Laos - North to South - the essence of Laos

Laos Tour

North to South

The provinces of Laos

Laos Tours – North to South – “the essential Laos”

Explore the whole of Laos from North to South

Tour Details: Laos - North to South


  • Descent of the Mekong on a luxury private boat.
  • Elephant Trek.
  • Muang La Resort - charm and & relaxation in a secluded setting.
  • The mountain peoples of the Oudom Xai region.
  • Cruise on the Nam Ou River.
  • The city of Luang Prabang.
  • The city of Vientiane.
  • Cruise on the Mekong to Champasak.
  • Wat Phou.
  • Cruise in the “4000 Islands”, the impressive waterfalls of Khone Phapheng and Li Phi and the chance to see the rare Irrawaddy River Dolphins.


Day 1: Houei Xai-Pak Beng
(Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

Meet at the border post at Houei  Xai, after breakfast. Welcome by your guide in Laos. After completing the paperwork, you begin your descent of one of the most famous rivers in the world: the Mekong. During your cruise you will have the opportunity to make many stops and meet the different people who live on the banks of the "Mother of Waters”. Lunch on-board. Arrive in Pak Beng in the late afternoon. This village in Northern Laos is actually a commercial hub. It’s from this bustling market that goods arrive to & from the capital to Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) & China. You may have the opportunity to see a ship flying the Chinese flag.

Dinner and overnight stay at your hotel.


Day 2: Pak Beng – Muang La
(Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

After breakfast, you cross the river in a dug-out canoe and arrive at a Mahout Elephant Camp. On the back of an elephant, you venture a little deeper into the Laotian jungle. The trek lasts approx. 2 hours. On return to the camp, you help to bathe the elephants and then it’s back to your hotel for lunch. After lunch, departure for the district of Muang La (minibus/ 4X4). After 4h30 on the road (including comfort breaks) you reach the province of Oudom Xai in central northern Laos. The region is rich in mountain scenery and many ethnic minorities live there. Its here that Chinese and Vietnamese merchants mix with the many local villagers as they buy and sell supplies. We continue our journey for 30 kilometers to Muang La Resort. You have time to settle in and discover the Resort - you can relax in a spa of naturally- warmed and slightly salty water, built 3m high to allow you take in the sunset. Alternatively, try a traditional Laotian sauna or a “sala” massage.

Dinner and overnight stay at MUANG LA RESORT.


Day 3: Muang La
(Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

Morning departure by car to Pak Khai; this pleasant transfer (15mins) is through the magnificent views across the River Nam Phak , terraced rice fields and many small villages. On arrival, you start your trek on twisting lanes which snake across jungle streams. This trek is an opportunity to meet local farmers working in rice fields and learn how they cultivate their land, how they fish and hunt small game. After a 1 ½ hour walk through the lush, green forest you arrive in the village of Ban Phavi - a magnificent Khmu village located atop a hill. Your resume your trek after lunch to some magnificent fresh water waterfalls. You can relax in the clear water cascades lulled by the gentle breeze and the natural tranquility (weather permitting). At 14.30 you begin your return to the Resort arriving at around 17:30.

Dinner and overnight stay at MUANG LA RESORT.


Day 4: Muang La
(Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

Discover the rural life of the village of Pak La located around the Resort, and stroll through the neighborhood to admire the panoramic views across the River Nam Phak, the beautiful terraced rice fields and salt mines. You learn how the Khmu people live in harmony with their environment during a 2 to 3 hours walk or stroll, if you prefer. The site of Muang La is dominated by the temple of Pha Chiao Sing Kham, which houses a sacred Buddha. According to the custodians of the temple, the statue “appeared” there hundreds of years ago and the temple is now a sacred place of pilgrimage. After lunch at the resort, you have a free afternoon to enjoy the resort and its environment. Before dinner you have the opportunity to take part in a Baci Ceremony of Welcome which brings health and prosperity. Afterwards, you have dinner with the local people.

Overnight stay at MUANG LA RESORT.


Day 5: Muang La - Nong Khiew
(Breakfast / Lunch /.)

You depart by car/jeep following a small hill road that is very busy passing the outskirts of many villages and eventually leads to Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. At Muang Khua, a flat-bottomed canoe waits for you down on the River Nam Ou. This is certainly one of the most beautiful river journeys  in Laos. The River Nam Ou takes you to enchanting places at a gentle, lazy pace. Lunch (picnic and grilled fish) is taken on one of the many beaches along the river.

