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Vientiane & Central Laos Adventure

11-day Vientiane & Central Laos Adventure brings you into some most mysterious parts of Laos. The journey from river to river, from mountain to mountain. The journey of culture experience, nature exploration, and happiness.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Cycling along the Mekong River, then visit  Ban Tongpong village in Vientiane 
  • Trekking inside Phou Khaokhuay NPA tracing for the wild orchid trail
  • Visit Nam Theun 2 Visitor Center, Tham Nong Paseum Cave...

Unforgettable moments

  • Walking among the nature of Phou Khaokhuay NPA
  • The scenic drive through the countryside of centre Laos
  • Phousi Thalang will give you a quiet and peaceful atmosphere to enjoy your night

Nature exploration

  • The authentic countryside of Vientiane, Kong Lor, 
  • The evergreen nature of Phou Khaokhuay with plenty of wild orchid, hidden waterfalls, and natural streams.
  • Visit some lovely village: Ban Thalang, Ban Thabak, Ban Thalang

Culture experience

  • Visit some plenty of temple 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 - Vientiane – Arrival

Upon arrival at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, transfer to your hotel in town (early check-in upon availability).

From its sleepy tuk-tuk drivers to its location on the right bank of the lumbering, lazy Mekong, this former French trading post is languid to say the least. 
Indeed, despite being the capital and largest city of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, there's not a whole lot to do in Vientiane. But that is also, quite honestly, its selling point.

There is no activity planned for today, so you can stroll around the town for your own exploration.

Overnight in Vientiane
 

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Day 2 - Vientiane – Biking + Kayaking

The trip begins at 9am; the meeting points our sales office in downtown Vientiane. From here the trip begins as we begin cycling out of the city…

After a short while, city quickly turns into countryside and we continue onwards cycling along the Mekong River where you can enjoy the beautiful views across the river and into neighboring Thailand. 

After a few KM it is time to turn off and head towards Ban Tongpong village. From the village we continue along the canal which takes its source from the nearby Mekong River and is used to irrigate nearby rice paddy fields. 

As we carry on cycling despite the relative close proximity to the bustling city you will certainly feel like you are a million miles away! Enjoy the peace and serenity as you watch the local people going about their everyday tasks. 

Carrying onwards we head through some dirt tracks which take us through rice fields and forest, the trail can get a little muddy and sandy along the way but really takes us away from everything and will immerse us in nature. 

Along the way we may see the local people tending to their rice paddy fields depending on the time of the year, the trail leads us back to a tarmac road.

We head along the road for a while until arriving at Tad Moun waterfall which is a popular spot for the local people from Vientiane.
The waterfall itself can actually completely dry up during the dry season however it is still worth a visit to see the different rock formations. We take some time for a quick break and enjoy a cold drink.

From the waterfall we cycle along the main road which is freshly paved and very smooth yet relatively quiet in terms of traffic.
We shall begin with a slight ascend which from there the remainder of the cycling takes us on a steady downhill until arriving in the village of Ban Mai which sits on the banks of the Mekong.

Here, we make the transition from land to water as we kayak down the Mekong River back to Vientiane. 

However before we hit the water it is time to enjoy lunch alongside the river, you will take a lunch of delicious sandwiches, crisps and fruit all washed down with a cold drink whilst your guide gets all the kayaks ready.

After your lunch and taking some time to relax you will get your lifejackets on and board your kayaks for the journey downstream back to Vientiane. 

Along the way you will enjoy the scenery on both sides of the river as you head along the border between Laos and Thailand, of course staying on the Lao side during the entirety…

The Mekong River is home to several river islands (‘Don’ in Lao) along the way we visit one of the largest ‘Don Xing Xou’ which is used as for farming taking advantage of the year round fertility, it is also home to a beautiful beach at the far end in dry season!

We carry onwards kayaking down the Mekong until arriving back in Vientiane.

The trip ends just outside the city centre next to a riverside bar, the perfect way to end the day by enjoying an ice cool beer next to the river. From here you will be collected via truck and taken back to your hotel in afternoon.

