The Elephant Journey (11 Days, 10 Nights) - Laos Tours, Laos Holidays

The Elephant Journey (11 days – 10 nights)

Day 1: Chiang Rai arrival

Arrival in the morning in Chiang Rai, welcome by your guide and transfer to your lodge in Ban Kiukarn village. Visit the village inhabited by Hmong & Lahu tribes. These ethnic groups are quite important in the region and in the Golden Triangle sector. In the afternoon, first experience with Hmong community. Overnight in the lodge.

Meals: Lunch, Dinner

The Elephant Journey (11 days – 10 nights)

Day 2: Chiang Rai- Houay Xay- Pakbeng

Breakfast at the lodge and then a short drive will lead you to the border. Your guide will help you to cross the border (by pirogue if the bridge is not yet opened). Once in Laos, your guide will help you to enter to the country and you will reach your boat for a cruise down on the Mekong towards Pakbeng (departure must be not later than 9am, border is opening at 8am). Lunch will be served on board.

Option: in the afternoon, Lao teas degustation session during the cruise.

Arrival in late afternoon in Pakbeng, welcome drinks and installation in rooms. Free time at leisure for the rest of the day and the dinner will be served at the restaurant of the lodge.

Overnight in the lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The Elephant Journey (11 days – 10 nights)

Day 3: Pakbeng- Thaxoang- Hongsa

Breakfast in the lodge. Then, a short trek into the surroundings of the lodge will afford you a first immersion into the real rural Laos.

Then cruise downstream the Mekong towards Thaxoang (around 1 hour) with some stops along the way to visit hilltribes villages. Once in Thaxoang, we will embark into our vehicle for 45 minutes to one hour drive to Hongsa. Lunch on arrival in Hongsa and then check in in your guesthouse.

In the afternoon, we will meet elephants with their mahout in the village a Ban Viengkheo. You will learn more on their duties either into the tourism industry or into logging activities. A 2 to 2,5 hours elephant ride in Viengkheo (2 persons per animal) or into the jungle.

Return to Hongsa for your evening. Dinner into a local restaurant.

Overnight in Hongsa.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The Elephant Journey (11 days – 10 nights)

Day 4: Pakbeng- Thaxoang- Hongsa

Breakfast in your hotel. At 8am, a 4*4 pick up will come to pick us up. After a 2 hours drive along a bumpy, dirt road (note that the trip can only do by 4WD in conditions that may be quite rough) that will lead us to a Khamu village where we will meet our local guide that will show us one to 3 elephant camps located around this village.

Then, it will be a track to find the elephants and their mahout to find them working into the forest for logging. The walk can be slippery and steep but always rewarding. Lunch into the village or into a camp with the mahout.

Then, we will see how mahouts are working with their animals, how they bring logs down steep slopes, pull the logs with their head into the right position to move them into an easier way to push them into the stream and we will follow the elephant returning back to their village along the river and you might be lucky to see some elephant taking their evening bath.

Once back to the village, a baci ceremony will be prepared by the villagers to welcome you. At 4pm, it will be time to leave the village to return to Hongsa.

Dinner around a sindat: a traditional lao barbecue where you grilled your own sliced meat over a steel dome while boiling your broth in which one you add your own ingredients like spices, vegetables, vermicelli, etc..

Overnight in Hongsa.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The Elephant Journey (11 days – 10 nights)

Day 5: Hongsa- Sayabuli

Breakfast in your hotel. Drive to Sayabuli. Once there lunch and we will continue to the Elephant Conservation Center where we will access by using a boat on the Nam Tien Lake. In the camp, check in at your bungalow (basic).

Our visit of the center will start by the unique clinic for elephants in Laos and meet the veterinarians to learn about their duties and the way of taking care of the animals. To deepen our skills, we will go to the museum of the elephant and the mahout school where some persons are trained to care of their elephant and live with them. Enjoy your first interaction with elephants by learning some basic commands to control your elephants and complete your first course by a ride at the yard of the center. The next step will be to witness the unique bond between mahout and elephant for the bath and then walk into the nearby forest to take the elephant back to its resting area for the night and the rest of the day.

End your day by relaxing on the shore of the lake before dinner and going to your bungalow for the night.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The Elephant Journey (11 days – 10 nights)

Day 6: Hongsa- Sayabuli

Breakfast at the center (western food). After a short debriefing on safety, time to join the elephants for their daily exercises and one hour easy walk in the tropical forest. Walk with the elephant while learning with your guide how Laotian use plants & trees in the jungle.

You are now ready to share some unique moments with your animals and we will care of their diet and under a professional guidance, you will feed them and learn with the help and your mahout & guides the traditional way to sit on the neck of the elephant.

Lunch in the restaurant of the center.

Visit of the elephant nursery, located in the forest where the baby elephants are learning how to sustain themselves under the control of their mum. While looking at them, discover more on the reproduction program set up by the NGO Elefantasia to reduce the decline of the elephant in Laos. Once this done, it will be time to escort the elephants to their place for the evening and to practice after your trainings.

In the evening, a boat trip on the lake will be a nice instant to catch the sunset over the islands while sipping a fresh drink with snacks.

