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Laos Cultural and Heritage Tour

11 Days, 10 Night                                                                 Photo Gallery for this trip

Introduction

Sport minded?  It’s not X games stuff but close!  Paddle down remote rivers in a kayak, get vertical and defy gravity rock climbing, kick up some dust on a dirt bike, get deep into Lao cave exploring, trek with minorities through the rice fields and forest, pump it out one a mountain bike and top it off with riding a two ton elephant!


Transportation between locations is self-drive by dirt bike, optionally you can have local transportation between either Vang Vieng/Luang Prabang to Luang Namtha or private car.  This trip can be run as is or in reverse, up to you.  Day 0 is the day before you depart Vientiane and a test drive on the motorbike and safety instructions are given then.  Riders that don’t pass the basic skills riding will not be permitted to ride solo – safety first!


This trip has an option for transportation.  We depart on motorcycle and can go all the way on them to Luang Namtha or change our way of travel by leaving the bikes in Vang Vieng or Luang Prabang.  The pricing for this trip is complicated with so many options on transportation.  In order to make it clear, the price stated is for self drive motorcycle from Vientiane to Luang Namtha.


Brief Itinerary

 Day 1: Vientiane – Vang Vieng – Dirt bike
Day 2: Discover Vang Vieng (trekking, caving and kayaking)
Day 3:  Vang Vieng Rock Climbing – Full Day + Massage
Day 4:  Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang
Day 5:  Khao Niew Offering – City Tour - City Tour

Day 6: Luang Prabang Combination (Mountain Bikes, Elephants and Kayaking)
Day 7: Luang Prabang – Udomxai - Luang Namtha
Day 8: 
Nam Ha Forest Camps Trek - Khmu camp
Day 9: Nam Ha Forest Camps Trek - Akha Camp
Day 10: Nam Ha Forest Camps Trek – Back to civilization
Day 11: Luang Nam Tha to
Oudom Xai (Flight to Vientiane) or to Houei Xai (Mekong Crossing to Thailand)


Day to Day Itinerary


Day 1: Vientiane – Vang Vieng – Dirt bike

We leave Vientiane early heading west and get down to a dirt road along the Mekong.  This is a spectacular ride along the Mekong and requires descent skills for riding on dirt roads.  Lunch is along the way, Mekong side and traditional Laos.  Most of the day is off-road and we meet up with Highway 13 near Hin Hoeup and continue on twisty but paved road to Vang Vieng where cold beer awaits while watching the sunset. 

Vang Vieng is a small but growing town located along the Nam Song River and enclosed to the west by craggy peaks.  There is a calm about the place but for the sports minded, it’s a paradise, rock climbing, bicycle, kayaking, cave exploration and trekking are all the features of Vang Vieng.  The reputation in the tourist talk is that Vang Vieng is a ‘chill-out’ town, we take the opposite view and work up a sweat.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 8 hours by dirt bike +/-
Trekking time: none
Road difficulty: Moderate, challenging in rainy season
Meal plan: L


Day 2: Discover Vang Vieng (trekking, caving and kayaking)

Following breakfast, we transfer 14 km to the north of Vang Vieng. We first visit Tham Xang (Elephant Cave) lies on the opposite banks of the Nam Song. It is an important Buddhist temple and owes its name to a remarkable limestone formation. The nearby Tham Hoi cave (Snail cave) winds its way deep into the mountain. One hour of exploration through numerous corridors ends at a crystal clear spring. Here, swimming in the stream - in a cave lit up by candles - is possible all the year round.

Another cool pool of spring water lies at the mouth of Tham Nam (Water cave), also a good place for a swim. After a picnic lunch, the trek to the Hmong village of Phathao passes through rice paddy fields and vegetable gardens. The trip back to Vang Vieng varies according to the level of the Nam Song. Descending the Nam Song by kayak leads us through idyllic scenes of rural life: a unique sight with the limestone mountains in the background.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 25 minutes by local transport
Activity: 1½ hours trekking/ 2 hours kayaking/ 2 hours caving
Activity difficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L


Day 3:  Vang Vieng Rock Climbing – Full Day + Massage

The Vertical Challenge Day!  Over the past three years, climbers from all around the world come to Vang Vieng to develop the amazing potential for world class sport climbing in this area. Two areas were developed with a total of 50 routes ranging from 5a to 8a + (French). All the classic steep limestone jaggy stuff so. Climb and enjoy! A full day course provides basic instruction: learn basic knots, climbing techniques, and how to work belay device.

