The Mekong and The Lanna Kingdom

- A Secret Retreats journey -
9 days / 8 nights
from 2,150 USD /person

 

ITINERARY BOOK
 


This journey has been personally designed by Nattinee Kulsin, Born in Sukhothai and Head Concierge at Secret Retreats


Highlights of the Journey:

  • Golden Triangle
  • The mighty Mekong
  • Akha, Khmu or Hmong villages
  • Luang Prabang.

What separates us apart from others? Secret Retreats creates tailor-made journeys. Passionate about travel, Secret Retreats will design and create the perfect journey to match both your time and budget.
This journey will offer you to discover the Golden Triangle, the hill tribes and the nature of Northern Laos, the Mekong and life on the banks of the river and the old cultural capital of Laos: UNESCO town of Luang Prabang


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Your Journey Day by Day

9 days / 8 nights from 2,150 USD /person

based on 2 people traveling together and sharing the same room

 
Day 1 : Chiang Rai – Chiang Saen (-/-/-)
Airport pick up and drive to Chiang Saen (1hr) to reach Chiang Saen, a river town that straddles the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos; arguably known as one of the oldest city in Thailand. Chiang Saen is teeming with temples and steeped in centuries of history.
Check-in for 2 nights Athita, The Hidden Court. The whole building is of teak wood and handmade bricks that connect with the nearby temple Wat Athi Ton Kaeow. In the evening, you will take a private boat trip on the Mekong River for about 1hr to look at the trawl of the Mekong fish, a way of life for the villagers in the community for many decades. Villagers still use special traditional methods. Taste the famous fish salad of Mekong! If you like you continue by a walk through one of the many markets with local farmers selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Whilst local venders will be selling traditional Thai snacks, herbs and insects. No arrangement for dinner.
HOTEL: Athita The Hidden Court (Deluxe Private Garden Room)
Day 2 : Chiang Saen (B/-/-)
After breakfast take a tuk-tuk to explore the temples around the city, pay homage to important temples (Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Pa Sak, Wat Chom Kiti, Wat Phra That Pha Ngao). Stop by to buy local food at the fresh market. Watch the Golden Triangle. The visit will last 3 to 4hrs. Free time for lunch and the whole afternoon to relax or explore on your own, or try activities proposed at the hotel.
No arrangement for dinner.
HOTEL: Athita The Hidden Court (Deluxe Private Garden Room)
Day 3 : Chiang Saen - Houay Xai - Muang La (B/L/D)
After breakfast and check out, your driver will take you to Chiang Khong to cross the border to Laos (about 1hr drive). He will drop you at the Thai immigration where you will complete immigration procedures to cross the border (over the river bridge). On the other side,
a driver will pick you up on the Lao side and you will start a drive through a mountainous road, with beautiful natural sceneries. You will cross several and diverse minority tribes villages as well during 3hrs. You shall reach Luang Namtha for lunch. Continue the road for another 90mn. You can stop any time for photos, or to meet and speak to some locals or simply to observe the beauty of nature. You will reach Oudom Xay at the end of the afternoon,main city of North Laos. Enjoy the sunset from the “That” overlooking the town and valley. And drive another 30mn to reach the lodge. Check-in, relax in the hot spring or the traditional sauna if you like. Dinner served at the lodge.
A massage will be offered during your stay, at any time.
HOTEL: Muang La Lodge (Deluxe Riverview Room)
Day 4 : Muang La (B/L/D)
Today after breakfast, you will jump on a 4WD for a day to meet Khmu, Hmong and Akha tribes in their villages - three typical communities of Laos. The track you will take is superb and offers an incredible climb up to 1000m from to reach a scenic and memorable point of view.
You will first visit the Khmu village, then continue your way to the Hmong village of Ban Pangcor. Your guide, together with some people from this ethnic group, originally from the high steppes of Tibet, will make you discover their habits, the important place that animals (pigs, buffaloes, etc.) hold in their way of life and the care they provide them.
Lunch will be taken on a magnificent viewpoint. You will then visit the very beautiful Akha village, totally isolated. This community from Yunnan and Tibet has remained extremely traditional. The path leading to the completely isolated village offers many impressive viewpoints.
Return to the Lodge at the end of the day for rest and dinner.
HOTEL: Muang La Lodge (Deluxe Riverview Room)
Day 5 : Muang La (B/L/D)
After breakfast, you will walk 30 minutes along the Nampak River to Wang Wanh, a Khmu village whose inhabitants make bags from plant fibers. You will be welcomed by a local family of farmers in the middle of a magnificent rice field, surrounded by hills. The immersion will therefore be total and conducive to a most exciting discovery of the different stages of rice cultivation and the inherent traditional way of life. Accompanied by your guide, you will discover the work in the fields and the farmer's faithful friend: the buffalo. You will learn how to select the seeds, plant them, and transplant the cuttings... until the crucial stage of harvesting. After the work, time to rest! You will have lunch in a traditional “sala” in front of the farm enjoying a 360 degree view of this splendid valley with its unspoiled landscape. You will have plenty of time to watch the farmers and the animals go about their daily business. Finally, you will share your emotions around a jar of local cider, Lao Hay. After this meal, you will cross the Nam Pak River on a bamboo raft and discover the Khmu village of Vieng Kham, whose inhabitants are known to be master weavers. They create both sarongs and silk fabrics. You will then walk to the village of Muang La, visit the primary school and the temple “Chiao Pha Kham Sing” which houses a sacred Buddha and is a very famous place of worship in Laos. Then you will return to the Lodge in the middle of the afternoon, with a light heart and a head full of highlights. In the evening, join a ceremony at a local resident’s house. In Laos, where animist beliefs persist, the locals believe they have thirty-two souls; one in each of the 32 parts of the body. These souls (or Khouanes) tend to escape, risking being swallowed by spirits, thus creating diseases and misfortunes. It is therefore important to remember them during this ceremony of “recall of souls”: the Baci ceremony. Dinner at the Lodge.
