Ethnic expedition to the tribes of Northern Laos and to the "flying gibbons" of Nam Kan National Park

LAOS


November 5 to 19, 2021
Tour Laos and Northern Thailand

tour to Laos expedition Northern Laos tribes Flying Gibbons Nam Kan park Akha Hmong people Mekong Luangprabang Phongsali travel Asia Indochina

Dassanech Karo tribe Bulls jumping ceremony Assale Afar
This expedition combines two outstanding features of Northern Laos: authentic tribes of Muong Sing, Oudomxay and Muang Boun Tai and "flying gibbons" in Bokeo province.
We start from amazing White Temple in northern Thailand and along Mekong and Ou Rivers explore Northern Laos to reach the pearl of Indochina – Lao royal capital of Luang Prabang.

This expedition combines two outstanding features of Northern Laos: authentic tribes of Muong Sing, Oudomxay and Muang Boun Tai and "flying gibbons" in Bokeo province. We start from amazing White Temple in northern Thailand and along Mekong and Ou Rivers explore Northern Laos to reach the pearl of Indochina – Lao royal capital of Luang Prabang.

SCHEDULE & COST:

Dates: November 5 to 19, 2021

Duration: 15 days / 14 nights

Number of participants: 6 – 12

Cost per person:
• 2350 USD subject to 11 – 12 participants,
• 2490 USD subject to 9 – 10 participants,
• 2690 USD subject to 6 – 8 participants.

10% early booking discount (in case you book before June 5, 2021)

Everything is included (including full board meals) except for:
- international flight to Chiang Rai (CEI) and back from Luang Prabang (LPQ)
- international medical insurance
- visas of Laos and Thailand (not required for Russian citizens).

Estimated cost of flight Moscow – Chiang Rai and Luang Prabang – Moscow (via Bangkok, Hanoi or another city): USD 500 – 750 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).

Single supplement: USD 600 (single supplement provided along the whole route)





TRAVEL PROGRAM: TOUR TO LAOS

Day
1. November 5, 2021. Chiang Rai (Thailand) – Chiang Khong – Houeixay (Laos) (107 km, about 2 hours driving)

Early morning arrival by air in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Meet the guide. Visit Wat Rong Khun, better known as White Temple, with the guide. In fact Wat Rong Khun is a privately owned art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple. City tour, and transfer to Chiang Khong situated right on the border with Laos. Upon arrival at Laos border, check out the Thai immigration, then cross the Friendship bridge to Lao Immigration, check in Lao immigration, visa formalities. Meet Lao guide in Houeixay, Laos. Transfer to Houayxai Riverside hotel on the river bank of the Great Mekong. Dinner, overnight.

* Recommended flight VZ-130 from Bangkok (BKK) with Thai Vietjet Air, departure at 6:30 am, arrival in Chiang Rai (CEI) at 7:55 am, or
flight SL-532 from Bangkok (DMK) with Lion Air, departure at 8:20 am, arrival in Chiang Rai (CEI) at 9:45 am, or
flight DD-8714 from Bangkok (DMK) with Nok Air, departure at 7:30 am, arrival in Chiang Rai (CEI) at 8:45 am, or
another flight from any city with arrival to Chiang Rai before 10:30 am.

Meals included: lunch, dinner
Accommodation included:
Houayxai Riverside Hotel (Deluxe)


Day 2. November 6, 2021. Houeixay – Gibbon ziplining in Nam Kan National park (156 km, about 3 hours driving)

