Cloud Forests of Laos

Trekking the Cloud Forests of Laos

Trip code

If you’re the kind of person who likes “type 2” fun (and if you don’t know what that is, you’re probably not) — this one’s for you.

Roughing it in jungle camps, hiking for days into deep, wild rainforest, scrambling up to mountain summits, and trying to ignore the mozzies and leeches — all for some of the most magnificent scenery imaginable: that’s what this trip is all about.


Price based on 3* accommodation

Key facts

9 nights/10 days
Go on a boat trip along the Mekong River to see the Pak Ou Caves, and learn about Laotian history with a guided walking tour of Luang Prabang
Challenge yourself on a five-day trek into the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area, including summitting Forever Mountain, visiting waterfalls and villages, and helping rangers check wildlife camera traps

Transfers to and from the trekking area will be by private car from Luang Prabang: a seven-hour trip each way with a stop in Nong Khiaw on the return journey.

What's great

This is a unique trek in a spectacular location: an unforgettable experience for seasoned walkers

It’s really off the beaten track, so expect to be the only tourist for miles around

Summitting Phou Louey, “Forever Mountain”, is a fantastic sense of achievement

Your trip will support conservation and sustainable development in this protected area

Things to consider

It rather goes without saying, but this trip involves challenging trekking and requires a high level of physical fitness

Accommodation is basic throughout, with limited facilities (remember, this is type 2 fun)

Though you’ll certainly see some wildlife on your trek, there’s no guaranteeing what!

This itinerary focuses on just a couple of locations; if you want to see more of Laos, consider extending your trip

The experience

Even the most committed hikers are entitled to have other interests, so if you want to see more of Laos than the rainforest – just let us know. We can incorporate trekking into any itinerary; it all depends on you.

Day 1-6

Luang Prabang/Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area

After a night in Luang Prabang to acclimatize, your adventure begins as you travel deep into the Laotian wilderness. Accompanied by experienced guides, you’ll embark on a five-day trek into the heart of the rainforest, where elephants, gibbons, clouded leopards and sun bears still live hidden in the tangled depths. Each day you’ll hike for three-to-six hours, ascending up to 1,274 m in elevation and stopping to cool off in waterfall pools, explore Khmu villages, and enjoy spectacular views over mountains, forest, and oceans of clouds. Spend your evenings around the campfire and your nights in bamboo huts surrounded by the sounds of the jungle: this is Laos at its wildest and most beautiful.

Close up forest scenery in Nam Et Phou Louey NPA


Trek through Khmu minority villages and farmlands far from the modern world

Homestay with Khmu families and sleep in hanging jungle “nests”

Climb to the top of Phou Louey, “Forever Mountain”, the third-highest peak in Laos

Cool off in refreshing pools beneath jungle waterfalls

Help the park rangers check wildlife camera traps for rare animal sightings

Climb a watchtower to observe wild animals visiting a salt lick

Nam Et Phou Louey landscape

Day 7-10

Nong Khiaw/Luang Prabang

After concluding your trek, it’s time to return to Luang Prabang, stopping for a night at a riverside lodge, surrounded by some of the most dramatic karst scenery in Laos, before continuing along the Mekong. You’ve earned a rest, and there's no lovelier place for it than Luang Prabang! Once you’ll taken some time to relax and freshen up, head out to explore this beautiful city with its unique fusion of traditional Lao and colonial French influences. One of our favorite things to do here is join in a leisurely game of petanque with the locals — and if your legs can still manage it, be sure to climb to the top of Mount Phousi for some of the best views around.

Aerial view of Nong Khiaw


See some of Asia's most beautiful karst scenery at Nong Khiaw

Cruise along the Mekong to visit the Pak Ou Caves, filled with Buddha statues

Join the locals for a game of petanque, Laos’s favorite sport

Learn about the history of Laos with a guided walking tour of Luang Prabang’s temples, streets and palaces

Bridge in Luang Prabang - Aaron Boothe

The finer detail

  • Breakfast every day
  • Seven lunches: one in Muang Hiem; five picnic lunches during your time in Nam Et-Phou Louey NPA; one after visiting the Pak Ou Caves
  • Eight dinners: one at a restaurant in Luang Prabang; one in Muang Hiem; four home-cooked dinners from the village chefs in Nam Et-Phou Louey NPA; one at a restaurant in Nong Khiaw; one at an NGO restaurant in Luang Prabang
  • Two half-day experiences: visit the Pak Ou Caves; walking tour of Luang Prabang
  • One evening experience: play Petanque, one of the Laotians’ greatest hobbies
  • Five days of guided trekking in the Nam Et-Phou Louey NPA
  • All accommodation
  • All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
  • All domestic transfers and transport

Day 1:

Car transfer from Luang Prabang airport to hotel (15 minutes)

Day 2:

Car transfer to Muang Hiem (7 hours)

Day 3:

Car transfer to Ban Nam Soy (1.5 hours)
Trek (3 hours)

Day 4:

Trek up Phou Louey Mountain (6 hours)

Day 5:

Trek up Phou Louey Mountain (6 hours)

Day 6:

Trek to The Nests (6 hours)

Day 7:

Trek to Ban Nam Poung Village (4 hour trek)
Car transfer to Nong Khiaw (3.5 hours)

Day 8:

Car transfer to Luang Prabang (4 hours)

Day 10:

Car transfer to Luang Prabang airport (15 minutes)

  • International flights
  • Any necessary visas
  • Any lunches or dinners unless stated
  • Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
  • Tipping and personal expenses