HOTEL: Muang La Lodge (Deluxe Riverview Room)
Day 6 : Muang La – Oudomxay – Luang Prabang (B/-/-)
After breakfast, free time before transfer to Oudomxay Train station This is the end of the 4-day program; Or continue to Luang Prabang (train ticket Oudomxay – Luang Prabang included). About 45mn later, arrival at Luang Prabang Train station, a driver will greet you and transfer you to your hotel Check-in then free time for the rest of the day. You can go for a bicycle ride, walk around the night market or relax at the Spa.
No arrangement for dinner, but we can recommend one of our Secret Tables.
HOTEL: Satri House (Deluxe Room)
Day 7 : Luang Prabang (B/-/-)
Today is a free day for you to explore the town at your pace.
Option: we can also organize a city tour with a guide if you prefer (additional fee).
There is a very old and strong tradition to which the Laotians are attached: almsgiving to the monks. Every morning at dawn, the monks cross the village of their respective temple to collect the gifts offered by the villagers, which will constitute their meal of the day. It is a very solemn moment and full of humility at the same time. Then a visit to the morning market and its products, to say the least…atypical! Return to the hotel for breakfast. Luang Prabang cannot be visited, it can only be experienced. Indeed, the atmosphere that emanates from this town which has more than 1,000 monks and nuns for about thirty temples is truly unique. A feeling of peace is omnipresent over the town. Daily life is regulated by the activity of the temples. We invite you to discover the cultural and spiritual heritage of the city, of an inestimable richness and fortunately sheltered today under the aegis of UNESCO. At the end of the day, Mount Phousi, accessible by its 300 steps, is the perfect place to enjoy the sumptuous sunset over the city and the Mekong.
Going down the stairs on the “Royal Palace” side, you will come across the Luang Prabang night market, a real treasure trove of original local crafts for unique souvenirs.
HOTEL: Satri House (Deluxe Room)
Day 8 : Luang Prabang (B/-/-)
Here again you may want to be on your own, or add the option below .
Option: A morning dedicated to the discovery of elephants at the eco-responsible camp (additional fee – grouped activities). At 8:30 am, you leave for the village of Xieng Lom. After a cup of coffee or tea and your guide will give you an introduction to elephant behavior and new training techniques, especially with baby elephants, as well as how we as human beings should interact with the baby and his mother. Cross the Nam Khan River to go and meet the elephants. The first interaction is to feed the animals, one of the best ways to ensure an immediate friendship. You will then leave for a walk in the forest and a swim. This playful experience involves using special materials found in the jungle to scrub and rinse the elephants before starting the trek. After crossing an expanse of rice paddies, you enter a new area of forest where you and your elephants can take a break to relax and eat.
Lunch will be served in traditional Lao fashion, eating on bamboo mats in the forest. Continue walking on the trail and stop at Tad Kuang Song Falls, named after the spirit of the golden deer seen standing at the top centuries ago. You can take a bath or just relax to appreciate the magic of the place. Before resuming your journey, the mahouts will give you a demonstration of their work. Watch and learn how they communicate and listen to their elephants. This will highlight each animal's special skills as well as their varying personalities. Now it's your turn to communicate directly with your very own elephant! Read their emotions just as they read yours. Find out why humans and elephants have shared such an extraordinary bond for thousands of years.
After this brief moment of learning, you help the mahouts bring the elephants to their resting places for the night. One last hug to your new friend and return to Luang Prabang at the end of the afternoon.
HOTEL: Satri House (Deluxe Room)
Day 9 : Luang Prabang – Departure (B/-/-)
After breakfast, day on your own and transfer to Luang Prabang train station or Luang Prabang airport for your departure...

Your Accommodation on this Asia Travel Itinerary


The Mekong and The Lanna Kingdom

9 days / 8 nights
from 2,150 USD /person

based on 2 people traveling together and sharing the same room

 


The total price includes:
Accommodation based on two persons sharing the same room as indicated
All meals where specified in the programme (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner).
All transfers as specified, in private car or air-conditioned van.
All excursions and activities as specified in the programme.
All entry fees.
A guide service for all excursions.

The total price does not include:
International flights
Meals not specified in the programme.
All services not specified in the programme.
Fees for Lao visas ($30 - $40) USD per person (depending on nationality) plus one passport photo.
All insurances including cancellation insurance/ travel insurance/ repatriation or lost luggage insurance.
All tips.


This Secret Journey was designed in cooperation with Nattinee and Asia Safari Laos (License N°391 29/07/2004).

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