12 Days Laos- Yunnan (China) Overland Tour from Luang Prabang to Kunming

Northern Laos and Yunnan Province in China have much more in common than just a border frontier. The two share a number of characteristics including rich ethnic culture, stunning valleys and tropical mountain landscapes. This adventure makes the natural link between the destinations, offering an immersive introduction to this picture-perfect corner of the world. The journey gets underway in Kunming, the cosmopolitan capital of Yunnan and a fine place to sample the feel of a big Chinese city. After leaving the urban whirl behind, guests proceed to the southern reaches of Yunnan where they will meet Lahu and Bulang ethnic groups and visit ancient pagodas. Crossing into Laos, the route proceeds through some of the prettiest countryside in the region, cool, clean rivers providing options for kayaking and swimming and later cruising. The journey ends in Luang Prabang, a one-time seat of royalty that retains a peaceful charm.

Arrival in Luang Prabang. Pick up at the airport and transfer to your hotel.

Luang Prabang is located in north central Laos at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan River.

In the centre of the city is Mount Phousi with stunning views of the surrounding temples and hills. In 1995 Luang Prabang was listed by the UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site.

This ancient royal capital offers a charming amalgamation of crumbling French architecture, glistening temples, natural beauty and laid back life style of the local population. Luang Prabang is also an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries.

If time permits you make a walking tour around Luang Prabang.


Travel from Luang Prabang overland to the Yunnan Province in China

You explore the streets around Luang Prabang by traditional “Tuk Tuk” and discover some of Luang Prabang hidden treasures and highlights.

Visit to the Monastery Wat Visun which was first built in 1512 during the reign of King Visun. Continue to the nearby Wat Aham Monastery, which literally translated means “The Monastery of the blossoming heart”.

You then drive to Luang Prabang’s biggest and arguably the most beautiful temple – the Wat Mai. Wat Mai was built by King Anourout towards the end of the 18th century and served as a temple for the royal family and long has been the residence of the Pra Sangkharat, the highest Laotian Buddhist dignitary.

You climb Phusi hill to enjoy the view overlooking the city and watch the amazing sunset. From here we can see the magic Mekong and the small Nam Khan river.

Round up the day with a visit to the Street Night Bazaar, where you can find the lovely collection and handmade textile by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.


Drive to Nong Khiaw, a rustic little town nestled amongst fantastic lime stone mountains.

From Nong Khaw you will trek about 2-3 hrs through rice paddy fields and pristine forest to Ban Na Luang Village. In cooperation with the Lao government and the village chief/villagers we have created a two-day activity visit for our guests to experience the life and the rich culture of the locals.

Earnings from this visit are invested in the Village Fund to improve health care, education and local infrastructure. Currently the lack of a school and water system undermine this village’s future. So with your visit you can make a difference.

The inhabitants of Ban Na Luang Village belong mainly to the Khamu and the Hmong ethnic groups.

Overnight accommodation in a very simple, local style Guesthouse.


After a local style breakfast you have time to stroll around the village.

You can also take part in our guided activities like Cotton processing, natural dyes, basket making, animal tending, gardening, planting, Lao village style cooking, school visits carpentry or you can assist a local farmer harvesting. Of course these activities always depend on the season and on what is happening in the village on that day.

If you want you can take a swim in the nearby river together with the locals!

After lunch you say good-bye to the villagers and head back to Nong Khiaw where we arrive late afternoon.

Overnight accommodation is at the Nong Khiaw Riverside Loge.


The Nam Ou River is one of the most important rivers of Laos with some of the most stunning scenery Laos has to offer.

On board a Long Tail Boat you journey slowly upstream while taking in the spectacular scenery. Along the way we pass remote villages, rugged mountain terrain, impressive Karst Cliffs and we can observe the traditional daily village live along the river.

You stop at one of the many villages, most of which are only accessible by boat.

The Nam Ou River runs 448 km from Phongsaly in Northern Laos to Luang Prabang where it merges with the Mekong River.

You disembark at Muang Khoua, a remote mountain village perched on the side of a mountain. From here we continue by road down to Oudomxai where you arrive in the early evening.


Drive through the ever changing landscape of northern Laos via Oudomxay toward the Border of China. After the border formalities you say goodbye to Laos. You walk accross the border into China where you are already expected by your Chinese Guide.

Drive via Mengla to the town of Menglun.

The town of Menglun is located about 75km southeast of Jinghong on the banks of the Luosuo River, a tributary of the Lancang Jiang (Mekong River).

The main attraction of Menglun is the beautiful Menglun Tropical Garden which situated across the Luosuo River and spreading over 900 hectares. The park has been founded in 1959 and today more than 8000 species of plants can be found there. A small ethno botany museum displays a model tropical forest.

Overnight accommodation takes place at a 3 Star Hotel or at the beautiful Anantara Resort overlooking the Luosuo River.


From Menglun you continue your journey in north-eastern direction along the Lao-border which is only a stone’s throw away.

En route you make a detour to the village of Yiwu. The village of Yiwu is known for the outstanding quality of its puer tea. Yiwu is also regarded as the starting point of the Tea and Horse Road. The Tea and Horse Road was an extensive network of trading routes linking the south of Yunnan province with the Tibetan Highlands.

From Yiwu tea was transported to Tibet and in the opposite direction salt and Tibetan horses were brought to Yunnan.

In one of the oldest trading firms in Yiwu you have the chance to try out the once so precious puer tea.

Afternwards you travel further for about 3 more hours to Jiangcheng. This area is one of the most important tea cultivation districts in all of China.

Overnight accommodation is at Jiangcheng.

Day 8: Jiangcheng County-Luchun-Yuanyang

During today’s drive to Yuanyang you will experience some of the most spectacular rice terraces of the region. There are countless photo opportunities along the way.

This area is home to the Yi and Hani ethnic minorities. The Yuanyang rice terraces have been carved out of the Ailao Mountains over hundreds of years by Hani farmers living in the area.

In 2013 the Yuanyang rice terraces have been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.

You drive to some of the viewpoints from where you enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the rice terraces. Continue to Duoyishu for overnight accommodation.

You stay overnight in a rustic guesthouse in the middle of the rice terraces of Yuanyang.

Day 9 Yuanyang Hani Rice Terraces

Day 10 Yuanyang-Tuanshan Village-Jianshui

Day 11 Jianshui-Stone Forest-Kunming
Day 12 Departure from Kunming