Northwest Journey in Laos

Duration: 7 days 6 nights

Destination: Vientiane - Pakbeng

Vientiane, the capital of Laos, has a population of 200000 and is one of southeast Asia's most laid-back capitals, with relatively little traffic in the streets. Vientiane has no tall buildings and exudes a special aura that combines Lao, Chinese, Thai, French, Soviet and American elements.


- Day 1 - Vientiane
Arrival in Vientiane
Sightseeing in Vientiane
The capital city of Laos, Vientiane still feels like a sleepy city with relaxed charm, tree-lined boulevards, interesting wats and colorful markets.
Tour the different highlights of the city, including That Luang, a gleaming golden stupa which is perhaps most important national monument in Laos; Ho Pha Keo, the formal royal temple, now a museum with beautiful examples of Buddhist sculpture; Wat Si Saket; Wat Si Muang, and Patuxai, a monumental arch inspired by the Arc de Triomphe, but executed with Lao motifs.
End your day at the Talaat Sao, or the morning market (actually open all day), the best place to buy traditional Lao fabrics.
Overnight in Vientiane

- Day 2 - Vang Vieng
By vehicle from Vientiane to Vang Vieng with a boat trip on Nam Ngum Lake Drive to the north through the scenic province of Vientiane. The climate is pleasant and the views are nice, with mountains and cliffs along the first part of the journey.
Stop at salt field in Ban Keun.
Continue for a boat ride on Nam Ngum Lake, a serene, man-made reservoir which also generates most of the electricity sold to Thailand.
Visit Chang Cave: used as a bunker against marauding Chinese in the early 19th century. Tham means cave and Chang is steadfast.
Overnight in Vang Vieng

- Day 3 - Luang Prabang
Visit Pha Thao Cave: Enjoy a short trek through rice paddies with a stop at a Hmong village in Ban Pha Thao and continue to visit the cave of Tham Pha Thao.
Visit Xang Cave: also called Elephant Cave, it contains a few Buddha images and a Buddha footprint plus the elephant shaped stalactites which give the cave its name.
By vehicle from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang
Journey north passing through Ban Phatang and Muang Kasi. Enjoy visiting local villages on the way.
Overnight in Luang Prabang

- Day 4 - Luang Prabang
Sightseeing in Luang Prabang
Set between the Nam Khan and Nam Ou rivers, Luang Prabang is an enchanting town filled with historic temples and colonial style buildings. The entire town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Begin your tour with Wat Visoun (Wat Wisunalat). The oldest living temple in Luang Prabang, Wat Visoun dates back to 1513 and contains a collection of antique wooden Buddhas.
Visit the nearby Wat Aham before continuing to Wat Xieng Thong, the crowning jewel of all the monasteries and temples in the city. Its many ornate buildings feature exquisite mosaic and gold-stenciled murals.
From there, stroll down the main street (Wat Street) of Luang Prabang.
Time permitting, stop at some of the many temples that line its sides, including Wat Sibounheuang, Wat Si Moungkhoun, Wat Sop and Wat Sene.
Visit Mount Phousi for sunset Climb the hillside stairs to the small temples atop Phou Si, the 100m high hill which sits in the middle of the town, offering beautiful views over the temples and river.
Overnight in Luang Prabang

- Day 5 - Luang Prabang - Vientiane
Sightseeing in Luang Prabang
In the morning, visit a Local Market to see the bustle and activity of the early morning.
Continue to the National Museum (Royal Palace), a modest but graceful building which combines traditional Lao and French beaux-arts motifs. This turn-of-the century royal residence has been preserved as it was when the royal family last lived here and provides unique insights into the history of Laos. (Closed on Tuesdays).
Afterwards, visit Wat Mai.
Excursion to Kuang Si Waterfalls
From Luang Prabang to Kuang Si Waterfall, travel by vehicle to visit minorities village of Ban Muang Khai
Continue by car to Kuang Si Waterfall, located in a perfect natural setting near Luang Prabang, this multi-tiered waterfall tumbles over limestone formations into a series of turquoise pools. Enjoy swimming in the clear water or just relaxing in the natural environment.
Continue to Ban Tha Pene, a nearby Khmu village, before returning to Luang Prabang by vehicle.
Overnight in Luang Prabang

- Day 6 - Pakbeng
On board the Luangsay Cruise from Luang Prabang to Pakbeng (Upstream), day 1 of 2 Embark on the Luangsay boat, a traditional style wooden boat with open decks and beautiful views.
Cruise upstream towards Pakbeng stopping at Ban Baw to observe the making of traditional Lao rice wine and whisky.
Continue to the famous Pak Ou caves, natural shrines which have been filled over the centuries with hundreds of Buddha images in every style and material.
Lunch is served on board, followed by a visit to a fishing village before arriving in Pakbeng in the late afternoon.
Overnight in Pakbeng

- Day - 7 Pakbeng
On board the Luangsay Cruise from Pakbeng to Huay Xai (Upstream), day 2 of 2
First thing in the morning the Pak Ou boat leaves the pier for a leisurely cruise up the Mekong towards Huay Xai (Lao-Thai border).
Several stops along the way offer the opportunity to sample rural life first-hand and marvel at just how little has changed over the centuries.
Arrival in Huay Xai is in the late afternoon


  •     Accommodation and meals as described (please note that some hotels provide only CBF).
  •     All transfers within the journey, including pick-up at airport.
  •     All entrance fees.
  •     English, French or German speaking guides (other languages available upon request).


  •     Visa fees.
  •     Airport taxes.
  •     Personal expenses such as drinks, laundry, souvenirs.

Similar Tours

Luang Prabang - Vientiane - 4 Days

4 days 3 nights

Luang Prabang - Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang - Vientiane - 5 Days

5 days 4 nights

Luang Prabang - Luang Prabang Departure

Highlights of Laos

9 days 8 nights

Vientiane - Luang Prabang

Laos North to South

12 days 11 nights

Pakbeng - Pakse