Laos Tour Plan

Laos is among countries that start with L listed on The rough terrain and the dense rainforests in Laos provide a habitat for countless rare animal species such as the red panda, king cobras, leopards and tigers. Due to illegal logging, however, the forest area of ​​Laos has decreased from 70 to 40 percent of the national territory in the last three decades.

Laos 4

  • Day 1: Off to Southeast Asia!
  • Day 2: Arrival in Northern Thailand
  • Day 3: Off to Laos – the jewel on the Mekong!
  • 4th day: 1st day of hiking in the jungle of Nam Ha
  • 5th day: 2nd day of hiking in the jungle of Nam Ha
  • Day 6: From Luang Namtha to Muang Khua
  • Day 7: By boat across the Nam Ou River
  • Day 8: Jungle hike & village life
  • Day 9: Gorges and caves
  • Day 10: Pak Ou Caves & Luang Prabang
  • Day 11: Luang Prabang – temples, stupas & the sacred mountain
  • Day 12: Kuang Si Waterfalls & Bears
  • Day 13: Off to the kingdom of miracles!
  • Day 14: To the largest lake in Southeast Asia & Angkor
  • Day 15: Angkor’s highlights by tuk tuk
  • Day 16: The pink sandstone temple of Angkor
  • Day 17: Welcome home!

In the jungle of Nam Ha the Lanten live in several small villages, members of a minority who immigrated from China thousands of years ago. This is also the case in Ban Nam Goy, where we spend our first night in the Laotian National Park in simple bamboo houses. The lanterns usually dress in dark blue with light-colored leg sleeves; the ideal of beauty for girls and women is a lack of eyebrows. On our hike we repeatedly meet villagers who are on their way to or from the market; some use carrying boards with which they can transport very heavy loads.

Except in the jungle, we spend a lot of time on the water, going with wooden canoes and boats. And we travel into the past when we visit the watermelon stupa in Luang Prabang or visit Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat by tuk-tuk.

The “floating village” Kampong Phluk is located in the middle of mangrove forests. The houses stand on stilts that are up to ten meters high in the Cambodian Tonlé Sap Lake, and you can only get around here by boat. Tonlé Sap is both a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the source of more than a third of all proteins consumed in Cambodia. The people live mainly from fishing, every day they go as far out into the water as possible, where the largest fish are waiting. Only some have resorted to rowing visitors between their stilt houses and out onto the lake, in the direction of a seemingly endless horizon.

Meals: B = breakfast / L = lunch / packed lunch / D = dinner

1st day:

Off to Southeast Asia!

Today we fly to Chiang Rai in Thailand and are already looking forward to our upcoming trip.

(- / – / -)

2nd day:

Arrival in Northern Thailand

We meet our driver and guide at the Chiang Rai airport. Then we drive to our hotel in Chiang Khong.

Driving time: approx. 2 hours
overnight at the Fortune River Hotel, Chiang Khong
(- / – / A)

3rd day:

Off to Laos – the jewel on the Mekong!

After breakfast we drive to the Thailand – Laos border and cross the bridge with the shuttle bus (approx. 1 USD / person). We apply for the visa directly at the border crossing at Houay Xai. After the border we meet our Laotian guide and drive together to Luang Namtha. On the way we will visit some villages where ethnic minorities live.

Driving time: approx. 4 hours
overnight at the Boat Landing Guesthouse, Luang Namtha
(B / – / -)

4th day:

1st day of hiking in the jungle of Nam Ha

Today we lace up our hiking boots and start our 2-day tour in the jungle of Nam Ha, the largest nature park in the country. We roam forests, meet the villagers and cross the Nam Ha River. The hike takes us through the villages of the Lanten and Khmu ethnic groups, which can only be reached on foot. Our guide tells us how the villagers work together to preserve and regenerate the forest.
After lunch, we continue hiking to the village of Ban Nam Goy. The national park makes sure that the visitors are well distributed among the villages and that none of them are overrun. Therefore, the overnight stay changes between the villages of Ban Nam Goy and Ban Nalan Tai on every trip. If we live in Ban Nam Goy, we will walk another 40 minutes along the river bank. We’ll have dinner by an open fire today. Even while the cooking is taking place, the village smells of spices. What is there to eat?

Driving time: approx. 30 min.
Hike: approx. 5-6 hours (10 km) (+ 400m / -300m)
Overnight with a host family
(B / L / D)

5th day:

2nd day of hiking in the jungle of Nam Ha

Today we hike through dense, lush green jungle. With a little luck we will see one or the other rare jungle resident, such as deer or monkeys. In the forest we meet with the villagers for a picnic together. After this break we follow a stream through the dense jungle. Later the forest opens up and we walk through rice fields and reach the Nam Tha river bank. We cross the river in a wooden canoe and then drive back to Luang Namtha.

