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Remote Laos Adventure Tour

                                                                                                          13 days 12 nights                                                              Photo Gallery for this trip

Introduction


As described by the name, this trip focus is on remote parts of Laos.  Starting from the most beautiful river trip in Laos to the Pathet Lao caves, literally named the Hidden Caves City - the birthplace of the Laos PDR, through the mysterious Plain of Jars, along the truly scenic road trip via Xam Neua and the isolated areas of Bolikhamsai Province and the unforgettable setting of Klong Klor caves in Khammuan Province, we invite you to come explore deeper into Laos than just the sites of Vientiane and backpacker bars.   On this tour you will see local village life, see how the Indochina War affected the people of Laos, UNESCO site, stay in homes of Lao People, travel on difficult roads and be rewarded with a trip that will bring fond memories of Lao for years to come.

The trip ends in Vientiane with possible extensions to visit Pakse and ChampasakProvince, home to Wat Phu, a small Angko-era site or any of the suggested add on trips.


Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Vientiane – Fly to Boun Neua - Phongsali
Day 2: Phongsali – Hat Sa – Boat to Muang Khua
Day 3: Boat trip Muang Khua – via Muong Ngoi - Nong Khiaw
Day 4: Nong Khiaw – Vieng Kham - Vieng Thong
Day 5: Vieng Thong – Nam Neun – Xam Neua
Day 6:  Xam Neua – Vieng Xai - Hidden Caves City Tour - Xam Neua
Day 7: Xam Neua - Nam Neun - Phonsavan
Day 8: Plain of Jars Tour -
Muong Khoun – Thathom
Day 9:  Thathom – Muong Huang – Paksan – Na Hin

Day 10: Ban Na Hin - Ban Na Phouk - Ban Konglor - Ban Natan

Day 11: Ban Natan - Ban Konglor – Ban Hat Khai

Day 12: Ban Hat Khai – Phou Khao Khuay NPA – Ban Pako Eco Lodge

Day 13: Ban Pako Eco Lodge – Vientiane


Day to Day itinerary


Day 1: Vientiane – Fly to Boun Neua - Phongsali

You transfer to Watay airport to fly with the tour guide to Phongsali. Ninety minutes later you land at Boun Neua airport. Boun Neua is 35 km from Phongsali and 40 km from the Chinese border. You can wonder around the town of Boun Neua, essentially a Thai Lu settlement. The abundance of Chinese signs and the presence of a Chinese – style guest house and restaurant demonstrates the close connection with China.

After lunch at Boun Neua, we drive to Phongsali. After check – in, we make a small exploration of the town. We’ll visit the Museum of Tribe (open Mon – Fri) that displays locally curated exhibits on Phongsali province’s diverse culture. We then stroll through the town’s backstreets and alleys to see some interesting old Phu Noi (similar to Tibetan) and Chinese brick-and-wood architecture.

In the past, Phongsali has served as Chinese, French and Vietnamese outpost. Enclosed on three sides by Vietnam and China, this province is the Laos’s most inaccessible province.


 Note: Phongsali can be reached by road from Luang Nam Tha or Luang Prabang and by flight from Vientiane. You can take local bus or we can arrange private transport. Flights from Vientiane are operated by Lao Air 3 times per week.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 1.5 hours flight, 1 hour transfer by 4 wheel drive.
Trekkingtime: 2 hours
Trekkingdifficulty: Easy
Meal plan: L, D


Day 2: Phongsali – Hat Sa – Boat to Muang Khua             

After a short transfer on an unsealed road, we embark on a boat at Hat Sa, our starting point of our 2 day boat trip down the Nam Ou River.

Nam Ou is the longest inland rivers of Laos. Cruising down the river past picturesque limestone mountains and local villages along the river banks, Nam Ou is by far the best river trip of Laos.

We’ll have a picnic lunch on the boat and continue on down stream to Muang Khua where we stop overnight.

Muang Khua is a small trading town which connects Udomxai and Phongsali provinces with Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam.  A Lao – Vietnamese border, around 55km east of the town via route 4, on a rough road with many river crossing in the rainy season, has recently been open to international travel. This is our launching point for tours into the northwest of Vietnam exploring the famous loop from Dien Bien Phu – Lai Chau and the hill station town of Sa Pa. Contact us for more details.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 30 minutes by 4 wheel drive and 6 hours by boat
Meal plan: B, L, D 


Day 3: Boat trip Muang Khua – via Muong Ngoi - Nong Khiaw

 Following breakfast, we continue our boat cruise to Nong Khiaw via Muong Ngoi. Muong Ngoi is one hour north of Nong Khiaw. The village is small with narrow footpaths lined with coconut palms and a common site is fisher folk mending their nets creating a SouthSea ambience.  A true Lao style of life is abundant here and time seems to stand still.

