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Northern Laos Adventure

Lao is famous for its beautiful green virgin nature, which attracts nature lovers all over the world to come, and explore. 18-day Northern Lao Adventure tour brings you to the most remote areas of northern Laos, which is home to many hill tribe people, green nature, and colorful culture.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Leisure cruise on the mighty Mekong River, Nam Ou River, and Nam Nern River
  • Driving through the countryside of northern Laos
  • Visit and experience the life of some authentic local villages
  • Trekking to the hidden waterfalls, colorful villages, and virgin jungle
  • Join the once-at-a-life time experience of Nam Nern Night Safari, exploring the wild life in Nam Et – Phou Louey NPA

Unforgettable moments

  • Waking through the small peaceful street of Luang Prabang, admiring the life of local people
  • Watching the daily morning alms giving in Luang Prabang
  • The cruise along the Mekong River through the northern Laos
  • Walk around the evergreen nature of Kuang Si waterfalls
  • The cruise through the Nam Nern River to explore the wild life in Nam Et – Phou Louey NPA

Nature exploration

  • The scenic mountainous area of northern Laos, and the countryside of southern Laos
  • The beautiful nature around Luang Namtha and Muang Sing
  • The amazing Nam Kat waterfalls hidden inside the virgin jungle
  • The nature along the banks of Mekong River and Nam Ou River
  • The exciting Kuang Si waterfalls and 100 waterfalls

Culture experience

  • Attending the daily morning alms giving in Luang Prabang
  • Visit various temple and museum in Vientiane, Luang Prabang to learn about the culture of Laos
  • The visit to the local villages during the tour to see the local life

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Luang Prabang

On arrival at the Luang Prabang airport, you will be met and transferred to check in the hotel.
Situated in the centre of northern Laos, Luang Prabang is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding cultural, historic and architectural values and its harmonious relationship between the natural and built environment.
The welcome dinner will be served at the local restaurant with the traditional dance & folk song, the best chance to experience the Lao culture.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
You are free to stroll around the city for your own first impression of this ancient city. Overnight in Luang Prabang

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Day 2 - Luang Prabang - City tour

Wake up as the sun rises, we will prepare to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning alms giving, which dates back to the 14th century. More than 200 Buddhist monks depart from various temple to gather their daily meal from the faithful residents sitting quietly on the streets.
From there, we will visit the temporary morning market near the former Royal Palace. Just set on the ground, the local people come here to barter their day’s catch from rice, to vegetable, to fish, or chicken.
After breakfast, our guide will take you on an in-depth walking tour of the city. 
The walk is oriented towards the lesser known parts of the town including charming lanes showing the more traditional atmosphere of the heritage town. 
Along the way, we will see the four different types of buildings categorized by UNESCO. 
The first one is the traditional Lao house which is made from tropical hardwood or bamboo and built on stilts.
The second is a half wood and half cement house built after the arrival of the French. 
The third is the traditional French colonial building that are similar to those found in Vietnam and Cambodia. 
The last form of architecture you will see is the old Chinese shop houses that were built to be used for both commercial and residential purposes.
In the afternoon, we will visit some famous attractions inside city center including the oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. 
We then continue with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. From there, we walk to the nearby Wat Mai, which is one of Luang Prabang’s largest and most richly decorated temples.
Late afternoon, we climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic sunset view of the city and the Mekong River.  
The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by local and hilltribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. 
Overnight in Luang Prabang

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Day 3 - Luang Prabang - Ban Long Lao - Kuang Si waterfalls

We depart from your hotel and drive for around one hour west to Ban Xeng Mouk village where the trek starts.
We begin with a visit to the ethnic Khmu village of Ban Longlao Nung before heading to the nearby Hmong village of Ban Longlao Song. You will be able to observe the lifestyles of these two culturally very different minority groups and see how despite their differences they manage to work together on a day to day basis and even sharing the same school.
As we continue onwards the trail leads through rice paddys and vegetable fields before reaching the mountainous forest. Along the way we explore a cave which was used as a bomb shelter by the locals during the second indochina war.
After visiting the cave, one more hour of trekking brings us to one of the many springs which feeds Kuang Si waterfalls, here a beautiful pool full of sacred fish can be seen. After descending from the top of the waterfall we enjoy a Lao style lunch amongst some beautiful settings!
The afternoon is spent bathing and relaxing around the turquoise pools below the waterfall. You can also visit the bear conservation center which is located nearby and home to many bears which have been rescued from illegal farms.
Before returning to Luang Prabang we take a short walk to a nearby Khmu village of Ban Thapene which is home to some of the most beautiful pools of Kuang Si Waterfalls.
 

