LAOS – Luang Prabang – Self-Guided Tour in Northern and Central Laos 7D6N

This experience provides an in-depth discovery of Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane in Northern and Central Laos with the help of pre-loaded itineraries on the smartphone of the travelers.

Theme

Self-Guided Tours, Sustainable

Country - City

Laos - Luang Prabang - Vientiane - Vang Vieng

Level of difficulties

LEVEL 1

Price level

$$$$

Seasonality

October to March

Max number of person(s)

10

Market segment

Groups, Thematic Leisure

Arrival City

Luang Prabang

Departure city

Vientiane

Number day and night

7 days & 6 nights (extendable with extension options)

Day by day description

This experience provides an in-depth discovery of Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane with the help of pre-loaded itineraries on the smartphone of the travelers. With clear GPS routing and indications (including pictures & videos) on the navigation & points of interest, this itinerary focuses on exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Town of Luang Prabang, the picturesque countryside of Vang Vieng, and the laid-back capital city of Vientiane. It provides a way to discover the beautiful countryside and the stunning natural wonders of this amazing country, such as the magnificent Kuang Sy Waterfalls, the mighty Mekong River, and the towering karst peaks of Vang Vieng. It’s also a way to explore the cultural wonders and the monuments of Luang Prabang and Vientiane, to experience true peace on a sunset cruise on the muddy Mekong, and to meet locals on the hike from the ethnic village through the mountains to Kuang Sy and while hiking through the scenic surroundings of Vang Vieng Town. These activities are complemented by visits to colorful night markets, cultural experiences such as the monk chanting, and gastronomic experiences such as the food tour. A self-guided visit to Northern and Central Laos provides travelers with a unique and unforgettable experience, on their own and at their own pace and without the need for a local guide.

Optional 3D2N extensions are available for those wishing to venture deeper into the mountains of the north, to Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi, or into the karst valleys and river caves of Central Laos, in Hinboun.

Selling points

  • Carefully selected activities providing a self-guided discovery of Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane.
  • An application filled with GPS routes and point of interests for travelers to explore the towns and countryside on their own.
  • A well structured program providing a full visit of these stunning places.
  • A 7 day 6 night trip with excellent accommodation options providing a level of comfort which many people do not expect in Laos.
  • It’s short enough to be able to combine with another country or to be extended with one of our SGT extension options.

Extensions

If travelers would like to include Nong Khiaw & Muang Ngoi in their self-guided Laos itinerary we suggest inserting this extension between days 3 and 4:

If travelers would like to include Hinboun in their self-guided Laos itinerary we suggest inserting this extension starting on the last day:

Selling points

  • Carefully selected activities providing a self-guided discovery of Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane.
  • An application filled with GPS routes and point of interests for travelers to explore the towns and countryside on their own.
  • A well structured program providing a full visit of these stunning places.
  • A 7 day 6 night trip with excellent accommodation options providing a level of comfort which many people do not expect in Laos.
  • It’s short enough to be able to combine with another country or to be extended with one of our SGT extension options such as the Hinboun or Nong Khiaw / Muang Ngoi extensions.

Pros

  • Easia Signature – no competitors currently offer self-guided tours
  • Cheaper to sell than a conventional visit to Laos as there is no guide.
  • It’s short enough to be able to combine with another country or to be extended with one of our SGT extension options.
  • It puts Easia ahead of our competitors and shows that we are innovators as nobody else sells this type of tour in Laos.
  • Easy to operate as travelers basically take care of themselves.
  • The program is easy to follow.

Cons

  • Travelers need to have a basic knowledge of technology.
  • There is no guide to assist with on-spot issues.
  • Not possible in rainy season (June to October) as it is too muddy.
  • It’s an itinerary with quite a lot of walking, in cities and in the countryside, so not ideal for all types of travelers.

TIME AND TRANSPORTATION

From To Km By Duration Road condition
Luang Prabang Ban Long Lao 20 Minivan 1 hour Dirt road but fairly good condition
Kuang Sy Luang Prabang 30 Minivan 45 minutes – 1 hour Good paved road
Luang Prabang Vang Vieng 227 Minivan 6 hours Good paved road with a few bumpy sections
Vang Vieng Vientiane 113 Minivan 1 hour 30 minutes Excellent

Notes

  • All of the hikes are of an easy-medium level – accessible to everyone who is in ok shape and can walk for a few hours – technical details can be seen in the program texts.
  • Best included in a self-guided tour program to Laos or combined with other destinations.
  • On this tour travelers will be responsible for paying for their own entrance fees and other associated costs.
  • This tour cannot be done in the rainy season as the hike is too muddy, slippery and there are leeches.
  • Developed as one of the first products in our self-guided project for Laos.
  • If travelers are not really adventurous or are worried they can’t navigate by themselves, it’s possible to do this module with a guide!