You arrive at Nong Khiew in the late afternoon. You are in one of the most exceptional regions of limestone (karst) topography in South-East Asia. The large white cliffs, covered with dense vegetation, rise majestically from the edge of the river. During the Vietnam War, the caves contained in the rock formations served as a refuge for local people when the Americans bombed the area. Today, Thai Leu, the Hmong & the Khmus live here in perfect harmony.

Overnight stay at your hotel.


Day 6: Nong Khiew - Luang Prabang
(Breakfast /./.)

You continue your descent of the Nam Ou to where it empties into the Mekong. Lunch (not included) is taken at the mouth of the river, at a local restaurant on the riverside. Before arriving in Luang Prabang, you stop at the famous Pak Ou caves (where you can also take lunch in one of the many restaurants overlooking the Mekong). The caves contain hundreds of statues of Buddha deposited by the Lao people for centuries. You finish your descent on the Mekong, with your arrival in Luang Prabang scheduled for late afternoon. Transfer to your hotel.

Overnight stay at your hotel.


Day 7: Luang Prabang
(Breakfast /./.)

This former royal capital has been a world heritage site since 1995 and it certainly leaves a lasting impression with everyone who visits. It’s a melting pot of peoples and cultures, with a surprise around every corner: pastel houses, pagodas and palaces. You'll be charmed by its colonial and religious past that gives it singular atmosphere.

The day is devoted to exploring Luang Prabang. At first light (before breakfast) you have the chance to watch the “alms ceremony” as many monks walk through the old city to collect donations from villagers -an astonishing sight. After breakfast, you visit the National Museum (former Royal Palace) in Luang Prabang followed by a visit to Wat Mai. The next stage is a visit to Wat Manorom, which according to local legend was founded in 1375 by King Sat Sene Thay. This is followed by Wat That Luang - the cremation place of the highest dignitaries of the Royal Family.  

Lunch (not included)

You pass by Wat Xieng Thong, probably the most beautiful temple in the city, which lies at the northern tip of the peninsula. As you walk from temple to temple you have the chance to discover the local people going about their daily business. Your next visit is to Wat Aphai – which legend tells us was formerly called Wat Hay Padek, which means the Monastery of the Jar of Padek (a kind of thick fish sauce).

Visit Wat Phraphoutthabat  - the monastery of the footprint of Buddha, followed by a visit to Wat That, the monastery stupa. Next you visit Wat Xieng Mouane and Wat Chum Khong, the last Laos building in the style of Xieng Khouang. Finally, you climb to the top of the popular Mount Phou Si to wait for sunset. The effort to climb over 300 steps is rewarded with a unique view over the city.

Overnight stay at your hotel.

Day 8: Luang Prabang
(Breakfast /./.)

The morning begins with a visit to a museum devoted to the different ethnic groups in Laos. You then cross the Mekong to go & discover the small village of Ban Xiang Maen and visit Wat Long Khun, the monastery of the blessed song that has a very nice carved wooden relief. Before lunch, you visit Wat Chom Pet, the “Monastery of the Diamond” located on a hill overlooking the Mekong. After lunch (not included), you leave the peninsula and travel to Kuang Xi waterfalls. In addition to giving you the chance to cool off, they are a true oasis of spectacular natural beauty. This is one of the favorite places for the people of Luang Prabang; lovers go there to recite traditional Laotian poems, families also come to picnic and relax in times of extreme heat. Return to Luang Prabang in late afternoon.

Overnight stay at your hotel.


Day 9: Luang Prabang - Vientiane
(Breakfast /./.)

Free morning and transfer to the airport for your flight to Vientiane. After check-in and time to settle in at your hotel, your tour of the capital of Laos begins. Here you are a world away from the other polluted and noisy capitals of South East Asia. Vientiane is more like a provincial town with a “village" feel.  With roughly half a million inhabitants, it lies along the Mekong where you can stroll in the evening. You will discover the city and its many facets: from quaint old colonial houses, a tangle of Chinese buildings to glittering golden temples and markets that are busy from dawn to dusk.

