Remote Northern Laos

8days -> Luang Prabang -> Nong Khiaw -> Night Safari -> Xam Nuea -> Viengxay -> Phonsavan -> Luang Prabang

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Embark on an epic adventure trip through the rich, pristine heritage and undiscovered beauty of Laos to captivating Cambodia where you can confront a tragic past in Phnom Penh and nd your inner explorer amongst the magnificent temples of Angkor.

Itinerary Summary

By Day Destinations Activities Meals
Day 1 Luang Prabang - Ban Nayang - Nong Khiaw
Day 2 Nong Khiaw - Vieng Thong ( Muang Hiam) Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3 Vieng Thong ( Muang Hiam) - Ban Son Koua / Night Safari Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 Night Safari / Ban Son Koua - Xam Neua Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5 Xam Neua - Viengxay / Phatet Lao caves – Xam Neua Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 Xam Neua – Phonsavanh / Plain of Jars Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 Phonsavanh / Plain of Jars Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8 Phonsavanh – Luang Prabang Breakfast, Lunch

Full itinerary

Day 1

Luang Prabang - Ban Nayang - Nong Khiaw

The drive to Nong Khiaw will take you out of Luang Prabang and into the magnificent landscape of northern Laos.  Along the way we will visit the village of Ban Nayang, which is famous for its traditional cotton weaving.  Almost every household has its own weaving loom where families create beautiful scarves, tablecloths, and ornate wall hangings. The art of cotton weaving in Ban Nayang has been passed from generation to generation for almost 300 years. 

The local population at Ban Nayang belongs to the Tai Lue (Lü) ethnic group, which migrated to this area from the Yunnan Province during the 18th century. In Yunnan, the Tai Lue are officially part of the Dai ethnic group. 

After visiting Ban Nayang we will continue to Nong Khiaw, where you will check in at your hotel, located on the shores of the Nam Ou River. 

Visit nearby Phatok cave or one of the viewpoints in the area.

Overnight in Nong Khiaw


Day 2

Nong Khiaw - Vieng Thong ( Muang Hiam)

Start very early for today's drive to Xam Neua, the capital of Houaphan province close to the Vietnamese border. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the northern Lao mountains and stop for short  visits in some villages of various ethnic groups and the Muang Hiam hot springs.

Overnight in Vieng Thong

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3

Vieng Thong ( Muang Hiam) - Ban Son Koua / Night Safari

8.30-9.00am Morning Travel from Vieng Thong to Son Koua Village (55km) , the starting point of the Nam Nern Night Safari

Afternoon – River travel to Nam Nern Substation

Evening: Wildlife spotting

10.00am Arrive in Son Koua Village. Upon arrival at Ban Son Koua, an ethnic Khmu

Village, village guides and boatmen greet guests and take them on a short tour of the

village where they will learn about the animist tradition of appeasing the village spirit.

After that, guests will have lunch in the village.

Village guides and boatmen will be awaiting you to greet you and take you on a short tour of the village where you will learn about daily life and the animist tradition of appeasing the village spirits.

At around 10-11 am guests embark on a 1.5-­2 hour journey to the park substation and visitor camp on the Nam Nern River by long-­tail boat, along the way learning about upland rice cultivation and having opportunities to spot monitor lizards (depending on the time of year) and bird life.

After arriving at the park substation, visitors will be shown their accommodation, bamboo huts close to the river, and will then be offered a lunch prepared by the village cooking group. After lunch, you will receive a briefing by park staff about the on-­the-­ground efforts in protecting wildlife and its habitat.


Free time to relax at the camp. Depending on the ranger availability, the park substation can be visited to learn about the law enforcement work. At mid-­afternoon, the group takes the boat again to continue the journey upriver. Enjoy bird watching and wildlife spotters and boatmen might point out evidence of wildlife, such as tracks or scat at if spotted at the riverbank salt licks.


The boats continue upriver to the dinner site, a sandy, flat bank, where the group takes a picnic around a campfire. After dinner, the guides might share with you the Khmu folktales and stories about dragons, wildlife, and ghosts. The guides educate tourists about the species of animals they might see during the spotlighting and explain the rules and expectations for spotlighting.


The group departs for the night spotlighting once it is totally dark, drifting silently down the river with the engines switched off. The wildlife guides and boatmen use their headlamps to spot wildlife. If they see something, they will give a clear sign. Then you can switch on your own flashlight to have a better look at the animal. Hence, tourists will have their flashlights switched off most of the time to avoid scaring animals. The wildlife spotter and boat drivers communicate via hand signals to avoid talking that might disturb the animals. Animals that might be seen include Sambar deer, otters, barking deer, various species of civets, loris, porcupine and owls (Seeing wild cats and beers is very rare but not impossible.)


