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Yunnan to Laos Tour - 14 Days

Destination: Yunnan Laos
Duration: Fourteen Day
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Transportation: Vehicle
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A Tour crossing Yunnan to Laos for 14 Days.The rugged, mountainous landscapes that stretch down through southern China and northern Laos offer some of Asia's most stunning unspoiled wildernesses. With jungle-clad hills, exotic flora and fauna and colorful tribal communities, this wild frontier region provides a stunning array of attractions for the adventurous and curious traveler. This 14-day tour takes guests to the area's most exquisite natural and manmade sites, truly getting under the skin of this exotic and often mysterious region.
Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction
US$2100/persons 2100USD/Person

Day 1 - Arrival in Kunming (D)
Welcome to Kunming, capital of Yunnan province!

Your day will begin with a short walk in Green Lake Park (also known as Cuihu Park), letting you get a feel for the atmosphere of Chinese parks. The real early birds start their day with taiqi or qigong, both types of physical exercise which they consider vital to their health and well-being. Others engage in a friendly game of Chinese chess, Go (an ancient Chinese board game), or Mahjong: a piece of true theatre on the banks of the lake which in summer is covered by lotus-flowers and in winter flooded with seagulls.

You will maybe have the chance to assist to the ¡°matchmaking event¡± when Chinese parents stick pictures and profile information

Overnight in Kunming

Day 2 - Kunming (B,L)
Next on our itinerary will be the county of Lunan where we will discover one of the major attractions of the region and a must see, Shilinor literally The Stone Forest. The journey here will takes around 1h15, covering 100km. Due to its proximity to Kunming, Shilin can become a bit crowded. However, only a small part of the 26,000 hectare site is crowded and it is easy to escape the hordes of package holidaymakers. We therefore will take you instead to the quieter and less frequented Black Stone Forest, which is roughly 10km away from the main site but just as impressive.

Shilin is an endless maze of rocky peaks in an intriguing array of shapes and sizes that are a result of chemical erosion of the rock over time caused by rain and wind. Depending on the weather, you will be able to enjoy a picnic lunch in the middle of the ¡°forest¡± which will not only give you the opportunity to enjoy the scenery but also to avoid the rather high prices of the restaurants on-site.

On your way back to the hotel you will visit the Yuantong Temple (literally meaning ¡°the Temple of understanding everything¡±). Founded during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the temple is one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in Kunming and is known for its unique location.

Overnight in Kunming

Day 3 - Kunming - Jinghong (B,L,D)
Transfert to Kunming and flight to Jinghong. the capital of Xishuangbanna (flight takes around 1 hour) whose name derived from the Thai and means "12 rice-producing countries," the region is considered one of the rice granaries of Yunnan). Located near the border with Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, Xishuangbanna is the most tropical region for travel in China. With its forests, lush jungle, fields of sugar cane, its bamboo trees, its made up of more than 1000 animals (elephants, peacocks, monkeys, tigers ...) and its ethnic group villages & wildlife, you could imagine in any country in South East Asia. Indeed Dai but also Hani (that you already seen in Yuanyang), Lahu, Yao Blang and comprise two thirds of the population of the region.

Xishuangbanna has also a long and rich history in tea. His reputation dates from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), during which teas from Xishuangbanna were chosen to become imperial tea being transported on horseback and using the tea road until Beijing. Pu'Er tea is now one of the most famous tea in China.

Welcome by your local guide and transfer to  Sanchahe nature reserve(1.5 million hectares!) to visit the Wild Elephant Valley where a small hotel has been built on top of the trees for ones who want to observe wild elephants (that usually come out at night). A 2-kilometer long cable way in the park enables people to enjoy rainforest view ¡°from the air¡±. If you are lucky enough you will be able to see some wild oxen, green peacocks or monkeys for course!

You also will have the chance to admire the famous ¡°Elephant shaped old banyan tree¡±.

Upon your arrival in Jinghong you will visit Mange Buddhist temple, built in the 15th century andone of the best examples of Dai architecture.

Dai barbecue dinner on Menghai Street (including fresh passion fruit juice, fried banana flowers, pineapple rice made with purple rice¡­)

Overnight in Jinghong

Day 4 - Jinghong (B)
You will start your day by visiting the Dongfengmarket where different ethnic groups come daily to sell their goods. a colorful festival and a rich variety of traditional clothes!

You will head then to the neighboring Xiaojie (located 45 km from Jinghong) where you will meet Lahu and Bulang ethnic groups.

Lahu number around 500000 people, men usually wear black turban while women wear different clothes to show which branch of Lahu family they belong to (Black Lahu, Yellow Lahu or White Lahu).

