Laos Heritage & Gastronomy Tour
- Active Adventure
- Culture & Heritage
- Off The Beaten Path
Day 1: Arrival in Luang Prabang
Day 2: Luang Prabang – Half-Day Food & Biking Tour
Day 3: Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfalls & Heritage Tour
Day 4: Luang Prabang – Muang La
Day 5: Muang La – Village Walk – Rice Plantation
Day 6: Muang La – Muang Khua – Nong Khiaw
Day 7: Nong Khiaw – 100 Waterfall Trek
Day 8: Nong Khiaw – Pak Ou Caves – Luang Prabang
Day 9: Luang Prabang – Village Life Cooking Experience
Day 10: Luang Prabang – Departure
This tour is built to let you explore the intriguing heritage and gastronomy all in 10 days. Start in Luang Prabang as you bike around the local villages and try some Lao tasty dishes. Embark on a heritage tour to visit the city’s most important places. Enjoy the untouched nature in Oudomxay where you stay in Muong La resort and travel to the nearby villages. Venture to the picturesque Nong Khiaw valley and the mystery Pak Ou Caves. Take a private cruise and admire the landscape along the Mekong River. After, head back to Luang Prabang for a village life cooking experience and gain insight into Buddhism in Laos.
Saibaidee! Welcome to Luang Prabang, Laos.
Upon arrival at Luang Prabang Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel.
After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of Luang Prabang. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at Friends Restaurant, KhaiPhaen. It’s a social enterprise based restaurant that empowers disadvantaged youth with vocational training amongst other support.
Please note: You must have both a passport and a visa to enter Laos. And your passport must also have at least six months’ validity remaining beyond the date that you enter Laos. You can get a visa on arrival in Laos. Make sure you have two passport-sizes photographs.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
After breakfast, meet your tour guide at the hotel lobby. After some tour briefing, you will be fitted with bikes and head for the most famous Lao coffee shop where you sit by the Mekong River enjoying coffee and share the local Lao pastry Khanom Khrok (coconut-rice pancakes).
Next, head to the nearby morning market where locals from the countryside around Luang Prabang sell their goods. Discover different meats, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices and learn from your guide how they are used in Lao kitchens. Each year previously unknown varieties of plants are discovered in this morning market. A few local delicacies will be sampled, as well.
You will then cycle to the Wat That Luang area to eat Khao Poon, a coconut noodle style soup, which is a delicious, rare find in Luang Prabang! A short distance away at Ban Vieng Xay village, you will sit at a local street restaurant and try a variety of food including Naem Khao (a rice noodle crepe, filled with minced meat, mushrooms, and assorted herbs, cut in little pieces, served with a dipping sauce containing minced nuts, lemon, chili, coriander, and sweet fish sauce) and Khao Piak Khao (a local rice soup, that is usually eaten in the morning, slowly cooked with pork meat and meat broth, rounded with crushed black pepper and chopped coriander). Depending on your taste, an egg or fresh chili can be added to this meal.
To burn some calories, cycle across the “old” bridge to the other side of the Nam Khan River. After passing by the “German Butcher”, a stop at the scenic meeting point of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers for some photos and a quick drink of water is in order. Continuing on, cycle through Ban Xieng Lek village to check out local weaving and Saa paper handicrafts. Here is where you see local shops and a non-touristy side of town.
A new restaurant made 100% of bamboo nestled on another river, the Nam Khan is the next stop. The food is to die for and you will have more top-quality local Lao food. Your taste buds won’t know what hit them!
The cycling and food tour ends after midday with your bicycle ride back to the hotel.
Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure. Take a stroll around the hotel neighborhood or climb to the top of Mount Phousi, the city’s highest point where you’ll enjoy the sunset and the sweeping views of the city and the Mekong River below.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Rising early to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning almsgiving, which dates back to the 14th century. Every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms.
Get back to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, you will be picked up and driven to the famous Kuang Si Waterfall, one of the most spectacular swimming holes on the continent. The jungle around the waterfall remains lush and beautiful year-round. The largest waterfalls in the area, Kuang Si comprises of three cascading tiers leading to a 50m (164ft) drop into spectacular azure pools, surrounded by lush jungle.
Before exploring the cascades, pay a visit to the nearby Asian Bear Rescue Centre. Many bears, including Sun Bears and Malayan Black Bears, have been rescued from the clutches of bile farms or wildlife traffickers. A wooden path allows up-close access to these adorable animals in a natural habitat.
