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Flight Inclusive Price from UK
- International flights from UK
- Domestic flights
- All taxes
- 12 nights accommodation
- All airport transfers by private car
- Breakfast & some other meals
- Privately Guided Tour
- Based on 2019 - 20 prices
- Eastern China
- Hong Kong
- Northern China
- The Yangtze River
Yunnan to Laos
Akha lady, Laos
Stone Forest Kunming
Village house near Luang Namtha
View of Oudomxay town
Yunnan to Laos
This exciting journey from Yunnan in China to the north of Laos will take you across a region few people get to.
Begin in the eternal spring city of Kunming and tour the city before taking the short flight to Jinghong, in China's semi-tropical South West.
Spend two days exploring this area including pagodas, minority villages and Wild Elephant Valley.
Visit the largest botanical garden in China before reaching the border with Laos.
Once into Laos we have included a kayaking excursion on the Nam Tha River and a half-day trek around Luang Namtha.
This will give you a great taste for the wild and beautiful mountains of northern Laos.
Take a private longtail boat for a cruise down one of the most scenically beautiful stretches of river in Laos along the Nam Ou.
Near Nong Khiaw, visit a cave used as a war shelter during the 'Secret War', to shelter people from bombs dropped in the region.
Enjoy 3 nights in Luang Parabang at the culmination of this journey to enjoy this charming culturally rich town.
As with all of our Laos and China holidays, this one is entirely amendable to suit your interests, time and budget. So just let us know your preferences.
- International flights from the UK
- Domestic flights
- Breakfast & many other meals
- Private vehicle, driver and guide
- Airport Transfers by Private Car
- Entrance Fees
- 2 nights Kunming
- 2 nights Jinghong
- 1 night Mengla
- 2 nights Luang Namtha
- 1 night Oudomxay
- 1 night Nong Khiaw
- 3 nights Luang Prabang
- Full day tour Kunming including the Stone Forest
- 2 Full day tours Jinghong
- Jinuo Hilltribe Village & Botanical Garden
- Full day kayaking Luang Namtha
- Half day trekking Luang Namtha
- Nam Ou River Cruise
- Half day tour Luang Prabang
Day 1: Fly UK - Kunming
Overnight flight from the UK to Kunming in Yunnan.
Day 2: Kunming
On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check in, with the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight Kunming. Breakfast included.
Day 3: Kunming
Visit the county of Lunan to discover one of the major attractions of the region: Shilin or The Stone Forest.
Due to its proximity to Kunming, Shilin can become a bit of a tourist trap.
However, only a small part of the 26,000 hectare site is crowded and it's easy to escape the hordes of visitors.
Head to the quieter and less frequented Black Stone Forest, which is roughly 10km away from the main site but just as impressive.
Enjoy a picnic lunch amongst the stone forest.
On the way back to the hotel, visit Yuantong Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in Kunming and known for its stunning location.
Overnight Kunming. Breakfast & Lunch included.
Day 4: Kunming - Jinghong
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Jinghong, the capital of Xishuangbanna, one of the most significant rice granaries of Yunnan.
On arrival in Jinghong you'll be met and transferred to Sanchahe Nature Reserve for a visit to Wild Elephant Valley, where a small hotel has been built on top of trees, providing the perfect vantage point for observing wild elephants who usually come out at night.
A 2 km-long cable way in the park enables guests to enjoy rainforest views from the air. With a bit of luck it’s possible to spot wild oxen, green peacocks and monkeys from here.
Afterwards, admire the Mange Buddhist Temple, which was built in the 15th century and is a perfect example of Dai architecture.
Wrap the evening up with a Dai barbecue dinner on Menghai Street in Jinghong.
Overnight Jinghong. Breakfast, lunch & dinner included.
Day 5: Jinghong
Start the day with a visit to colourful Dongfeng Market where different ethnic groups come daily to sell their goods.
Afterwards, head to the neighbouring village of Xiaojie and meet with the Lahu and Bulang ethnic groups.
Then head to Damenglong for a visit to two pagodas: Manfeilong Pagoda, located in the middle of the jungle, and Black Pagoda, located at the top of the hill overlooking Damenglong.
After taking in the stunning views here, head back to Jinghong
Overnight Jinghong. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 6: Jinghong - Mengla
After breakfast in the morning, leave Jinghong for Mengla, the last stop in China.
On the way, stop in Jinuo, named after the Jinuo minority, one of China's rarest minority tribes.
