Active Adventure in Vietnam and Laos
Cycle and hike through the lush rice paddies and small villages of northern Vietnam and Laos
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- Luxury accommodation throughout
- Private transfers and internal flights
- Full support from your travel concierge before, during and after your trip
- Expertly-led tours to get the most out of the incredible outdoors
At a glance
This 11-day trip is perfect for people who really like to get under the skin of where they’re travelling. It has the perfect balance of expertly led sightseeing tours and excursions that take you further off the beaten path.
Your adventure starts with a night in Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling capital city. From here you’ll swiftly move north to the beautiful Ninh Binh Province, exploring the Van Long Nature Reserve and taking a boat through the limestone karsts and caves. You’ll then spend two nights in Mai Chau, an area known for its impossibly green rice fields. Get a glimpse into local life with a visit to a Hmong village, then explore the area by bike, weaving in and out of the fields where people work the land like they have done for centuries.
It’s then time to move on to Laos, one of South East Asia’s real gems. This is a wonderfully relaxed country with incredible natural beauty. Cruise down the Mekong river, explore temple caves, cool off in waterfalls and kayak through rapids. Luang Prabang is famous for its morning alms giving ceremony, where hundreds of monks in saffron robes process through the streets accepting alms from locals and visitors. After a magical three nights in Laos’ capital, it’s time to head into the countryside and to the Oudomxay Province.
Here you’ll meet the Hmong and Khamu people, visit local villages and explore the countryside by bike. Those who travel to Laos are always won over by its charm and it is the perfect place to finish your exciting adventure in South East Asia.
Example Trip Itinerary
Private transfer to your hotel in Hanoi
Accommodation in Hanoi
- 388 rooms and suites
- 3 resturants
- 3 bars
- Swimming pool
- Full service spa
- Fitness centre
- Boutique and gift shop
Just moments from the Opera House in the French Quarter of Hanoi, Hotel Metropole Hanoi boasts the most prestigious address in the city and ideally located for visitors to explore the charming architecture and bustling streets. The hotel has 364 rooms and 22 suites and offers the finest heritage accommodation with all the contemporary comforts and impeccable service expected in a hotel of this stature. The bars and restaurants, especially Le Beaulieu, within the hotel are celebrated with Hanoi and guests have a choice of French, Vietnamese or International cuisine. After a busy day exploring Hanoi, the tranquil pool and Le Spa du Metropole are very welcoming.
Spend your day relaxing and exploring Hanoi. You’ll have our top recommendations for sightseeing and restaurant recommendations, so you can get the best out of this fascinating city before you move on to Ninh Binh in the morning.
Hoa Lu was the the ancient capital of Vietnam and is located in the Ninh Binh Province. While the ancient citadel has largely disappeared, the temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties still stand surrounded by rice paddies. After lunch at a local restaurant in Ninh Binh, continue to the 3,500ha (13.5 sq mi) Van Long Nature Reserve, the largest wetland natural reserve in the Red River Delta. Enjoy a boat trip taking in stunning scenes of local villages dotted among the limestone karsts and caves, perhaps encountering rare langur and birds on the way.
Private transfer to your hotel in Ninh Binh and Tam Coc
Accommodation in Ninh Binh
- 16 rooms
- Wellness treatments
- Swimming pool
- Organic garden
Set on the doorstep of the stunning karst scenery and pristine waterways of Ninh Binh and Tam Coc, the charming boutique resort of Tam Coc Garden presents a blissful environment in which to reside during a visit to one of the most scenic locations in Vietnam. Found on the outskirts of Ninh Binh, nestled amongst rice fields, the resort showcases a passionate focus on eco-tourism and cultural tourism, promising an enlightening and rewarding stay. Offering a choice of 16 rooms that are spread across eight independent bungalows, they are set in the serene gardens of Tam Coc, enjoying natural aromas and verdant views filled with local flora. Each room has its own private terrace, offering vistas of limestone karsts or sprawling rice fields, while the interiors are spacious and tastefully decorated, utilising features such as stone, wood, traditional tiles, bamboo and ceramics to create a natural and authentic character to each room. That sense of authenticity spreads throughout the resort, with the construction designed to resemble a traditional Tonkinese village, with its typical stone houses and tiled roofs. Tam Coc Garden benefits from an inviting on-site restaurant, enjoying a unique space and a menu with a focus on local flavours and ingredients. In fact, many of the ingredients are sourced from the resort’s very own organic garden, under the care of dedicated gardeners who work together with the chef to ensure an abundance of colourful spices and tasty vegetables. For an extra dose of relaxation amid this calming setting, the resort’s zen space includes a refreshing swimming pool with an adjoining bar, while a range of herbal foot bath remedies are on offer to those needing to soothe aching feet after a day exploring the surrounding natural landscapes.
