Trekking in Luang Prabang

Step outside of Luang Prabang’s tourist centre, and trek through jungles, along rivers, and up mountains to ethnic villages, caves and waterfalls.

 

You’ll find short, easy treks around town, and multi-day journeys with overnight homestays further afield. More extreme adventures climb steep mountains to unrivalled views. Treks into the hinterland also await north of Luang Prabang for those travelling to Muang Ngoi and Nong Kiew.  

Luang Prabang Environs

Take a day-trek to Kuang Si or Tad Se Waterfalls. Explore the lush jungles beyond Pak Ou Caves to mountaintops, hidden falls, and kayaking. Head out on a trail from the Nam Khan River through limestone canyons to steep climbs. You’ll stop at ethnic villages, immerse yourself in their lifestyle, and stay the night. 

Kuang Si Day Trek

Why drive to the famed Kuang Si Waterfalls, when you can take a 4 to 5-hour hike through forested mountains? You’ll visit Ban Nong Heo (Khmu) and Ban Long Lao (Hmong) villages and cultural sites, and learn about textile weaving, before reaching the falls and a cool swim. Return to town by car.

Tad Se Waterfall Trek

Cross the Nam Khan and walk to the ethnically diverse village of Ban Suan Dala, home to Lao Loum, Khmu, and Hmong. Continue for 3 hours through thick forest and rice paddies to a Khmu village. After lunch, walk 2 hours to Tad Sae and a cool dip in its natural pool, and visit the adjacent elephant village. For a thrill, take an optional ride on a zip line, before returning to Luang Prabang in the late afternoon.

Ethnic Experience

Start your 1-day trek at the Elephant Village and a boat ride across the Nam Khan River and the mountain trail to Ban Theung (Khmu). After meeting the locals, continue into the jungle between limestone monoliths. The rocky path steepens for 350 metres on the climb to isolated Lao Sung village (Hmong) and its roaming livestock. You’ll have a close cultural encounter before descending to other small ethnic villages. Follow a stream to the Nam Khan and a boat back to Luang Prabang. You can combine this tour with a 1-day kayaking trip and a night in the Elephant Lodge or nearby resort.

Khmu Immersion

Drive to the Nam Khan and cross the river to a Khmu village to start your 2-day trek. Continue past limestone cliffs and enter a trail under a thick jungle canopy. After 2 hours, stop for a Hmong village visit at a small lake walled-in by mountains. Another 2 hours through lush jungle arrives at a Khmu village to explore their way of life, learn to cook, and overnight in a homestay. After a village tour, trek 1.5 hours to another Khmu village for lunch, and then walk 2 hours to the Nam Khan and a swim before the ride back to Luang Prabang.   

Chomphet Ethnic Trail

Tackle a tough 2-day trek in Chomphet’s hills on the way to visit three ethnic groups. Start with a 30-minute boat ride from Luang Prabang Town up the Mekong to Ban Moungkham. Next, take a 2-hour walk along a forest trail to streamside Ban Houaypong (Khmu) for lunch. Continue on a vertical 2-hour climb with mountain and valley views to Ban Phou Luang Tai (Hmong). Enjoy a cultural experience with villagers and a night in their traditional guesthouse. Take a 1.5-hour, steep downhill trek the next morning to Ban Som, before a 30-minute uphill hike to Tham Nang Anh Cave and a swim at a small waterfall. A final, easy 3-hour trek back to Ban Moungkham and boat ride takes you back to Luang Prabang Town.

Mountain-High Homestay

Climb aboard this challenging 2-day trek into the mountains for great views and cultural interactions. Cruise up the Mekong, and then trek for 2 hours to a Khmu village and learn about their culture. After lunch, embark on 3.5-hour steep march to a mountain peak and Hmong village for a homestay. You’ll tour the village and its school, and your guide can translate your questions. The next day, walk down the mountain to ethnically diverse villages, stop for lunch at Ban Hoi Tan (Khmu), and descend to the Mekong and a boat back to town. 

Golden Mountain High

Hop on a moderate 2-day trek to the top of Pha Pon Golden Mountain, beginning with a 90-minute drive to Ban Pak Chaek on the Nam Ou. A 5-hour trek wanders through the river valley and its rice fields to the Khmu villages of Ban Houay Thuom and Ban Yha Nang for an overnight stay. Awaken for a walk past Hmong panning for gold, before hiking up Pha Pon Golden Mountain to the summit and a spectacular view. Descend the mountain to Ban Hat Houa (Khmu) and ride back to town.