Leaving the bear centre, take a guided trek along trails to the top of the waterfall, enroute picking herbs, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and other wild plants growing in abundance. Try a hand at fishing local style and help prepare a ‘jungle-style’ picnic lunch with your fresh ingredients. Also, you’ll have plenty of time to swim, explore, and photograph the waterfalls as well as you stroll through the lush surrounding jungle.
Return to the city for a sightseeing tour. You’ll first step into the serene calm of one of the city’s most elaborate monasteries, Wat Mai, and then to the former King’s Palace, where you’ll discover the history and present life of Luang Prabang. Next, head to the ancient Wat Xieng Thong temple, which features a spectacular low sweeping roof. It’s Luang Prabang’s most distinctive and recognized monastery.
Proceed to the 16th century Wat Visoun temple, best known for its enormous stupa and its collection of old gilded Buddhas.
Finish your day with a short visit to the UXO Visitor’s Centre to get an incredible insight into the horrific bombings endured by the Lao people and the effect it still has today. The UXO centre is an amazing NGO that does fantastic work, yet just scratches the surface of this little known issue.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
After breakfast and check out of the hotel, meet your guide and driver, and depart Luang Prabang for Muang La. The five-hour driver passing the beautiful mountainous landscape. Around midday, you will arrive Oudomxay (Muang Xai on some maps), the heart of northern Laos. Here you will enjoy delicious northern-style lunch at a local restaurant and then visit That Phouxay overlooking the city and surroundings.
Continue to drive two hours more. You will arrive in Muong La Town and check into your room at Muong La Lodge for some relaxing time after the long drive. You can book a massage from the hotel reception.
Hidden in the small village of Muang-La by the river, Muong La Lodge features 5 wooden villas and 9 traditionally designed guestrooms. Exuding peace tranquillity, and mountain views, the river houses a natural hot spring. The Muang La Lodge is well-known for its incredible food, developed by a Swiss chef who created his menu by combining his European savoir-faire with the fresh and tasteful Lao ingredients.
Enjoy dinner and spend the night at Muong La Lodge.
Overnight in Muong La
Set off in the morning by 4×4 for a short drive to Pak Khai. The ride offers some magnificent views over the Nam Pak River, terraced rice fields, and many small villages.
On arrival, you will begin a culture and nature trek on small winding paths that locals use between their villages in the jungle. You will arrive at the Khamu village of Wang Wanh where the villagers make sacks from the fibers of local plants. You will be welcomed by a local family who will take you on an in-depth and hands-on learning experience where you will participate in 14 steps of the rice cycle.
After a morning of fun, enjoy your lunch at the farm ‘sala’, giving a 360° panorama of the wonderful countryside in the valley.
After some siesta time, you will cross the river on a bamboo raft to travel to the Khamu Village of Vieng Kham. The villagers here are well-known for their weaving skills. Continue to the village of Muang La to visit the local school (closed on Sundays) and the temple of Chiao Pha Kham Sing which houses a sacred Buddha. According to those responsible for its protection, the statue simply appeared hundreds of years ago and so that the temple is now a sacred place of pilgrimage.
Return to the lodge in the late afternoon and spend the remainder of the day at your leisure. Relax in the therapeutic on-site hot springs at the Resort.
Overnight in Muong La
After breakfast, you will leave Muang La and travel along a scenic road to Muang Khua where you will board a long-tail boat to begin your scenic journey down the Nam Ou River, discovering numerous villages dotted along the banks of the river and some stunning limestone formations as the sheer cliffs rise from the water’s edge. The cruise trip Nong Khiaw today, is, without doubt, one of the most picturesque cruises in the region!
You will enjoy a barbecue picnic lunch on one of the beaches along the river.
You’ll arrive at Nong Khiaw to check into your bungalow at the Mandala family Resort. This premier bungalow resort is situated high on the banks of the scenic and tranquil Nam Ou river, offering spectacular sunset views over the virgin rain forest, mountains, and the karst limestone cliffs of Nong Khiaw.
Overnight in Nong Khiaw
After breakfast, embark on a boat trip for one hour on the Nam Ou River. You will arrive at a local Hmong village where you will disembark and follow local trails through the rice paddies to the foot of the forested mountain slopes. Along the way, your guide will explain the local fauna and flora, use of plants for traditional medicine, and local culture and traditions.