Roadbook Template Trip:

  • https://protracer.mhikes.com/5f8865f28aabe9.86390725/travels/template/5040/details

Inclusions:

  • Self-guided program downloadable to the Roadbook app on the travelers’ phones.
  • Airport transfers in and out
  • Transfers Luang Prabang – Ban Long Lao and Kuang Sy – Luang Prabang
  • Transfers Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng – Vientiane
  • Sunset Cruise (Khopfa Cruise)
  • Accommodation (hotel to be chosen by sales)

Exclusions:

  • Entrance fees (on the city tours, hikes, at Kuang Sy, at TAEC etc.)
  • Meals and drinks and snacks (such as the ice cream at the Buffalo farm and the food on the food tour)
  • Bicycle Rental (Optional)
  • Tuk-Tuks (Optional)

Quotation guideline:

  • On ERP the module for this tour can be found here:
    • Tour Classification: S41-Easia Active
    • Language: English
    • Tour Type: FIT
    • Tour Name: SGT – Laos – Self-Guided Tour in Northern and Central Laos – 7D6N – ENG
    • Tour Code: 210225024327
  • Sales should change the airport transfers in the module if travelers stay in a hotel outside the city center in Luang Prabang.
  • Sales need to add the accommodation in all destinations of this module.
  • Sales can add the SIM card and internet package if necessary.
  • Sales can edit this module if travelers will add the 3D2N Nong Khiaw & Muang Ngoi Module after day 3
  • Sales can change the airport transfer on the the last day if travelers will combine this module with the 3D2N Hinboun Module
  • If any editing to the module is undertaken please read the program texts to check if they need editing as well.
  • On this tour, in addition to their meal/drink/snack expenses, travelers will be responsible for paying for their own entrance fees and associated costs. The costs they will have to pay will be as follows:
    • On the city tour in Luang Prabang:
      • Wat Visoun – 20,000kip/person
      • Wat Aham – 20,000kip/person
      • Wat Xieng Thong – 20,000kip/person
      • Royal Palace – 20,000kip/person
      • Wat Mai – 20,000kip/person
      • Phousi Mountain – 20,000kip/person
    • On the food tour in Luang Prabang:
      • Khao Soi – 15,000kip/person
      • Salapao – 5,000kip for 2 pieces
      • Namvan – 5,000kip/person
      • Naemjun – 25,000kip/plate (can be shared)
      • Tam Mak Taeng – 18,000kip/plate (can be shared)
      • Khao Jee – 3,000-5,000kip/piece
      • Khao Nom Kok – 5,000kip/serving
    • On the hike in Vang Vieng:
      • Toll Bridge Fee – 4,000kip/person
    • On the city tour in Vientiane:
      • Wat Si Saket – 10,000kip/person
      • Wat Hophrakaew – 10,000kip/person
      • Patuxay – 5,000kip/person
      • That Luang – 10,000kip/person
      • Tuk-Tuk back to the center – 50,000-60,000kip/tuk-tuk (approximately – travelers will need to negotiate)
    • Other entrance fees they may encounter:
      • Kuang Sy – 20,000kip/person
      • TAEC – 20,000kip/person

Hotels that can be used for this SGT itinerary:

LUANG PRABANG

  • Cold River – 2*
  • Villa Chitdara -3*
  • Villa 2 Riviere – 3*
  • Sok dee Residence – 3*
  • My Lao Home – 3*
  • My dream Boutique – 3*
  • Parasol Blanc hotel – 3*
  • Le Sent Boutique Hotel – 3*
  • Maison Dalabua -3*
  • Luangsay Inn – 3*
  • Sunshine Garden – 3*
  • Maison Souvannaphoum – 4*
  • Satri House – 4*
  • 3Naga Luang Prabang – 4*
  • Victoria Xiengthong Palace – 4*
  • Soupthatra Hotel – 4*
  • Le Belair Boutique Resort -4*
  • Villa Maly – 4*
  • Kiridara Hotel – 4*
  • Sofitel – 4.5*
  • AVANI+ – 4.5*

VANG VIENG

  • Vansana Vang Vieng – 3*
  • Riverside Boutique Resort – 4*
  • Inthira Vang Vieng – 4*
  • Amari Vang Vieng – 4*