We stop for lunch served with local food along the river bank. Nong Khiaw is reached by late afternoon.The isolated village of Nong Khiaw is a scenic area surrounded by limestone mountains. To stretch the legs, you can take a walk to Tham Pa Thok, a limestone cave where villagers lived during the Second Indochina War, and to a nearby waterfall.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 7 hours by boat
Trekkingtime: limited
Trekkingdifficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 4: Nong Khiaw – Vieng Kham - Vieng Thong

Route No 1c between Nong Khiaw and Vieng Thong passes through beautiful scenery with lush green sloped mountains, even in the dry season.  The area is populated by Blue Hmong and low land Lao.

A simple lunch along the way keeps us going and dinner in Vieng Thong is preceded by a short 15 minute walk to a local hot springs for a relaxing soak.

Vieng Thong is inhabited by a collection of hill tribe particularly Hmong and lowland Lao. The village has a very pleasant mountain setting along side the NamKhanRiver.  The town is very small and only several hundred meters long but the market is active.  Depending on our arrival time, a visit to Lao Soung villages nearby the hot springs can be added.  Vieng Thong closes down at sunset and from a small but bustling place in the day, it gets very quiet at night.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our List
Transit: 5 hours by 4 wheel drive
Trekkingtime: 1 hour
Trekkingdifficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 5: Vieng Thong – Nam Neun – Xam Neua

Today’s journey continues east with a stop at Hing Tang (Suan Hin), a collection of standing stones compared to Stonehenge.  This archeological site remains a mystery but is believed to be related to the Plain of Jars.  Our second stop on the way to Xam Neua is at Saleuy weaving village, where you may purchase handicrafts directly from the maker and keep you money in the area.

The next two nights are spent in Xam Neua. Xam Neua, one of the country’s least visited provincial capitals of HuaPhanProvince, 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: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 5.5 hours by 4 wheel drive
Trekkingtime: limited
Trekkingdifficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 6:  Xam Neua – Vieng Xai - Hidden CavesCity Tour - Xam Neua

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 KhaysonCave, the office and residence of the Pathet Lao chief with its various rooms inside. We continue to SouphanouvongCave also called RedPrinceCave, the office and residence of royalty and Prince Souphanouvong. Our last visit before lunch is NouhakCave, named for Nouhak Phoumsavang who served as Lao PDR president from 1992 to 1998. We break for lunch at Thavyxay restaurant,

After lunch, we continue to visit Soldier Cave and Hospital Cave. The HospitalCave 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, GuilinChina and Vang Vieng, Laos.  Opportunities for taking photos of the landscape are many today and stops are at your request!


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 2 – 3 hours by 4 wheel drive
Trekkingtime: 3 – 5 hours
Trekkingdifficulty: Easy/moderate
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 7: Xam Neua - Nam Neun - Phonsavan

Following breakfast, we depart for Phonsavan.  When we turn south on Highway 6, we will change elevation many times and the small, winding road offers excellent views of the countryside.  Again, stops along today’s drive are at your request as the views are unique.

Before arriving at Phonsavan, we stop at Tham Piew Cave for a visit. The cave was used by local people during the Second Indochina War as a bomb shelter. The story about the cave is that there were 400 hundreds people killed in a single US bombing raid. From the cave mouth is the view of the forest and plains below. A stream and small irrigation dam at the base of the cliff is picturesque.

Phonsavan is reached by late afternoon. It is the main town of XiengKhuangProvince, surrounded by huge mountains, the highest of which is Phu Bia.  The town has a ‘wild west’ character but won’t win any beauty contests.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 6 - 7 hours by 4 wheel drive
Trekking time: limited
Trekkingdifficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 8: Plain of Jars Tour - Muong Khoun – Thathom

 Note – This part may be impassible in the wet season. Alternative road is made via Vang  Vieng and Vientiane

After breakfast we visit the MAG (Mine Advisory Group) offices to learn a little about unexploded bombs left behind from the Indochina War and effects on the area. We then drive to Site 1 of Plain of Jars for our first look at the mysterious site. We then continue by car to Site 2. The sites are covering an area of around 1000 square kilometers, at an altitude of 1000 meters.  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 the sites, we drive to Muong Khoun for lunch.

Muong Khoun was once the capital of XiengKhoangProvince. 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. Depending on time, we can also visit some colonial building and old Lao Military Base that was seriously damaged by American bombing. 