You will arrive at the gorgeous 100 Waterfalls, which has only been on the radar recently and traveled to by foreigners, which is during the late 2000s. For the next 3 hours, you will follow the cascading stream as you ascend the mountain covered in thick virgin rainforest, following the water through dozens of pools, cascades and huge rocks.
After exploring the stunning 100 waterfalls, you will be provided with a delectable lunch at the top of the falls served by your guide in the traditional way – folded banana leaves.
After lunch, take the trails again from the top of the waterfall that is used by the local villagers, which will lead you away from the waterfall and to the village. Behold the stunning sights along the Nam Ou valley, overcrowded with old-growth forests that thrive within the fertile lands. The Nam Ou valley lacks well-paved roads and still carries the natural charm of the olden days without being too overcrowded by people along the trails. Upon arrival to the village, you will be greeted by the friendly smiles of the inhabitants as they are engaged in their daily activities before heading back to Nong Khiaw along with a small boat.
Overnight in Nong Khiaw
After breakfast and check out of the resort, your guide and driver will collect you from the hotel lobby and transfer you back to Luang Prabang. Along the way, you will pause to visit the village of Ban Na Nyang, which is famous for its traditional cotton weaving. Almost every household has its own weaving loom where the families create beautiful scarves, table cloths, and ornate wall hangings.
Next, you will visit the famous Pak Ou caves which house thousands of Buddha statues of all styles and sizes. There are two caves, both accessed by stairs. The lower cave, Tham Ting, is naturally lit. The upper cave, Tham Phum, is deeper yet easily explored.
After exploring the caves, you will embark on a private boat cruise down the Mekong River for 1.5 hours to Luang Prabang.
After enjoying a delicious lunch at Tamarind Restaurant, transfer to check into your hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.
Tonight you will enjoy dinner at Mango Tree restaurant. The terrace, weather permitting, is awesome, with umbrellas and century-old trees. It sets in a quiet part of Luang Prabang’s main street, ideal for a cozy and intimate dinner away from the busy life.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
After breakfast, your private guide and driver will pick you up and take you to the local morning market. Here local people gather to buy and sell local fresh produce like vegetables, seasonal fruits, and river fish. Ethnic minorities from surrounding villages come to sell their produce, sometimes walking many days to get here. Explore this cultural melting pot and find some unique culinary oddities.
Your guide will lead you through the market and assist you with buying some fresh vegetables and meat for your cooking class. Leaving the market, you will take a short walk to the boat pier where you will embark on a motorized boat trip up the Mekong River to a small rural village.
Upon our arrival, you will be welcomed by your host family who will prepare all the cooking equipment before helping you cook. You will cook together with the family and your guide who will be able to assist in translating.
After the food is done, place it on a tray before carrying it to the local temple for the monks. While the monks are eating your guide will take you around the temple to explain about Buddhism in Laos and the day to day lives of the monks who live there.
After the temple, return the tray to the family and prepare for your own lunch. You and the family will eat together, sharing the meal you have prepared.
After lunch, say our goodbyes to the family and return to your hotel in Luang Prabang where the balance of the day is at your leisure. Enjoy the last night in Laos before flying home and getting back to normal life.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Luang Prabang airport for a short flight to Bangkok where you connect via your outbound flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.
This sample itinerary was created by our travel experts as inspiration for your next trip. Ready for your customization. You pick to suit your budget, desires, and cultural experiences. The price of this trip will vary, depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and the availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and give us the necessary information to enable us to send you a FREE personalized quote within 48 hours if not sooner!
- Biking through the small peaceful street of Luang Prabang, admiring the life of local people
- Walk around the evergreen nature of Kuang Si waterfalls
- Attending the daily morning alms giving in Luang Prabang
- Visit various temple and museum in Luang Prabang to learn about the culture of Laos
- Experience the first sight of the beautiful Muang La Resort
- Tour to the countryside of Muang La, and learn about the traditional farming technique of Laos people
- Cruising along the lazy Nam Ou River and Mekong River, experiencing the authentic lives, and its untouched nature along the way
- Trekking to the famous 100 waterfalls in Nong Khiaw
- Cruising along the might Mekong river to visit the mysterious Pak Ou caves
- Experience village life cooking experience in Luang Prabang
- 9 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 6 dinners and 8 lunches at well-selected restaurants
- Your own private guide and driver for in-depth cultural touring based on your interests
- Firsthand, sophisticated destination knowledge and recommendations from our locally born travel specialists
- Itineraries that are customized according to your interests and preferences
- A seamless travel experience, including all logistics, hand-picked hotels and restaurants, private airport transfers, internal transportation, and entry visa assistance…etc
- Around-the-clock support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, A/C vehicles, some main meals, all entrance fees, tax, and service charge.
