13 Days Yunnan(China)-Laos High Speed Train and Mekong River Cruise Tour from Kunming to Vientiane

China – Laos Railway commenced construction on December 2nd, 2015 and is scheduled for completion by 2020. It will connect Kunming, the capital city of southwestern China’s Yunan Province, with Laos’ capital city, Vientiane. The China – Laos railway project is actually a section of the Kunming-Singapore Railway Project, which connects Kunming with Singapore, passing through Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia.


  • Appreciate the fabulous  natural sceneries, including the Samaba Rice Terraces;
  • Explore the ethnic culture of Hani, Jino, Dai and Aka people ;
  • Meet both Chinese and Laos culture;
  • Experience the tropical forest with elephant in XishuangBanna;
  • Discover the Ancient culture in Luang Prabang;
  • Enjoy the water and river in Nam Song River of Vang Vieng;
  • Experience Hani ethnic people(Aka people in Laos) from Yunnan to Laos;
  • Mekong River Le Grand Cruise experience from Houay Xai to Luang Prabang;

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Kunming Arrival
  • Day 2: Kunming – Yuanjiang
  • Day 3: Yuanjiang-Puer-Jinghong
  • Day 4: Jinghong
  • Day 5: Jinghong-Mohan-Na Teuy-Luang Namtha
  • Day 6: Luang Namtha-Houay Xay
  • Day 7: Houay Xay–Pakbeng
  • Day 8: Pakbeng-Mekong River-Luang Prabang
  • Day 9: Luang Prabang
  • Day 10: Luang Prabang-Vang Vieng
  • Day 11: Vang Vieng
  • Day 12: Vang Vieng-Vientiane
  • Day 13 Departure from Vientiane

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Kunming Arrival

Sightseeing and Activities:Arrive in Kunming

Upon your arrival in Kunming, meet your local tour guide and driver, transfer to the hotel for rest.
Welcome to Kunming, the Spring City of China! Upon arrival at the Kunming airport/train station, the local tour guide and driver will meet you in the arrival hall and escort you to your hotel and help you check in. The rest of the day is on your own to explore the comfortable cityscape and leisure atmosphere there! Have a good rest!

After a short break, drive to explore Kunming Flowers & Birds Market. Walk along the narrow paths lined with various shops selling birds, fishes, flowers, antiques, fishing gear, etc. and watch local people finding their best things to buy with sounds of bargaining, chirping, etc.

Next, go to enjoy a cultural visit to Yuantong Temple that is one of the top oldest Buddhist temples in Kunming with more than 1,200 years’ history. Take your stroll there to feel the rich Buddhist atmosphere of three Buddhist sects filling the antique halls and houses specially designed into a traditional Chinese garden layout for a quite different appreciation of temple in China.

Then, walk to Kunming Green Lake nearby. This pretty park with a lovely lake, old-styled pavilions, corridors, flowers, etc. is the most popular place for an authentic feeling of local Kunming people’s leisure life with citizens singing, dancing, talking, exercising, etc. During November to the next March, Black-headed Gulls from Siberian will never be late to fly there for their expecting comfortable warm winter holiday. Do not miss playing with those adorable and vigorous elfin during your relaxing roam!

After today’s visiting, be escorted back to your hotel. Enjoy a good sleep!

Day 2 Kunming-Yuxi-Yuanjiang

Sightseeing and Activities:Samaba Rice Terraces, Dongmenjie village, Dayangjie  and Longjia Village, Red Valley Rehai Hot Spring

After breakfast, take the high speed train to Yuanjiang via Yuxi City.Yuanjiang Hani, Yi and Dai Autonomous County (元江县) is a county of south-central Yunnan province, People’s Republic of China. The county seat is the town of Lijiang (澧江镇), while the county itself is under the administration of Yuxi City. It derives its name from the Red River (Asia), which is known as the Yuan River in Yunnan, and is an important provincial crossroads for access to Southeast Asia.

Arrive at Yuanjiang at noon, transfer to Honghe County; We will transfer to Honghe County and visit the wonderful Samaba rice Terraces.

In different seasons, the Samba Rice Terrace Fields presents different scenery. As the year of 2020 enters later autumn, the mist and clouds help turn the terrace fields into a paradise on the earth. Rice was harvested; the blue sky and white clouds are reflected in the waters of the fields, presenting a harmonious rhythm of light and shade.

