Laos Explorer

Trip Rating Details

Moderate: Hotels, lodges, or full service tent camping. Hikes of two to four hours on some days. Easy physical activities. May include one to three longer driving days.

› top   › return to trip

Packing List

This is a suggested packing list, which you should feel free to adjust to suit your needs. Please refer to our travel guide for more detailed information.

  • backpack or soft bag
  • sleeping bag (-5C)
  • day pack
  • head lamp/flashlight
  • spare batteries/bulb
  • personal medications
  • towel
  • hiking boots/shoes
  • rain jacket with hood
  • fleece jacket or wool jumper
  • cotton t-shirts
  • long sleeve shirts
  • lightweight trousers
  • shorts
  • warm hat
  • socks
  • underwear
  • sun hat
  • sandals
  • sun glasses
  • sun cream
  • spare glasses
  • insect repellent
  • resealing (ziploc) plastic bags
  • binoculars/camera
  • wet tissues
  • watch/ alarm clock
  • money belt/ pouch
  • insurance confirmation copy
  • emergency contact number

See our packing tips for detailed information.

› top   › return to trip

Trip Information - Laos Explorer

Day 1. Bangkok Chiang Rai (D)
Flight from Bangkok to Chieng Rai at the afternoon . Pick up at the airport and transfer directly to a hotel in Chiang Rai for the night.

Day 2. Chiang Rai/ Chiang Khong/ Houeisay/ Muang Sing (B,L,D)
Early morning transfer to Chieng Khong. After dealing with the Thai immigration, we will embark on a short boat ride across the Mekong River to Houei Xay, the Lao border town. Once again we will present our passports and obtain a Lao visa upon arrival. After finishing with formalities for the day, we will embark on our Lao bus for our ride northwards, arriving at late afternoon to Muang Sing through beautiful sceneries of mountains, villages and rice fields. Muang Sing had been a Tai Lu principality, situated at the convergence of Chinese, Burmese, Thai civilizations and other ethnic groups. This situation has made Muang Sing a very colorful and original place to discover.
Overnight in a Bungalows in Muang Sing

Day 3. Muang Sing/ Luang Namtha (B,L,D)
Breakfast at hotel. Early in the morning, visit the colorful market of Muang Sing where local people and hill tribes come to barter and exchange merchandises. Then return to the hotel for breakfast. Drive near China border by car and trek to discover villages of local hill tribes in Adima area (Ekhor, Yao , Akah) and see their daily life. Picnic lunch. Afternoon back to Muang Sing and drive to Luang Namtha, on the way walk a bit and visit the Ikor vilage of Ban Lakam Mai on the slope of the mountain. Dinner and accommodation at hotel.

Day 4. Luang Namtha/ Oudomxay/ Nongkhiew (B,L,D)
Breakfast at hotel. Leave Luang Namtha, a few kilometers after visit the beautiful Lanten village of Ban Nam Deng. Lanten are famous for their cotton fabrics dyed in natural indigo. Lunch at local restaurant at Na Teuy. Continue to Oudomxay, on the way stop to visit minority villages such as Tai Dam (Black Thai ) at Ban Na Mor and Hmong. Hmong villages are mainly set up on the crests of the mountains with breathtaking views. Arrive in Oudomxay and walk to That Phouxay stupa with a 360 degrees view over the city and surroundings. Continue drive to Nongkhiew . En route , stop at silk – weaving village of Ban Na Yang.populated by Thai Lu. Ban Nayang consists of more than 200 households. Arrive in Nongkhiew and check in at the hotel . Overnight in Nongkhio.

Day 5. Nongkhiew/ Luangprabang (B,L,D)
Breakfast at hotel , Board a traditional riverboat downstream the Nam Ou River towards Luangprabang through stunning karstic landcapes. Picnic lunch on board. Arrive at Pak Ou , whre the Nam Ou River meets the mighty Mekong river. Visit the sacred caves housing thousands of statues of Buddha. Continue towards Luangprabang and arrive before sunset. Meet Upon arrival at the pier and transfer to hotel.

Day 6. Luang Prabang (B,L,D)
Breakfast at hotel. Full day visit of the old city: start with Vat Vixoune influenced by Tai- Lu architecture and That Makmo, the watermelon shape stupa and Vat Aham just next, continue to Vat Sipphoutthabat with its fine carved doors and its view over the Nam Khan River. Walk through the small lanes up to Vat Xieng Thong, the most beautiful temples of Luang Prabang dating back from 16th century. The roofs of the main chapel sweep low to the ground and glass colored panels adorn the walls of the chapels. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon continues your visit with the national museum (former king’s palace) and Vat Mai with its five tiered roof and exquisite carved veranda. In the heart of the city, climb up Phousy Hill for a bird’s eye view of the city and its mountainous backdrop. Dinner at local restaurant. Accommodation at hotel.

