It’s time to head off the beaten path with this five-day tour of north Laos – one of the prettiest, yet seldom visited parts of the country. Start by getting to know the capital, Vientiane, before flying upcountry to Boun Neu – not too far from the Chinese border. From there, you’ll be spending the second night at a family homestay at Akha Nugui, all before heading on to the quaint town of Phongsaly. This, both the northernmost and highest town in the whole of Laos will be used as a base, as you venture on to to see untouched hilltop tribes, towering mountains, local villages ,and out-of-town excursions into the countryside. End the tour with a flight back to your starting point, Vientiane.
• Vientiane: Get to know the complex story of Laos through the capital's mix of colonial, traditional and modern attractions.
• Cultural Exchange: A homestay experience with a local family in Akha Nugui offers an authentic taste of Northern Laotian life.
• Remote Phongsaly: Watch the sunset over Phongsaly Town, the northernmost and highest town in the country, at the stupa atop Phou Fa Mountain.
Depending on arrival time in the Laotian capital, you'll head out to some of the city's most magnificent temples and monuments, including That Luang Stupa and Sisaket Temple. Take time to refresh and reenergize yourself in your luxurious suite at Settha Palace Hotel before departure the following day.
Fly out of the capital to the northernmost airport in the country at Boun Neu. From there, hit the dirt roads and make you way over the hills for 2.5 hours to the village of Akha Nugui, where accommodation with local families has been arranged. There's chance to see several hilltop tribes and ethnic villages on the way, and you'll arrive in time for a sunset dinner with your host family.
Say goodbye to your hosts of the previous night and hit the road again (in a 4x4) to Phongsaly, the northernmost and highest town in the whole of Laos. The 3.5-hour drive takes you on to the spectacular Phou Fa Stupa, which overlooks the town and boasts some memorable views as you watch the sun set over the hills of Northern Laos.
This penultimate day has been set aside for further exploration of Phongsaly Town, as well as the gorgeous surrounding countryside. After breakfast, there's visits to the town's main museum, a local market and a neighboring village. An excursion in the afternoon will take you 15 miles out of town to a 400-year-old tea plantation and whisky village, before returning to your guesthouse in the evening.
Fill up at breakfast before bidding farewell to Northern Laos. A morning drive takes you to the airport at Boun Neu where you'll catch an onwards flight back to Vientiane. Arrival in the capital marks the end of this five-day tour - you're now free to travel on to your next destination of choice.
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.
There is no better way to really get the sense of life in a community than to eat, talk, share and stay with the locals. The lesser explored landscapes of Laos is home to stunning scenery and welcoming, hospitable people. The family-run homestays in these rural areas are a window into the local lifestyle and guests are treated as part of the village, included in activities and festivities and given the opportunity to cook and eat authentic food and sleep in a simple, humble but charming wooden home. While rustic, visitors will be comfy and cozy with their own mat, blanket and pillow. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stay with locals in almost untouched communities is a memorable experience, not to be missed.
Overlooking the pretty Northern Laotian town of Phongsali, this basic guesthouse provides simple rooms - good for a few nights of resting after exploring the region. Although amenities and services are kept to a minimum (don’t expect any lavish swimming pools or 24-hour room service), the guesthouse does provide hot water, and some of the more modern room are fitted with TVs and other modern conveniences. The real draw here is the location: shared balconies afford some nice views of the town towards the front, and windows at the back face the rolling green mountains in the distance. The quiet yet ever-so-quaint town of Phongsali is the highest in the whole country, situated around 4,500 feet above sea level.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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