Driving time: approx. 1 hour. Hike: approx. 5-6 hours (13 km) (+400 m / -400m)
Overnight at the Boat Landing Guesthouse, Luang Namtha
(B / L / -)

6th day:

From Luang Namtha to Muang Khua

Today a longer, but very scenic drive awaits us. We first go to Oudomxay, the economic center of Northern Laos. The Chinese influence can be clearly observed here. If you like, take a walk on Mount Phou That. From the summit, on which a temple is enthroned, you have a wonderful view of the area. Then we drive to the town of Muang Khua, which is located on the Nam Ou and Nam Bak rivers. From here it is only a stone’s throw to Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, which became famous in the French Indochina War for a historic battle. The region is home to the Akha, Khmu and Tai Dam. In the city itself, however, we will hardly meet these population groups.

Driving time: approx. 6.5 hours overnight at the Chaleunsok Guesthouse in Muang Khua
(B / – / -)

7th day:

By boat across the Nam Ou River

After breakfast, we leisurely cruise across the Nam Ou River. We have lunch either on board or on a sand island in the river. We dock several times along the way and walk through the villages on the river. At a loop in the river, framed by karst stone mountains, the town of Nong Khiaw finally appears. It has developed into a small center for outdoor lovers in recent years.

Boat trip: approx. 4 hours
overnight at the Mandala Ou Resort, Nong Khiaw
(B / L / -)

8th day:

Jungle hike & village life

Our journey is short and we are already trudging off today. We climb quickly over narrow paths, leaving the fog that lies over the river in the morning below us. In the small villages through which we come, life is still very traditional, you are not used to tourists here. Our guide can help with the translation. We spend the night in a remote village. The day is designed in such a way that we arrive in the village early and still have plenty of time to explore the surroundings or to take part in the activities that the villagers offer. The proceeds go directly to the Hmong and Khmu (payment on site). We can choose between these activities:
Bamboo basket weaving: approx. € 2.50
Loom weaving: approx. € 2.50
Laotian massage: approx. € 1.50
Personal little Baci ceremony: approx € 7.50

Hike: about 1.5 hours (6 km) (+ 200m / -200m)
Overnight with a host family
(B / L / D)

Day 9:

Gorges and caves

Today the most spectacular part of the hike awaits us. We cross a canyon with high rock walls on both sides. In a Khmu village we learn more about the vegetables grown here. If time permits, we will go over the bamboo bridge into the Pha Tok cave. The villagers once fled into their rock halls during the American air raids. From up here we have a nice view over the rice fields. Return to Nong Khiaw by boat.

Hike: approx. 5 hours (+ 200m / -300m)
Overnight at Nong Khiau Riverside Resort in Nong Khiaw
(B / L / -)

10th day:

Pak Ou Caves & Luang Prabang

We leave Nong Khiaw and head towards the UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang, the most popular travel destination of Laos. We make our first stop in the village of Ban Na Yang, famous for its silk weaving. In the afternoon we go to the Pak Ou Caves by boat. They are located on the steep cliff on the west bank of the Mekong and are among the most important holy places in Laos. Thousands of golden Buddha statues stand tightly packed in the caves; Pilgrims left them here.

Travel time: approx. 3 hours.
Boat trip: approx. 1 hour.
Overnight stay at Maison Dalabua, Luang Prabang
(B / – / -)

11th day:

Luang Prabang – temples, stupas & the sacred mountain

Magnificent temples await us in the city of Luang Prabang, life is leisurely and preferably on the street. First, we visit the National Museum in the former royal palace. Here is the Prabang statue that gave the city its name. Continue to Vat Mai, the former royal temple. The TAEC, Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center, shows the diversity of Laotian ethnic groups. It is located in an old French colonial building. In the afternoon we visit the famous watermelon stupa Vat Visoun. Destroyed by the Chinese invaders in 1887, it was rebuilt by monks in 1930. Vat Xieng Thong is the most important temple in Laos. It is located on a small island, right at the confluence of the Mekong and the Nam Khan.
Finally we climb the holy mountain Phou Si. From the Royal Palace we have 328 steps to the summit in front of us. We pass several small temples, golden Buddhas look at us from the caves, a stupa sits enthroned above. As we go up and down, we enjoy the view over the old city center and gaze at both the Nam Khan River and the Mekong. Then we will visit the Hmong night market.