Notes

Approximately: 2 hours driving, 3 hours trekking

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Day 4 - Luang Prabang - Tad Huaykua

After breakfast, we will join the transfer to the boat pier, where we will take the ferry crossing the Mekong river to the other sides of the Mekong, which is totally different from the ancient side of Luang Prabang.
Another transfer of 15-20 minutes will bring us to the Green Jungle Park.
After a short introduction and welcome speech, we start climbing to the top of the waterfall with a local guide for a hiking loop of around 2h30.
Once on the top enjoy a nice mountain view and discover the natural pool from the waterfall water spring and also some centenaries trees. Learn about the jungle vegetation, the tales of Hoi Khua waterfall and the local life style. Continue by the governor’s trees plantations project with some wild field, enjoy the natural taste of some veggies found along the way and then walk back down to the coffee shop where we will have lunch. 
In the afternoon, we will join the zipline flying above the valley with 13 stations and 900m of zipline. This will take about 1 hour.
You are then free to walk around the park, visit the flower garden, or just relax and enjoy the cup of coffee admiring the green nature.
Transfer back your hotel late afternoon.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
 

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Day 5 - Luang Prabang - Pak Ou - Pakbeng

Our driver will pick you up from your hotel/guesthouse at 6:30 AM, and transport you to the boat pier. The boat leaves at 7:00 AM for the upstream cruise to Pakbeng. French breakfast is served onboard after the introduction of the crew. Shortly thereafter, we will stop to visit the famous Pak Ou Caves (Tham Ting) and its thousands of Buddha images. For lunch, local food is served onboard. Then, you will have free time for relaxing in the afternoon, until the boat arrives in Pakbeng at dusk. You will be served a typical snack and drink on board in the afternoon. Here, you will retreat to your accommodation for the night.
 

Notes

Departures from OCTOBER to APRIL: TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, SATURDAY and SUNDAY.
Departures from MAY to SEPTEMBER: TUESDAY, THURSDAY and SUNDAY.

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Day 6 - Pakbeng - Oudomxay - Luang Namtha

For early risers visit the morning market where residents of the nearby villages and hill tribes gather to buy and exchange their goods.
After lunch at the lodge, you will leave for Luang Nam Tha. On the way, you can observe the local rural life, local markets on the side of the road, clear views on corn and banana plantations and amazing views over the mountains.
You will pass through the provincial capital, Oudomxay. Once a very sleepy town, this has become an important trading hub and shows the changes which are happening rapidly in the region. This makes the final leg of the journey, away from the busy town and in to unspoiled nature, all the more exciting. The contrast also highlights just how special the experiences are in the remaining wilderness.
Luang Nam Tha, which is located on the banks of the Namtha River, is a land of rugged mountains and beautiful tropical forests and shares its border with China and Myanmar. We arrive in Luang Nam Tha in the afternoon. Overnight in Luang Nam Tha 

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Day 7 - Luang Namtha - Excursion & homestay

After breakfast at the hotel, our guide will pick you up. From there, we will take a short visit to the Luang Namtha museum. Then visit Luang Namtha Stupa that you will see excellent view of Luang Namtha city. Continue to the old Phou Pouk Stupa, visit Ban Nam Ngean “Tai Dam” and Ban Pieng Ngam “Tai Deang” both of them are famous for their many different handicrafts, walk around the villages to see & learning how to process Lao Whisky making, traditional weaving, black smith, bamboo basket making.
From there, we will transfer to the village of Ban Nam Dee “Lanten” along a dirt road for 6 km. Today you will learn & practice how to make paper from young bamboo, natural dyeing & the traditional weaving, participate the traditional Baci-ceremony & local music, taste local meals, talk about village history with owner homestay & go to bed.

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Day 8 - Luang Namtha - Oudomxay - Namkat

Wake up early and prepare the breakfast with the host family. Then say goodbye to the village, and transfer directly to Oudomxay, which is residence to a mixture of 23 ethnic minority groups. We make a few rest stops along the way, which gives you the opportunity to see the ethnic minority groups.
Upon arrival in Oudomxay, we will transfer directly to Namkat Yola Pa Resort, which locates 30Km from Oudomxay center. The resort is famous for its pure natural surround with the thick jungle, and especially the amazing Namkat Waterfalls, which we will explore in the next days. Upon arrival, check in your riverside bungalow. Free for the rest of the day at the resort pool, or just relax and enjoy the sound of nature. Overnight at Namkat Yorla Pa Resort.

