During this fascinating overland journey from the laid back life style of Laos to the beautiful Yunnan province we drive through some of the remotest and most fascinating areas of South-East Asia; regions that are not much travelled by western tourists. A trip full of friendly faces, stunning contrasts and some of the most breathtaking landscapes Southeast Asia has to offer.


Authentic Laos

Travel Overland from Laos to Yunnan in China

From the UNESCO protected, laid back town of Luang Prabang we drive north through some of the most stunning and remote areas of South-East Asia and China; regions that are not much travelled by western tourists.

Laos is still a comparatively undiscovered country that has escaped the dramatic industrial development of its neighboring countries.

From the fertile lowlands of the Mekong River valley to the rugged Annamite highlands, travelers who have made it to Laos tend to agree that Laos is one of the most beautiful countries in South-East Asia.

Usually travelers find it hard not to be won over by this utterly fascinating country and its people.

By boat up the Nam Ou River

You travel through Laos’ most beautiful natural sites and cozy towns. The boat ride up the Nam Ou River through some of northern Laos’ most impressive natural landscapes will leave a lasting impression even with the heartiest traveler.

Accross the border to China

You cross the border and enter China through “the backdoor” at the check point of the sleepy town of Mohan. You are now in Xishuangbanna, the southern-most autonomous prefecture of the Yunnan Province in South-West China. The name Xishuangbanna originates from the Thai word Sip Song Pa Na, which means literally “12 rice-growing districts”.

Stunning Rice Terraces

Drive past some of China’s most important tea growing areas towards the stunning, UNESCO protected Rice Terraces of Yuanyang, arguably some of the most impressive rice terraces in China. We round up our journey in Kunming the capital of the Yunnan Province. Because of the all year round pleasant, spring like climate Kunming was nicknamed “The Spring City”.

Colorful hill tribes, various ethnic groups, stunning landscape and breathtaking scenery are just a few of the many highlights of this tour. Experience two fascinating countries full of great contrasts and with many enriching encounters with the local population!


Tour Map


The former capital of Laos: Luang Prabang

Pick up at the airport and transfer to your hotel.

Luang Prabang is located in north central Laos at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan River. In 1995 Luang Prabang was listed by the UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site.

The town of Luang Prabang offers a charming amalgamation of crumbling French architecture, glistening temples, natural beauty and laid back life style of the local population. Luang Prabang is also an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Stay overnight in a tastfully furnished boutique hotel.


Travel from Luang Prabang overland to the Yunnan Province in China

You explore the streets around Luang Prabang by traditional “Tuk Tuk” and discover some of Luang Prabang hidden treasures and highlights.

Visit to the Monastery Wat Visun which was first built in 1512 during the reign of King Visun. Continue to the nearby Wat Aham Monastery, which literally translated means “The Monastery of the blossoming heart”.

You then drive to Luang Prabang’s biggest and arguably the most beautiful temple – the Wat Mai. Wat Mai was built by King Anourout towards the end of the 18th century and served as a temple for the royal family and long has been the residence of the Pra Sangkharat, the highest Laotian Buddhist dignitary.

You climb Phusi hill to enjoy the view overlooking the city and watch the amazing sunset. From here we can see the magic Mekong and the small Nam Khan river.

Round up the day with a visit to the Street Night Bazaar, where you can find the lovely collection and handmade textile by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.


Home Stay in Ban Na Luang Village in Laos

Drive to Nong Khiaw, a rustic little town nestled amongst fantastic lime stone mountains.

From Nong Khaw you will trek about 2-3 hrs through rice paddy fields and pristine forest to Ban Na Luang Village. In cooperation with the Lao government and the village chief/villagers we have created a two-day activity visit for our guests to experience the life and the rich culture of the locals.

Earnings from this visit are invested in the Village Fund to improve health care, education and local infrastructure. Currently the lack of a school and water system undermine this village's future. So with your visit you can make a difference.

The inhabitants of Ban Na Luang Village belong mainly to the Khamu and the Hmong ethnic groups. 

Overnight accommodation in a very simple, local style Guesthouse.


Experience local life during your Laos Yunnan Trip

After a local style breakfast you have time to stroll around the village.

You can also take part in our guided activities like Cotton processing, natural dyes, basket making, animal tending, gardening, planting, Lao village style cooking, school visits carpentry or you can assist a local farmer harvesting. Of course these activities always depend on the season and on what is happening in the village on that day.

If you want you can take a swim in the nearby river together with the locals!

After lunch you say good-bye to the villagers and head back to Nong Khiaw where we arrive late afternoon. Overnight accommodation is at the Nong Khiaw Riverside Loge.


Travel by local boat on the Nam Our River, Laos

The Nam Ou River is one of the most important rivers of Laos with some of the most stunning scenery Laos has to offer.