This morning, we check out early and go to Gibbon Office to reconfirm our booking (before 8:00 am). Then we start our day to Gibbon Experience. Travel time from Houeixay to the village of Baan Toup is about 2.5 hrs. The 83 km road trip can be quite rough depending on the time of year. In the last village, local guides will welcome you and take care of you. From the village, it is a one-hour, mostly uphill hike to get to the canopy infrastructure. When you arrive, you will split up in small groups, put on a harness and glide across the first cable. You will then alternate gliding and trekking all the way to your tree house (1 to 3 hours depending on your tree house).
This program takes you deeper into the National Park, with a two-to-three hour trek each day along the Nam Nga River and through a fresh-water swimming pool and a charming waterfall. One tree house gives upon the river while the other shows sunsets overlooking several valleys.
While on your Gibbon Experience you will be asked to keep your personal items to a minimum as you will be required to carry your personal items throughout your trip in the jungle. Bedding and towels are provided in your canopy level tree house. You will need a daypack, gloves or old socks, water bottle, mosquito repellent (and long sleeved shirt and pants to avoid bites and stings), a camera and a head torch. For safety reasons we do not allow people over 110 kg.
Overnight is in a canopy-level tree house.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: tree house (standard bed)



Day 3. November 7, 2021. Gibbon ziplining in Nam Kan National park

Enjoy using the cable system to soar through the rich canopy, surrounded by nothing but peace, mountains and trees. You can also just relax in your tree house or go for short hikes on your own to observe the interesting wildlife in the area. Dawn is the best time for wildlife encounters and the jungle offers the possibility of viewing the black gibbons (Nomascus concolor lu). On most days you can hear their territorial hooting, an experience unlike any other. You may be lucky enough to see them interact in their natural setting. However, sightings of the endangered black gibbon cannot be guaranteed. The Gibbon Experience is truly unique. There is nothing else like it in the world.
Two groups of 8 people depart on alternate days soon after 8 am for two nights in the Bokeo reserve, swapping tree houses on the second night. The Gibbon Experience is relaxing and peaceful. You choose how you want to spend your time, there is no strict schedule; food will come when you are hungry though, and the guides will escort you to your tree house and around. This option usually enables gibbon encounters with little effort. Overnight in a canopy-level tree house.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: tree house (standard bed)



Day 4. November 8, 2021. Gibbon ziplining in Nam Kan National park – Houeixay (156 km, about 3 hours driving)

You will have the better part of today with the Gibbon Experience before being transferred back to Houei Xay by Gibbon Experience bus at around 03.00 pm
After a short rest, you can start wandering along the main street to visit a local market and the ruins of the French colonial-era Fort Carnot and enjoy the sunset view overlooking the Mekong River.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included:
Houayxai Riverside Hotel (Deluxe)


Day 5. November 9, 2021. Houeixay – Muong Sing (240km, about 6-7 hours driving)

This morning, transfer to Muong Sing via LuangNam Tha town. The driving is long via mountainous road and it takes about 6-7 hours. On the way to Luang Nam Tha about 70 km we will stop at Ban TaFha Lao Lue ethnic group to see the weaving village. After that, in about 10 km we will stop again at Bansod village to see the real life of Kammu (Khmu) ethnic group and see the viewpoint (if time allows). Khmu is the oldest ethnic layer in the North-East of Indochina, occupying the middle belt of mountains. In Northern Laos, the people are settled over a large area, but very scattered. They occupy the middle belt of the mountains, leaving the very peaks for Mao and Yao.
We will stop at Luang Nam Tha Town for short relax. The quiet town is located near the border with China and Myanmar. We have lunch at Namngern bridge, before we continue to Muong Sing. We check in at the hotel, have dinner and have time to explore the town at night.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: Phou Iu Bungalow (Standard)