As part of the Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces which was listed as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2013, the Samaba Rice Terrace Fields is located in the Honghe County, 37 kilometers away from the county seat. There are as many as 4,300 terraces from the altitude of 600 to 1,800 meters. Covering a total area of 2,636 acres, the terrace was recognized as China’s largest terrace by Shanghai Great World Guinness Office.
Pay a visit to the traditional villages in around Samaba including Dongmenjie village, Dayangjie  and Longjia Village(龙甲村).
Transfer to Yuanjiang, enjoy the hot spring in Red Valley Rehai Hot Spring Hotel.
Stay at Red Valley Rehai Hot Spring Hotel in Yuanjiang

Day 3 Yuanjiang-Puer-Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities: Datan Village, Zhega Village, Dulang Village, Xiaoyan Village, Manting Park, Dafosi Temple
In the morning, we will transfer to visit Datan Village (打炭村)  and Zhega Village (者嘎村), Dulang Village(都郎村) and Xiaoyan Village(小燕村) of Dai ethnic people;
Take the high speed train to Jinghong City of XishuangBanna after lunch.
If you want to travel Thailand and China in one go, then look no further than Xishuangbanna! Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, as it is known officially, is located in southern Yunnan Province of China, on the borders of Laos and Myanmar. Compared with the distance to Beijing, the capital of China, Xishuangbanna is about a third of closer to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Therefore, unlike typical China you may imagine, you will get a strong taste of Thailand besides the charm of China in Xishuangbanna. Golden Southeast Asia style temples, banana trees, elephant groups and Thai-flavored snacks are somehow the strong proofs. Besides, known as the “Kingdom of Animals and Plants”, Xishuangbanna is, of course, a beautiful, mysterious and earthly paradise worthy of any nature lover’s bucket list.
Arrive in Jinghong at noon. You will pay a visit Manting Park and Dafosi Temple in the city downtown.
Explore Gaozhuang Night Market at night.
Stay in Jinghong

Day 4 Jinghong

Sightseeing and Activities:Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden, Mekong River, Dai Minority Garden, Jino Ethnic Village

In the morning, drive along the Mekong to Ganlanba, a traditional Dai inhabitancy region, enjoy view along the river, in Ganlanaba, see a lively daily local market of Dai people first, then drive off main road into countryside to visit village and temple to find out the life and culture facts of Dai people, the dominant ethnic group of the region, if like, enter their house built on stilts and have a chat with them.

Further move in the east to Menglun, where the biggest tropical botanical garden of China is situated, which holds more than 3000 species, enjoy nice scenery in the garden and learn about some interesting plants, short walk in rainforest zone, the most natural part of garden is especially recommended, tourists seldom go there, very quiet and original, for simple knowledge about rainforest, the most bio-diversified vegetation type in the world.

Return Jinghong different way, mountainous but scenic, across the rainforest, if time permits, drop in village of Jinuo, the last ethnic group classified by Chinese government in 1979, with population of only 20 thousand, they uniquely belong to this region.

Day 5 Jinghong-Mohan Border-Boten-Nateuy-Luang Namtha

Sightseeing and Activities:Mohan-Boten Border Gate,Muang Sing Museum, French garrison, old market, Ban Nong Bou (Tai Dam), Ban Patoy (Tai Neua), Stupa (That Xieng Tung)

After breakfast, transfer to Jinghong Railway Station, take the high speed trian (C389 07:45-09:00) to Mohan border, cross the border to Bo Ten, continue the train to Nateuy.

After clearing with immigration check point Bo Ten you will be welcomed our guide and driver, then we head to town to Luang Namtha, which is located on the banks of the Namtha River, is a land of rugged mountains and beautiful tropical forests and shares its border with China and Myanmar. We continue our motorbike ride to Muang Sing visiting Muang Sing highlights: Muang Sing Museum, French garrison, old market. The guide will explain you about Muang Sing`s rich history. Have breakfast in Muang Sing morning market, there you can taste local specialties’ such fried banana, noodle soup…and see many ethnic people (Akha, Hmong, Thai Dam, Yao…) that go in the market to sell their products.
Then we ride for the rest of the day. Visit Ban Nong Bou (Tai Dam) to see traditional weaving. Visit Ban Patoy (Tai Neua) to see the making of Lao Lao (Lao Whiskey) and taste some… Visit Stupa (That Xieng Tung) and relax on the mountain. Visit Ban Silihuang (Tai Neua) to see the making of Kao Soi. Visit more ethnic group’s village such as: Yao, Akha, Tai Lue. Visit the ruin of old Muang Sing town, the guide explain you the history of the town. Take lunch on the hill, where was the former residence of the king, enjoying a beautiful view of Muang Sing valley and get back to Muang Sing town around 17:00pm
Overnight in Luang Namtha