Approximately: Cycling 30 km, kayaking 16km

Notes
  • Cycling 30 km, kayaking 16km
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Day 3 - Vientiane – Phou Khaokhuay

We will be transferred from Vientiane to Ban Hatkhai, where a long-tail boat takes us up stream on the Nam Mang, before continuing along one of its tributaries, Houay Xai. A 2 hours trek passes through an evergreen canopy as we gain height. A picnic lunch is served on the way.

The magnificent pair of waterfalls Tad Xay and Pha Xay, particularly beautiful during and after the rainy season are reached in the afternoon. You have some free time at Tad Xay which has a pool recommended for bathing.

From here, a truck takes the group to Ban Hatkhai, where the night is spent at a house of a local family.

Approximately: 2.5-hour transfer, 1-hour boating & 2-hour trekking
 

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Day 4 - Phou Khaokhay – Paksan

After an early breakfast, we will be transferred to the Tad Leuk Waterfall. The Tad Leuk is a local tourist attraction amidst the mixed deciduous forest. A permanent exhibit at the Visitors' Center gives some good information on the flora and fauna of the national park.

The Tad Leuk Nature Trail points out some interesting botanic details. We will have lunch at Tad Leuk.

In the afternoon, the trek follows a path along the Nam Leuk to the Tad Sang (Elephant Waterfall) waterfall, another idyllic place for bathing and relaxation. Along the way, a large number of orchids can be seen, especially in wet season. 

From here, we will hop on the minivan again and take the direct transfer to Paksan to spend the night.

Approximately: 3-hour transfer & 3-hour trekking
 

Notes
  • 3-hour transfer & 3-hour trekking
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Day 5 - Paksan – Nam Sanam Waterfall – Sainamhai Resort

This morning, we will take a short transfer to Thang Beng, where you leave the highway and enter the Phou Hin Poun NPA (National Protected Area). The scenery will become much more spectacular, featuring limestone karsts, forests and rice paddies. 

We drive through the towering mountains of Khammouane to the Lao Loum village of Ban Na Hin.

Here we enjoy lunch and relax for a while before trekking through old growth forest to get to a nearby Nam Sanam waterfall. At the fall we can spend time swimming, relaxing and enjoying sightseeing around the area before heading back in late afternoon and trekking back to Ban Nahin.

From there, hop on the car again to continue the transfer to the nearby Sainamhai Resort, where we will spend the night
 

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Day 6 - Ban Konglor – Ban Natane - Ban Konglor

This morning, we will have a short transfer (5-10 minutes) towards the Kong Lor Caves. 

Life jackets and head torches will be provided before a short walk to the main entrance of the cave. 

Upon entering the cave, we will board a long-tail boat for a journey through the length of this spectacular cave, along an underground section of the Hin Boun River. It will be 7.5km before guests see daylight again!

The river flows all-year-round and reveals vast formations of stalactites and stalagmites, which can be explored partly on foot whilst inside the cave. In places the cave is up to 90 meters wide and 100 meters high. 

The cave is still used by local villagers as an access route to the region beyond (it is far quicker than climbing over the mountains through which this cave cuts!).

Once out on the other side, guests can stop for refreshments and walk to local villages, enjoying the scenery and observing a simple way of life.

Return by boat, travelling ‘downstream’ through the cave to Ban Kong Lor. 

Later this afternoon the guide will accompany you on an optional walk through the villages surrounding Ban Kong Lor. The soft light of the late afternoon is arguably the most photogenic and you should meet lots of villagers as they walk home from the fields, markets and schools. 

There are various options for walking routes, so again, it is best to discuss with our guide how far you wish to go. 
Overnight in Ban Kong Lor

Tip: There is the chance to paddle the small traditional boat to explore the blue lagoon near Spring River Resort. You have the option to paddle the boat by yourselves or with the help of a villager (not included – payable on spot)
 

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Day 7 - Ban Konglor – Ban Thalang

After breakfast, we will say goodbye to the lovely village and depart for Ban Thalang. 

After one-hour drive, we will make the first stop in Ban Thabak, and enjoy the 02-hour boat ride along the Nam Theun river. The boat is made from the old aircraft oil tank, and suitable for up to 3 people per boat.

During the cruise, we enjoy the tranquil landscape of the along the bank of the river. We may stop at one or two local villages if you wish to see deeper into the local life.

In the afternoon, we will drive further to Ban Nam Yen, to cool off and take a dip at the natural swimming pool. 