Elder women still follow ancient traditions and continue to shave their head. Lahu villages can be found in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Bulang number less than 100000 people and are culturally very close to Dai people, mainly located in Xishuangbanna and most of them are Buddhist. Women wear black turbans with fish or shellfishes shaped sliver ornaments.

You will go then to Damenglong (around 15km from Xiaojie) where you will visit two pagodas: Manfeilong pagoda located in the middle of the jungle and Black pagoda!  Manfeilong pagoda was built in the year 1204 and is a famed stupa complex in Xishuangbanna. It is also known by two other names: White Pagoda and Bamboo Shoot Pagoda. These descriptive names are derived from the fact that the pagoda is, of course, white while its overall shape resembles a bamboo shoot. It is dedicated to Hinayana Buddhism (a small, conservative branch of Buddhism).

Visit of the Black Pagoda located at the top of the hill overlooking Damenglong.

You will then go back to Jinghong (55km north, which will takes around 90 minutes).

You will end your day with a blind massage in Blind Masseurs School!For centuries blind people have found work as masseurs; it's claimed that their heightened sense of touch makes them better therapists. In 2006, the Chinese government-under the auspices of the China Disabled Persons' Federation- started an initiative to help blind people find work as masseurs and it's estimated there are now more than 110,000 around the country. (Please kindly note this massage takes about 1 hour)

Overnight in Jinghong

Day 5 - Jinghong - Jinuo - Menglun - Mengla - Mohan - Boten (B,L)
You will leave Jinghong for Mengla, your last stop in China!

On your way you will stop in Jinuo (located 30km away from Jinghong, taking 45 minutes by car)named after the minority Jinuo which has been the 56th minority officially recognized by Chinese government, they number around 20 000 people. The expression ¡°Jino¡± refers to an ethnic group that respects the mother's brother as a prominent person in the family, the uncles' ideas are highly regarded. They also respect their seniors, especially older women. Upon the building of a new house, or when worshiping in an Adult Ceremony, they hold the highest position. This is a vestige of ancient matrilineal clans.

Your next stop will be in Menglun(located 50km away from Jinuo which will take around 1 hour to reach)where you will visit the famous Tropical Botanical Garden, the largest tropical botanical garden in China. It was established in 1959 by Chinese famous botanists including Prof. CaiXitao, who devoted all his life to related scientific research with remarkable achievements. The garden boasts more than 3000 species of tropical plants covering an area of 900 hectares. The garden has 13 special sections for plant growing, such as the tropic fruit tree section, the shade-growing plant section, the palm plant section, the water plant section, the national plant section, medicinal plant section, etc.

Arrive in Mengla(located 140km, taking approximately 3 hours drive) from in late afternoon.

Note: Customs in Mohan closed at 6:30pm, it would be possible to clear customs on that day but we would then have to avoid stops in Jinuo and Menglun.         

Overnight in Mengla

Day 6 Mengla - Mohan - Boten - Luang Namtha (B,L,D)
Head to Mohan (located around 50km from Mengla, it takes around 1h15 to reach) where you will cross the border to Laos!

After clearing border formalities you will receive your visa on arrival for Laos (2 passport photos and $20 - $40 per person required in cash, depending on nationality). Meet your Lao guide and transfer by road to the town of  Luang Namtha, taking approximately 1 hour.

Arrive in Luang Namtha and check in to your accommodation on the banks of the Nam Tha River. A short orientation tour will introduce the peaceful town before dinner is served at your hotel.

Overnight in Luang Namtha
Day 7 - Luang Namtha - Muang La - Meet the ethnic groups of Northern Laos (B,L,D)
After breakfast, you will drive off in to the beautiful countryside of northern Laos to reach Muang La, taking approximately 1 hour 40 minutes. Check-in at Muang La Resort.

Then you will enjoy a full day tour including no ¡®real trekking', only walking through and between villages. Travelling by 4x4 is the only way to cover enough ground and climb the steep mountains in order to reach the most untouched and fascinating villages in the region. Speak to your guide to check if there are any special markets or festivals happening today, as the itinerary can sometimes be flexible.

Set off after breakfast to visit an entirely isolated Ikhos village. This ethnic group originates from Tibet and Yunnan and these villagers have seen very few foreigners. You may notice a different atmosphere here compared to other villages which are more used to seeing visitors. Your guide can teach you about the daily life of the villagers and how they still follow ancient customs passed down through the centuries.

Here you are more than 1,000m above sea level and the views are magnificent, making it great picnic spot.

After lunch, you leave the village walk for approximately 45 minutes to the Hmong village of Ban Tauser. The remote route to the village takes you to a viewpoint with a stunning 360¡ã panorama. The Hmong originate in the high steppes of Tibet and you will learn about their way of life, including the great importance of their livestock.

Return to the resort at the end of the day.