Day 6. November 10, 2021. Muong Sing – Trekking around Muong Sing

Start at 9:00 am by Tuk Tuk (local transport) visit Tai Lue village "Ban Don Chai", walk around the village, visit Tai Lue temple "The Tai Lue traditional style temple", 40 minutes' walk to Akha village "Ban PhaKha", an hour walking through agricultural field visit Ban Sai Leck, Ban Jong Ka and Ban Nam Mai. They are Yao ethnic groups to see how they are making traditional clothes, lunch provided on the trail. 15 minutes' walk to visit other Akha village "Ban Nam Daet Mai". Akha is a mountainous agricultural Tibeto-Burmese people inhabiting Los, Myanmar, China and Thailand. Presumably, the Akha come from the territory of Mongolia, where their people formed about one and a half thousand years ago. Their traditional territories - the mountainous valleys of Yunnan - fell under the rule of the Ming Dynasty loyalists after the Manchus took Beijing in 1644, causing significant Chinese migrations to the south. In Thailand, it is believed that Akha came to Thailand from China at the beginning of the 20th century. Migration from China continues even nowadays.
While visiting villages, we get acquaintance with the Yao traditions, cultures and daily lifestyle of the tribes. We will have personal interactions with the villagers and have the opportunity to experience firsthand from the Yao themselves. Yao came to Southeast Asia no earlier than the 13th century. Yao retained many archaic cultural features. Until the middle of the 20th century, "feudal" relations were intertwined with primitive communal ones.
Finally by the Tuk Tuk get back to Muang Sing town.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: Phou Iu Bungalow (Standard)



Day 7. November 11, 2021. Muong Sing – Oudomxay (200 km, about 5-6 hours driving)

After Breakfast at 8:15 am checkout and meet your guide and driver at the hotel, short tour to visit waterfall.
This morning say goodbye to Muong Sing and transfer to Oudomxay (200 km around 5-6 hours driving). We have some stops to stretch our legs. We arrive Oudomxay in the afternoon, transfer to visit the village and local market, then transfer to check in Namkat Yorla Pa hotel for overnight.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: Namkat Yorla Pa Resort (Standard)



Day 8. November 12, 2021. Oudomxay – Namkat Waterfall – Muang Boun Tai (180 km, about 5 hours driving)

This morning after breakfast, we will drive towards Namkat Waterfall about 5 km. When reaching the entrance, we will trek pass the jungle and walk over 13 flying bridges (about 1 km). Take your time at the waterfall, trekking to the entrance and driving back to the Tour's Information Center. Check out from the hotel and transfer to Muong Boun Tai located 180km northeast from Oudomxay. We will arrive in the afternoon. Transfer to guest house for check-in. Overnight in Muong Boun Tai.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: Syphone Guest House (Standard) or similar



Day 9. November 13, 2021. Muang Boun Tai – villages around Muoang Boun Tai

Breakfast at the hotel. At 8:30 am meet the guide and driver. We visit the village of Akha people village in the area of Muong Boun Tai. Aka is one the ethnic minorities group that moved from China to Laos in 20th century. They inhabit the north of Laos, areas around Luang Namta, Oudomxay. We will get into acquaintance with Akha culture.
Come back to the hotel and relax.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: Syphone Guest House (Standard) or similar



Day 10. November 14, 2021. Muang Boun Tai – Muong Khua (116 km, about 3 hours driving)

Breakfast. At 8:30 am meet your guide and driver at the guest house. Then by car transfer to Muong Khua (about 3 hours driving). On the way to Muong Khua we will stop at Ban Arya Hmong village.
Hmong is one of Lao ethnic minority, who usually settle on the top of the mountain. The first Hmong migrated to present-day Laos in the 1810s and 1820s. Despite the fact that they tried to settle in remote areas, armed clashes took place between them and the Khmu people for the right to cultivate the land on the Xieng Khouang plateau.
Then we will stop in Boubphan local market where they are selling their handicraft. Before we arrive Parknumnoy local market, we will stop at Ikorlaoly village . Arrive Moung Khua in the afternoon, overnight in Muong Khua.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: Phongpadith Guest House (Standard)



Day 11. November 15, 2021. Muang Khua – Muoang Ngoy (about 5 hours by boat)

Breakfast in the guesthouse. At 8:30 meet your guide and boat driver. This morning, transfer by boat to Muong Ngoy. The small town that only can be reached by boat. The journey will take around 5 hours, includes transfer on land to pass a dam. We will have picnic lunch on the way, on the beach of Nam Ou river. We arrive Muong Ngoy in the afternoon, transfer to hotel, check in.
Then we explore the nearby caves, Tham Kang and Tham Pakeo where the Lao people were hiding and protecting themselves from the bombs in US war between 1960 -1973. Nearby weaving village (if we have time) to see how they do the handmade weaving. Overnight in Muong Ngoy.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: Ning Ning Guest House (Standard)