We will also make a short stop at Tham Mangkon (Dragon caves) before transferring directly to the beautiful village of Tha Lang in Nakai District.

The rest of the afternoon is free for your own exploration. 

You can choose to stroll along the river to admire the sunset, or go fishing on the lake, which is created by the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Dam (not included – payable on spot)

For the overnight place, you have 2 options. For the ones who like partying, Sabaidee Guesthouse will be the solid choice. If not, Phousi Thalang will give you a quiet and peaceful atmosphere to enjoy your night.


 

Notes
  • Distance: 150KM | 4-hour transfer 
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Day 8 - Ban Thalang – Thakhek

Wake up early, you will prepare for your own breakfast with the help of Sabaidee Guesthouse owner.

After that we depart for Thakhek, the capital town of Khammouane Province. Along the way, we will make a short stop to visit Nam Theun 2 Visitor Center, where we can have some information of this Hydropower project. 

We then continue driving about 02 hours to the village of Ban Nakhang Xang, to meet the village guide, who leads the trek.
Trek through secondary forest, while the guide points out forest products that provide the local people with significant food resources. The trail passes through a cave that exits into a striking valley surrounded by towering cliffs and forest. 

The picnic lunch will be served wherever you feel hungry, we recommend having it at Tham Hip, which offers the great panoramic view over the area.

In the afternoon, continue the trail, following the shoreline of Nong Thao Lake, where trekkers can see local fishermen at work. 
At Tham Nong Paseum Cave, the adventurous can swim into the 400-metre-long cavern and explore its dramatic stalactites and stalagmites.

We then continue walking, and climb a bamboo stairway to the Buddha Cave, which was rediscovered in April 2004. The cave contains 229 bronze Buddhas that are said to be over 300 years old.

Late afternoon, we will drive to Thakhek to spend the night

Distance: 130KM | 3-hour transfer | 3-hour trek | MAPS
 

Notes
  • Distance: 130KM | 3-hour transfer | 3-hour trek 
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Day 9 - Thakhek – Xe Bangfai

This morning, we depart from your hotel and take a 4-hour drive on an unpaved road through a landscape of limestone mountains. We stop for lunch at the boat landing at Pak Thung.

After lunch, we get on a local motorboat for the 2-hour trip passing forested karsts on the Xe Bang Fai River. We arrive in the village of Ban Tham Namlort at about 5pm and settle into the village lodge. We then take a walk to explore the village.

Approximately: 4-hour transfer, 2-hour long tail boat
 

Notes
  • Approximately: 4-hour transfer, 2-hour long tail boat
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Day 10 - Xe Bangfai Cave – Campsite (Kayaking)

After breakfast at 8 am, we paddle in our inflatable kayaks steadily upstream through 5 rapids to the Xe Bangfai Cave. We paddle into the cave, where we will have time to explore the cave and see the stalactites and stalagmites. We then paddle on through the cave for 11 Km to the other side of the cave for a picnic lunch then return the same way to our camp on the beach at the mouth of the cave.

Approximately: 7 hours kayaking
 

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Day 11 - Back To Thakhek

We rise early to enjoy breakfast. At 8 am we then kayak for 500 meters to where a tractor will take us for 1 hour to the starting point of our trek. The trek is a 2 hours jaunt through an easy old forest filled with birds to a very large waterfall in the Hin Namno National Protected Area. Picnic lunch is served at the waterfall. We then walk back to the trail head where the pick-up will be waiting to take us back to Thakhek.

Overnight in Thakhek (your own accommodation)

Approximately: 15-minute kayaking, 1-hour tractor, 4-hour trekking, 4-hour transfer

Tip: From Thakhek, you have 3 options to continue your exploration:

  1. Transfer back to Vientiane to take the departure flight from there or continue further to the northern Laos (Check out the package EU-LA8 or EU-NLL11)
  2. Transfer south to Pakse to departure from Pakse or explore the southern Laos (Check out the package EU-SL11)
  3. Transfer to Thailand for your exploration in Thailand or take the departure flight via Bangkok
     
Notes
  • Our services finish after dropping off in Thakhek
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Laos BLOG ARTICLES

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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.

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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 can you stay 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.

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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.

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