Sixteen days, four countries, eight flights, and six hotels without a hitch.
Ralph & Orn - New York, NY

Jungles, Rivers & Elephants: Vientiane to Luang Prabang

With bookend tours of current and ancient capital cities, you will learn of Laos’ history and culture through ancient architecture and modern urban life. A three-day trek through the jungle with a night spent beneath stars and canopy, scenic vistas, and traditional village visits will give you a taste for the authenticity of rural life. After traveling by foot through the jungle, take in the scenery from a higher vantage point atop an elephant! A two-day boat tour of the North’s main aquatic artery, the Mekong River, provides a rare window into the flow of life. This nine-day, action-packed tour is the perfect combination of relaxation, exertion, adventure, cultural immersion, and unforgettable moments. 

Highlights   Pricing
  • Get a glimpse at Lao urban life in the breathtaking capital city of Vientiane
  • Trek and camp the heart of the jungle in the spectacular Nam Ha National park
  • Experience the power and beauty of the mighty Mekong River on a two-day boat excursion
  • Get up close and personal with the majestic Asian Elephant
  • Explore the ancient city of Luang Prabang, a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Upon arrival in Vientiane, a car will be waiting to take you to the luxurious Settha Palace Hotel. Check in, freshen up and take the rest of the day to enjoy the hotel’s amenities or explore the surroundings. Consider going for a dip in the gorgeous hotel pool and a delicious meal at La Belle Époque.

Day 2

Enjoy a leisurely morning before an afternoon flight to Luang Namtha. If you prefer to forego the relaxation, take a guided tour of the COPE Centre, busy markets and other sites of Vientiane. Your northbound flight will take you to Luang Namtha, and a short drive will take you to the Boat Landing Eco-Lodge. Take the rest of today to enjoy as you please, preparing for the action-packed days ahead.

Day 3
Nam Ha

After breakfast, your personal guide will prep you for a three-day trek through the Nam Ha National protected jungle. Today you will visit Sin Oudom and meet your local village guide who will assist in the river crossing of the Nam Tha. A steep hike through the mountains waits on the opposite bank. Learn of the local herbs, plants and species and assist the guides in gathering and preparing dinner over an open fire. Spend the night beneath the lush, green canopy in the heart of the jungle.

Day 4
Nam Ha

Wake with the birds and beasts of the Nam Ha jungle. A traditional breakfast prepared by open-fire will give you the energy you need for the day ahead. Trek further up and into the forest and take in the sights and sounds, the jungle boasts an incredibly-rich biodiversity. Begin a steep descent and arrive at a traditional village. Dine and spend time with the locals and take a refreshing dip in the river. Experience village life to the fullest and spend the night in a simple wooden hut.

Day 5

Wake with the villagers and share breakfast before bidding them a grateful farewell. Today’s trek will take us along the river before returning to the jungle. Take in the incredible views of the low-lying valleys and scope out the distance you have traveled so far. The final descent to Ban Chaleunsouk begins after lunch. A songthaew, a local adaptation of a pickup truck, will be waiting to take you back to the Eco Lodge. The remainder of the evening is yours. Relax - you deserve it!

Day 6
Huay Xai

After three days of excitement and physical exertion, today provides a much-needed break. After breakfast, take a 2.5-hour drive to Huay Xai, stopping along the way to explore villages inhabited by some of the region's ethnic minorities. Among other stops is the famous Kao Rao Cave, which will leave you in awe. Check into the Riverside Houay Xai Hotel by late afternoon. The evening is yours to take in the sunset, enjoy a drink at one of the local riverside bars and relax.

Day 7
Pak Beng

Enjoy breakfast before boarding a boat on the Mekong River to Luang Prabang via Pakbeng. The Mekong is one of the largest, longest rivers in the world and boasts a fascinating history. A source of life, sustenance and transport, it is a bustle of constant action. Take in the stunning and ever-changing scenery along the river. Spend the night at a local lodge-style property.

Day 8

Today begins with an unparalleled opportunity to interact with and hike beside an elephant through the jungle. The elephant tour will bring you back to the river where you will board a boat and continue your journey to Luang Prabang. Arriving at the ferry landing in the late afternoon, you will be transported to your hotel-- we recommend Amantaka or Hotel De la Paix. Check in, rest up and enjoy your evening.

