Highlights of North Vietnam & Laos

Vietnam-Laos Adventures

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Hanoi - Halong - Mai Chau - Pu Luong - Sam Nua - Xieng Khoang - Luong Prabang - Vang Vieng - Vientiane
17-day tour with kayaking, trekking, biking and elephant riding
Grade: Introductory to Moderate.
View grading definition here.

Vietnam and Laos adventure tour offers adventurous travelers a great opportunity to discover the combined beauty of northern Vietnam and northern Laos. While Vietnam and Cambodia are quite well-known, Laos is the least populated of the Indochinese countries. The landscape is dominated by mountains, jungles and of course the Mekong River, which runs for 1800km along the western border of the country. A devoutly Buddhist nation, Laos has opened up to provide travelers with an opportunity to experience the diversity, tradition and natural beauty of the country.

Tour Highlights
  • Sea kayaking in Halong Bay
  • Trekking and homestay in Mai Chau and Pu Luong
  • Plain of Jars in Xieng Khoang
  • Ancient city of Luong Prabang
  • River kayaking in Luong Prabang Area

Vietnam-Laos Adventures route map

TOUR AT GLANCE

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
Day 2: City tour of Hanoi
Day 3: Kayaking Halong Bay
Day 4: Kayaking Halong Bay
Day 5: Back to Hanoi
Day 6: Trekking & home stay Mai Chau
Day 7: Trekking & home stay Mai Chau
Day 8: Cross border to Laos/drive to Xam Nua
Day 9: Drive to Xieng Khoang
Day 10: Visit Plain of Jars/drive to Luong Prabang
Day 11: In Luong Prabang
Day 12: Biking and river kayking in Luong Prabang
Day 13: Drive to Vang Vieng
Day 14: Biking & caving in Vang Vieng
Day 15: Drive to Vientiane
Day 16: In Vientiane
Day 17: Departure

TOUR PRICE (Per person)
Valid to 31st Dec 2017

Group of 1 person: US$4963 
Group of 2 persons: US$2877
Group of 3-4 persons: US$2354
Group of 5-6 persons: US$1858
Group of 7 persons upon request
Single supplement: US$ 552

TOUR INCLUSIONS:

- Hotels (twin shared room)
- Home stay permission
- Twin shared AC cabin on junk
- AC vehicle
- Sit-on-top double kayak
- Mountain bikes
- Elephant ride
- English speaking guides
- Meals as indicated
- Water & Snacks
- Entrance & Sightseeing fees
- Service charges & taxes

TOUR EXCLUSIONS:

- Travel insurance
- Visa arrangement
- Tips
- Personal expenses
- Others not mentioned

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Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

Arrive at Noi Bai Airport. Meet our guide at the airport and transfer to our hotel in downtown Hanoi. Welcome drink and tour briefing in the afternoon (If you come in the afternoon, the tour briefing will be done at dinner time)
In the evening, enjoy a special Water Puppet show and have welcome dinner with local delights. Overnight Hanoi.. 
Transfer:  45 mins by AC vehicle
Meals:   Welcome Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi 

Day 2: City tour of Hanoi

After breakfast in the hotel, you will take an interesting guided city tour of Hanoi including Ho Chi Minh complex (the mausoleum, the house & garden, and the museum) and One Pillar Pagoda, a unique ancient architecture. After here we move to Temple of Literature, the site of Vietnam’s first university, dates back to 1070. It's peaceful gardens and pavilions offer a relaxing respite from Hanoi’s busy streets. Lunch in local restaurant.
In the afternoon, we enjoy a relaxing cyclo tour in the ancient part of Hanoi. Walking down some small and lively street to see busy local market then join locals for green tea or coffee in local café. Free time for shopping. Overnight in Hanoi
“Cyclo" is three wheeled rickshaws, operated by pedal-power, with a seat attached to the front.. 
Sightseeing:    Full day city tour
Meals:    Breakfast, Lunch 
Accommodation:   Hotel in Hanoi 

Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay

Leave Hanoi for Halong Bay at 8.30am.
On the way, we will have a short break for refreshment at a handicraft center. Upon arrival in Halong City, we board a wooden boat for a fine seafood lunch and a beautiful cruise. We will explore a cave before cruising through an amazing area of limestone islets. We will pass a floating village to reach Luon Cave, where we anchor for dinner and overnight.
Transfer Hanoi – Halong:  3.5 hrs
Meals:    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 
Accommodation:   Twin shared cabin 