Day 6 Luang Namtha – Houay Xay

Sightseeing and Activities:Namtha -Houay Xai Cycliing Tour, the local market and villages in Houay Xai,

After breakfast at your hotel, check your bike to be ready then we start riding on road north to Houay Xay, this will be a bumpy ride riding along dirt roads, uphill and downhill. The scenery is great and wonderful which makes it worth it; we visit hill tribe villages along the road at Muang Phouka and other surrounding area. Houay Xay, which is located on the banks of the Mekong River, is a land of rugged mountains and beautiful tropical forests and shares its border with Thailand and Myanmar (golden triangle).

Arrive to your hotel, check in and are free at your leisure to explore this town, visiting the local market and villages nearby. The surrounding areas of HoueiSay are home to 34 ethnic minority groups, the second most ethnically diverse province in Laos.

The capital of Bokeo province, Houay Xai is primarily a border crossing town. Immediately you will experience an economic difference, with housing more rudimentary than you see in Thailand. Main ethnic groups are Lanten, Hmong, Lahu, Yao, Akha, and Tai Lue. For a truly unique experience, hop off here and head to the Gibbon Experience in Bokeo – a forest camp made up of tree houses and zip lines! The forests here have some of the last remaining groups of black-cheeked gibbons in all of Laos, and travellers can both help in conservation and get an opportunity to see these animals with a visit.
Overnight in HoueiSay

Day 7  Houay Xay – Pakbeng/ Mekong River Le Grand Cruise

Sightseeing and Activities:Le Grand Cruise in Mekong River, Hmong, Yao and Khmu ethnic minority villages, the sunset over the mountains and the Mekong River
Accommodation:Luang Namtha

Your boarding time 08:30am. Our local guide will meet and assist you at Lao side immigration and transfer you to board our cruise. Please find the signboard “Le Grand Cruise” at the meeting point in front of Immigration Counter.Note: The Cruise dates are on Monday, Thursday, Friday.

This morning you will board your traditional slow boat for the cruise downstream the Mekong River to the river town of Pakbeng.

Enroute the scenery along this part of the Mekong is arguably at its most beautiful.  As your journey downriver you will stop at some Hmong, Yao and Khmu ethnic minority villages and experience observing their traditional local lifestyle. Lunch is served on board while cruising.

Arriving at Pakbeng late afternoon you will check in to your bungalow and enjoy a few drinks watching the sunset over the mountains and the Mekong River at the swimming pool side terrace.
Overnight in Pakbeng (L, D)
*Optional: You may hup off & hup on staying longer at our property for longer in order to continue visiting local villages, experience gold panning and local way of life in this remote countryside. And you can always hup on boarding our next cruise in a few days and/or drive to 140km to Oudomxay to board an express train down to Luang Prabang…etc.*

Day 8 Pakbeng-Mekong River-Luang Prabang

Sightseeing and Activities:Le Grand Cruise in Mekong River,

Breakfast and transfer you from our resort to board pier. We will continue Le Grand Cruise in Mekong River starting from 08:00 (Cruise dates: Tuesday, Friday, Saturday) ). This morning we continue the second legs downstream pass areas of un-spoilt forest with little villages along the riverbanks and perhaps the odd elephant or two with his mahout. You will visit a Hmong village and have the opportunity to explore the local villages and old temples. Lunch is served on board as we enjoy the slow-paced cruise.

We will pull over for a visit to Pak-Ou Caves, an ancient pilgrimage site and containing thousands of gold lacquered Buddha images left there over hundreds of years.

Arriving in Luang Prabang, you will disembark at Le Calao pier around sunset, your local guide is ready to meet up and transfer to your hotel.

