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Trekking & Tribes in Northern Laos: Around Phongsaly & Muang La

Adventure and Laos go hand-in-hand. This stunning, landlocked country boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the whole of Southeast Asia, yet much of it - particularly in the north - goes undiscovered due the sheer remoteness and difficulty of terrain. This six-day tour takes on the best of what the region has to offer; you’ll scale mountains and tackle dense jungles in a 4x4, visit almost untouched hilltop village tribes and take time out to relax and rejuvenate at a gorgeous spa resort. Start with some cultural visits in the charming capital of Vientiane, before flying on to Boun Tai, which will be used as base for exploration around the region, all before flying back to the capital six days later. 

Highlights   Pricing
  • Spend a day in the charmingly sleepy and underrated capital of Vientiane, with temple and museum visits
  • Tackle the majestic Northern Laotian scenery in a 4x4, cutting through jungles and scaling mountains along the way
  • Visit untouched hilltop tribes including Akha Djepia, Akha Erpa, Akha Loma, and Black Hmong
  • Take time out to rejuvenate at a luxurious spa resort situated next to a natural hot spring
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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1

The charmingly laid back capital of Vientiane has plenty in the way of attractions and activities, showcasing some of the country's grandest temples and monuments. Depending on arrival time, you’ll hit a few of the capital’s most important sights, such as That Luang Stupa (the National Monument), Hor Pra Keo and Sisaket temple - all before returning to your suite at the luxurious Settha Palace Hotel.

Day 2
Boun Tai

Depart the capital, catching a short two-hour flight upcountry to the northernmost airport at Boun Neu. There’s time for the group to take a local lunch in the town, before continuing on to the remote Boun Tai village (stops on the way to Akha Nuqui, Lao Sang and old an French military base). 

Day 3
Around Boun Tai

Hit the dirt in a 4x4 SUV, crisscrossing the Laotian countryside on the way to several fascinating hilltop tribes such as the Akha Djepia, Akha Erpa, Akha Loma, and Black Hmong. Its a long trip, but the gorgeous mountain scenery along the way more than makes up for the time spent on the road (or dirt path). Return to your guesthouse for your second night in Boun Tai.

Day 4

Perhaps a highlight of the tour, day four takes you on to some of the country’s most remote, untouched village tribes hidden deep in the dense, tropical jungles of northern Laos. The 4x4 all-terrain car leaves early, with the tour heading to Ban Pi Jer Mai, Akha Djepia, Akha Loma and Akha Erpa. The trip finishes at the pretty Muang La Resort (your hotel for the night), around 5 hours away and situated right next to a natural hot spring.

Day 5

After scaling mountains, trekking over hills and winding through dense jungles for the last few days, it’s time for a rest. Day-five has been set aside for relaxation and rejuvenation; the stunning Muang La resort you’re staying at offers spa and massage treatments, and you can even dip your feet into the nearby hot spring or bathe in the surrounding lake.

Day 6

Enjoy breakfast on the last day of this tour before checking out and making your way (via private transportation) to Oudomxai, which is where you’ll be catching your onwards flight back to the capital, Vientiane. This marks the end of the trip, and you'll be free to travel on to your next destination of choice.


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.

Hong Thong Hotel

Hong Thong Hotel

The remote Boun Tai region of Northern Laos has little in the way of permanent accommodation, but one of the go-to stays here is Hong Tong Hotel, located conveniently in the small town center. Offering 41 rooms in total (30 single, 18 double and three suites), Hong Tong has a sizable range of rooms, but do bare in mind that decor, furnishings and services are kept to a minimum and are quite outdated. That said, rooms do come with all the essential amenities, including storage space, comfy beds, TVs and en-suite bathrooms with hot showers. There’s also a restaurant downstairs serving up local Laotian dishes at budget prices. Venture outside and explore the sleepy Boun Tai town, or make your way to the hills and mountains for which this spectacular region is best-known.  

Muang La Lodge

Muang La Lodge

This boutique lodge offers a private and authentic Laos experience with only five wooden villas and 10 bedrooms, designed with traditional architectural features and created to be a retreat away from it all within a lush tropical landscape. Tropical gardens, rivers, rice fields, numerous and varied local tribes, butterflies, incredible rich fauna and flora, this secluded hideaway offers the best in rest and relaxation. With a natural hot spring, a beautiful flowing river and private corners at every turn, leave the hustle and bustle of daily life behind and step into a world of traditional culture. Dine on Laos cuisine or foray into fine dining on a private island, take excursions to discover the local tribes and culture or enjoy massages, hot springs and everything a retreat should offer. Eat, sleep, drink and relax.

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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