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Northwest Laos Experience

Lao is famous for its beautiful green virgin nature, which attracts nature lovers all over the world to come, and explore. 13-day Northwest Laos Experience brings you to the remote areas of northern Laos, which is home to many hill tribe people, green nature, and colorful culture.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Driving through the countryside in the remote area in northwest of Laos
  • Leisure cruise along the mighty Mekong River, Nam Ou River 
  • Visit and experience the life of some authentic local villages
  • Trekking to the hidden waterfalls, colorful villages, and virgin jungle

Unforgettable moments

  • Challenge yourself with trekking, zipline through the jungle with 3 days of Gibbon Experience
  • Explore the ethnic minorities in the golden triangle area
  • The panoramic view from the top of 100 waterfalls over the green area
  •  Experience homestay at Muang Soun and see the life of local people

Nature exploration

  • The scenic mountainous area of northwest Laos
  • The beautiful nature along the banks of Mekong River and Nam Ou River
  • The magical beauty of the caves, waterfalls and hills

Culture experience

  • Experience local culture & the life of Lao people
  • Join some activities and spend the night with the host family in Golden triangle area & Muang Soun village
  • The holy Baci Ceremony and the authentic dinner with the local family

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Huay Xay

Upon finishing the border formality, our guide & driver will pick you up and transfer you directly to the office of Gibbon Experience to reconfirm and get some information for the tour the days after.
We then transfer to your simple guesthouse in town to spend the night.
Free for the rest of the day for your own exploration. Overnight in Huayxay.

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Day 2 - Huay Xay - Gibbon Experience

In the morning, you come back to the office of Gibbon Experience and join the transfer into the jungle for the Gibbon Experience.
We will arrive in Ban Toup at around 11:30AM. From here, we will be taken care by the local English-Speaking Guide. 
After lunch at the village, we start our 02 hour shiking to become familiar with the cable network. At the end of the hiking, you will arrive at your tree house. 
The rest of the afternoon is your free time; you can keep hiking around or do some ziplining. Dinner will be served at around 05PM or 06PM. Overnight at your tree house.

Notes

3D2N experience have 2 versions (Classic Experience & Waterfall Experience), check the website for the exact activities on the booking date (www.gibbonexperience.org/waterfall/ or www.gibbonexperience.org/classic-tour/)

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Day 3 - Gibbon Experience

06:30-07:00: Early wake up to seize the chance to hear the gibbons singing while enjoying the tea or coffee.
08:00: Breakfast + Optional hiking and ziplining
09:30: departure for 02 hours trek to the next tree house
About 12:00, arriving at the waterfalls where you can go for a swim. After lunch, you go by ziplines to your tree house.
03:00 PM, optional hiking and ziplining
05:00 Dinner; the rest of the night is your own free time

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Day 4 - Transfer to Luang Namtha

Early wake up again to enjoy the gibbon singing. 
After breakfast at 08:00AM, we will hike back to Ban Toup. 
We arrive in the village around noon to have lunch. 
After that, you will hop on the waiting minivan to transfer directly to Luang Namtha.
Along the way, there are plenty of chance to visit the local villages or admire the panoramic view of northern Laos.
We arrive in Luang Namtha just in time to catch the sunset. Check in your simple guesthouse in town.
Overnight in Luang Namtha

Notes

Distance: 140KM | 3-hour transfer

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Day 5 - Luang Namtha - Golden Triangle

7:00 AM pick up at your hotel in Luang Namtha by 4 Wheel Drive to Ban Meutorkhao (Akha village), traditional lunch will stop eaten on the way. 
Next go to Ban Jakhamleu (AKHA VILLAGE) and from here we will walk a liter bit about 1:30 hours to Ban Sompanmai and some stop to visit Soplouy School, where a lot of Akha students from the village around come to study. 
We will arrival the village of ban Sompammai around 17:00, this is where we spend the night.
While waiting for dinner we walk around the village visit people back from working, talk with the villagers to get new experience, learn about their culture, traditional and you will see style of leaving of the countryside and to see beautiful sunset. After dinner if you want to do a massage which is traditionally given to the guests who stay overnight in the village. 

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Day 6 - Golden Triangle Trek

In the morning you will get experience of Akha daily lifestyle. After breakfast, 9:00 AM start walking to Ban Jakhatan (AKha village), which takes about 2 hours.
We then continue onto Ban Phangoa (Akha village), which also takes another 2 hours, spend the time about 30 minutes to visit villages and talking with the local people. 
Picnic lunch will be provided on the trail. 
Then walk down to the Mekong river where a boat will come to pick up to Ban Xiengkhaeng, the village of Thai Lue. 
You have ample time to walk around the village and get familiar with the local people.
Overnight at Ban Xiengkhaeng.

