Discover the remotest regions of northern Laos on a leisurely 9-day journey over land and water. Starting near the border of Thailand, embark on a cruise down the mighty Mekong and kayak along the Nam Ou River, stopping to explore traditional hill tribe villages and local life along the way. With an indulgent picnic lunch at Kuang Si Waterfall and a traditional rice farming experience, this easy adventure covers some of the country’s most beautiful scenery and natural wonders.

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Huay Say – Pakbeng
– Muang La – Nong Khiaw
– Luang Prabang

9 days, 8 nights

Day 1


Your Northern Lao adventure begins in Huay Say, a small town on the Mekong River that acts as a popular border crossing from Thailand. Upon arrival, meet your guide and board a comfortable private boat that takes you on a leisurely cruise down the Mekong River. The scenery along this stretch of the river is considered to be the most beautiful of the entire Mekong. As the boat winds its way downstream, stop to visit some ethnic minority villages such as Ban Houy Nokhom, a Hmong tribal village and Ban Kon Toum, a Thai Lu weaving village. Continue further downriver to arrive at the village of Pakbeng. Your boat stops directly at the lodge where you enjoy an overnight stay surrounded by a serene natural landscape.

Overnight at Pakbeng Lodge, Pakbeng

Meals: Lunch


Day 2

Early this morning, you may choose one of two optional activities. One option is to visit a hill tribe market followed by a short trek to a local temple and a picturesque village rarely seen by visitors. Alternatively, you may choose to meet the local elephants at an elephant camp to experience bathing the magnificent creatures and riding for a short distance. After breakfast, depart for a scenic drive to Muang La, enjoying photo stops and village visits en route. Arrive in Muang La by lunchtime. In the early evening, you are escorted to a secluded island in the river where a private, candle-lit sala awaits. Sip champagne accompanied by the finest foie gras while the setting sun fills the sky with ever-changing colors.

Overnight at Muang La Lodge, Muang La

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3


Embark on an excursion by 4WD, traveling along remote roads to see the hill tribe villages of the Ikhor and Hmong people. The journey takes you on a path that climbs to an incredible height of 1000 meters above sea level. Revel in the magnificent views and fantastic photo opportunities. Then visit the beautiful Ikhor village. The totally isolated community remains extremely traditional, having originated from Yunnan and Tibet. Enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking a magnificent view. Then continue to the Hmong village of Ban Tauser, a 45-minute walk. This ethnic group is originally from the high steppes of Tibet.  Observe the habits and lifestyle of the people here. Return to the resort by 4WD at the end of the day.

Overnight at Muang La Lodge, Muang La

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 4

Along the banks of the Nam Pak River, there are many villages of the Khamu people. Explore the area on a mountain bike, passing through beautiful scenery to catch a glimpse of villagers harvesting vegetables on the banks of the river. Stop in one of the villages to explore the rural lifestyle and learn about daily life for its inhabitants. Discover their traditional values which can be seen through their utmost respect for the wisdom of the elders, the innocence of their youth and their community spirit. After 11 kilometers, you reach the village of Tad Muan where you learn the traditional way of building houses and the different hunting techniques used by the villagers. Leave the village and cycle back to the lodge.

Overnight at Muang La Lodge, Muang La

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5


Drive to the riverside town of Muang Khua and board a private local boat for an unforgettable cruise down the Nam Ou River to Nong Khiaw. This particular section of the river offers stunning scenery and undisturbed remote villages such as Ban Sob Jaem, a village of the Khmu and Hmong people which is only accessible by boat. After a leisurely voyage, reach Nong Khiaw by late afternoon and disembark the boat. A quaint small town, Nong Khiaw has much to offer in the way of charm and natural beauty. After checking into your hotel, you have the option of taking a short bicycle ride to explore the area including the picturesque limestone caves nearby. Your guide is on hand to assist with hiring bicycles at the resort. 

Overnight at Mandala Ou, Nong Khiaw

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 


Day 6

Leave Nong Khiaw early this morning and follow the Nam Ou for approximately 2.5 hours to the village of Ban Hatya where your amazing kayak adventure begins. After a safety briefing, paddle downstream until you reach Pha An, the critical point where the Nam Ou meets the Mekong. Stop for a picnic lunch on a sandbank overlooking the karst landscape. Then cross the river to see the sacred Pak Ou Caves with its thousands of Buddha images. Return to your kayak and paddle downstream along the Mekong to the island of Done Khoun. Visit the island’s temple and enjoy some snacks before continuing the journey to Ban Pakxeuang. From there, a short transfer takes you to Luang Prabang, arriving at your hotel in the late afternoon. 

Overnight at Sofitel Luang Prabang 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7


Spend the morning at leisure. You can explore the surroundings or simply relax in the charming, laid-back city. A former royal capital, Luang Prabang is known for its many Buddhist temples mixed with French colonial architecture. In the early afternoon, discover the city by bicycle, stopping first at the Royal Palace Museum for an overview of local history. Then explore some of the city’s many temples such as Wat Mai and its five tiered roof, Wat Visoun, a magnificent stupa called ‘watermelon temple’ due to its unusual shape, and Wat Xiengthong, an enchanting structure with sweeping roofs that reflect classical Luang Prabang style. End the day at Mount Phousi for panoramic views over Luang Prabang and the Mekong River. 

Overnight at Sofitel Luang Prabang 

Meals: Breakfast


Day 8

Drive to the picturesque Kuang Si Waterfall, one of Laos’ most spectacular natural wonders. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the beautiful turquoise pool or stroll through the scenic forest trails. Stop to visit the Bear Rescue Center and discover how they are working to protect the rare Asiatic Black Bear. Then indulge in a delicious picnic lunch of local specialties overlooking the falls. After lunch, transfer to the Living Land Organic Farm for a private and rewarding local life experience. Learn all about rice and discover each laborious step of the harvest through a series of hands-on activities. Gain a new appreciation for rice and for the local people who continue traditional rice farming without modern machinery. 

Overnight at Sofitel Luang Prabang 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

Day 9



After a leisurely breakfast, make the most of your final moments in Laos. For a faster and more convenient departure, take advantage of the airport fast-track service. Your luggage and passport will be collected in advance and taken to the airport for express check in. Depending on the time of your flight, you may have some free time to enjoy at leisure. If time permits, you may continue exploring the city and its rich cultural heritage, or simply enjoy a final moment of relaxation at your hotel. Finally, it is time to check out of your hotel and, approximately 1 hour before departure time, meet your guide and driver who assist you with the final transfer to the airport. Board the flight for a safe onward journey.

Meals: Breakfast

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