Day 4: Kayaking Halong Bay

After breakfast, we start paddling to Van Chai Floating village and then continue paddling to Dark Cave. Tide permitting, we explore this amazing cave by kayak. The cave is a 200m long, dark tunnel thrusting through a limestone mountain. The tunnel is the only entry to a secluded and beautiful lagoon. Lunch on support boat in front of the cave. After lunch, we paddle to Ba Trai Dao Lagoon, along a stunning and fairly rough sea channel, to explore its beautiful beaches. Continue paddling to Lan Ha Bay, which is smaller than Halong bay but much more interesting with lots of secluded beaches. Cruise back to Halong Bay for dinner and overnight on mother boat.
Activity:   Kayaking 6 - 7hr/calm sea 
Meals:   Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation:  Twin shared cabin 

Day 5: Halong Bay – Hanoi

Breakfast on the junk and enjoy the sundeck of the junk while she navigates amazing rock formations of Bai Tu Long Bay to get back to Halong City. Lunch on the junk before reaching to Halong Harbour for a drive back to Hanoi. On the way back to Hanoi we will have a stop in Dong Trieu Town for refreshment and visiting a ceramic factory. Overnight in Hanoi. 
Transfer Halong – Hanoi:  3.5 hrs with AC vehicle
Meals:     Breakfast, Lunch 
Accommodation:  Hotel in Hanoi 

Day 6: Hanoi – Mai Chau

Pick up at your hotel at 8 am and leave Hanoi for Mai Chau, the beautiful gateway to the mountainous area of northern Vietnam. On the way, we will have a short stop for refreshment.
Upon arrival in Mai Chau, we will pick up our local guide and continue driving to Xa Linh Village, where we will have our lunch in an H’mong house before setting off on a beautiful trekking in the afternoon. After lunch, we will begin our trek on the village’s road and then walk on dirt path used by the locals. After 40nims we will reach Tra Day Village, home to a small community of Black H’mong minority people. From the Tra Day village, we trek on the rocky path to Hang Kia, a small and scenic village which is home to a group of Flower H’mong minority people. Tonight we will stay overnight with an H’mong family. 
Transfer Hanoi – Mai Chau:  4.5 hrs
Trekking:    3 hrs/dirt & rocky path/easy climb
Meal:     Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation:   Home-stay 

Day 7: Trekking Mai Chau

After breakfast in the house, we will say goodbye to the family and begin an exciting trekking day. Right after the village, we will walk on jungle trail for one hour. The trail could be a bit wet due to the dense trees that keep sunlight away. After that, we descend the hill passing farm and terraces. The scenery is stunning with mountains, terraces, and expansive valley. During the trek, we will some breaks for snack, rest, and photographing. After crossing a small river we reach a village of White Thai minority group, where we have lunch in a local house. After lunch, you may wish to have a short nap in the house. In the remainder of the day, we will walk on village road to reach Buoc Village, a beautiful village of White Thai minority people. The road runs zigzag along the valley and through lots of scenic villages. Tonight we will have dinner and stay overnight with a Thai family. 
Trekking:   5.30 hrs/long descent on dirt path
Meals:    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation:  Home-stay 

Day 8: Mai Chau – Na Meo – Vieng Xay (Laos)

After breakfast, we say goodbye to the hosts and take a short walk to the pick-up point where we start driving west to Laos. Lunch on the way before arriving at the border. Upon arrival, we will meet our Laotian guide and will be transferred to Vieng Xay, we will visit Viengxay (approximately 1 hour) where you can explore this traditional town and the surrounding beautiful landscape of limestone peaks and forests.
The town of Viengxay contains hundreds of caves which sheltered local people and the country's future leaders for a vital period in world history.
In the 1960s Laos was caught up in the conflict known to the world as the Vietnam War. For nine years, from 1964 to 1973, more than 20,000 people lived in a 'hidden city' they built inside the limestone peaks all around the area to try to survive daily aircraft bombing raids directed by US forces.
They were only able to farm or work at night, so inside the caves they built everything they needed for their society to survive, including schools, hospitals, markets, a radio station and the headquarters of the Lao Patriotic Front - also known as the Pathet Lao.
Take the audio tour that tells the story of the 'hidden city' through the history that created it and interviews with local people and discovers the area's beauty as well as its fascinating hidden history.
We will spend the night at the simple guesthouse in Vieng Xay.
Transfer Mai Chau – Vieng Xay (Laos): 6 hrs   
Sightseeing: Explore historical caves
Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Guesthouse in Vieng Xay  

Day 9: Vieng Xay - Xam Nua – Xieng Khoang

This morning we head to Xieng Khoang, the capital of Phonsavan Province via the town of Xam Nua. The drive is long (6 hrs) but interesting as we drive through a mountainous area with stunning mountains, dense forest, winding rivers and rice terraces. Lunch will be in small local restaurant en-route. Upon arrival in Xieng Khoang, we check in hotel and relax. If there is time, we can take a stroll around the town. 
Transfer Xam Nua – Xieng Khoang:  6 hrs   
Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch 
Accommodation: Hotel in Xieng Khoang 

