-moderate
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 7: Na Hin – Lak Sao Gnommalath – Tha Khek

We first ride toward Lak Sao where the Ho Chi Minh Trail enters Laos . You can spend some time visiting the market. On the way, you’ll also see the bomb boat (boat made out of the petrol talk of American aircraft). The ride is on and off the trail taking though dense jungle. We have time to visit a local village. Lunch stop will be a great surprise! A massive hydro electric project is underway and we’ll stop along several times to view the construction. If there is time, we can visit Buddha Cave before we arrive in Thakhek. We deserve a cold dink over sunset on the Mekong! On arrival in Thakhek, you check into your hotel and take a little walk the surviving Franco-Chinese architecture around the fountain.


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out list
Transit : 6 hour by car
Walking time : 1 hour
Walking difficulty: Easy-moderate
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 8: Tha Khek – Seno – Pakse

After breakfast, we depart for Pakse. The drive is flat and comfortable along the highway 13. We stop halfway at Seno for a simple lunch. Seno is a small crossroads town becoming bigger all the time as it is a mid point for transit between Thailand and Vietnam on highway 13 in Laos.  We then continue on to Pakse. Our arrival in Pakse is late afternoon. We check into the hotel and refresh.

Pakse, the capital of Champasak Province, is the biggest city of southern Laos sitting at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Se Don River. The town has gone quickly and here we can travel to Si Phan Don in the far south or to the Bolaven Plateau and the remote provinces to the east. We’ll go east!


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out list
Transit : 7 hour by car
Meal plan: B, L


Day 9: Pakse – Wat Phou – Tad Fane

In the morning, we’ll visit Wat Phou, occupying a dramatic mountainside site over looking the Mekong valley. The wat is divided into lower and upper parts and is joined by a steep stairway .After visiting Wat Phou, we stop for lunch at the boat restaurant.

After lunch, we continue to Tad Fane Resort for check in. You can take a walk around the Tad Fane Resort located on top of the thickly forested gorge with stunning view of the tall Tad Fane Waterfall far below, this is a truly idyllic place for relaxing. Tad Fane is the most spectacular waterfalls in Laos, with parallel streams from Huay Bang Liang plugging out of dense forest and down more than 120m.


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out list
Transit : 2 hours by car
Walking time : 2 - 3 hours
Walking difficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L


Day 10: Tad Fane – Tad Lo –  Salavan - the Katang village - Salavan

Following breakfast, we start traveling deeper into the Bolaven Plateau getting well-and-truly off the beaten track. Our today destination is Salavan. Like Sekong and Attapeu (our next destinations in the next few days), Salavan is notable for its remoteness, natural forest that cover half of the province as well as its ethnic diversity.

On the way, we’ll stop at Tad Lo for lunch and relax. The large pool at its base is suitable for swimming. We arrive in Salavan in early afternoon and head out to the Katang village of Tumlan . The village is famous for its weavings. We then return to Salavan for the night.


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out list
Transit : 7 hours by car
Walking time : limited
Walking difficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 11: Salavan - Sekong – Paam - Attapeu

We leave for Attapeu by continuing on the less traveled road via Sekong. We stop in Sekong for a simple lunch. After lunch, we continue driving along the Sekong River , a waterway that Northern Vietnamese used to transport supplies to the Southern Vietnam during the Vietnam War. We drive thru Atapeu to Paam, a Alak village for a visit. Here, you can see a Russian surface-to-air missile that has been left next to the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Take a walk around the village, you may be able to watch women weaving in their homes. Alax textiles can be bought in this shady village. We then return to Attapeu for the night.


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out list
Transit : 7 hours by car
Walking time : limited
Walking difficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 12: Attapeu – Paksong - Pakse

Today we make our journey back to Pakse through the Bolaven Plateau. We’ll stop at Paksong, Laos’s coffee capital . You spend sometime visiting the market. For coffee lovers, you can definitely spend longer time. We’ll pass by many coffee plantations. A stop for a visit is on request. On arrival in Pakse, you check into your hotel and relax.


Accommodation: Guesthouse or Hotel from out list
Transit : 6 hours by car
Walking time : 1 hours
Walking difficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 13: Pakse Departure

After breakfast, you are free until the transfer to the airport


Transit: 6 hours by car
Meal plan: B, L, D


Our trip includes


English speaking guide
Accommodation as indicated
Meals as indicated
Transfer and pickup airport
Transportation by car, minivan or 4x4
Tour as indicated
Entrance fee
One way flight Vientiane XamNuea


Our trip excludes


Other domestic and international flights
Visa & visa arrangement
Meals not indicated
Drinking water, soft drink and alcohol
Tips & personal expenses


Prices contact info@remoteasia.com