Starting from the city heading North
Don Khun island.(25minutes)
A very spiritual setting for a temple that survived the war untouched by bombs Home to only a handful of monks and novices, the island has been dedicated to the temple. No one may live or build there, only those who stay at the temple may remain overnight. Favoured by the last king of Laos its an interesting way to begin to understand temple life.
Manifa elephant camp (+12 minutes)
A brand new camp that offers riding, feeding or bathing packages. Turn up just to watch the elephants, take refreshment or bathe with them. Dining facilities, bar and perhaps one of the nicest toilets in Laos are available here.
Pak ou caves (+10 minutes)
Highly revered by Lao people these two caves lie opposite the mouth of the Nam Ou river. Inside the caves lie thousands of mostly hand carved statues of the Lord Buddha. Can get busy during the high season and during Pi Mai Lao (Lao new year) accessable only by boat these caves have been welcoming Lao people to make offerings and burn incence for hundreds of years.
Toilets available (Charge 2,000 kip) Entry fee 20,000 kip pp
Opporsite the caves lie the beautiful limestone cliffs at the mouth of the river Ou. Great spot to try out the fishing or simply drift below the sheer rock face. Traveling up the river to Phongsaly is no longer possible due to the dam construction. Low water levels between November and May mean any meaningful navigation of the river is impossible beyond 2KM.
Nearby lie the opportunity to take lunch on the floating restaurant or in one of many eateries in the area. Whiskey village is close by, please inform the captain if you wish to view.
Travelling Further North
Op river from Pak Ou offers you the chance to visit some isolated Hmong villages and take in the dramatic mountains of Northern Laos, see the mountains rise further and take in hidden villages. It is possible to get to the town of Pak Beng (the halfway staging post to the Thai border) in a day, but not back! Please contact us for further information.
Returning back to the city will take just 30 minutes or so from the Pakou caves.
To the South
After a short ten minute cruise downstream lies Ban Chan or pottery village on the less inhabited right bank of the Mekong. Here you can stroll around the hamlet and watch hand thrown pots and bowls being crafted on manually spun wheels. Opportunities to learn how to throw your own pots and then take lunch exist. A small entrance fee to the village of 10,000 kip applies.
Just a little further on from Ban chan are the Pha Tad Ke botanical Gardens. Normally we would recommend taking the half day tour here via the gardens own boat shuttle service but if you have time constraints you can spend an hour or so taking in the spectacular array of plants on display in their natural habitat. Alternatively you may choose to combine a brief visit here with lunch at the restaurant overlooking the lilly ponds.
Twenty minutes downstream from the centre of town lies the Grand Hotel. An ideal place to moor and enjoy lunch. Realistically priced it offers Lao and western food in superb settings.
Heading South again from the Grand the river widens and signs of building diminish. Watch the spectacular scenery around you open up and enjoy the landscape as you push further southwards.
There are numerous small villages here where you can stop and take in the lifestyles of both Lao and ethnic peoples of Laos. In order not to damage village life by tourism we decline to name many of the villages you can stop at. Please note photography will be at the consent of the subjects and cash donations to villagers are not encouraged. You may wish to purchases some school books or pens to take with you.
A stop at the Kuang Si falls and Free The Bears can be arranged. The falls are not directly on the river and will require a vehicle to come to collect you and return you to your boat. If time constraints apply or you simply prefer a private tour then we will happily arrange transport for you. Kuang Si lies 40 minutes from town.
South again will take you all the way to Vientiane but the furthest we can travel in one day is to the Xayaboury dam, extra fuel would need to be taken on board as Xiaboury dam lies 2:30 minutes from town at high speed.
TheNam Khan River (Behind the dam)
One hours drive from town along both made and unmade roads lies some particularly unspoiled areas of Luang Prabang. Here little has changed and you are rewarded with clear still waters that lend themselves to any of the activities we offer be it fishing, cruising or water skiing. Bird watching remains elusive except for some kingfishers and avocets, we can hear them but they are not flying much! Lunch options are limited here so a prepared picnic from your hotel may be an option or we can arrange for caterers from L’Elephant Group to service all your needs.