Overnight at Maison Dalabua, Luang Prabang
(B / – / -)

12th day:

Kuang Si waterfalls & bears

Have you ever grown rice? No? This morning we learn how to do it, surrounded by high mountains and centuries-old rice fields. In the afternoon we drive to the Kuang Si waterfalls. The clear turquoise water pours down over wide steps. When the weather is good, we hike all the way up and don’t miss a swim. Later, in the bear sanctuary, we learn more about the threatened Asian black bear.

Driving time: approx. 1 hour overnight at Maison Dalabua, Luang Prabang
(B / Picnic / -)

13th day:

Off to the kingdom of miracles!

We wake up early and take a tuk-tuk to the peninsula to witness an alms donation. Long lines of monks and novices stroll through the streets to receive their daily food from the people. This ancient ritual is known locally as “Tak Bat”. We take an active part in the ceremony. We are given a traditional scarf and a basket of sticky rice. Then we sit on a rice mat and wait for the monks. Our tour guide explains the necessary steps to us A truly unforgettable experience!
It continues with a visit to the open air market that takes place daily in the streets near the former royal palace. Laotians still like to buy fresh food in the market. A great opportunity to discover curiosities used by the Laotians in their cooking. Our tour guide organizes freshly brewed Lao coffee and a few local delicacies for us, which are offered at the market today. We may not even need the breakfast that is waiting in the hotel…
Then it’s time to say goodbye to Laos. We fly on to Siem Reap in Cambodia, the starting point for our exploration tour to the centuries-old temples of Angkor. Our driver and guide are waiting for us at the airport exit, together we drive to the hotel.

Overnight at Rokkhak River Resort, Siem Reap
(B / – / -)

14th day:

To the largest lake in Southeast Asia & Angkor

Today we visit Kampong Phluk, one of the “floating villages” in Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. Its residents built their houses on stilts up to 10 meters high into the water, the full height of which can only be seen in the dry season. Around 3,000 people live in the village, mostly from trade and fishing. During a boat trip across the lake, we see how imaginatively the villagers use the limited space in their houses, how they lay out fish and shrimp to dry and how even small children practice boating.
Then we drive to the Roluos Group, the oldest temple site in Siem Reap Province. The temples date from the 9th century and are roughly on a north-south axis. After lunch we lace up our hiking boots and walk to Phnom Bok, a hill with a temple ruin of the same name. After 635 steps and about two hours we are on the 221 m high summit. From here we have a beautiful view over the Kulen Mountains, Angkor Park, Tonle Sap Lake and extensive rice fields.

Driving time approx. 2.5 hours.
Hike: approx. 2 hours.
Overnight at Rokkhak River Resort, Siem Reap
(B / L / -)

15th day:

Angkor’s highlights by tuk tuk

Today we are going on a journey into the past with the tuk-tuk. From the 9th to the 15th centuries, Angkor was the center of the Khmer kingdom. Several capitals and a large main temple in each of their centers were built on more than 200 km2. Angkor Wat is the largest temple complex on earth.
We enter Angkor Thom through the southern city gate and come straight to the Bayon Temple, built by Jayavarman VII at the end of the 12th century. If Angkor Wat in its harmonious perfection is the classic example of Khmer art, the Bayon is rightly considered an “encyclopedia of Khmer life ”. The even avenues lead from the four entrance gates to Angkor Thom to the elephant terrace. It served as a stone pedestal for the “lodge” of the king and his family, from which they enjoyed splendid celebrations. Nearby is the Terrace of the Leper King, which got its name from the statue of the god “Yama”: the population thought the lichen covering it was leprosy.
Angkor Wat, from the beginning of the 12th century, was built by the powerful Suryavarman II, who ruled from 1113–1150 and was one of the most energetic kings of Cambodia. The building was erected from all four sides at the same time, and the number of workers involved grew at times gigantic. So Angkor Wat could be completed in less than forty years. In all Angkor temples there are reliefs of Apsara dancers on the walls. Apsaras are considered half human, half divine women. In the evening a performance of classical Apsara dances awaits us, accompanied by a dinner.

Overnight at Rokkhak River Resort, Siem Reap
(B / L / D)

16th day:

The pink sandstone temple of Angkor

In the morning we drive to the Hindu temple Banteay Srei, also known as the “women’s citadel”. It is one of the oldest structures around Angkor. The temple, built of pink sandstone with its fine stone carvings, looks like a miniature version of Angkor Wat and is one of the most extraordinary temples in the entire complex.
In the late afternoon it’s time to say goodbye to Southeast Asia, we drive to the airport.

(F / M / -)

17th day:

Welcome Home!

We land back on European soil with many new experiences and impressions. We should give ourselves time to arrive in peace before we plunge back into our everyday life.

Laos 3

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