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Day 7 - Back to Luang Namtha

In the morning you will get experience of Thai Lue daily lifestyle. After breakfast, walk up mountain to visit Ban Jainta (Akha village), playing with the children and learn about their way of life.
Another 4-hour walk through the jungle trail will lead us to Ban Japhouthone, where car will come to pick up back to Muang sing with enjoying the stunning views on the surrounding mountains. Picnic lunch will provide on the way. 
Arriving Muang sing about 4 PM and continue driving another 1 hour to Luang Namtha, where your Golden Triangle Adventure Trail finishes.
Overnight in Luang Namtha

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Day 8 - Luang Namtha - Chom Ong village

Optional tour: Wake up early morning, you can walk to the nearby morning market to see the local people from the nearby villages bartering the daily findings.
After breakfast, we have ample time to visit That Luang Namtha, which locates on the top of the hill overlooking the town. Here you will enjoy the panoramic view of Luang Namtha and the nearby area.
We then visit Luang Namtha museum, which contains a collection of local anthropological artefacts, such as ethnic clothing, Khamu bronze drums and ceramics. There are also several Buddha images and the usual display chronicling the Revolution.
After that, we will drive to the village of Ban Nambotakaiy which locates at Km24 north of Muang Xay town.
The drive leads us through some of the most stunning mountain scenery you will find in South East Asia, with plenty of opportunities to stop off at the various Khmu and H’mong villages along the way.  
Upon arrival in the village, we will take a right turn on the dirt road and continue driving another 20Km to the village of Ban Chom Ong, the base for our exploration of the famous Chom Ong cave the day after.
Take time to walk around the village, you will see several local people producing handicraft products as well as a blacksmith forging the lao machetes.
Stop at a small shop, cool off with a cold beer before having the dinner with the host family.
Overnight at the village

Notes

Distance: 120KM | 4-hour transfer

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Day 9 - Chom Ong Cave Exploration

After breakfast, we will start our day exploration of the cave with the 1-hour walk from the village following the small track to the cave.
Chom Ong Cave, locally called Tham Chia (Bat Cave) is the second longest cave in Laos, and home to a big bat family. The local people traditionally hunt bats in the cave as food and exploit guano, which can be used as fertilizer, explosive agent, or gunpowder. 
We will first enter the cave via the lower entrance where the river exits the cave. This is one of the most stunning parts of the entire cave, as the light from outside reflects off the river and paints the inside of the walls with an orange glow.
Walk up the river a few hundred meters and then turn around to go to the main entrance which leads to 18+ km of tunnels. The cave almost immediately opened to massive cathedral-like chambers nearly 50 meters high. 
We then wander through the cave to the famous spot where a smaller chamber suddenly drops 18 meters to the underground river that flows through the cave.  
Approach further, we will hear the steady roar of water before we see where it is coming from. 
The adventurous travelers can continue deeper into the main chambers of the cave, going further than the regular tour allows, where you can explore some more several large chambers full of unique formations.
You have time to take a dip into the natural pool inside the cave before getting out of the cave and walking back to the village.
Spend the dinner and the second night with the host family.
 

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Day 10 - Chom Ong village - Nong Khiaw

After breakfast, we will bid the farewell to the village and drive south to Nong Khiaw
En route, we stop at Nam Hin Lake, where we will enjoy a short boat ride around the lake.
Continue further, we make a few rest stops along the way, which gives you the opportunity to see the ethnic minority groups of Hmong, Khmu, Akha and Taidam. The hill tribe people are unfailingly friendly; welcoming you with waving hands and smiling faces. 
The journey to Nong Khiaw leads us through areas with dramatic landscape. We will also visit the hilltribe villages of Hmong at Ban Jarong, Ban Songja, Khmu before arriving at Nong Khiaw in late afternoon. 
Nong Khiaw is a remote village situated by the banks of the Nam Ou river, across a dramatic valley the surrounding mountainous scenery is stunning. 
Overnight in Nong Khiaw

Notes

Distance: 170KM | 5.5-hour transfer

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Day 11 - 100 Waterfalls trek

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.

Notes

20-minute transfer | 4-hour trek | 2-hour boat trip

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Day 12 - Nong Khiaw - Muang Soun

After breakfast, we will transfer to Muang Soune, which locates 65Km from the center in the north of Luang Prabang by the bank of Nam Ou river.
Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by the host family, before strolling around the village to see the life of local people. We then visit the house of the chief of the village, and talk with him about the living condition, the history, or anything about the village.
The lunch will then be served at the house of the host family.
In the afternoon, you can choose to either relax or to enjoy agricultural activities such as rice planting and harvesting in surrounding rice fields (depending on the season); Traditional fishing techniques (you can sample your catch for dinner!); or walk around the farm and rice field.
If you wish, the dip in the Nam Ou river is very inviting and worth a try.
You may wish to join and help the host with preparing the dinner. This is the chance to learn about Lao cuisine.
Before the dinner, we will join the Baci Ceremony, held by the elders of the village. The Baci ceremony as a traditional ritual of the Lao people expresses the spirituality of the country and is a highly memorable experience and a deep insight into Lao culture for the participants.
During the dinner, the folk tales will be told by the host family, and translated by our guide.
You may wish to stroll around the riverbank, and sense the nature, admiring the starry sky before going to bed.
 

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Day 13 - Muang Soun - Luang Prabang - Departure

Optional: Wake up early, you never want to miss the chance to admire the sunrise over the Nam Ou river, and the nearby mountains.
After breakfast, the morning will be dedicated to the fishing by the stunning Nam Ou river, experience traditional fishing techniques. You will also take the boat trip exploring the surrounding areas.
We come back to the village at 11:00AM to join the transfer back to Luang Prabang.
We arrive in Luang Prabang early afternoon, check in your hotel in town (your own arrangement).
Say goodbye to our guide to grab up your great northern Laos adventure.

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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.

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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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