Dinner and overnight in Muang La Resort

Day 8 - Muang La - Trekking to Phongsavanh (B,L,D)
After breakfast, you will be driven for around 25 minutes by 4x4, following the Nam Pak River before taking a small mountain road, overlooking the Nam Ko River, to the start point. Begin trekking along a narrow mountain trail, through the lush forest.

Arrive in the Kamu village of Huay Ho where life flows at a relaxed pace. You guide will answer any questions you may have and can explain about the life of the villagers. Interesting topics include their animist beliefs and ceremonies as well as the different tools they use in the fields around the village.

You set off from the village following a narrow trail, climbing from the river alongside a mountain stream which feeds in to it. Pass through rice fields and reach the Lao Loum village of Ban Phongsavan, which sits at the heart of a beautiful little valley. It will now be time for a well-deserved picnic lunch in the lush countryside of northern Laos.

After lunch, you follow a mountain trail overlooking the magnificent scenery and pass through farms in the heart of the local countryside, with some breathtaking panoramic views. Your guide will take the time to explain how the local people use the plants and herbs of the forest to feed themselves and sometimes heal themselves, using the medicinal properties of the local flora.

Continue your trek, crossing small bamboo bridges as you descend to the Yang village of Long Ya. You will learn how the peaceful life of the villagers is interspersed with different communal activities: drying herbs and vegetables, setting animal traps and preparing their meals using the local produce. The village is well known for the production of rice alcohol (¡°Lao Lao¡±) and also houses a small Buddhist temple.

A further 2 kilometers takes you to the hidden temple of Wat Hoytinphabath, which houses a 35m long reclining statue of Buddha. Numerous effigies and symbols glorifying Buddha can be found in the central temple which also contains footprints of Buddha embedded in stone. The temple is completely in harmony with its surroundings and exudes serenity. Leave the village following a dirt road along the River Huay Ya and enjoy the stunning mountain scenery before you arrive back at the resort, in the late afternoon, for a well-deserved rest.

Dinner and overnight in Muang La Resort

Day 9 - Muang La - Muang Khua - Nong Khiaw (B,L)
After breakfast, you will be driven approximately 2 hours to Muang Khua, a small town on the banks of the Nam Ou River. Here you will board a private longtail boat for a cruise down one of the most scenically beautiful stretches of river in Laos. Compared to the Mekong, the Nam Ou is considered more dramatic and wild and also has far less traffic.

Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way and spot various local villages as you cruise downstream.

In the late afternoon you will reach your destination of Nong Khiaw, famed for the dramatic limestone mountains which surround it. Disembark and check in to your accommodation on the banks of the Nam Ou River.

Enjoy some time at leisure and don't miss sunset over the river from your balcony.

Overnight in Nong Khiaw

Day 10 - Nong Khiaw - Pak Ou Caves - Luang Prabang (B,L)
After breakfast travel down by private car on your way to Luang Prabang. Just after the dam, take a boat for a cruise down the spectacular Nam Ou River and you will enjoy a picnic lunch along the way. As you cruise down the river, watch the local fishermen and the lifestyle of the riverside residents.

Stop for a visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, at the confluence of the Nam Ou and Mekong rivers. Locally referred to as Tam Ting, these two caves are carved out of towering limestone cliffs and contain thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues.

Continue downstream for another 2 hours to Luang Prabang, with the option to stop at a local village along the way (discuss with your guide).

You will be met at the boat pier in Luang Prabang for a private transfer to your hotel.

Welcome to the spiritual capital of Laos! Enjoy free time at leisure or may like to take a walk around the town.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 11 - Luang Prabang - City tour (B,L)
Today, take a guided tour of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Your guide will pick you up from your hotel after breakfast.

Start at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, where you will explore the history of Laos. Continue on foot to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief, and Wat Sensoukarahm, which features a beautiful dazzling golden façade. Finish this morning's tour at Wat Xieng Thong, the most revered temple in Luang Prabang. Located at the end of the peninsula, close to the Mekong, this temple was built in 1560 by King Setthathirat and is decorated with ornate carvings and mosaics.

Lunch at Tamarind (Note: closed on Sundays). Run by an Australian woman and her Lao husband, they have created a fresh menu of Lao dishes and are dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of the local cuisine.

Following lunch, continue your tour of enchanting Luang Prabang. Visit Wat Visoun, the holiest temple of the city, which was entirely rebuilt in 1887 after being destroyed by the invading Black Flags from Southern China. In the courtyard of Wat Visoun stands the Watermelon Stupa shaped like the fruit from which it takes its name. Continue past Wat Aham, which was first built in the 1500s, and on to Wat That where the ashes of King Sisavang Vong are kept inside the large central stupa.

