Seuang River and Homestay is one of our favorite tour experiences in Laos. Not only do you get to stay in the beautiful and serene Luang Prabang for three nights, cycling its picturesque streets, visiting fantastic caves, swimming in jungle waterfalls, and interacting with elephants, you will also spend two nights living with a village family in a traditional village on the Seuang River.
Day 1: Luang Prabang
Arrive in Luang Prabang, and enjoy a gentle bike ride around this beautiful World Heritage town. Nestled in a stunning setting amid lush mountains, this sacred city of golden temples and saffron robed monks provides endless opportunities for sightseeing. Visit a number of Wats (temples) and other fascinating sites. Spend the afternoon exploring on your own at the relaxed pace of laid-back Laotian life.
Day 2: Luang Prabang – Seuang River
The following morning, wake at dawn to experience the Buddhist practice of almsgiving. Hundreds of saffron-robed monks walk the cobbled streets providing blessings in return for alms. After breakfast, drive two hours north of Luang Prabang to our sustainable tourism project in Seuang River, set in spectacular countryside. Tour the village, and learn about the local way of life. Meet the family you will be staying with for the next two nights. The house will have electricity, a clean Asian-style squat toilet and bathing area, but no hot water. You will be provided with fresh sheets, blankets, pillows and mosquito nets.
Attend a cooking class in one of the local homes. The kitchen is basic, with an earth floor and wood fire, but it’s clean and a truly authentic location to learn some new cooking techniques. Cooking, chopping and mixing are usually done at ground level, but for those who prefer, a table and chairs are available. Enjoy dinner with a cool Beer Lao, if desired.
Day 3: Seuang River
In the morning, visit a village school. We encourage you to interact with the students. It’s fun for everyone to meet people from another country and culture. Your guide and the Lao teachers will have activities prepared, but they’ll be happy if you have more to add. After lunch, you’ll learn to build a raft from bamboo and vines, and use it to explore the river! Paddle past waterfalls and towering mountains to the next village (life jackets are provided). In the evening, enjoy traditional songs, dance and games with the villagers.
Day 4: Seuang River – Luang Prabang
Say goodbye to your host family with a traditional Basi Su Khouan ceremony. Basi is Pali for “ties of thread,” and su khouan is Lao for “defending the spirit or soul.” A group will perform the ceremony around a centerpiece made from banana leaves on a tray piled with offerings. This ceremony helps to bond the community together and demonstrates the persistence of animist beliefs in Laotian culture. Drive to the village of Pak Ou and take a riverboat trip to visit the famous & sacred Pak Ou Buddha Caves. The caves overlook the confluence of the Mekong & Ou Rivers and are home to thousands of Buddha images. Explore the caves before returning by boat to Luang Prabang for a nice hot shower!
Day 5: Luang Prabang
After breakfast, visit the Elephant Village. The setting is beautiful: jungle surrounded by towering mountains. Learn a bit about these magnificent creatures, then, enjoy a one-hour ride through the jungle on elephant back. Enjoy a short boat ride to a waterfall. The falls cascade over many calcified tiers into a series of cool, turquoise pools. This is a popular swimming spot and a beautiful location for a picnic lunch. Return to Luang Prabang to freshen up and relax before dinner at a popular local-style BBQ restaurant to celebrate your last evening in town. The next day transfer to the airport for your flight.
Day 6: Luang Prabang – Onward
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight onward.