VIENTIANE

  • Mandalao Boutique -3*
  • Boau Rivage Mekong – 3*
  • Xaysomboun boutique -3*
  • Grand Hotel Vientiane -3*
  • Lao Orchid Hotel – 3*
  • Chanthapanya Hotel -3*
  • La Seine Hotel – 4*
  • Green Park Boutique – 4*
  • Lao Poet Hotel – 4*
  • Salana boutique – 4 *
  • Muong Thanh Luxury Vientiane hotel – 4*
  • SureStay Hotel – 4*
  • Ansara Boutique Hotel – 4*
  • Crowne Plaza Hotel – 4*

Market suggestion

AUSTRALIA

BENELUX

CANADA

CEE

GERMANY

ITALY

SPAIN

SCANDINAVIA

US

FRANCE

UK

BEST FOR FIT

PORTUGAL

BEST FOR GIT

Number of PAX

10

Important notes

  • Day 1: Driver pick-up at airport. Self-Guided Assistant should contact travelers and meet them for the briefing at their hotel.
  • Day 2: Khopfa Cruise should be booked with travelers names. Travelers will go there by themselves
  • Day 3: Transfer to LPQ – Ban Long Lao at 07:30 and Kuang Sy – LPQ. Driver should remind travelers to take a photo of his car and himself and to get his phone number. Driver should meet travelers at his vehicle at Kuang Sy or if they can’t find him they will call him and he should go meet them at the ticket office. Stop at buffalo dairy for an ice cream at the roadside (nothing to book). If they return early to LPQ he should drop them at the hotel. If they return later, closer to 17:30 he should drop them by Wat Phaphai so they can see the chanting by themselves (nothing to book).
  • Day 4: Transfer to Vang Vieng. Driver pick-up at 08:00. Stop for lunch around at Phou Phieng Fa Viewpoint, or nearby but also stop at the viewpoint for photos.
  • Day 5: Transfer to Vang Vieng from the hotel at around 15:00 after travelers return from their hike.
  • Day 6: Nothing for operation to book
  • Day 7: Airport transfer without guide

 

English

DAY X: ARRIVAL IN LUANG PRABANG
When you arrive at Luang Prabang airport, you’ll meet your driver and travel by car to your hotel.

After you’ve checked in, you’ll have the rest of the afternoon to yourself though our Self-guided Assistant will contact you and come to visit to welcome you to Laos and give you a tutorial on how to use the App. We included a self-guided food tour on the App which we highly recommend you try this evening. As well as letting you try some of the local delicacies it will also give you a chance to stretch your legs and get a feel for the town.

Eating is an important part of Lao culture and a time when families and friends come together after a hard day of work. On this tour your taste buds will be awakened as you taste a selection of popular Lao dishes. You will enjoy a delicious bowl of one of the Lao staples – Khao Soi or Pho. This is one of the most popular meals, not only in Laos but in all of Southeast Asia. You will also try the steamed buns with egg and pork called Salapao. If you’re craving something a bit more refreshing you could try Namvan, a sweet dessert type drink especially popular when the weather is hot. You’ll also try Namejun (Spring Rolls) and Tam Makteng (Cucumber Salad), popular dishes often shared among friends as they enjoy an evening drink. You’ll finish at the night market where your culinary adventure will end with some tasty Kaojee and Khao Nom Kok!

Once you’ve eaten your way around the town, you’ll be able to explore Luang Prabang’s famous night market before heading back to your hotel to rest in preparation for tomorrow’s exploration!

Flight arrival time: xx
Flight number:
xx

Note: Check-in at the hotel from 14:00. The starting time for the Food Tour should be between 5pm and 6pm, though it isn’t a big problem if started a bit later.

DAY X: LUANG PRABANG TOWN
On your App you’ll see that we included a City Tour for you to do and a relaxing sunset cruise to finish the day.

Before you do this though we recommend you wake up early, around 05:00, to see the Alms Giving ceremony and visit the colorful Morning Market – you’ll see links to their locations as well as some additional information on the App.

The city of Luang Prabang with its privileged location at the meeting point of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers and the foot of an age-old mountain range is one of the most beautiful cities in Southeast Asia. On this tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Town, you’ll have the chance to view its most emblematic temples and cultural sites. There is also a variant of the route which takes the more physically capable to the top of Phousi Mountain where they’ll be rewarded with panoramic views. The jewels of the city are Wat Visoun (the oldest temple in the city), the splendid Royal Palace Museum and the stunningly beautiful temples of Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Mai.