The main sights of the city include Wat Si Saket, the oldest monastery in the city and Ho Prakeo, a royal temple converted into a museum, which once housed the Emerald Buddha (now in Bangkok). Also That Luang, the most revered shrine in Laos with its 45m high stupa. Finally we stop at the Laotian Arc de Triomphe, “Patu Xay" which offers a beautiful panoramic view City.

Dinner (not included) & overnight stay at your hotel.


Day 10: Vientiane
(Breakfast/Lunch /.)

Departure at 07:30 for the Phou Khao Khouay National Park; the closest area of biodiversity protection to Vientiane. The park is particularly representative of the fauna and flora of Laos. You have a drive (1.5 hours) to Ban Hat Khai. Arriving at the village, you continue by boat ride across the Nam Mang River to access the road bordering the River Xai (rainy season only). You journey through a typical rainforest of the region where, after a walk of 2 hours, you reach Pha Xai, the perfect place to admire the surrounding landscape. After passing impressive waterfalls, you walk for another hour to reach some impressive rocky outcrops where different species of flora flourish. You continue to Tad Xai through a mixture of tropical and deciduous forest where you stop for a picnic lunch, with swimming an option (seasonal) for those who want to cool off. On the way back, you discover the varieties of wild orchids which are endemic to the region and you have the chance see tropical birds and colorful butterflies ... Back to Vientiane by late afternoon.

Dinner (not included)

Overnight stay at your hotel.


Day 11: Vientiane, Champasak
(Breakfast /./.)

On arrival at Pakse Airport, you will be greeted by your English speaking guide; a specialist of southern Laos. Depart for Champasak on a pleasant 2-hour cruise. This small town is filled with many houses dating from the colonial period (often left to ruin) and gives you a very strong atmosphere of colonial "Indochina". You continue to the famous site of Wat Phou. The second World Heritage site in Laos; its origins date from the 5th or 6th century, the beginning of the Chenla kingdom. It is older than the cities of Angkor but much smaller, exuding a magical atmosphere. Some believe that it may have been the blueprint for Angkor Wat and contrary to what it had represented for nearly a thousand years (a Hindu temple), it was transformed into a place of worship dedicated to Theravada Buddhism. You have time to visit the site and its museum before lunch.

You then proceed to the historical site at Um Muang located on the banks of the Mekong. It used to be the staging point for boats from Cambodia and most of the main brick structures have fallen into ruins. The site doesn’t have the same level of archaeological significance as the site at Wat Phou, indeed excavations only began in the 1950's. "Deep in the jungle lie the dormant remnants of a lost civilization."

You day finishes back at the Lodge.

Dinner (not included)

Overnight stay at your hotel.


Day 12: Champasak - 4000 Islands - Pakse
(Breakfast /./.)

Departure by car to Don Khong Island (a short visit to this small island) where you take a canoe that will take you through the Si Phan Don region. (Si phan don means 4,000 Islands).  After around 30 minutes passing through this beautiful part of Laos, you arrive on the island of Don Det. This small island has a marked French colonial presence. The French built the only railroad in Laos to avoid the rise & fall of The Mekong. Goods were unloaded from ships to rail downriver of the falls. The train crossed two islands to avoid the falls and unloaded its cargo on boats above the falls. You have time to enjoy the spectacular falls at Li Phi.

Lunch (not included)

Walk through the islands of Don Det and Don Khong. In late afternoon, you set off by boat to try and catch a sight of the rare Irrawaddy dolphins (this is the only place outside of Myanmar (Burma) where you have the chance to see these amazing creatures). Next we stop at the incredible Khone Phapeng Falls, the most impressive of the region. Return to Pakse.

Dinner (not included)

Overnight stay at your hotel.

Day 13: Pakse - Ubon Ratchathani
(Breakfast /./.)

Transfer by road to Ubon Ratchathani for your onward flight. A shuttle to reach the international airport completes your adventure and our services.

Personal Service


  • An English speaking, experienced local guide is with you throughout your journey to answer all your questions and needs
  • Each of our clients has a personal travel adviser
  • We are in frequent contact with you, from the moment you arrive to your departure & we are always available for you
  • We ask you to complete a detailed questionnaire and we carefully study all the feedback that we receive
  • We are regularly “out in the field” to ensure the quality & reliability of our partners