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Treasures of Northern Laos - 9 days/8 nights

Luang Prabang - Muang La - Nong Khiaw - Luang Prabang

The best of northern Laos is also accessible from Luang Prabang if you are not opposed to a scenic long drive for one day! You will be compensated with not only scenic views, but also off-beaten-path villages that see very few tourists. Stay at the charming Muang La Lodge that offers intimate insights and knowledge to surrounding hill tribe villages accompanied by their experienced local guides. Enjoy several boat rides to small villages along the river and easy short hikes.

Privately-Guided! Whether you are a single person, a couple, or a group, you'll have your own guide and driver for all airport transfers and daily excursions.  
Choose Your Own Dates! This is not a fixed-departure-date tour. Just let us know the dates that work best for you.
Customizable! Need more time? Less time? Want to see or do something that isn't included? Just let us know, and we will arrange it for you.
Click here to read what our clients have told us after they return.

Trip Highlights

  • Remote hill tribe villages in the north
  • Outdoor bath by a natural hot spring
  • Trekking through beautiful Lao landscapes
  • Boat rides on the river
  • UNESCO World Heritage City, Luang Prabang


Day 1: Arrive Luang Prabang
Upon arrival you will be welcomed by your guide and transferred to your hotel located in the center of the old town. Rest of the day is free to rest, you can stroll around the old town on your own. If you’re not too exhausted, meet your guide this evening and learn about typical Lao Cuisine at the local street food market. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 2: Luang Prabang
Today, meet your guide and visit the quaint Royal Palace Museum before a walking tour through Luang Prabang’s hidden secrets and quiet back lanes. Visit Wat Chomkhong, famous for its decorative carvings. This area also features a mix of old French Colonial buildings and traditional old Lao houses. After, stop at the small but charming Wat Phapai and also the Fine Arts School to see some of the quality artwork on display. This brings you to the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, with its roof sweeping low to the ground, representing the classical Luang Prabang style. Then visit Wat Siphoutthabat, home to a monk school, where you will have the opportunity to chat with a young novice and learn about their daily life. Last stop is the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Center to learn more about the different ethnic minorities who live in Laos. Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 3: Drive to Muang La

Today depart at about 7am and drive through the fertile plains of the province of Luang Prabang. After two hours or so, the road starts to climb to 1,400m above sea level. The drive will take between 6 to 7 hours but you will be able to stop where possible for photo opportunities and to stretch your legs. Arrive at Muang La Resort for lunch and check in. Afternoon, you can relax in the resort or take a walk through the lush green fields near the resort. All meals will be included during your stay at the charming resort. Overnight at Muang La Resort. (All Meals)

Day 4: Muang La
After breakfast, you will drive to villages of Ikhor and Hmong, two typical hill tribe communities of Laos. Drive along a beautiful road besides the Nam Pak River to visit a village of the Ikhos people. The Ikhos are one of the most reclusive communities in Laos originating from Yunnan Province in China and also from Tibet. You will see traditional houses made of wood and bamboo, learn about their way of life and their belief in the spirit world. You will have a picnic lunch from a beautiful view point. After, continue to visit a Hmong village that requires 45minutes of walking. The path leading to the village is completely isolated and offers many impressive viewpoints. Return back to the resort late afternoon. Overnight at Muang La Resort. (All Meals)

Day 5: Free day

Today is free at leisure to relax at your charming lodge. At the foot of the lodge, you can enjoy their outdoor bath that utilizes a natural hot spring. You can also explore on your own an amazing salt mine and see how the locals extract salt using traditional methods passed down from many generations. There are also many opportunities for walking, cycling to the town, meeting the local people and visiting the revered Buddha temple that overlooks the Resort. Overnight at Muang La Resort. (All Meals)

Day 6: Drive and Cruise to Nong Khiaw
Today you will travel to the charming riverside town of Nong Khiaw by an overland drive and a scenic cruise on the river. Departing from Muang La, first follow the main road towards Phongsaly crossing rolling hills, the road leads eventually to Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. You will follow the Nam Pak River, where some of the local people ‘pan for gold”. Nowadays, it is mostly women who ‘pan’ and their colorful fabrics light up the riverbanks.