Day 9

Enjoy majestic and regal Luang Prabang, a city whose unique history has been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit palaces and monasteries and get swept up by the enchantment of antiquity preserved. After a traditional lunch of Luang Prabang specialties, head to Tai Lue, famed for textiles and weaving. Take a refreshing break from touring at the scenic Kuang Xi Waterfall and its crystal clear surrounding pools. Fit in a few more sites and close the day watching the sunset over the city from the top of Mount Phousi.


Suggested Accommodations

Settha Palace Hotel

Settha Palace Hotel

The historic Settha Palace Hotel is centrally located in Vientiane within walking distance of the Mekong River, Thatluang Stupa, Namphu Fountain, and other cultural highlights. Built in French colonial style circa 1932 and restored and reopened in 1999, the hotel has 22 rooms and three suites, all featuring rosewood four-poster beds and armoires, and WiFi connectivity. For dining, La Belle Epoque offers French cuisine, and the Sidewalk Café is a pleasant open-air venue offering Asian and international dishes. Amenities include a spa, pool and Jacuzzi; however there is no fitness center. Additionally, there is a business center with Internet and fax services. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from Wattai International Airport and a 25-minute drive to Thadeua, where there is a border bridge to Thailand.

Boat Landing Guest House

Boat Landing Guest House

A charming eco-lodge located on the banks of the Namtha River, Boat Landing was built with sustainability in mind and to encourage guests to get involved with the local community.

Its rooms are built in traditional Lao style with guest comforts such as en-suite bathrooms, solar-powered hot water, and river-view balcony.

The open verandah restaurant serves classic Lao food in the open air, with great views of the river.
Houay Xai Riverside Hotel

Houay Xai Riverside Hotel

Escape from the hustle and bustle of big cities and enjoy tranquility at the peaceful Houay Xai Riverside Hotel. Set on the banks of the Mekong River, the establishment is a gateway to remote misty mountains, lush forests, scenic rivers, ancient temples and fascinating hill tribes. Guests can choose from 14 comfortable rooms, all of which are equipped with traditional Lao décor, cable television, air-conditioning, complimentary Internet access and a spacious bathroom. Once settled in, patrons can spoil themselves with a traditional Lao massage at the on-site spa and dine at the Phonevichith Restaurant. Here, visitors can enjoy traditional dining with floor seating and indulge in authentic Thai and Lao cuisine, while overlooking the stunning Mekong river. Friendly staff are available at all times and are more than happy to help guests book travel tours and plan other arrangements.

Pakbeng Lodge

Pakbeng Lodge

Set along the banks of the Mekong River, Pakbeng Lodge is a charming establishment that will fulfill most travel desires. Featuring 30 comfortable rooms, each accommodation is equipped with complimentary bottled water, air-conditioning, a balcony or terrace and modern décor. Guests will have access to a variety of services, including free WiFi, a business center, meeting facilities, dry cleaning, shuttle services, a bar and lounge area and much more. After checking in, patrons can spoil themselves with a massage at the on-site spa and unwind outside in the spacious garden. In the evening, visitors can indulge in authentic Thai and Lao cuisine at the Moonlight and Sunset Restaurants. This delightful hotel is also conveniently-located in the heart of Pakbeng, Laos. Patrons will have easy access to the city’s must-see attractions, which include the famous Mekong Elephant Camp.

Amantaka, Sofitel Luang Prabang


Amantaka is set south of Phousi Mountain and close to the banks of the Mekong River and the Luang Prabang Night Market. The resort, an old French colonial building, is surrounded by a spacious courtyard, and has 24 suites – eight deluxe suites, four pool suites, eight Khan suites, two Mekong suites and two Amantaka suites, all with spacious interior and exterior living areas. Facilities include a spa, a fitness center, a library and a boutique art gallery. Amantaka is little more than a ten- minute drive from Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ).


Sofitel Luang Prabang

Sofitel Luang Prabang, located in a refurbished French colonial fort, is one of Luang Prabang's most historic luxury hotels. Sofitel Luang Prabang is an all-suite property with 23 suites and pool suites, all designed in contemporary style with a bathtub, free WiFi, flat-screen TV, DVD player and iPod, as well as a private terrace/garden area. An all-day dining restaurant serves classic Lao cuisine, and the colonial-style bar is a great spot to enjoy a cocktail by the fireplace. The hotel also has a spa and library.

Meet An Asia Expert
From Travelogues
Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald loves spending time in Laos' laid-back capital Vientiane, where she enjoys shopping for handmade silks and wood carvings.
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