Lunch is at the climbing site and we’ll be back in town by sunset.  To work out the knots in your muscles, a 90 minute massage is in order and we’ll get a good rub down before dinner.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 20 minutes transfer
Activity: 5 – 6 hours rock climbing
Activity difficulty: Easy – Expert depending on your ability!
Meal plan: B, L
Massage: Priceless


Day 4:  Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang

One of the most spectacular rides in Laos starts north of Vang Vieng and we’ll take our time to get to Luang Prabang today. Plenty of time for photo stops for the scenery - endless vistas and craggy peak mountains unfold along the way, truly a spectacular road in Laos.  We have lunch in Phou Khoum in a local shop and continue.  We’ll pass several schools that will most likely be in session and get a few smiles out of the kids.  We are in Luang Prabang late afternoon, check into the hotel, shower and explore the night market

 Note – The motorbikes can be left in Vang Vieng and we can transit by private car at this point.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 8 hours, leisurely pace
Road Conditions: Paved, twisty, many elevation changes
Trekking time: limited


Day 5:  Khao Niew Offering – City Tour - City Tour

We start the day in the early morning at 05:30 for Khao Niew Offering. This unique experience gives us the chance to offer sticky rice to the adolescent monks and to join the tradition of Laotian people. We’ll practice the night before and make sure you observe the tradition way to making an offering to the monks.  We’ll continue on after the procession to Phosi Morning Market and then back to the hotel for breakfast.

Following breakfast, it’s time for a ½ day city tour of this World Heritage City.  We’ll visit old  the Royal Palace which was built in 1904 during the early French colonial era as a residence for King Sisavang Vong and his family. The building features a blend of Lao motifs and French beaux-arts styles. We continue to Wat Visoun which was built by Visounnarat in 1513. It is the oldest operating temple in Luang Prabang. We finish the city tour at Wat Xieng Thong which was built by King Setthathirat in 1560. It is Luang Prabang’s most magnificent temple. Lunch is in town.

After lunch, we drive slightly north of town and take a boat across the Mekong River to Pak Ou Cave.  Pak Ou remains a popular pilgrimage site for local people.  The caves are filled with images and statues of Buddha and are a holy site for Lao People.  The upper and lower caves are explored and we will visit the village of Ban Xang Hai. This village has for centuries made the earthen jars used as fermenting containers for Lao wine. Nowadays, it specializes in producing a wide range of lau lao (Lao whisky) and lau hai (Lao wine). Be sure to try just a little! We return down river by boat to Luang Prabang is in the late afternoon and make the climb up to Wat Phosi for sunset.  Luang Prabang has a good variety of local bars and places to unwind after a long day, places like Hive bar make great cocktails.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit:  45 minutes car/ 90 minutes boat ride
Trekking difficulty: Easy, stairs up to Wat Phousi are a good cardio workout.
Meal plan: B, L – cocktails not included


Day 6: Luang Prabang Combination (Mountain Bikes, Elephants and Kayaking)

Depart from hotel, we first cycle uphill toward the northeast of Luang Prabang for about 1 hour. After a short visit to Wat Phonphao (Peace Stupa Temple), we continue to Ban Pha Nom, a silk waving village and onto Elephant Camp for 1 ½ hours elephant ride. We get on the bike again to cycle along the river bank of Nam Khan River until Ban Pick Noi for lunch.

After lunch, our guide will give you some instruction and safety talk of kayaking for about 20 minutes. We then paddle downstream, depending on the time of year we may take on some small rapids. We take a short visit to the tomb of the 19th century French explorer Henri Mouhot; the first European to rediscover Angkor Wat and to visit the Royal Kingdom of Luang Prabang and then continue paddling to Ban Had Hien, an iron knife making village. From here, we return to Luang Prabang.

Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit:  15 minutes
Activity time: 1 ½ hours cycling/ 1 ½ hours elephant riding/ 20 minutes instruction/ 3 hours kayaking
Meal plan: B, L


Day 7: Luang Prabang – Udomxai - Luang Namtha

After an early breakfast we depart north to Luang Namtha with lunch and a break in Oudom Xai.  We’ll take a little time to check out the local market before continuing on in order to stretch our legs after lunch.  We arrive in Luang Namtha late afternoon and make out way to The Boat Landing Eco-Lodge for the night. 

The ride up to Luang Namtha is about 270 kilometers and about 30 minutes out of Luang Prabang, the traffic gets very light and the road is beautiful and fun to ride.  Sections of the road are not perfect but it is paved all the way. 


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 8 hours ride
Road Conditions: paved and beautiful!
Meal plan: B, L


Day 8:  Nam Ha Forest Camps Trek - Khmu camp

Depart Luang Namtha by songthaew, we drive north into the Nam Ha Protected Area. We meet our village hosts at Don Sai village. We hike along a forested stream into the mountains of Nam Ha National Protected Area while taking time to learn about plants and animals. The guides and villagers will show us how to collect wild herbs and vegetables for dinner. Cook over an open fire with Khmu hosts, then fall asleep to the sounds of the forest. If you want to go wildlife spotting at night this is the place to do it. Make sure you take along a good flashlight or head lamp to look for wildlife.


Accommodation: Khmu camp
Transit
: 0.5 hour
Trekking time: 6 hours
Trekking difficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 9: Nam Ha Forest Camps Trek - Akha Camp

We wake up early to watch the sunrise from atop the mountains above camp and to see the jungle bird life. We explore nearby forests or help village cooks prepare a traditional Khmu breakfast. We then depart on a moderate walk through the Nam Ha forest. The village guides will go ahead to prepare a picnic lunch for us in the forest.

Arriving at Nammat Mai village of Akha ethnic group, we can take a walk to visit the village or just relax and enjoy the simplicity of Akha village life. We share a meal of fresh food with village hosts. Here we will have a chance to see how the jungle is reclaiming an old village site. This night will also have another opportunity to spot wildlife.


Accommodation: Akha camp
Trekking
time: 8 hours
Trekking difficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 10: Nam Ha Forest Camps Trek – Back to civilization

We get up early before breakfast to go to the hunting grounds. Our Akha guide will call birds and may be able to call them in. If we really want to see the birds, we’ll have to act like a hunter. If he can’t find wildlife for us to see, he’ll show us signs. We return to camp to enjoy an Akha late breakfast prepared by our hosts. After breakfast, we start trekking through jungle until lunch time at a view point, panoramic view of Luang Nam Tha town. Lunch is prepared by our Akha guide.

After lunch, we continue to Ban Na Hom of Khmu village past rice field. We will visit Luang Nam Tha market to see how many forest products are in the market and how many of them we saw on our trek.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 0.5 hour
Trekking time: 6 hours
Trekking difficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L


Day 11: Luang Nam Tha to Oudom Xai (Flight to Vientiane) or to Houei Xai (Mekong Crossing to Thailand)

Your last day has two options; you can transport you by car to Oudom Xai and return by air to Vientiane or transport by car to Houei Xai and you can cross into Thailand or spend the one more night in Laos, up to you!

Option 1:
Transit
: 3 hours
Flight time: 1 hour
Meal plan: B

Option 2:
Transit
: 6 hours
River Crossing: 10 minutes
Meal plan: B


Our trip includes

  • English speaking guide
  • Accommodation as indicated
  • Meals as indicated
  • Transfer and pickup airport
  • Transportation by car or minivan
  • Dirt bike (Baja 250cc)
  • Tour as indicated
  • Entrance fee

Our trip excludes

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

Prices contact info@remoteasia.com