Placed in the North of Vietnam, Ninh Binh is an ancient royal capital and the home of the historic Tran dynasty. Undoubtedly the regions greatest allure is the small village of Tam Coc. Meaning the 'three caves', Tam Coc is often referred to as 'Halong Bay on land' for its dramatic limestone formations that rise out of rice paddies. The Ngo Dong River follows through the area and floats through three natural caves, Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba, which are home to stalagmites and stalagmites, wild vegetation and often, monkeys.
Private transfer to Mai Chau
Accommodation in Mai Chau
- 19 bungalows
- Large swimming pool
- Two-storey restaurant & bar with panoramic view
- Bicycles for free rental
- Fully equipped meeting centre
- Wireless internet access
Perched on a hilltop in the heart of Mai Chau Valley, this traditionally designed ecolodge is wrapped in a panorama of emerald mountains and verdant rice paddies, promising an authentic nature experience. Built from natural materials in the local stilt house style with thatched roofs and bamboo interiors, the nineteen bungalows feature scenic vistas, while some boast hammocks to laze on and a private shower terrace. When you’re not out exploring this secluded northern pocket of Vietnam, head to the two-storey restaurant for hearty local food and the massage centre for indulgent treatments, both of which enjoy lovely rice field views.
Located in Hoa Binh Province, Mai Chau offers a splendid vista of mountains and valleys surrounded by lush landscape and stilt houses, inhabited mainly by the White Thai ethnic group.
Enjoy walks or bike rides to local hamlets along the valley and in the surrounding mountains, and engage in a chat with local hill tribe people to learn about their daily lives such as planting rice, herding buffalos and building traditional houses through your guide. They'll be chances to sample home cooked food, visit local markets and a primary school, or simply explore the village on foot.
Visit the Hmong hill tribe village of Xa Linh village and set out on a walk through picturesque mountain scenery. Your guide will facilitate chats with local hill tribe people for insights into their daily lives including planting rice, herding buffalos and building traditional houses.
Explore this beautiful landscape by bike, cycling past impossibly green rice paddies and local villages.
Private transfer to Hanoi airport
Flight from Hanoi to Luang Prabang
Private transfer to your hotel in Luang Prabang
Accommodation in Luang Prabang
- 34 luxury suites
- Restaurant & bar
- Freshwater swimming pool
- Spa & boutique
With pool, garden or mountain views, La Residence Phou Vao’s 34 spacious, zen-style suites are elegantly but simply furnished with polished rosewood and fresh linens. All suites offer a double bedroom, separate living area and a very high and attentive level of service throughout. The freshwater infinity swimming pool drops dramatically over a cliff edge overlooking the valley below with gold pagodas and shrines scattered across the hillside and views across to Luang Prabang (the hotel is 2 kilometres from the city centre). Set in lush gardens guests will enjoy the fragrance of flourishing bougainvillea, papyrus and frangipani trees. Meals can be taken al fresco in the gardens lit by the glow of lanterns and candles in the evening, or dine inside in sophisticated comfort on a blend of inventive Lao and French cuisine.
A charming city, spend your time relaxing and soaking up the culture. Visit temples, trek through virgin rainforest to beautiful waterfalls and give alms to the monks. We can arrange a special and unique time in Luang Prabang.
Cruise away from the city with a boat trip on the mighty Mekong. Meander up the river to the junction with the Nam Ou river, and the site of the Pak Ou caves. Explore these shrines carved into the cliff face before returning by road to Luang Prabang, stopping en route at local villages Ban Xanhg Hai, to try a unique rice whisky called Lao-Lao, as well as Ban Phanom, famous for its traditional hand woven textiles. Continue through typical Lao villages at Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek, well known for theor hand-made Jute Sar paper.
Head to Pick Noi where on arrival your guide will give you a short safety briefing and introduction to kayaking before heading off down the river. As you continue, you'll reach a small section of light but fun rapids before arriving at the tomb of the 19th-century French explorer Henri Mouhot who was the first European to discover Luang Prabang.
Wake up before dawn to witness and participate in offering alms to hundreds of saffron-robed monks. This early morning ritual dates back generations in Laos and is an awe-inspiring sight. The monks walk through the streets of Luang Prabang accepting offerings of food from local residents and businesses. Rising early also gives the chance to wander through the fresh market on the way back to the hotel for breakfast.