Our destination is Thathom village where we overnight. 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!


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit: 4.5 hour by 4 wheel drive
Trekking time: 3 hours
Trekkingdifficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 9:  Thathom – Muong Huang – Paksan – Na Hin

Note – This part may be impassible in the wet season. Alternative road is made via Vang  Vieng and Vientiane

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.

It’s a rugged drive and when we meet paved road at Paksan, we stop for lunch along the NamXanRiver.  We continue to Na Hin and before reaching the town, stop at the scenic overlook of the karst limestone valley carved by the HinbounRiver.  Our goal is to arrive near sunset for a spectacular end to the day.  

Ban Na Hin sits in lush valley surrounded by tall karst peaks. The valley itself is notable mainly for its position near the Nam Theun 1 dam operation centre and en route to Kong Klor cave.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit:  5.5 hours by 4 wheel drive
Trekking time: limited
Trekkingdifficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 10: Ban Na Hin - Ban Na Phouk - Ban Konglor - Ban Natan

After breakfast, we drive to Ban Na Phouk and then get on a long tail boat to KonglorCave, passing various Lao Loum local villages and valleys. By lunch time, we can refresh by swimming at lagoon in front the cave and enjoy picnic lunch on the beach.

 

After lunch, we take an hour and a half long tail boat ride up to KonglorCave. The cave is a truly one of the natural wonders of Laos. This would be an unforgettable boat trip on an underground river through the 7km long KonglorCave. We then take a 45 minute walk to Ban Natan where we will have a Lao style dinner and stay overnight home stay.

Accommodation: Home stay
Transit: 1 hour drive by - 3 and 1/2 hour long tail boat
Trekking time: 1 hour
Trekkingdifficulty: Easy-moderate
Meal plan: B, L


Day 11: Ban Natan - Ban Konglor – Ban Hat Khai

After breakfast, we return to the boat landing where we embark on a boat for a down stream journey. We’ll get back through the cave to the blue lagoon for a picnic lunch.

 

After lunch, we continue the long tail boat cruise back to Ban Na Phouk. From here, we drive back to the main road and in the direction of Vientiane. 

 

We stop in Ban Hat Khai and overnight in a traditional Lao home and participate in a traditional Baci ceremony as a farewell for your trip.  We overnight here to set up for our last day trekking in Phou Khou Khouay National Park Area.

 Ban Hat Khai is typical Lao village sitting as the launch point for treks into Phou Khao Khuay NPA.


Accommodation: Home stay
Transit:  3 hours by boat, 4 hours drive to Ban Hat Khai
Trekking time: 1 hour
Trekkingdifficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L


Day 12: Ban Hat Khai –Phou Khao Khuay NPABan Pako Eco Lodge

After breakfast, we get on a long tail boat for about 1 hour ride up the NamMangRiver. In the dry season, we have to walk the boat from time to time.  We arrive at the trekking start point and start to explore Phou Khao Khuay NPA. The national park is an extraordinary area with mountains and rivers, endangered wildlife and native flora.  A 3 hours trek passes under a dry evergreen dipterocarp (a South East Asian tree with two-winged fruit) mixed deciduous forest, conifer forest or grassy land. Our local guide will inform you about plants and herbs that have been used as traditional medicine. A picnic lunch is enjoyed under a shady tree by the Nam Mang.


The magnificent pair of waterfallsFalls Tad Xay and Pha Xay, particularly beautiful during and after the rainy season are reached in the afternoon. Tad Xay has a crystal clear pool which is recommended for a cool dip. After relaxing at the waterfall, we drive to Ban Pako Eco Lodge.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit:  1 hours by boat, 2 hours drive to Ban Pako
Trekking time: 3 – 4 hour
Trekkingdifficulty: Moderate
Meal plan: B, L, D


Day 13: Ban Pako Eco Lodge – Vientiane
A well deserved sleep in and slow start today is in order.  Ban Pako Eco Lodge sits on an archeological site and we’ll take time until lunch to relax and you have the opportunity to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and even have an herbal sauna.  Lunch here and we’re off to Vientiane.


Accommodation: Hotel or Guesthouse from our list
Transit:  1.5 hours
Trekking time:
Trekkingdifficulty: Easy
Meal plan: B, L


Our trip includes

  • English speaking guide
  • Accommodation as indicated
  • Meals as indicated
  • Transfer and pickup airport
  • One way flight to Phongsaly
  • Transportation by car or minivan
  • Tour as indicated
  • Entrance fee


Our trip excludes

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

 Prices contact info@remoteasia.com