Day 12. November 16, 2021. Muong Ngoy – Nong Khiaw (about 2 hours by boat)

After breakfast, at 8:00 am meet your guide and boat driver. Then we take boat trip to Nong Khiaw (2 hours), upon arrival, check in at the hotel. Then we take a boat trip, boat with a roof to shade against the sun and any rain, driving upstream Nam Ou Riverfor 40 minutes. Surrounded by mountains and passing villages nestled in the forests, you will see Buffalo bathing in the river, people fishing and often children swimming in the river. It is an idyllic location and will give you a sense of peaceful serenity and you enjoy your boat trip.
You will visit the small Sopkhong Village of Khmu people where you can learn about their way of living. Then we'll trek through local farmland and rice paddies to the start of the jungle and discover the beautiful limestone Tadmok Waterfall. You can relax and enjoy a refreshing splash in this perfect setting where the lunch will be served. After spending 30-40 minutes here we head back to the village along a small dirty road arriving at the river where we take a 5 minute boat ride to another small Khmu village, Huay Hoy.
We then take the boat for 35 minutes back to Nong Khiaw for overnight.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: Mandala Ou Resort



Day 13. November 17, 2021. Nong Khiaw – Ban Pak Ou – LuangPrabang (125 km, about 3 hours driving)

Breakfast at the hotel. At 8:30 am meet the guide and driver at the hotel and travel to Luang Prabang. We arrive at Ban Pak Ou around noon. Lunch at Manivanh restuarant. After Lunch we crossing the Mekong to visit Pak Ou Cave or Thamting Buddha cave, 25km away from Luangprabang. There are two caves: Tham Thing (lover cave) and Tham Phoum (upper cave).
These caves contain a thousand of Buddha images and are of great religious importance to the Theravada Buddhists in Laos. These caves were converted into Buddhist temples in 15th century and are used as a site for Buddha images that can no longer be venerated in a temple.
On the Laos New year, pilgrimages of Lao people goby boat to the caves and perform the washing ceremony of all the Buddha images. Previously this was performed by king and members of the Royal family but now is performed by the governor of Luang Prabang and local families.
On the way back to Luang Prabang we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai where they make the local rice wine, rice whisky.
We transfer back to Luang Prabang, visit Ban XangKhong, famous for Saa paper making and weaving village .After that continue the trip to Luang Prabang.
In the afternoon, upon arrival in Luang Prabangmeet the driver at the boat pier and transfer to hotel for check in and free time at leisure.
Luang Prabang the cultural and religious capital of Laos, and was also the royal capital until 1975. Between 13-16 centuries Luang Prabang was also the administrative capital of Laos instead of Vientiane.
In 1995 UNESCO made Luang Prabang a world heritage city to try and preserve the old French Indo-Chinese architecture.
It is possible to watch people making sa (mulberry bark) pepper , silver jeweler and plates, rattan baskets, wood carvings and textiles in many small shops all through the little alleyways and lane ways of Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: Sanctuary Hotel (Superior)