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Day 9 - Namkat waterfalls experience

We depart from the resort and cycle upwards to the Namkat Waterfall. You will sense the fresh smell of nature as the road is surrounded by thick forest. The cycling trip towards the waterfall will take about 2 hours. We will park our bikes at the entrance point of the waterfall, and walk towards the waterfall by flying bridges walk. Picnic lunch will be served at the waterfall. We will spend about 1.5 hour there. After lunch we will do zip-lining back to the entrance/meeting point where we parked the bikes and cycle back to the resort. Overnight at Namkat Yola Pa Resort
 

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Day 10 - Namkat - Muang Khua - Muang Ngoi

In the morning, we will depart for Muang Khua, the small town along the way to Tay Trang Border with Vietnam. On arrival at the town, you may spend an hour to visit the old bamboo bridge that connecting the town and the beautiful H’Mong village of Ban Natoun. Afterward, we will board on a long-tail boat downstream the Nam Ou River to Muang Ngoi, the village in the middle of nowhere. The scenery along the way is said to be the most beautiful part of the gently Nam Ou River.
Along the way, we will make a short stop at Ban Sop Chem, home to the Thai Deang tribe (Red Thai) and Khmu who have simple life, see the daily lives of local people, lifestyle, culture ...
We arrive in Muang Ngoi just in time to catch the sunset before checking in your simple guesthouse. Overnight in Muang Ngoi
 

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Day 11 - Muang Ngoi - Tad Mork - Nong Khiaw

After a local breakfast, time to explore the village. Here, we will trek to the local village of Ban Na, and the caves of Tham Kaang, which is said to have the supernatural powers. 
After this we continue onwards to Tad Mork which is located close to the ethnic Khmu village of Ban Sop Kong, an hour trek from the river. At the waterfall we shall have time to swim and enjoy a picnic lunch.
After enjoying our time at the waterfall we head back to the river where to return back to Nong Khiaw via boat. We will head off down the river through a narrow gorge where we stop at another small but fascinating village.  
The last part of today cruise is 30 minutes cruise down to Nong Khiaw whilst the sun is setting. Overnight in Nong Khiaw

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Day 12 - Nong Khiaw - 100 waterfalls

Start this day of adventure with a peaceful boat ride on the Nam Ou River where you will be able to explore a small Lao village along the riverside. Learn about the villagers and their way of life along this Northern Laos River before beginning the '100 Waterfalls Adventure Trail'!
Walking through small streams and rice paddies, you will arrive at the bottom of the 100 Waterfalls which were only first explored in October 2008! For the next few hours you will see only water and jungle and hear the constant sound of clear waterfall cascades. The pools around you are very inviting for a refreshing splash.
Your guide will lead you through the cascades and prepare a local style lunch that you can enjoy on the falls surrounded by amazingly green nature. 
A small village trail on the top of the '100 Waterfalls' will lead us on our hike back down into the valley, offering wide views over the expansive Nam Ou valley.
Once back in the village we will have some more time to experience the daily life of the Nam Ou riverside village before heading back to Nong Khiaw (Nong Khiau) by boat. Overnight in Nong Khiaw

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Day 13 - Nong Khiaw - Ban Son Khua

Today, we will drive through the most rural and least developed part of Laos via Vieng Kham to Muang Hiam. These back roads are a perfect way to venture off the beaten track and explore the real Laos. We see very few other travelers, mostly rural dwellers who are just as interested in finding out about our lives as we are of theirs. The drive can be challenging on some parts of our journey due to poor road conditions; however the verdant and rugged mountain scenery combined with the colorful local population makes for a memorable experience. 
Arriving in Muang Hiam, we have ample time to stroll around this small town before continue to drive to the Khmu village of Ban Son Khua. This village is the entrance to the Nam Et – Phou Louay NPA, where we will explore the next day with Nam Nern Night Safari. Dinner with the host family; overnight in Ban Son Khua
 

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Day 14 - Nam Nern Night Safari

