15 Days China-Laos Overland Tour with Yunnan Exploration

Day 01 Arrive in Kunming
Day 2 Kunming-Dali by High Speed Train
Day 3 Dali-Tiger Leaping Gorge
Day 4 Tiger Leaping Gorge-Baishuitai-Shangri-La
Day 5 Shangri-La
Day 6 Shangri-La – Lijiang
Day 7 Lijiang
Day 8 Lijiang – Jinghong by Flight
Day 9 Jinghong-Menglun-Mengla

Day 10: Mengla-Mohan-Boten-Khamu village of Chom Ong

Trip via the new highway to Mohan, the border crossing to Laos.

After completion of the border formalities you will be received by your Laotian guide; after that you drive through the beautiful landscape of northern Laos in the direction of Oudomxay.

En route you make a detour to the impressive Ban Chom Ong Caves. Chom Ong Cave is the second longest cave system in Laos and enthuses you with its sparkling tufaceous limestone formations and gigantic stalagmites and stalactites. An estimated 18 km of the cave wind into the landscape of northern Laos, and the first 450 meters are illuminated by solar lamps. (Good shoes are a necessary precondition). In some places the cave is up to 50 meters high. From the nearest village, Khamu, you hike about 1 hour to the entrance to the cave.

After exploring the cave you march back to the Khamu village of Chom Ong, where you will spend the night in simple accommodation with a local family.

From the village of Chom Ong you go first back to the main road and on to Oudomxay (Muang Xai), the capital of the province of the same name and the biggest city in northern Laos.

The city of Oudomxay (Muang Xai) is an important transshipment center for goods from Thailand, China, and Vietnam. We go on in a north-westerly direction to Muang Khua, the starting point for your wonderful boat trip on the Nam Oi River to Muang Noi.

Nam Ou River is one of the most important rivers of Laos and is from a landscape point of view one of the most attractive places Laos has to offer. Nam Ou River has its source in the border area with China and flows 448 km south to its junction with the Mekong. Avail yourself of that idyll, because due to construction of a dam after 2019 the area will be flooded.

At a leisurely pace the boat travels down Nam Ou River while the glorious landscape slowly glides past you.

A midday break in the form of a picnic on a sandbank of the river. You make a stop at the village of Ban Sop Jam, which is known for its art of weaving. Toward evening you reach Muang Noi, where you will spend the night in a guesthouse.

Straight after breakfast your muscular strength will be called on: aboard your kayak you will agreeably paddle downstream on Nam Ou River. The slow speed of the water makes the kayak trip a pleasant and enjoyable experience! Slowly and silently you glide through the jungle of northern Laos! Two hours later you reach the village of Muang Kuey, the starting point for your hike to Ban Na Luang.

The lovely hike to Ban Na Luang first of all leads you on flat ground through verdant rice and vegetable fields. According to season the peasants are plowing with their water buffalos, or you can watch the local people harvesting. Lunch in the form of a picnic on the way.

Fortified, you then take on the most demanding part of the hike. The way leads steeply upward through the dense jungle of northern Laos for about 1.5 hours. Arriving at the top you enjoy the charming view of the surrounding mountainous landscape of northern Laos. From there the way leads downhill to the village of Ban Na Luang, which you reach after another hour of walking.

The little village of Ban Na Luang is situated on a small river, embedded in the typically forested karst mountains of northern Laos. In the village are living the ethnic minorities of the Khamu and Hmong as well as Lao. In the afternoon you can enjoy village life, play with the children of the host family or help the woman of the house in preparing the dinner. You spend the night in very simple accommodation with a local family.

Breakfast local style. After that you hike for about 2 hours to Nong Khiaw. There your driver is waiting to drive you to Luang Prabang.

On your trip to Luang Prabang you make a stop at Pak Ou Caves. The village Pak Ou is situated at the junction of Nam Ou River and the Mekong and is known for its two caves: Tham Loum and Tham Theung, that is, the Pak Ou Caves.

In the interior of the two caves there are thousands of statues of Buddha made of wood or gold in all shapes and sizes. According to a legend the temples were built in 1547 by King Setthathirat, who simultaneously had Vat Pak Ou built on the other side of the river. But it is said that the cult site is much older. Earlier the caves were regarded as habitation for the river spirit (Phi) and the Naga king Chao Ulonngka, the guardian over the mouth of the Nam Ou. Magical forces are said to be at work there.

Later a drive by car to Luang Prabang. Check in and overnight stay.

Luang Prabang is in north-central Laos at the junction of the Mekong and Nam Khan River. In 1995 the old city center of Luang Prabang was placed on UNESCO’s list of world heritage cultural sites to be protected. The many golden temples, the old French colonial buildings, the lovely natural landscapes and the easy-going and relaxed character of the people give this former royal city a very special charm which a visitor finds it hard to resist.

On your rented mountain bike you make a tour of exploration through Luang Prabang. You visit the busy morning market and then go to what is probably the most beautiful and the biggest monastery in Luang Prabang, Wat Mai. Wat Mai monastery was built toward the end of the 18th century by King Anourout and served mainly as a residence for the royal family. It acquired its present name after the restoration ordered in 1821 by King Manthathourat. The most conspicuous feature of the temple are the gilded relief panels of the front façade. The panels tell the story of the highest incarnation of the Buddha — Vessentara.

Following that you visit the National Museum located in the former royal palace (Haw Kham). As well as other cultural treasures the National Museum houses the glorious royal throne from the Lane Xang Empire. After visiting the museum you go on further on your mountain bike to Wat Visoun. That temple was set up during the reign of King Visounarat in about 1520 and today houses a collection of statues of Buddha and religious artifacts from the 14th century.

In the afternoon you ride along Nam Khan River to Wat Xieng Thong. Wat Xieng Thong is the most important temple in Luang Prabang and is also one of the most important temple grounds in Laos. Until 1975 Wat Xieng Thong was a royal temple. In the 1960’s the temple was completely altered and renovated. Today the temple serves the local population as a prayer site.

At the end of the day you visit the temple called Wat Phabat Thai, which is situated on the bank of the Mekong. There we enjoy in a relaxed atmosphere sunset over the Mekong. Overnight stay in Luang Prabang.