The next stop is Menglun for a visit to Tropical Botanical Garden, the largest tropical botanical garden in China, boasting more than 3,000 species of tropical plants.
Arrive in Mengla in the late afternoon and spend the rest of the day exploring the sprawling grounds of this garden.
Overnight Mengla. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 7: Mengla - Luang Namtha
Head to Mohan to cross the border to Laos!
After clearing border formalities receive the visa on arrival for Laos (2 passport photos and up to $40 in cash are required).
Be met by the Lao guide and transfer by road to the town of Luang Namtha, taking approximately 1 hour.
Arrive in Luang Namtha and check in to the accommodation on the banks of the Nam Tha River.
A short orientation tour will introduce the peaceful town before dinner at the hotel.
Overnight Luang Namtha. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 8: Luang Namtha
After breakfast drive off into the beautiful countryside of northern Laos for some time on the water.
The day begins with a basic paddling brief and familiarisation of safety before entering the river in single or double kayaks.
The Nam Tha River meanders through changing forest types, inhabited by animals such as tiger and barking deer and a great variety of birds.
The border of the Nam Ha Protected Area is reached in the Lanten village of Ban Sope Dute.
A few sets of exciting but safe rapids lead up to a lunch break on banana leaves near the riverside.
This river is suitable for kayaking year-round, with rapids being gentle during the dry season (Nov – May) and more challenging in the wet season (Jun – Oct).
After a typical Lao picnic, there is time for relaxation and a refreshing swim.
The next paddling stretch leads to the Khmu village of Ban Sop Sim Noy.
Kayaking ends after the confluence of the Nam Ha and Nam Tha Rivers, from where a pick-up awaits for the return to Luang Namtha.
The kayaking distance is around 20 km, although this can be adjusted according to your wishes.
Overnight Luang Namtha. Breakfast, lunch & dinner included.
Day 9: Luang Namtha - Oudomxay
After breakfast, depart from Luang Namtha and drive for 30 minutes southwards to Ban Jaluensouk (Khmu village) which is the starting point of a trek (a fairly easy 8-10 km walk).
There are a few uphill sections and a couple of small streams to cross, but nothing too strenuous.
Stop and spend some time at anywhere that catches the eye and the local guide will provide information.
At noon, enjoy a rustic picnic lunch with traditional Lao food, accompanied by the music of chirping birds and singing cicadas.
After lunch, walk to the car and be transferred to some open rice paddy fields with some pretty views.
On the way back to town and the hotel, stop by some villages such as a Lanten Village which is known for its paper made from bamboo pulp and Ban Pieng Ngam Village famous for its production of cotton and silk.
Freshen up before the drive to Oudomxay, which takes approximately 3.5 hours.
Check in to the hotel in Oudomxay and enjoy the evening at leisure.
Overnight Oudomxay. Breakfast, lunch & dinner included.
Day 10: Oudomxay - Nong Khiaw
After breakfast, drive to Muang Khua, a small town on the banks of the Nam Ou River.
Here, board a private longtail boat for a cruise down one of the most scenically beautiful stretches of river in Laos.
Compared to the more famous 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 while cruising downstream.
In the late afternoon arrive at Nong Khiaw, famed for the dramatic limestone mountains which surround it.
Disembark and check-in to the accommodation on the banks of the Nam Ou River.
Enjoy some time at leisure and don’t miss sunset over the river from the balcony.
Overnight Nong Khiaw. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 11: Nong Khiaw - Luang Prabang
After breakfast take a short and easy trek to the historical cave of Phathok.
The Nong Khiaw villagers used this cave as a war shelter during the 'Secret War', to shelter people from bombs dropped in the region.
It's about a 30-minute gentle walk from Nong Khiaw town through beautiful scenery.
Learn more about this little-known aspect of Lao history and explore the historical caves with the guide.
Return to the hotel to freshen up and check out. Lunch is served at the hotel before the transfer to Luang Prabang this afternoon, taking approximately 2.5 hours.
Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 12: Luang Prabang
Your guide will pick you up from your hotel after breakfast.
Start your city tour at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, where you will learn about 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 the 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.
Transfer back to your hotel with your guide and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in Luang Prabang.
Note: this tour can be done in the morning or in the afternoon.
Overnight in Luang Prabang. Breakfast included.
Day 13: Luang Prabang
Enjoy the day at leisure to enjoy the charms of Luang Prabang or explore further independently.
Alternatively add on an additional excursion or activity if you wish.
Overnight in Luang Prabang. Breakfast included.