Day 10: Xieng Khoang – Luong Prabang

After breakfast in the hotel, we take a short drive to the Plain of Jars, where we will see some hundreds of stone jar of different sizes laying on the fields. These stone jars date back from some thousand years ago and no one knows what they were made for. From here we drive further west to Luong Prabang. Lunch will be served in local restaurant en route. We will arrive in Luong Prabang around 4.30 or 5 pm. After hotel check-in, we can walk to the evening market and dinner at your own management.
Transfer Xieng Khoang – Luong Prabang: 6 hrs   
Sightseeing:     Plain of Jars
Meals:       Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation:     Hotel in Luong Prabang 

Day 11: Luong Prabang by bike

Luong Prabang is a charming ancient town, which was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO thank its outstanding historical and cultural value. Today we take our time to explore some of most important monasteries in town and the royal palace as well as the museum. A special afternoon tour brings us to some more remote places and markets. We learn about the history of Luang Prabang as well as about the kings family and their former life…
Sightseeing:     Full day city tour by bike
Meals:       Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation:     Hotel in Luong Prabang 

Day 12: Elephant riding and kayak in Luong Prabang

Leave the town after breakfast we will proceed to the Elephant Camp about 15 km out of town and in the middle of a green surrounding. After crossing the small river we will be introduced to Asian elephants and go out for a scenic ride. Enjoy the new perspective and the wonderful nature on this 1,5 hr ride. Make our way through forests and along the Nam Khan river up to the waterfalls of Tad Sae. (in dry season we ride a village trail) After a visit and lunch break, we will be instructed for the soft 4-hr kayaking back into town. Some easy rapids are along the way down to Luang Prabang and of course wonderful nature and great views. 
Elephant ride:     1,5 hr
Kayaking:     4 hr/easy paddling 
Meals:       Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation:     Hotel in Luong Prabang 

Day 13: Luong Prabang – Vang Vieng

Another day through mountains and valleys and down to the small town of Vang Vieng which welcomes us with amazing limestone mountains laying along Song River and great outdoor activities. Lunch will be in local restaurant en route. Arrive in Vang Vieng in the afternoon. After hotel check-in, we can take a stroll around the town or take a swim in Song River.
 Transfer Luong Prabang – Vang Vieng: 4 hrs
Meals:       Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation:     Hotel in Vang Vieng

Day 14: kayak in Vang Vieng

Today we discover the nature beauty of Vang Vieng. We will be transferred shortly to the Khmu village of Viengsamay about 10 km north of Vang Vieng. From here we paddle downstream the Song River. On the way, we stop to explore some stunning caves, take a short trek and visit the Organic Farm, where mulberry tea and a variety of fruit wines are produced. Back to Vang Vieng Town around 4.30 pm.
Kayaking:    5 hrs/easy paddling
Trekking:    2 hrs    
Meals:      Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation:    Hotel in Vang Vieng 

Day 15: Vang Vieng – Vientiane

A short transfer brings us to the capital of Laos, Vientiane. Still, a small town it is the center of politics and education. Many temples and monasteries invite for sightseeing as well as the national monument. In the afternoon we have free time to explore the town or just hang out on the bank of the magic Mekong which lies right in front of the city.
Transfer Vang Vieng – Vientiane :  3 hrs
Meals:       Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation:     Hotel in Vientiane 

Day 16: Vientiane

The city tour of Vientiane shows us the most exciting and interesting sights of this small and charming capital. Our sightseeing starts with a visit to Wat Sisaket, the Buddha museum where more than ten thousand Buddha statues in the niches can be seen. Continue to Path Xay or Victory Gate ( Arc de Triumph ) was first built in1958. Moving on to That Luang, the national symbol and recognized throughout the world. This biggest stupa is also a gathering place for national Buddhism ceremony.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we drive to Centre Market and have free time to shop around or get back to the hotel.
Sightseeing:     Full day city tour 
Meals:       Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation:     Hotel in Vientiane 

Day 17: Departure

Our guide and driver are at your disposal until we transfer you to the airport for your flight home or connect to another adventure in Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar with ActiveTravel.Asia. Trip concludes
Transfer airport:  15 mins
Meals:     Breakfast


Note on client safety
- Kayaks in Halong and Vang Vieng have weight limit regulations. Passengers are requested to inform your weight upon confirmation. (see more Trip Note)
- We reserve the right to deviate from this itinerary for any reasons, including road and weather conditions, the frequency of visits to a village, or for any other factor which may influence client safety.
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