What’s Not Included?
Your international flights from and to Laos, the entry visa to Laos, personal expense, tips to guide and driver.
Free service. No credit card required
Reviews on Our Service
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
Vietnam Luxury Vacation Review: Sightseeing, Culture, 12-Day Travel
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sightseeing, Rice Fields, Boat Rides, 18-Day Trip
We started searching for our tour for Vietnam / Cambodia back in October 2022 to start the tour in the first week of January 2023. We selected this travel agency, and contact name provided to us was Elly. She was extraordinary with her communication with us. Excellent English speaking language capability & excellent in communication on Whats app and email communication. We went back & forth few times to arrange the tour we wanted. She was very accommodating in arranging our schedule. We requested automobile tour for both countries, just for two of us.
We requested SUV FOR OUR COMFORT AND WE GOT IT!
We requested to get the high end hotel in each city and she gave us choices and not only that but send videos of each hotel for each City and then waited for us to decide which hotel we select. All the Hotels turned out to be one of the best we would expect to be. M/s Elly, personally came to visit with us on the evening of our first day tour. Very respectful and asked if she could do anything for us.I had requested before in our communication, if she would arrange for power converter for us, since my camera chargers are all in 110. So brought two power converters for us! Something, not everyone will do this kind of service. So all the kiddos to her!
as to the drivers in each city were very courteous, very professional and very careful in how and where they have to do driving.
our Guides in each city were so friendly, courteous and knowledgeable in where ever we visited. How ever wish two guides in Hue An and Ho Chi Minh City spoke English more clearly.
We only wish we had one extra day in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, , however, there is so much to see in the world! Perhaps next time will visit Vietnam.
As to Cambodia, same thing to express about site seeing and our Guide and drivers. Guides and drivers really made our travel thro’ the countries where we do not speak that language, made it so comfortable and enjoyable.
Hi Lam…hope you don’t mind me contacting you directly. My wife Barb & I (Paul) have just arrived home after completing a great tour of Vietnam which was organised through your company Asia Pioneer Travel.
We want to tell you personally how impressed were were with the level of service that we received…it was amazing and the best that we have experienced anywhere. After we made initial contact with you, you handed us over to Chloe to arrange the trip which she did in very quick time and the amount of detail that she went to was fantastic. From the moment that we walked out of Hanoi airport on arrival to see our guide waiting, we knew that we were in for a great trip. The drivers & guides were fantastic and Chloe was in contact by email constantly making sure that everything was going to plan & that we were happy. At one stage we need to vary the itinerary by extending accommodation & changing air tickets and Chloe did that without any fuss or bother.
We also met some wonderful Vietnamese people along the way and Ive got to say that they are our kind of people, very generous & friendly.
Enough of my ramblings, thanks for a great visit to Vietnam, and a special thank you to Chloe for looking after us in such a terrific manner…she is a very special caring lady.
Kind regards & I hope that we have the opportunity to use Asia Pioneer Travel again….Paul & Barb Little from Newcastle Australia
Superbly organised and very flexible
We travelled to Vietnam for two weeks, booking the whole trip through Lizzie at Asia Pioneer, including hotels, excursions, trips, guides and internal flights. Lizzie was so helpful and flexible, accommodating changes to our schedule until the last minute, especially as we missed our connecting flight in Dubai and arrived a day later than planned (our fault). Nothing was too much trouble, including getting my wallet back to me after I left it in the car taking us to the airport.
We started in Hanoi in the North and worked our way south to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), taking in Ha Long with its amazing sea stacks and sleeping on a boat, then to Sa Pa on the overnight sleeper train from Hanoi, with its wonderful countryside and rice terraces. Afterwards, we went to Hoi An for three days of relaxation. Hoi An probably my favourite place and three days are enough to cover it. Then onto Hue, the original capital, my least favourite place and then finally on to HMC, which was a real contrast to the North.
The 3-star hotels that Lizzie picked were very good and comfortable, and the guides were very knowledgeable. I would definitely use Asia Pioneer again for future Asia trips.