This early evening at 17.30pm, you will be transfer to local house to do Baci ceremonies are an integral part of Lao culture. Held to celebrate a special event, whether a marriage, a homecoming, or a departure, it is based on an ancient belief that the human being is a union of 32 organs and the kwan (or soul) watches over each of them. Since kwan is often the attributed cause of an illness or bad fortune, the Baci ceremony calls the kwan from wherever it may be roaming back to the body and re-establishes equilibrium. The mohkwan is a village elder who chant and call the kwan. At the end of the ceremony, the village elders wrap a white cotton thread around your wrist while chanting an invocation to strengthen the power of the blessings. In Laos, white is the color of peace, good fortune, honesty and warmth. The ceremony is set up at a 115-year-old rustic house on a lotus pond. Enjoy traditional music and dance after the ceremony.

From there, we visit the Night Market, where you can browse a lovely selection of handmade textiles, made by the local people and hilltribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 9 Luang Prabang

Sightseeing and Activities:Giving Alm Bowl to the monks, The National Museum, the Central Market, Wat Xieng Thong, the Night Market
Accommodation:Luang Prabang

Optional for early riser at 5:30:
Early morning, enjoy giving Alm Bowl to the monks on the street for making a merit. The Buddhist monks carry for their collection of food as they walk around the village near by only one time a day, early morning. It’s a belief that in order to give people to gain merit before they will start their day life, normally people will have to go to Buddhist temple, but in this case it’s to give people opportunity to do at home, it is not the way of begging as they never ask for any food and even wait for those who are late for giving alms in the morning. (With the Morning Alms Giving, if you do not wish to make an offering, please keep an appropriate distance and observe the ritual in silence. Dress appropriately, shoulder, chest and legs should be covered.)
Then visit the morning Market, where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, Mekhong fishes, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings and local delicacies. Return to hotel for breakfast

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be met with guide and driver for transfer to hotel for check in, we enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent today visit The National Museum (closed Thursdays) at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of the artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating back from the days of the early kings right through to the last sovereign. The National Museum and the Central Market are not to be missed.
We then continue visit the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong with its roofs sweeping low representing the classical architecture of Luang Prabang including the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai; we then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi to explore the sacred, gilded stupa as well as capture a beautiful view of the city and the Mekong River at sunset.

Dinner is on your own account – then transfer back to hotel for the night.
Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 10 Luang Prabang -KhuangSi/ Elephant riding-Vang Vieng

Sightseeing and Activities:an Long Lao H’mong Ethnic village, Kuang Si Waterfall, Ban Muang Khai Elephant Riding Experience
Accommodation:Vang Vieng

At around 09:00am, you will meet your tour guide at lobby hotel leaving Luang Prabang with your private guide and driver, you travel for around one hour and twenty minutes out of the town. On the way, passing through beautiful scenery and rural landscapes with rice terraces and pineapple fields. You visit Ban Long Lao a local H’mong village where the culture, customs and language are all different to mainstream Laos. Your hike starts from the H’mong village and takes between two and three hours through primary forest and jungle before reaching the top as spectacular Kuang Si Waterfall where you can visit and enjoy the natural beauty.
Lunch will be served in the local restaurant at Waterfall.

On the way back to Luang Prabang, we make stop at Ban Muang Khai, to enjoy feeding Elephant with riding on its back for 30 – 40mintes (each Elephant can carry only 2papx in one time). The transfer back to Luang Prabang and take the high speed train to Vang Vieng from Luang Prabang Railway Station.

Vang Vieng is a riverside town in Central Laos. The town hosts been known as a get-together destination for quite a long time, and whilst regardless these remaining parts more open air situated exercises are currently accessible, for example, mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, giving in, swimming and shake climbing.
Upon arrival at Vang Vieng, visit Tham Jung Cave and we end up the day with a superb panorama of the sunset reflecting over the Nam Song River with long tail boat ride.
Overnight in Vang Vieng

Day 11 Vang Vieng

Sightseeing and Activities:the Nam Song River, Tham Jang Caves, Hmong, Souay and Taidam villages, Optional Balloon to fly over the Vang Vieng City
Accommodation:Vang Vieng

At around 08:30 or 09.00am, we leave this wonderful town after breakfast for our journey northbound to Vang Vieng on route No. 13. We will see some breathtaking scenery enroute as we pass through spectacular countryside towards the mountainous region.
Vang Vieng is a riverside town in Central Laos. The town hosts been known as a get-together destination for quite a long time, and whilst regardless these remaining parts more open air situated exercises are currently accessible, for example, mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, giving in, swimming and shake climbing.
Upon arrival at Vang Vieng, we cross the Nam Song River to Tham Jang caves and today ends with a superb panorama of the sunset reflecting over the Nam Song River with long tail boat ride.
Enjoy your lunch at local restaurant;
Then transfer to your hotel for check-in. Remainder of the day is at leisure.
Dinner is on your own.