Day 7. Luang Prabang (B,L,D)
Breakfast at hotel. Visit the local market near the Mekong then drive by car to Kuangsi waterfall (30 kms). On the way back visit Hmong village at Ban Na Ouane and Khmou village at Ban Tha pen. Enjoy the beautiful scenery, swimming or relaxing nearby the clear pools of the tiered limestone formations. Drive back to Luang Prabang. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon free in the city. You can take a leisurely stroll in the old streets, stop by Hmong market, shop etc. Dinner at local restaurant. Accommodation at hotel.

Day 8. Luangprabang/ Vang Vieng (B,L,D)
This morning you may want to wake up early and participate in the daily early morning ritual of saffron-clad monks with their black Alms-giving bowls being given offering from the local people , including the ubiquitous sticky rice . Breakfast at hotel. Leave Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng by a beautiful road with breathtaking views over the mountains and numerous possibilities for photos. Stop at Phoukhoune with its lively market. Stop on the way at Ban Houn Xay. Lunch at local restaurant via Kasi. As you approach Vang Vieng district karstic cliffs covered by lush vegetation appear. Stop at Pathang village for its dramatic view over karstic mountains. Transfer to hotel and relax with the beautiful landscape. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.

Day 9. Vang Vieng (B,L,D)
Today starts with the exploration of one of the most unusual caves in the area: Tham Poukham, the highly auspicious and venerated "Cave of the Golden Crab". The mountain bike tour of approx. 32 km describes a loop behind the karts range of the Nam Song and Vang Vieng. After reaching the far side of the ridge, a steep hike leads to the main Tham Poukham Cave. Its hidden corridors are filled with an endless array of stalagmites and stalactites, besides underground lakes, deep wells and up to 80 m high chimneys. Continuing westwards, the trail gets increasingly rough. You follow the narrow valley of the Houay San stream until the Pha Deng, namely "red cliff", comes into sight to your right. Depending on the season, the bikes have to be carried across short distances (muddy patches). The village of Phonxay is the first on the banks of the Nam Khouang. The road continues south as a dirt track in good condition running parallel to the Nam Khouang. At the crossroads in Ban Nathong Tai, the road to the Nam Song bridge is met again. Back in Vang Vieng, a sunset drink by the river marks the end of a great cycling adventure.

Day 10. Vang Vieng/ Vientiane (B,L,D)
Breakfast at hotel. Visit Tham Chang Cave with its stunning view over the valley. Take a small boat on Nam Song river for a tour amid beautiful scenery. Lunch at local restaurant. Drive to Vientiane, leave the karstic formations for the rich plain of the Mekong. Stop at Ban Kheun village to see salt extraction. Arrive in afternoon in Vientiane. take a trip by road to outskirts of Vientiane, following the road along the bank of Mekong river to visit the Buddha park of Xieng Khuan, the park (28km East of Vientiane), containing a combination of hundred status of Hindu divinities and Buddha. We drive pass villages on the bank of Mekong through beautiful views of vegetable garden, tobacco plantation ... ect. It's nice make photo stops and see rural life of local people. We also have a nice view of the Mekong friendship Bridge as the border between Laos and Thailand after visiting then Buddha park, we return along road back to Vientiane. In evening, back to Vientiane for Overnight.

Day 11. Vientiane Pakse/ Tadlo (B,L,D)
Take morning flight to Pakse . On arrival at Pakse Airport you are met by our guide and transferred to Tadlo past many charming villages and rolling hills. The deep contrast of lush vegetation and red surface of basaltic soil is incredible all along the way. We make stopover at the scenic Phasoume Waterfall and a nearby Katu village. This ethnic group was originally in Vietnam but immigrated into Laos down centuries. They are very poor , but have an interesting culture and a colorful history. We arrive at Tadlo by mid or late afternoon and spend our time to relax at Tadlo waterwalls or simply stroll around a nearby charming village. Overnight in Tadlo.

Day 12. Tadlo/ Boloven Plateau/ Done Khong (B,L,D)
The views of stumbling water and lush vegetation around the waterfall is nothing short of spectacular. We depart Tadlo village and travel overland across the Boloven Plateau towards Khong Island .This back road gives a chance to discover the real southern Laos as we drive past many lush plantations, rolling hills, and peaceful villages. We make stop en route to observe the traditional making of coffee and possibly get a taste. On the way via to visit Wat Phou the ruin Khmer temple from 8 – 11th century and the small museum. From the top you get a spectacular view on the surroundings plains. Lunch at a local restaurant in Champassack. After lunch, excursion by car to Khong.. On arrival in Khong island we embark a boat venturing into the widest reach of the Mekong River from where thousands of islets jut out in dry season, giving this area a lovely name "Si Phan Done". The longtail boat passes Done Det and Done Som before it races across the water towards the peaceful island of Done Khone. We stroll through Ban Khone village to explore different local lifestyle close up and some relics of the French colonial period. Drive Back to Pakse at late evening . Overnight in Pakse

Day 13. Pakse/ Ubon Ratchatani (B,L)
After breakfast , transfer to Chong Mek immigration check point and continue to Ubon Ratchatani for a flight to Bangkok.

› top   › return to trip summary


Trip Route Map

› top   › return to trip summary