Immerse yourself in the Lao culture with a homestay in a remote village in north-central Laos. On this three-day journey you will cruise the Ou River to the village of Ban Somjam, where farmers and fishermen live simply and in harmony with nature.
Route: Luang Prabang – Nong Khiaw – Pak Ou
Day 1: Luang Prabang – Nong Khiaw
Day 2: Nong Khiaw
Day 3: Nong Khiaw –Pak Ou – Luang Prabang
This morning you will be driven to Nong Khiaw, a rustic town on the banks of the Ou River in north-central Laos. Arrive in time for lunch, and take in the dramatic scenery of limestone cliffs behind the river. Then catch a boat to Ban Somjam, a small village of around 70 families, where you will spend the next two nights in a local homestay. Spend the afternoon wandering around the village and meeting the families or beat the heat and take a dip in the Ou River with the locals.
Lao society places a high value on modesty and women must wear clothes or a sarong in the river. The evening’s highlight is dinner and conversation with your village hosts. You may either spend the night in a village headman’s house or a nearby bungalow that offers a bit more privacy. Both options have basic bathroom and toilet facilities.
Wake up to the sound of village life and a traditional Lao breakfast of sticky rice, chilli paste and eggs. Next, set off for more exploration of your of the village, stopping to greet friendly and curious locals along the way. Join in the fun and play football with the kids or teach them a new game. Watch the women weave traditional garments, while the men go off farming, fishing or hunting. In the evening, the villagers will perform a traditional animist rite called a Baci ceremony and you will be given a cotton string to tie to your wrist for luck. This is their way of thanking you for coming, and it involves dancing, singing and a feast!
After breakfast, say your goodbyes and board a boat for a five-hour journey down the Ou River. Stop for lunch near the Pak Ou Caves and afterwards explore the caves that are filled to the brim with hundreds of Buddhist statues left by devotees hoping for good fortune. You will arrive in Luang Prabang late in the afternoon.