About 1 ½ hours later, arrive at Muang Khua for the start of your spectacular river cruise. The river journey from Muang Khua to Nong Khiaw is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the region! After cruising for about 2 ½ hours, disembark and board a minivan for a short 15min ride to pass the newly constructed Nam Ou Dam. Then board another boat for the downstream cruise to Nong Khiaw for about 2 hours. This particular stretch offers stunning scenery with limestone formations rising majestically from the water, and remote villages, including Ban Sob Jaem a Khmu and Hmong village that can only be accessed by boat. 

Arrive Nong Khiaw late afternoon, check-in at your riverside lodge and rest of the day is free at leisure. You can hire bicycles from your hotel to explore picturesque local limestone caves nearby (your guide will be happy to assist). Overnight at Nong Khiaw. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 7: Nong Khiaw
This morning meet your local guide at the boat pier and you will cruise about 30min along the river to visit two Khamu villages at Ban Sopkhan and Ban Sopkong. You will explore both villages, learn about their culture and lifestyle. From Ban Sopkong, you will embark on a 1.5hr trek across farmlands and rice paddy fields to a beautiful waterfall at Tad Mok with 7-tiered limestone pools.

Here you will break for a picnic lunch and you can enjoy some swimming in the pools if you like. After, trek back to Ban Sopkong where you will cruise 20min by boat back to your hotel in Nong Khiaw, arriving about 3pm in the afternoon. Rest of the day is free for your own exploration. Approximate hiking time is about 3 hours with some uphill sections. Overnight at Nong Khiaw. (Breakfast, Lunch).

Day 8: Drive and Cruise to Luang Prabang
This morning you will drive about 3 hours to Luang Prabang. On the way, stop to visit the mysterious caves of Pak Ou, two caves set in a limestone cliff facing the Mekong River crammed with thousands Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes. Continue on to Luang Prabang by boat. Upon arrival at Luang Prabang, transfer to your hotel and rest of the day is free for explore the old town by yourself. Overnight in Luang Prabang. (Breakfast)

Day 9: Depart Luang Prabang
Transfer to airport today for your departing flight. (Breakfast)

Inclusions and Exclusions

Our Package Rates Include

  • Private airport transfers
  • Daily accommodation with breakfast
  • Private vehicle transportation for all excursions per itinerary
  • Meals as listed in above itinerary
  • Services of a local, English-speaking guide for all visits and excursions
  • All tours and activities mentioned in the itinerary, including entrance fees

Rates Do Not Include

  • International airfare
  • Laos visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for drivers and guides
  • Expenses of a personal nature

To Book This Tour

Please call us toll free at 1-877-362-2793 and let us know that you are interested in this tour. To prepare a proposal, we'll ask questions about how many people are traveling, your preferred travel dates, standard and types of accommodation, and any special interests that we may be able to accommodate.

Once we have finalized a customized price quote for you, your agent will inform you a per-person non-refundable deposit to initiate reservations (typically 20% of tour cost). Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure.

If your reservation is made less than 75 days prior to departure, the non-refundable deposit will allow us to initiate reservations. Full payment will be due immediately upon confirmation of all hotels and transportation services. If the services quoted cannot be confirmed, alternate accommodation or transportation will be arranged and the price will be adjusted accordingly.

Payments can be made by personal check, bank wire transfer, or credit card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will initiate your reservations and send you a statement showing your payment. Approximately 2 weeks prior to your departure, we will send you a final confirmation containing your itinerary and detailed information on the logistics of your trip.
Please review our complete terms and conditions:
Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellation/Refund Policies

- Cancel more than 60 days prior to departure - forfeit your deposit.
- Cancel between 30 and 60 days prior to departure - forfeit 50% of the tour cost.
- Cancel less than 30 days prior to departure - NO REFUND of tour cost.
- Cancellations must be made in writing and sent via mail, fax, or email to Red Lantern Journeys.
- Refunds will be processed within 30 days of receipt of your written request.
- No refunds are available for unused services or tours during your trip.

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