After breakfast depart for the Nam Et-Phou Louey NPA (National Protected Area). 
Here you will experience the Nam Nern Night Safari and stay in a simple ecolodge, all of which has been developed with the local community. Learn about wildlife conservation, medicinal plants, traditional agriculture and the history of the Secret War from your local Khmu guide. 
Upon arrival at Ban Son Koua, an ethnic Khmu Village, village guides and boatmen will meet you and take you on a short tour of the village where you will learn about the animist tradition of appeasing the village spirit. Then embark on a 1.5 hour journey to the park substation on the Nam Nern River by long-tail boat, along the way learning about upland rice cultivation and having opportunities to spot monitor lizards and bird life. 
After arriving at the park substation, you will enjoy a lunch prepared by the village cooking group. After lunch, receive a briefing by park staff about the on-the-ground efforts in protecting tigers and their prey. Around the middle of the afternoon you will depart for the night safari. 
Stopping near a salt lick, you will hike into the forest. Your local guide, a skilled hunter and tracker, will explain how local people track deer and other wild ungulates. The guides point out evidence of wildlife, such a tracks or scat at the salt lick. 
The boats will continue upriver to the dinner site, a sandy, flat bank, where you will have a picnic dinner around a campfire. After dinner, your guides tell Khmu folktales and stories about dragons, wildlife, and ghosts. They educate you about the species of animals they may see during the spotlighting and explain the rules and expectations for spotlighting. 
Depending on the amount of moonlight, depart for the night spotlighting 1-2 hours after dark, floating down river with engines off. There is only one light per boat. Only guides use the light, to avoid scaring the animals. The guides and boat drivers communicate via hand signals to avoid talking that might disturb the animals. The boat is very quiet so as not to disturb the animals. Animals that may be seen include Sambar Deer, Otters, and Barking Deer, various species of Civets, Slow Loris, Porcupine and Owls (Hogbadgers, Asian golden cat and wild dogs have also been seen). 
At the end of the spotlighting, the boats arrive at the evening camp. Before going to bed you will be able to check out a variety of insects attracted to the black light set up near the substation. 
Overnight in Nam Nern
 

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Day 15 - Nam Nern - Xieng Khuang

Before breakfast, your local guide will take you on a walk around the jungle, teaching you the use of medicinal plants and explaining the history of the site, which was once a major settlement during the Secret War. After breakfast, the boats float back to the village at a relaxing pace with engines off, pointing out birds along the way. 
Upon arrival in the village, you will be invited to try earthen jar rice wine (lao hai). After that continue driving about 3 hours to Xieng Khouang. Along the way enjoy the beautiful scenery and see local village life. You will stop for lunch at a local restaurant. 
Xieng Khouang is a town that has been totally rebuilt after being destroyed during the secret war in Laos. The town is now located 30 km away from where it was originally. Today, Xieng Khouang, locally called “Phonsavan” is the gateway to the Plain of Jars. 
After checking into your hotel, if you still have the energy, you can visit the MAG Center in the town. MAG is a humanitarian organization clearing the remnants of conflict for the benefit of local communities worldwide. Lao PDR is the most heavily bombed nation in the world (per capita). Free entry, open everyday from 08:00h – 20:00h 
Overnight in Xieng Khuang

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Day 16 - Xieng Khuagn - flight to Vientiane

In the morning, enjoy a half day trip to Muang Khoun. Muang Khoun one place in the old provincial capital that was not been destroyed by the American bombings during the secret war. Muang Khoun is home to unique sitting giant Buddha as well of some old pagodas that lies in ruins. The foundation and columns of Wat Pia Wat are still standing and close to this site, there is also an old 30m stupa constructed in the Lan Xang/Lanna period. 
After that, we drive back to tow and visit the “Plain of Jars”, which is an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are scattered all over a plateau. These huge jars are supposedly over 2,000 years old, but most of archaeologists still question their purpose. We have time today to explore the Plain of Jars site 1 and some nearby villages, populated by the Hmong hill tribe and Tai Dam people; they are very poor but possess a vibrant local culture and an interesting history. 
We then transfer out to the airport to take the flight to Vientiane, the capital city of Laos.
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Vientiane

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Day 17 - Vientiane - City tour - Buddha park

In the morning, we will first visit Wat Si Muang, which is very famous for its supernatural power. 
After that drive to Buddha Park which takes around 45 minutes away. Also known as Xieng Khuan, this unusual park is filled with over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues.
We then visit Lao Disable Women Development Center, which assist disable women to cope with their disability and advocate for their rights. Spend time watching the video and learn about the effort to earn their daily living. You can support them by buying some small handicrafts at the shop.
Start the afternoon with a visit to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthathirat in the 16th century, the temple is resplendent as the sun is shines upon its towering golden spire. 
Then, enjoy a panoramic view over the city as you climb the stairs to the top of Patuxai, Vientiane’s own “Arc de Triomphe”. 
Continue down Lane Xang Avenue the serene Wat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828. 
Continue on to the nearby Wat Phra Keo.  Used as a religious museum, Wat Phra Keo displays a collection of both Lao and Khmer works of art. 
End your tour of the capital along the banks of the Mekong River as the sun begins to set. Stroll along the river, stop to enjoy a cold drink, or sample a snack from one of the many local food stalls.  
Overnight in Vientiane.