Drive out to the beautiful waterfalls of Tat Khouangsi. Below the 90m drop of the main cascade are a series of pools, connected by smaller falls and cascades. At low water levels, the water is an unbelievable turquoise, and swimming in the lower pools is a great way to cool off. On the walk through the forest to the falls, you will also pass the Free the Bears project – home to a group of rescued Asiatic Black (Moon) Bears and one Malayan Sun Bear. They are often searching for food hidden in their enriched environment enclosures, or simply sleeping. The route home offers the chance to stop at the villages of Ban Ou, Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene, home to some of the different Lao ethnic groups.
Explore the UNESCO -protected city centre to appreciate its unspoiled Laotian-colonial fusion architecture, taking in notable Buddhist temples. Visit the Royal Palace Museum, Wat Xiengthong, with its traditional roofs sweeping low to the ground, the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun, Wat Sene, the city’s oldest temple, and the shrines of Wat Aham and Wat Mai.
You will leave Luang Prabang then begin your expedition, venturing into the mountainous and remote area of northern Laos. The verdant and rugged mountain scenery combined with the colourful local population makes this an unforgettable experience.
You will make a few rest stops along the way, which give the opportunity to see the ethnic minority groups of Hmong, Khmu, Akha and Taidam. The hill tribe people are unfailingly friendly, welcoming you with waving hands and smilling faces. The journey to Muang La leads you through areas with dramatic landscape. You will arrive in Muang La in the afternoon, where you will have the opportunity to visit Pra Xack Kham Temple with its sacred Buddha image. The 400-year-old legendary statue is said to have many supernatural powers, and is widely worshipped among faithful local Buddhists.
Accommodation in Oudomxay Province
- 10 en-suite bedrooms with terraces
- Hot spring pool
- Laos cuisine restaurant
Muang La Resort provides guests with an incredible opportunity to stay in one of northern Laos’ remote villages in the comfort of this charming hotel. With its wooden buildings and discreet size, the resort manages to blend in with its surroundings, whilst offering its guests the luxuries of a sauna, massage services, gorgeous fragrant gardens, and ten en-suite rooms decked out in polished wood and jewel-toned fabrics, each with its own terrace; the furniture is all made by local craftsman Oudom Xai. Right by the lodge, the village’s natural hot spring fills the outdoor plunge pool, in which guests can unwind in this blissfully tranquil environment, while soaking up the water’s therapeutic effects. Traditional life still prevails up here, and the Muang La has a unique agreement with the village chief, which has allowed it to slot into village life and to have spearheaded several projects, such as the maintenance of the river bank to prevent flooding and the building of a bridge. The resort also employs locals and buys its produce from the village, all of which allows visitors to experience this culture in the most ethical, eco-conscious way possible. Guests at the Muang La Resort can use this as their base to explore the beautiful, untouched surroundings of the village, with rainforest treks, mountain biking, village visits, and trips to nearby waterfalls. Onsite, there are also Asian cookery classes for those who want to take home a taste of their journey to Laos.
The lush, mountainous province of Oudomxay shares its northern border with China and presents a corner of South East Asia yet to be touched by mass tourism. The region is home to over 500 villages where traditional life still prevails and the tribes each have their own language and customs.
You'll set off in a 4x4 and head to a small Khamu market. Continue following a picturesque route to Ban Poung Hieng, a Khamu village, then on to Ban Houai Chang which is the entry point to the national park at Phouhipi. Your route continues to other Khamu and Hmong villages which sit in the heart of the mountainous countryside of northern Laos. These isolated villages rarely see 'outsiders' and you will see people going about their daily, working in their fields. There are numerous places where you can take some amazing photographs before you reach the last Khamu-Hmong village of Ban Houa Nam Bak. This large village of around 1,600 inhabitants is close to the waterfall at Nam Pung where you can also enjoy some stunning views across the mountainous countryside. The falls are only accessible on foot and your trek of around 1.5 hours starts by crossing the fields around the village before following an uphill path to reach the waterfall. As you climb, you will see some amazing rock formations and the villagers have put a strong rope in place to help you climb to the top of one of the formations to enjoy the breathtaking view.
Cycle along the banks of the River Nam Pak where many Khamu villages are found. Pass by beautiful scenery and meet working villagers, harvesting vegetables on the riverbank. Stop in one of the villages to learn about its daily life and traditional beliefs such as respect of the village elders' wisdom, the innocence of youth and the communal spirit of the village. After around eleven kilometers you will reach the village of Tad Muan, where you can learn how the traditional houses are built and the different ways the villagers hunt. You will then cycle back to the resort.
Private transfer to Luang Prabang
Flight from Luang Prabang to Hanoi
Get in Touch
Active Adventure in Vietnam and Laos
How We Work
We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.