Paths through Pak Ou

Head out on a 5-day trek around Ou District, home of the Pak Ou Caves. Begin at Ban Houay Lo (Khmu) for a 5-hour trek through Khmu and Hmong villages as you climb uphill. Stop at the Hmong villages of Ban Pha Peung and Ban Mok Chung to spend the night and experience their cultural traditions. Trek along a rugged trail into the densely forested mountains to Ban Nasavang (Khmu) and on to Ban Houay Kok for the night. Day 3 sees a 5-hour trek to Tad Ngai and Tad Noi Waterfalls for a relaxing swim, and further to the Nam Ou River and Ban Pak Chaek for an overnight stay. Kayaking consumes the final two days, as you head down the Nam Ou to Ban Lao Leu for the night, and then on to the Pak Ou Caves.

Luang Prabang Expedition

Embark on a 7-day trek topped with kayaking in Luang Prabang’s more remote corners. The excursion begins 40-km north of town in Ban Houay Lo (Khmu) and a trail climbing to a pair of Khmu villages and on to Ban Mok Chung (Hmong) for the night. In the morning, trek on rugged trails deeper into the densely forested mountains around the Nam Ou River Valley to a Ban Houay Kok (Khmu) homestay. Awaken to a 6-hour day on the path to Tad Ngai and Tad Noi Waterfalls, before reaching Ban Pak Chaek on the Nam Ou for the night. 

Boat across the Nam Ou in the morning and trek 6 hours through the river valley and rice fields to a pair of Khmu villages. Venture further to Ban Houay Oun for an overnight stay. On Day 5, walk 6 hours through Hmong territory, where they pan for gold, to a climb up Pha Pon Golden Mountain. Continue to Ban Hat Huay (Khmu) for the night. In the morning, head to Ban Na Po on the Nam Xeuang for an easy kayak trip to a riverside picnic and cliff-jumping into the waters. Continue by road to Ban Houa Sking for a homestay, and meet villagers with amazing war stories. Close out the trip with a paddle back to Luang Prabang town.

Remote Ethnic Homestays

Dig deep into Luang Prabang on a 3-day trek into far-flung areas around the province. Leave town on a 2-hour drive to the Nam Xuang River, cross the river, and embark on a 4 to 5-hour trek. You’ll head through the jungle to visit a Hmong or Khmu village, and participate in daily activities, interact with locals, and stay overnight. Day 2 treks along a stream to more remote mountaintop villages for the night. The treks closes with an easy descent through the jungle to the Nam Xuang for lunch and a swim.

Muang Ngoi & Nong Khiaw

Villages on the Nam Ou Riverbanks launch treks into northern Luang Prabang’s most pristine landscape. You can hike on narrow jungle trails to discover waterfalls inside caves, experience village life and homestays, and venture to a natural oddity, the 100 Waterfalls.  

Muang Ngoi Cave Trek

Kick off this 2-day trek at Ban Ngoi Kao on the Nam Ou River in the afternoon, with a 30-minute hike to Tham Gang and Pha Keo Caves, once used by locals to hide from Indochinese War bombardments. Explore these long, cool, water-filled cavities with underground waterfalls and rock formations. Then, trek 1.5 km through fields walled by limestone cliffs to Ban Houay Sens. A further 2-hour climb reaches Ban Kew Khan (Khmu) to observe basket weaving, eat a traditional meal, participate in a baci ceremony, and overnight in a village lodge. The next morning, trek 3-to-4 hours to Ban Hadsapeuy on the Nam Ou. Journey along the river, before a 30-minute boat ride to Muang Ngoi.

100 Waterfalls Trek

Step into a memorable day-trek to Nong Khiaw’s 100 Waterfalls. Start with a Nam Ou boat ride to a village and learn about life on the river. From here, you’ll hike along, and in, small jungle streams and across rice paddies to the waterfall’s base. Step into this amazing network of cascades and splash around in one of the many rock pools. The trail continues to the top of the falls and a view of the river valley. Then, descend on a path to the Nam Ou and a boat back to Nong Khiaw.

Trek to Nong Khiaw Heaven

Trek to the peak of Nong Khiaw’s highest mountain along a local hunting trail to an unrivalled panorama on this 1-day journey. Start at the Nam Ou and follow a steep, narrow jungle path through limestone-lined cliffs. Enjoy lunch with a backdrop of endless mountain ridges and the river below, before heading downhill and a late afternoon arrival in town.

Peek into Nong Khiaw

Start north of town at Ban Huai Lek (Khmu) for a 1-day walk along local paths. Climb to mountaintops and descend to villages such as Huai Khong and Sop Vanh, where you’ll cross the Nam Vanh stream. Along the way, experience village life, while collecting fruits and vegetables in the forest for a lunch at Ban Huai Khong. Continue to the Nam Ou and a boat ride back to Nong Khiaw for a sunset beer.

 

Luang Prabang…Timeless

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