Notes

+ You can also visit Sinouk Coffee Pavilion to discover the Lao coffee, stroll around the mini coffee gallery, view the in-house coffee roaster and try a cup of delicious and unique coffee or tea. Discuss with our guide about this. Entrance fee and extra coffee/drinks are payable on spot.
+ There is also the chance to visit Ban Hom, where you can visit the farmers working on the field and learn about the rural local life. Just 12Km from the old quarter!
 

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Day 18 - Vientiane - Departure

We are free before taking the departure flight

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The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

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Laos BLOG ARTICLES

Though opened to tourism since the last 20 years, Laos still has many hidden places or gems that are waiting for the curious explorers. 

Xe Champhone Loop is one of the places.

Early September 2022, we made an Educ tour here, under the operation of Tetraktys Organization to explore the loop, which was an effort to promote the area to the international tourists.

We were impressed with what we saw and learnt here. The area is full of interesting nature spots, traditional culture, and hospitable hosts.

Below is everything you need to know about the area.

Stay tuned!

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The romance of train travel is alive and well in Laos. The recently-completed high-speed railway that stretches from Vientiane, through Laos, and into southern China is operating ‘full steam’ ahead. 

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Luang Prabang will celebrate the boat racing festival (Boun Souang Heua) in Namkhan River during Buddhist Lent Period, on August 26th, 2022.

A notice issued by Luang Prabang provincial office says that Luang Prabang will arrange Boun Hor Khaopadapdin, an annual festival held to feed spirits with home-made parcels of food, and the boat racing activities along Namkhan River. 

The province intends to promote the traditional festival and practices in hopes of attracting more domestic and foreign tourists, generating revenue for locals.

Traditional racing boats are made of a single tree and can accommodate up to fifty rowers.

The boats are considered sacred, are cleaned, and are given offerings which are believed to bring victory to the team.

In the downtown heart of Luang Prabang, there will also be gatherings and markets.

The festival will be held on August 26th, 2022, the same day with Boun Khao Padapdine.

Covid-19 put a stop to traditional customs and festivals for almost three years, but now that the measurements have been relaxed, tourist destinations in Laos expect to recommence festivities and offer hope for travelers.

...more

How long to spend in Laos may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out. 

How long can you stay in Laos? 

Well, as long as you like! From 7 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Laos and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Laos is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Laos with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Laos.

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The Rocket Festival (Boun Bang Fai) is a merit-making ceremony traditionally practiced by ethnic Lao people near the beginning of the wet season in numerous villages and municipalities, in the regions of Northeastern Thailand and Laos. Celebrations typically include preliminary music and dance performances, competitive processions of floats, dancers and musicians on the second day, and culminating on the third day in competitive firings of home-made rockets. Local participants and sponsors use the occasion to enhance their social prestige, as is customary in traditional Buddhist folk festivals throughout Southeast Asia.

The festival in Thailand also includes special programs and specific local patterns like Bung Fai (Parade dance) and a Beautiful Bung Fai float such as Yasothon the third weekend of May, and continues Suwannaphum District, Roi Et on the first weekend of June, Phanom Phrai District Roi Et during the full moon of the seventh month in Lunar year's calendar each year. The Bung Fai festival is not only found in Isan or Northeasthern Thailand and North Thailand and Laos, but also in Amphoe Sukhirin, Narathiwat.

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A report from Andy Jarosz from BBC Travel about his day trekking to the remote 100 waterfalls in Nong Khiaw 10 years ago (in 2012). The experience that you cannot miss when visiting the area. Check out the details as below so that you have some ideas of what to expect.

In the last four years, the rural village of Nong Khiaw has seen a steady stream of adventure travellers who want to experience the 10km trek before it disappears.

Strictly speaking, the name of the 100 Waterfalls Trek in northern Laos is misleading, since it is impossible to say how many waterfalls tumble through the thick jungle along the steady 10km ascent, with each one tumbling immediately into the next.

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Myanmar
bee-white Myanmar
It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
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