Day 14: Shangri-la - UK
Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
Day 15: Arrive UK
Arrive back in the UK.
Is this a Private Tour or a Group Tour?
All of our China and Laos tours are private tailor made itineraries, customised for you - we can amend things to entirely suit you.
You will have your own private vehicle, driver and English-speaking guide on this journey.
What are the departure dates?
Let us know your preferred dates of travel and we will find the best and most suitable flights to fit your itinerary.
As this is a private tour, there are no set departure dates. We can advise you on the best times of your to travel, and some times to avoid.
Which Airlines do you use?
We work with all the major airlines flying to China and Laos.
For this trip, Thai Airways would be our normal preferred airline as they fly to Kunming and Luang Prabang.
However, just let us know your preferred airline if you have one. We can organise flights from any regional destination in the UK.
Which Hotels do you use?
We're careful with our choice of hotels, but we're guided by our customers also. If you have some preferred hotels, just let us know.
We specialise in boutique hotels and so we will often suggest some of our favourite smaller hotels where we think these will be suitable.
On this particular journey, accommodation options are fairly restricted outside of Kunming, Jinghong and Luang Prabang.
Do you cater for Solo Travellers & Families?
Yes, we have many solo travellers, and Laos and China are generally very safe destinations for those travelling alone.
This isn't necessarily a great trip for younger children as there is some kayaking and trekking involved and travel times can be lengthy on some days.
For teenagers however it would be quite an adventure.
How long have you been organising holidays to China & Laos?
We've been organising tailor made holidays to China & Laos for over 10 years.
Our team has a wealth of combined experience in the industry and our Director has been involved in organising holidays to China and beyond since the early 1990's.
Our partners on the ground in China and Indochina have over 20 years experience in operating there.
They are managed by a team of local people and expats, which we find is a combination which works very well indeed.
They understand China and Laos inside out and have a strong infrastructure of staff, guides and vehicles. We've had the same partnership in both China and Laos for over 10 years.
How does your office in Vietnam help?
We have our own staff in Saigon, Vietnam which helps in many ways with our customers in the Far East.
It helps us to keep on top of any new hotel and travel developments in the region and forge stronger relationships with hotels and other partners.
We regularly do our own inspections of hotels and destinations in the region.
Should our clients need any assistance during a trip, we always have at least one of our own staff on the same time zone, and we're open 7 days a week in Saigon.
Xishuangbanna & Jinghong
Located near the border with Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, Xishuangbanna is the most tropical region in China.
With its forests, lush jungle, fields of sugarcane, and dense bamboo groves, this is one of China’s most biologically rich areas.
The region is inhabited by unique ethnic minorities including the Dai, Hani, Lahu and Yao Blang which, together, comprise two-thirds of the local population.
Xishuangbanna also has a long and rich history of tea production, dating back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) including Pu’Er tea, one of the most famous in China.
You will encounter a number of different hilltribe minorities on this journey.
From Jinghong you'll visit Lahu and Bulang villages.
The Lahu number around 500,000 people. Men usually wear a 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 heads. Lahu villages can be found in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam as well.
Bulang are fewer than 100,000 people and are culturally very close to Dai people.
Mainly located in Xishuangbanna, most of them are Buddhist. Women wear black turbans with fish or shellfish-shaped silver ornaments.
Between Jinghong and Mengla you'll encounter the Jinuo.
With only around 20,000 members, the Jinuo are one of China’s rarest minority tribes.
The expression “Jino” refers to a tradition that respects the mother's brother as a prominent person in the family.
The uncles' ideas are highly regarded as well. 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.
Superior Hotel Suggestions Kunming:
Superior Hotel Suggestions Jinghong:
Intercontinental Xishuangbanna Hotel
Superior Hotel Suggestions Oudomxay:
Nam Kat Yorla Pa Hotel
Superior Hotel Suggestions Luang Prabang:
Les 3 Nagas MGallery
Luang Say Residence
12 nights Yunnan to Laos - Superior:
Price from £3,195 pp
This is a guide price only, based on travel in low season.
Prices will vary according to choice of hotel and seasonal airfare and hotel surcharges. Please ask us for any current special offers.
All of our China and Laos Tours are completely tailor made and we can put together any kind of itinerary to suit your interests and budget.
Call us now to speak to a China and Laos holiday expert about your holiday to Laos and China.
Call us now on 0333 7000 747
We're open from 9 until 9 daily and our 0333 number is a local rate number included in most call packages.