Optional Tour in Vang Vieng:
In the early morning, we drive to where Balloon to fly over the Vang Vieng City
After breakfast at your hotel, we start our board on a local tractor through paddy field areas heading to Tham Phoukham caves, where your breath will be taken away seeing the most beautiful and famous limestone cavern, surrounded by natural forests. Along the way, you have chance to explore the local cultures by greeting the local villagers and learning about their daily lifestyle. There is a small natural pool in front of the caves where you can take a swim to refresh yourself from the hot climate or you could explore the nearby area.

You will have a picnic lunch enjoying the scenery. After spending the day at the caves and its surrounding areas, we make our return to the Vang Vieng town, using local transportation or tractor. En route, we visit the ethnic minority villages of Hmong, Souay and Taidam villages meeting the warm and friendly hill tribe people and observing their traditional tribal costumes. Then we drive to Nam Song River bank there will be Tubing or Kayaking await at start to scroll down Nam Song River to your hotel
Overnight in Vang Vieng

Day 12 Vang Vieng – Vientiane

Sightseeing and Activities:Wat Sisaket Temple, Haw Prakeo Temple, Patuxay Monument, That Luang Stupa, Xieng Khuan Buddha Park

After breakfast at your hotel, we drive out of town to the fabulous capital, Vientiane by express way. Vientiane is the charming and fascinating capital of Laos. This small town conjures up exotic images, with the curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French influences.

This afternoon we explore the town; with Wat Sisaket which is the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane. This amazing structure features remarkable frescoes and Buddha images. We continue sightseeing by visiting Haw Prakeo, the former royal temple of Laos monarchy, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Statue. We then visit the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph before continuing to the famous That Luang Stupa.

After Lunch, we drive approximately 35km to visit one of Laos’ slightly stranger attractions – Xieng Khuan Buddha Park or Buddha Park. It was Built in 1958 on the banks of the Mekong River This is the site of a large collection of many kinds of Buddhist and Hindu Sculptures then our guide and driver will take you a walk out to the night market to do shopping and enjoying testing street food, back to hotel for the night.
Overnight in Vientiane

Day 13 Departure from Vientiane

Sightseeing and Activities:Departure from Vientiane
After breakfast is free at leisure until time for transfer to the airport for departure flight to home/ next destination (air tickets is on your own).
Service ends.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star Hostels
Kunming Sofitel Hotel Jingjiang Hotel Long Teng Hotel Tu Tu Inn
Yuanjiang Ting Ziyun Hotel Lin An Hotel Res Sky Hotel Huiyuanlou Inn
Jinghong Yuanyang Twelve Manor Yunti Hotel Shuiyunjian Hotel Guanjing Heaven Hotel
Luang Namtha / / Yunti Hotel /
Houay Xai Hermit Hotel Xile Hot Spring Hotel Tai’ anmeng Holiday Hotel Rainforest Paradise Inn
Pakbeng Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort Hejing Hotel Hailun Holiday Hotel Shuibian Dai Inn
Luang Prabang Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort Hejing Hotel Hailun Holiday Hotel Shuibian Dai Inn
Vang Vieng Resort Hejing Hotel Hailun Holiday Hotel /
Vientiane Resort Hejing Hotel Hailun Holiday Hotel /

Service Included:

  • Admission fees for all of the sightseeing spots listed in the itinerary;
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary;
  • Hotels as listed in the itinerary;
  • Private English-speaking tour guide;
  • Private vehicle for transfers & sightseeing with skilled driver;
  • Service charge & government taxes;
  • Luggage transfers between airports and hotels;
  • Service charge and all government taxes;
  • Travel Agency’s Responsibility Insurance coverage.

Service Excluded:

  • Any arrival and departure international airfares or train tickets;
  • Chinese visa fees;
  • Excess baggage charged by Airlines;
  • Single room supplement;
  • Tips to guides and drivers;
  • Personal expenses and gratuities to service staff;
  • Personal travel accident insurance;
  • All optional programs.