On your map you’ll also see that we included several restaurants which are the ones we recommend the most for lunch and dinner later in the day. You’re free to stop and eat whenever and wherever you want but these are our favorites!

You’ll want to make sure you’ve finished the City Tour and are at the pier before 16:15 as that’s the time your sunset cruise departs. We included the location of the Khopfa Cruise on the App – simply make your way there and tell the staff there is a booking under your name and on you get!

A relaxing sunset cruise along the mighty Mekong is the perfect way to end any day! Soon, the sun will start to descend, and the sky will dramatically start to change color – oranges, reds, pinks and purples will appear as the sun falls behind the lush tropical mountains. Unwind and enjoy the snacks while sipping some wine or enjoying a refreshing Lao beer, available for purchase from the bar. Enjoy the peaceful feeling as the day draws to an end and the boat floats calmly along this mighty waterway on its way back to Luang Prabang.

Once you’re back on solid ground, choose somewhere for dinner, either somewhere you saw during the day or one of our suggestions on the City Tour map, before retiring to your hotel for the night.

Distance of the walking: 4.2 kilometers (without Phousi) or 5.1 kilometers (with Phousi)
Duration of the walking: approximately 4 hours, including stops (or 5 hours with Phousi)
Elevation: 12 meters accumulated ascent, 12 meters accumulated descent. (and an additional 65m of ascent/descent if including Phousi).
Duration of the Cruise: Approximately 2 hours 15min, from 16:15 to 18:30.

Note: A sun hat and sun cream are recommended on the walking tour. Included on the cruise: welcome snacks and water. Other beverages available for purchase at the bar.

DAY X: KUANG SY WATERFALLS
Meet your driver in the reception area at 07:30 and travel into the mountains, through the valleys and passing local villages along the way. After reaching the Hmong ethnic community of Ban Long Lao, open the App and start the Hike to Kuang Sy activity.

Before you set off on the hike, make sure you get the driver’s phone number and a photo of him and the car number plate to make locating it when you arrive at Kuang Sy a bit easier. Then, start your walk to the famous Kuang Sy waterfalls, walking through the village, the vegetable gardens, rice fields and forests under the shade of hardwood trees, such as rosewood and ebony. Just before arriving at the waterfalls you’ll come across the source of the river and a small restaurant, a great place for an early lunch! After another 30 minutes you’ll arrive at the Kuang Sy waterfalls where you can rest, swim, have lunch if you didn’t already have it, and visit the bear sanctuary before finding your driver (give him a call if you need to and he can go meet you at the ticket office) and heading back towards Luang Prabang.

On the way back, the driver will stop by the roadside at the Buffalo Dairy Farm, a social enterprise which rents female buffaloes from local farmers to milk them while providing the locals with a regular source of income.  Here you’ll be able to buy an ice cream made from buffalo milk – it’s delicious and a great reward after a long hike!

Depending on the time you arrive back in the town your driver will either drop you off at your hotel or in the center near Wat Phaphai Temple. It’s usually around 17:30 when the monks start their evening chanting. It happens in all the temples in the town and you can join should you wish to (we included the location of our favorite temple, Wat Phaphai, on the App though you can go to any of the temples in town) – take off your shoes, cover your knees and shoulders, and sit cross-legged at the back of the temple and observe the peaceful ceremony in silence. If you feel like you’re interrupting or don’t belong there then you can also sit outside in the temple gardens and listen to the magical chanting as you watch the colors change in the setting sunlight.

Once again, where you have dinner is up to you! Don’t forget you can always look back at the City Tour map to see our recommended restaurants!

Distance and duration of the hike: 8 kilometers – about 3h 30min
Transportation: Luang Prabang to Ban Long Lao, 25 kilometers – 1 hour; Kuang Sy to Luang Prabang, 30 kilometers – 45 minutes

Notes: We suggest taking a photo of the car number plate to make locating it at Kuang Sy easier. The chanting starts around 17:30 and lasts for up to 2 hours.

IT IS POSSIBLE TO INSERT THE NONG KHIAW & MUANG NGOI 3D2N EXTENSION HERE

DAY X: LUANG PRABANG – VANG VIENG
Meet your driver in the lobby at 08:00 and set off on the road journey to Vang Vieng.

Along the way you’ll see some stunning mountain landscapes and quaint roadside villages as you climb over the mountains that separate Northern Laos from Central Laos. You will ascend from Luang Prabang, at 300-meters elevation, to Phou Khoun, the highest point at 1650-meters elevation, before descending to Vang Vieng, 250-meters elevation, in Central Laos. There will be a stop along the way for you to have lunch at one of the roadside restaurants.