Continue to the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre, a museum dedicated to exploring the rich diversity of Laos' ethnic minorities.  Traditional costumes, tools, and artifacts are on display alongside in-depth descriptions and written histories. It is a great opportunity to gain insight in to the Lao people (Note: closed on Monday).

As today comes to a close, climb the 328 stairs of Mount Phousi and watch the sun set over the city and surrounding hills.  Visit the hilltribe evening market for some shopping. This colorful market takes place every evening from around 5pm along the main streets of town and is a great place to look for souvenirs.

Then transfer back to your hotel or spend more time at the market. Enjoy your evening at leisure.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 12 - Luang Prabang - Shangri Lao Experience (B,L)
This morning, you will be collected from your hotel between 0800 and 0830 by a guide from the elephant camp for a VIP minibus transfer. There may be other guests on board. The camp is located on the banks of the Nam Khan River, approximately a 40 minute drive from Luang Prabang.

Upon arrival you will get an introductory tour of the camp. Your guide will teach you about elephants and you can talk with a veterinarian, feed the elephants or relax by the riverside.

Then begin your expedition with an elephant ride lasting approximately 1.5 hours. This is on a howday (elephant seat) through forests and over hills to the protected Huay Sae hidden valley.

After reaching the Huay Sae Valley you leave the elephant and rest at the jungle Sala, enjoying a luxury lunch with traditional Lao food and wine by a secluded waterfall. Depending on the water level you can refresh and swim in the natural pools.

Continue with an approximately 1.5 hours trekking on foot along the marvelous Huay Sae mountain stream. The adventurous trail crosses bamboo bridges and passes waterfalls, fantastic limestone formations and turquoise blue pools in the dense jungle. Along our educational trail you will learn more about this important ecosystem.

Board a luxury bamboo raft and slowly float downstream, which is a relaxing 1.5 hour journey back to the camp, with an optional 30 min stop at the Tad Sae Waterfall.

At 1630-1700, you will transfer back to Luang Prabang, arriving at your hotel in time for sunset.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 13 - Luang Prabang - Vientiane - City Tour (B,L)
You will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to the capital.

Suggested flight:
Depart Luang Prabang at 0720 on QV112 (Lao Airlines), landing in Vientiane at 0810.

Your guide and private driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel for check-in.

Today enjoy a guided tour to discover the hidden charms of Vientiane, whose name means ¡®the city of sandal wood'. Vientiane is one of the quietest capital cities in the world, far away from the hustle and bustle of other Asian capitals.

Your tour begins at 0900 this morning at the serene Wat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828. It is one of the most beautiful temples in the capital, and its breezy teak covered hallways are filled with thousands of miniature Buddha statues.

Continue on to the nearby Wat Phra Keo. Used as a religious museum, Wat Phra Keo displays a collection of both Lao and Khmer works of art. Also nearby, is the Presidential Palace. Although you are not allowed to visit inside, it is a good glimpse in to the town's colonial past as this building formerly served as the French governor's palace.

Stop at Wat Simuang, the most popular and venerated temple in Vientiane, as it is considered the guardian of the spirit of the city. Upon its grounds, you will find an Angkorian-era pillar and it is a popular belief that if you circle it three times and make a wish, then that wish will come true.

Nestled near the original morning market is That Dam. Also called the ¡®Black Stupa', the structure was once covered with a layer of gold which was stolen by the Thais during their invasion in 1828. From here, travel on to nearby Pangkham Street, with its plethora of tailor shops, and Nam Phou Fountain. Here you can see how traditional areas of the city are embracing modernity.

Enjoy a delicious Lao-style lunch at Makphet Restaurant. Established by Friends International (, Makphet is a charity-run restaurant aiming to train the area's street children in the hospitality industry. Professional chefs from around the world have volunteered their time in developing the menus and training the staff. The food is excellent, and the staffs excel in bringing true Lao-hospitality in to their service.

Visit COPE, an association working to help landmine victims. A visit to the center provides in-depth information about the history of the American/Vietnam war and the lasting impact of unexploded ordinances (UXO) in the area and the efforts underway to clear them.

Continue to the Patuxay monument, Laos' version of the Arc de Triomphe, where you can climb the stairs to the roof for sweeping panoramic views of the city. Next, your tour takes you to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthathirat in the 16th century, the temple is resplendent as the sun shines upon its towering golden spire.

End your tour of the capital along the banks of the Mekong River as the sun begins to set. Stroll along the river, stop to enjoy a cold drink, or sample a snack from one of the many local food stalls. This area is very popular with locals who go to exercise in the park in the evenings and you can also browse the evening market for souvenirs.

Overnight in Vientiane

Day 14 - Vientiane - Departure (B)
Enjoy free time at leisure and you will be transferred to the airport and take flight to your next destination.

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