Day 14. November 18, 2021. Luang Prabang – Khoang Si waterfall

At 5h30 meet your guide at the hotel and head by van to the center of Luang Prabang town and/or attend alms giving. At 6:00 am long lines of monks and novices stroll the street of the town center to collect their daily food subsistence from the worshippers. This ancient ritual is called "Tak bat". After Tak bat we return to the hotel for breakfast.
At 8:20 meet your guide and visit National museum that used to be the former Royal palace. The many items nicely displayed include rare furniture, traditional costumes, arts, jewelry, ornaments as well as working tools and utensils of the early part of the 20th century.
Then visit the holy Wat Mai temple. Located next to the Royal Palace, the Wat Mai was the temple used by Laos Royalty. It is one of the few temples that survived the destruction by Chinese invaders in 1887. Then visit Wat Wisunalat – the Luang Prabang's oldest temple. The temple, also known as Wat Visoun and Wat Visounnarat was founded in 1512 and houses an important collection of ancient Buddha images. Visit small temple Wat Aham and temple Wat Xieng Thong, emblematic temple in Laos. It located at top of the peninsula, where the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers meet. The Golden City Monastery, which dates back to the 16th century, is considered to be the finest in Laos.
Lunch at the Kaipean restaurant. After lunch we drive to visit Living Craft Center, has a short tour to visit the center and learn more about Lao handicraft product. Then continue to the beautiful Khouang Si Waterfall where you can splash around in the pools or walk along the forest paths. We will visit the Black Bear Rescue Center at the entry gate. On the way back from Khoungsi Waterfall we will stop and visit the Hmong village and Come back to the city. Evening is free to visit Night Market.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: Sanctuary Hotel (Superior)



Day 15. November 19, 2021. Luang Prabang – Return flight

After breakfast, check-out and transfer to the airport to catch your flight back.

* Recommended flight FD-1031 from Luang Prabang (LPQ) to Bangkok (DMK) with Air Asia, departure at 11:10 am, arrival in Bangkok (BKK) at 12:55, or
flight TG-2577 from Luang Prabang (LPQ) to Bangkok (BKK) with Thai Smile, departure at 11:20 am, arrival in Bangkok (BKK) at 12:55, or
flight VN-930 from Luang Prabang (LPQ) to Hanoi (HAN) with Vietnam Airlines, departure at 19:15, arrival in Hanoi (HAN) at 20:15, or
flight QV-315 from Luang Prabang (LPQ) to Hanoi (HAN) with Lao Airlines, departure at 8:30 am, arrival in Hanoi (HAN) at 9:50 am, or
any other flight from Luang Prabang (LPQ) to any city with departure from Luang Prabang (LPQ) any time on November 19.

Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation included: no

Cost includes:

• Accommodation in hotels based on double or twin rooms
• accommodation in tree house in Nam Kan NP
• full board meals (3 times a day) along the route
• drinking pure water throughout the whole program and cool towel
• all transport with experienced drivers and working A/C along the entire route (minibus Toyota Hiace for 7 people (and SUV Toyota Land Cruiser Prado for 4 people if needed according to road conditions)
• all airport transfers
• all boats along the route with experienced pilots
• all permits for visiting protected areas, National parks,
• all activities, visits and entrance fees along the route,
• all equipment for ziplining in Nam Kan
• financial support of local communities/tribes
• photo- and video shooting allowance
• governmental taxes
• experienced English-speaking local guide along the whole route
• Russian-speaking and English-speaking team leader Mzungu



Cost excludes (to be additionally paid) :

• International flight to Chiang Rai, Thailand (CEI) and back from Luang Prabang, Laos (LPQ),
• international medical insurance,
• visa of Laos (not required for Russian citizens), visa formalities and airport taxes (if any),
• visa of Thailand (not required for Russian citizens), visa formalities and airport taxes (if any),
• beverages and personal expenses,
• tips,
• single accommodation




To take with:

- sets of clothes suitable for the weather conditions, including lightweight clothes (shorts, T-shorts), and one set of warm clothes (hoody or light jacket), long sleeve clothes
- sun hat/panama
- swimwear
- raincoat
- comfortable trekking footwear, light footwear (sneakers)
- sleeping bag for warm weather
- mosquito net for sleeping place (is a must!)
- personal hygiene items (towel, wet tissues, soap)
- individual medical kit (analgesics, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydron, court plaster, your personal medications)
- anti malaria prevention pills (up to you to decide)
- sunblock set (cream, spray)
- various repellents (is a must!)
- sunglasses
- big backpack for stuff (up to 70 l)
- small backpack for radial walks (25 – 30 l)
- head torch
- photo and video camera, GoPro, tripod
- power bank, batteries


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