Dinner and overnight in the center.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The Elephant Journey (11 days – 10 nights)

Day 7: Sayabuli- Luang Prabang

Breakfast at the center (western food). Half day trekking through the forest to discover a sacred Buddha footprint and your guide will teach you about local customs, traditions. Then, it will be time to leave the camp, to jump onto the boat to cross the lake and return to Sayabuli where we will enjoy a lunch.

A 4 hours drive will lead you to Luang Prabang. On arrival in the town, climb up the Mount Phousy to enjoy a unique panoramic view over the region of Luang Prabang before going to your hotel for check in.

Dinner at your own and we invite you to stroll through the night market that takes place every evening in some streets of the town and is probably the best place to attend to find souvenirs or gifts to bring back home.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

The Elephant Journey (11 days – 10 nights)

Day 8: Luang Prabang

Breakfast at your hotel. After breakfast, we enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Royal palace now transformed into the National Museum (closed on Tuesday). Our stroll will also lead us at Wat Mai and the Heritage House.

Lunch at Un Petit Nids.

Once back in town, visit of the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Center to increase your skills on ethnic groups in Laos.

Dinner will be served at Roots & Leaves restaurant, settled into a yard with a beautiful flowered pond, while watching traditional performances

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The Elephant Journey (11 days – 10 nights)

Day 9: Luang Prabang

Breakfast at your hotel. A 40 minutes drive out of Luang Prabang will lead you to the Elephant Camp. Presentation of the camp and then get immersed with elephants more involved into the sector of tourism.

Then, 90 minutes ride will be organized through the forest. Once in the Houay Sae valley, we will leave our animal going to look for food. It will be as well time to enjoy your lunch with lao food and wine. Small break after the lunch near the stream and possibility to rest or to swim.

Once plenty of energy, a short trek (around 90 minutes) through the jungle will lead you to the Nam Khan River. For the last 30 minutes, once we will leave the valley, some horses will be awaiting you to carry your luggage.

On the shore of the river, we will embark on a bamboo raft to cruise down the river to return to the camp from where you will return to the town.

At 1900, head to the Hive Bar for a drink and to have a look over an ethnic fashion show that displays 95 pieces of traditional clothes from hilltribes of Northern Laos.

Dinner at the House overlooking the heart where Luang Prabang is pulsing once the night falls.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The Elephant Journey (11 days – 10 nights)

Day 10: Luang Prabang

An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. Return to your hotel for breakfast by passing by the fresh market.

Visit of Wat Xieng Thong before embarking on a slow boat to cruise up the Mekong to Pak Ou Caves. Once in Pak Ou, we will stop to visit the local caves that are a famous pilgrimage place for locals, especially at the Lao New Year period. The caves are crammed with hundreds of Buddha images.

Lunch at Mae Chan local restaurant with great views over the Mekong.

Free afternoon at leisure.

Option: In the afternoon half-day dyeing class: an introduction to all the dye sources. The student prepares 3 dye sources and dyes silk yarns. Take home the results.

Around 1700, time to join some petanque games and drinks at Langbieng Saylom with locals!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

The Elephant Journey (11 days – 10 nights)

Day 11: : Luang Prabang departure

Breakfast at your hotel end free time at leisure till your transfer to the airport for your onwards flight.

Meals: Breakfast

End of services./.

Chiang Rai Lanjia Bungalow
Pakbeng Pakbeng Lodge Superior
Hongsa Jumbo GH or similar Standard
Sayabuli Elephant Conservation Center Basic Bungalow (sharing bathroom)
Luang Prabang Villa Saykham Standard

NOTE : You have chosen to visit some remote areas of Laos where tourism is still in its infancy. We thank you for your open-mindedness and consideration. We are persuaded you will enjoy your time in these little visited parts of our beautiful country. We take this opportunity to inform you that you might occasionally face some situations when you may not be attended in a very professional manner simply because staffs have not necessarily been properly trained. In developing countries, it is an on-going concern which is being addressed by the relevant local and national authorities but we rest assured that tour guide will do his/her utmost to compensate the eventual weaknesses encountered here and there. We thank you for your understanding and look forward to your feedback.

Tour price includes:

  • • Accommodation at selected hotels, based on twin/ double occupancy with daily breakfast. Single occupancy must add the supplement single
  • • Ground transportation in private A/C vehicle or tuk tuk when mentioned
  • • Boat cruise as per mentioned in the program
  • • Activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • • Meals as indicated on the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • • English speaking guide (local guide, one guide one place)
  • • All entrance fees as mentioned in the program
  • • All permissions and local taxes
  • • Refreshing tissue during the transfer

Tour price excludes:

  • • Visas and stamps in Laos: visa available at the border (30 US$ to 45 US$ per person depending on nationality, + one passport sized picture + overtime fees; passport must be valid at least 6 months beyond travelling dates. Subject to change without prior notice from local authorities).
  • • Domestics and International flights and taxes
  • • International flights
  • • Drinks, tips, personal expenses (such as internet, laundry, but not limited to)
  • • Travel insurances
  • • Banking fees
  • • Any other services, meals not clearly mentioned in the proposal
  • • Optional tours in the itinerary are subject to be surcharge
  • • Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Indochina Voyages
  • • Additional charges from hotel during its peak season
Category Price valid from 1st Jan 2014 until 31 Dec 2014
2 3-4 5-6 7-8 SRS
Standard US$ 2,745 US$ 2,295 US$ 2,235 US$ 1,697 US$ 330

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