When you arrive in Vang Vieng, check in to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. We recommend grabbing a cold drink and finding somewhere to relax and watch the sunset over the mountains – perhaps from the hotel balcony or at the restaurant.

For dinner – we recommend the restaurant at your hotel, or at one of the other larger hotels such as Riverside Boutique, Inthira, or Amari. Most of the local restaurants in Vang Vieng are ok but you’ll get the best food at the hotels.

Distance and duration of the transfer: 227 kilometers – 6 hours

DAY X: VANG VIENG – VIENTIANE
Welcome to Vang Vieng – the adventure capital of Laos! Before you start your exploration, we suggest you check out and leave your luggage in a secure place at the reception as you probably won’t be back by 12:00 (the check-out time) and you’ll be traveling onwards to Vientiane in the late afternoon. Then, pick up some water and a sandwich from one of the many stalls on the street and away you go!

Open the App on your phone and start the Self-Guided Countryside Walk activity – the GPS-activated directions will guide you along the way! During your self-guided exploration of the area, you’ll hike through the picturesque rice fields and forested areas around the base of the towering karst mountains that overlook the town. You’ll probably run into some friendly buffaloes and locals along the way – don’t forget to say “Sabaidee!” Take your time, enjoy the peacefulness and tranquility of rural Laos, and maybe enjoy a sandwich in one of the farmer’s huts along the way – you really are in a beautiful and amazing place!

The hike is flat and easy and should take around 4 hours, including stops, so you’ll be back in time to meet your driver at the hotel at 15:00 ready to travel from Vang Vieng to Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, on the new Expressway. This new toll road is the first of its kind in Laos and has reduced the distance between Vang Vieng by 43 kilometers and the travel time from 4 hours to just 1 hour 30 minutes!

When you arrive in Vientiane, check in to your hotel and enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants we recommend on the Vientiane City Tour map. If you still have some energy the night market is a great place to visit to finish off the day!

Distance of the hiking: 6.43 kilometers
Duration of the hiking: approximately 4 hours, including stops.
Elevation: 12 meters accumulated ascent, 12 meters accumulated descent.
Distance and duration of the transfer: 113 kilometers – 1h 30min

Notes: a sun hat, sun cream, snacks or a sandwich, and water is recommended for the hike.

DAY X: VIENTIANE
Welcome to Vientiane – the laid-back capital of Laos! During your exploration of the city, you’ll visit the most important cultural and historical sites where you’ll have a chance to learn about their interesting history and the legends that surround them. It’ll be an interesting journey as you’ll get to see the different sides of the city, from the ancient to the modern, as you visit centuries old temples and stupas and also pass towering modern skyscrapers and shopping malls that are still under construction as Vientiane tries to bring itself into the modern world.

Simply open the App and choose the Vientiane City Tour activity – it will guide you along on your exploration. Take your time, enjoy the hustle and bustle of the capital’s streets, and don’t be afraid to grab a tuk-tuk if you get tired of walking – that’s also a great experience to add to a tour of Vientiane!

Make sure you check out some of the restaurants we suggest on the map for lunch and dinner – if they are far off your route and you really want to try them simply flag down a tuk-tuk!

To finish the day, if you didn’t already visit the night market and enjoy a walk along the Mekong Riverfront then this evening is the perfect time to do that! We included the location of this on the App to help you find it.

Distance of the walking: 6.32 kilometers
Duration of the walking: approximately 6 hours, including stops.
Elevation: 10 meters accumulated ascent, 10 meters accumulated descent.

Notes: a sun hat and sun cream are recommended. Tuk-tuks can be found at the end of the tour for the return to the city center.

DAY X: DEPARTURE FROM VIENTIANE

IT IS POSSIBLE TO INSERT THE HINBOUN 3D2N EXTENSION HERE

Today is your last day in Vientiane. The time you have left today is yours to do with as you please – perhaps you want to try one of the restaurants that you didn’t get a chance to before, or perhaps you want to revisit one of the sights of the city that you discovered on the City Tour, or maybe you just want to wake up late and lounge around until it’s time to check out. The choice is yours!

Check out time will be by 12:00 at the latest (though please check with the hotel), so if you have a late flight you can check out and leave your luggage at the reception before collecting it and meeting your driver later in the day for the trip to the airport.

Flight arrival time: xx
Flight number:
xx