4×4 Tour with overnight stays in Hotels and guesthouses
4×4, SUV, Van, Bus
Discover two countries on this spectacular tour: incense smoke filled Taoist temples, roads winding through enormous rice terraces in China, and lush tropical forests, ancient temple towns, and waterfalls in southeast Asia: Laos. This “jungle safari” takes you on empty countryside roads to ancient temples and old towns, along vast rivers, through limestone landscapes, and let you experience genuine Chinese and Lao culture.
Google maps only offers a basic overview on the route.
Many smaller roads are not documented.
Daily itinerary for South China – Laos: Overland Tour
Kunming arrival day: Airport pick-up and first meeting in Kunming.
Acclimatization and sightseeing day in Kunming: We visit Yuantong Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Kunming and a major draw for pilgrims. Around the Tang Dynasty Pagodas we can observe where local everyday life really takes place. In the afternoon we visit the serene Bamboo Temple further afield.
Kunming – Jianshui: Our first day brings us out of the city and into the countryside. After only one hour you will find yourself on minor roads with little traffic alongside lakes and farmland. In the old town of Jianshui we visit the second-largest Confucius Temple in China, ancient city gates, and Zhilin Si, a large incense smoke-filled monastery completely built of wood.
[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 190km/ 3h
Jianshui – Yuanyang: Imagine to see hilltop tribal villages, grand views from far above, and endless rice terraces peering through banks of clouds far below the road: Yuanyang. We stay overnight in a small village over viewing the terraces. In the afternoon we visit traditional local minority villages to experience life in the rice terraces.
[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 80km/ 2 1/2h
Yuanyang – Jiangcheng: We follow the curvy mountain road further south in the direction of the borders of Vietnam and Laos. This territory is inhabited by the tribal people of Lahu, Hani, Wa and Yi minorities. The mountain road leads us to the shores of the Lixian River with plenty of fishing villages and further to Jiangcheng.
[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 250km/ 6h
Jiangcheng – Xishuangbanna: In Jinhong, capital of Xishuangbanna, we can enjoy the charm, food, and live style of southeast Asia. The local Dai (Thai) minority knows how to enjoy life in this part of the Chinese tropics. The Mekong river flows through this relaxed town.
[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 270km/ 5 1/2h
Xishuangbanna – Luang Namtha: From Jinhog we take the road to the southeast where we will cross the border to Laos in the early afternoon. After the border crossing procedures we ride to our first over night destination in Laos: Luang Namtha. Luang Namtha is a quiet and relaxed town at the edge of one of Laos most fascinating nature reserves.
[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 240km/ 4 1/2h
Luang Namtha – Nong Kiaw: On our first day in Laos we take the road further south. Lush tropical forest, minority villages built of bamboo, curvy mountain roads, and almost not a flat piece of land in sight: Laos at its best. In Nong Kiaw we will park the car and take a boat up north to Muang Ngoy (45min). In this quite area we will stay overnight.
[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 230km/4h
Nong Kiaw – Luang Prabang: Luang Prabang, located on the Mekong river shore, is a true jewel of southeast Asia. The former capital of an ancient kingdom of the same name is nowadays a protected UNESCO world heritage sight. The town is busting with temples, worshipers and Buddhist monks who collect food offerings every morning.
Luang Prabang visiting day: There is plenty to see in Luang Prabang itself. Don´t miss the Wat Xieng Thong temple, and the many charming french colonial buildings. Nevertheless: In the afternoon we offer to join a trip to the Kuang Si Waterfalls, 28 kilometers away from Luang Prabang. Join us and go for a swim in this dream like pool and waterfall heaven.
Luang Prabang – Vang Vien: The road leads us further south, along several rivers. Upright lime stone formations are getting more frequent all the way down to Vang Vien, a backpackers haven with a funky charm. During sunset you can go “tubing” in the river or choose one of the many riverside bars and restaurants to relax.
[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 190km/ 3 1/2 h
Vang Vien – Vientiane: The last full day on the tour. From here the landscape becomes less hilly, the roads less curvy. One last time we ride through hot forest and small farming villages until we reach our destination, Vientiane.
[icon color=”#3f3f3f” size=”20px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stopwatch”] 160km / 3 1/2h
All good things come to an end: our adventure ends after breakfast in Vientiane. From here you have good connections by bus, train or airplane to Bangkok, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, China, and half a dozen other prime destinations in Asia.
11 Overnights stays in hotels and guest houses, 1 homestay in a local Lao family home
English speaking tour guide
Meals (Breakfast, Lunch), mineral water
Help with applying a Chinese visa