On board a Long Tail Boat you journey slowly upstream while taking in the spectacular scenery. Along the way we pass remote villages, rugged mountain terrain, impressive Karst Cliffs and we can observe the traditional daily village live along the river.

You stop at one of the many villages, most of which are only accessible by boat.

The Nam Ou River runs 448 km from Phongsaly in Northern Laos to Luang Prabang where it merges with the Mekong River.

You disembark at Muang Khoua, a remote mountain village perched on the side of a mountain. From here we continue by road down to Oudomxai where we arrive in the early evening.


Travel from Laos to Yunnan: Menglun Garden

Drive through the ever changing landscape of northern Laos via Oudomxay toward the Border of China. After the border formalities you say goodbye to Laos. You walk accross the border into China where you are already expected by your Chinese Guide.

Drive via Mengla to the town of Menglun.

The town of Menglun is located about 75km southeast of Jinghong on the banks of the Luosuo River, a tributary of the Lancang Jiang (Mekong River).

The main attraction of Menglun is the beautiful Menglun Tropical Garden which situated across the Luosuo River and spreading over 900 hectares. The park has been founded in 1959 and today more than 8000 species of plants can be found there. A small ethno botany museum displays a model tropical forest.

You stay overnight in a simple but clean accommodation near the Botanical Garden


Pu'er tea plantation in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan

Today you drive through one of the most famous Pu'er Tea growing areas in China.

Pu'er tea, named after the city of Pu'er in Xishuangbanna, has proven evidence for reduction in cholesterol levels with clinical trials carried out within Europe, USA and China. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it also is known to reduce stress and lowering high blood pressure. There was even a time when the Puer Tea was believed to have a slimming effect on the body.

The first part of our journey we drive along the scenic route parallel to the Lao border to Jianchuan. You cross an area that is rarely visited by western tourists.

Lunch at a local restaurant in Jianchuan before you continue to Luchun for your overnight accommodation. The ever changing, magnificent landscape compensates for today's rather long drive.

Stay overnight in a hotel in Luchun town.


The magnificent rice terraces of Yuanyang, Yunnan

During today's drive to Yuanyang you will experience some of the most spectacular rice terraces of the region. There are countless photo opportunities along the way.

This area is home to the Yi and Hani ethnic minorities. The Yuanyang rice terraces have been carved out of the Ailao Mountains over hundreds of years by Hani farmers living in the area.

In 2013 the Yuanyang rice terraces have been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.

You drive to some of the viewpoints from where you enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the rice terraces. Continue to Xinjie for overnight accommodation.

You stay overnight in a rustic guesthouse in the middle of the rice terraces of Yuanyang.


A sunrise over the Yuanyang Rice Terraces, Yunnan Province, Soutwest China Tours

You leave the Hotel early (around 6 am) to witness a magnificent sunrise over the rice terraces. After that if possible you will visit one of the bustling weekly local markets in the area where we can observe the local people from various ethnic groups (Hani, Yi, Zhuang,  Miao) doing their weekly shopping. Many of them still wear their traditional costumes. Lunch in Xinjie.

In the afternoon drive to Jianshui.

Jianshui (Lin An) is located 190 km south of Kunming. Its history dates back to the Jin Dynasty (256-420) and it later became a part of the Ningzhou and Nanzhao Kingdoms. During the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) Jianshui (Lin An) became an important military outpost which resulted in the development of the contemporary town. The surrounding hills are home of the Dai, Hui and Yi ethnic groups.

You stay overnight at the magnificent and well preserved former residence of the once wealthy an influential Zhu family.


Travel to Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province in China

After Breakfast you visitit the recently renovated Confucius Temple „Wen Miao“. The "Wen Miao" of Jianshui is the third largest Confucius Temple in China and construction started around 1285. There is a small lake (“the sea of knowledge”) within the compound which, during the early summer months, is full of beautiful, blooming Lotus flowers.

You also visit the “Westgate” from the late Ming Dynasty. Continue to the traditional Zhuang-Village of Tuanshan with its unique and well preserved architecture. Along the way to Tuanshan you visit the "Twin Dragon Bridge", an ancient stone bridge from the Qing Dynasty.

Lunch in Jianshui. In the afternoon we drive to Kunming. On the way stop a Xingmeng, a village inhabited by a Mongol minority left behind by Khengis Khans army over 700 years ago.

Continue your journey to Kunming. The capital of the Yunnan province is located on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau abou 1900 meters above sea level. Because of the all year round pleasant, spring like climate Kunming was nicknamed “The Spring City of China”.

Upon arrival in Kunming check-in at your hotel.

Day 11:   KUNMING departure

Transfer to the airport or train station for connecting program

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Some of our tours can contain light hikes of varying legths, please choose whether you are interested.

Mystical Laos to Hidden Yunnan

9-11 days
Crossborder overland tour from Laos to Southern Yunnan
Tour Type:
Crossborder-Tours, Cultural Tours, Private Tours

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