Bungalows on the banks of the Nam Nern Two-bed cabins in the wild & a Meeting house

Overnight in camp

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Night Safari / Ban Son Koua - Xam Neua

Morning Walk, breakfast and return to Son Koua village.

Before breakfast, local guides take you on a walk around the jungle, teaching about the use of some medicinal plants and explaining the history of the site, which was once a major settlement during the Secret War. After breakfast, the boats will return back to the village.


Upon arrival in the village, you are invited to fill out a wildlife monitoring form that is used to monitor wildlife abundance and indicate the amount of bonuses put into the village development fund from the tour costs (There is no extra fee if you are so lucky to see a tiger.)

10.30 - 11.00am continue to Xam Neua, capital of Houaphan province. 

Arrival in the late afternoon and check into the guest house.

Overnight in Xam Neua

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5

Xam Neua - Viengxay / Phatet Lao caves – Xam Neua

There have been many who have called the Viengxay Caves the most fascinating site of their journey in Laos.  A history buff or not, you will be moved and astonished by the sheer vastness of these caves and the number of people who made home of them during the Second Indochina War in order to protect themselves from bomb raids. 

After visiting the caves we will return  to Xam Neua. 

Overnight in Xam Neua

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

Xam Neua – Phonsavanh / Plain of Jars

We leave Xam Neua and continue on the road No.6 through the highlands and through the breathtaking scenery to Xieng Khouang. 

On the way we can enjoy the magnificent views; see the Hintang (stone steles)  and visit one of the many Hmong villages in this area. The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of Laos, they are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao, an ethnic minority in Southern China. The Hmong began a gradual migration to the south in the 18th Century due to political unrest and to find more farmland. 

Xieng Khouang, with the Plain of Jars is a very famous tourist attraction and was also nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. By 1973, every village in the province of Xieng Khouang was destroyed by American bombing during the Indochina War. Approx. 2 tons of bombs per inhabitant were dropped during the conflict in Laos, and a lot of them in the area of Xieng Khouang. However, this area is surprisingly beautiful, with its mysterious ancient stone jugs next to bomb craters, the relics from the dark days of a destructive war. 

Near Muang Kham we can visit the Tham Piu cave, which was used as a shelter during the war years and the site where hundreds of people were killed during a missile attack in 1968. 

Overnight in Phonsavanh

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7

Phonsavanh / Plain of Jars

The Plain of Jars is a large cultural site in Laos containing thousands of stone jars. Archaeologists believe that the jars were used 1,500 to 2,000 years ago. Most of the excavated material has been dated to around 500 BC to 800 AD.  Anthropologists and archeologists have theorized that the jars may have been used as funeral urns or perhaps storage for food. 

Lao stories and legends claim that there was a warrior race of giants who once inhabited the area.  The local legend tells of the ancient king named Khun Cheung, who fought a long, victorious battle.  It is said that he celebrated his victory by creating the jars to brew and store huge amounts of lao lao, a traditional rice wine.  The jars lie scattered throughout the northern end of the Xieng Khouang plain in the Lao Highlands which meet the Annamese Cordillera, the principal mountain range of Indochina which divides Laos and Vietnam.  In the context of the Vietnam War and the Secret War, the Plain of Jars typically refers to the entire Xieng Khouang plain rather than the cultural sites themselves.  On your way to the cultural site you might see old Russian tanks and large craters which are now historic remnants themselves.

The tour will take you to visit sites 1,2 & 3 within the Plain of Jars. The others are still considered too dangerous.

We'll end our visit with Muang Khoun the former royal capital of the Xieng Khouang region. Though the town was heavily bombed during the war, a few colonial French buildings remain along with several temples and the famous stupa tower of That Foun, which was built in 1576. It is said that That Foun was built over the ashes of Lord Buddha which were brought to Laos from India.

Overnight in Phonsavanh

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

Phonsavanh – Luang Prabang

Transfer overland via Muang Sui ,Phou Khoun  to Luang Prabang with several stops along the way for photo opportunities.

The quiet little town of Muang Sui is notable for several reasons. During the Indochina War, this was the last position of the Nationalist Lao Army and the CIA, supported by Air America, before it was evacuated. Muang Sui is home to some interesting sites, including historic temples and caves. 

Like the caves around Sam Neua, some of them were used as bomb-shelters and aid-stations during the war and evidence (in the form of medical wastes) can be seen in some caves even today.

Transfer to your hotel.





Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Trip Notes


  • Accommodation with fine daily breakfast
  • English speaking guide [Other languages are available]
  • All trasfers / transportation on AC vehicle
  • Daily bottled water on coach


  • Visa
  • International / Domestic flights
  • Tips or anything not mentioned on the itinerary


Destinations 3 star 4 star 5 star
Nong Khiaw

Mandala Ou Resort

Vieng Thong

Local Guest House

Night Safari

Jungle Camp (basic)

Xam Neua

Local Guest House


Vansana Plain of Jars


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