Life along the Mekong River in Laos


Journeys Within Ground Operations offers customized independent tours in Laos including highlights such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, the mysterious Plain of Jars, the Pak Ou Caves and Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls, and the capital city of Vientiane, with expert advice and English-speaking guides to help guests get the most out of their visit.

Picture the Saffron-robed monks peacefully gathering morning alms as the first rays of sun spill out onto the Mekong, the reds and blues of a hand-woven silk scarf flapping gently in the breeze, the vivid green jungle stretching as far as the eye can see, the golden hues of sunrise and sunset, and the glistening Wats sprinkled everywhere in between.


Visitors can trek through the least populated country in Southeast Asia and meet people whose daily lives are nothing like their own, visit hill tribes not used to foreign guests, and see countryside so beautiful it takes their breath away.

Guests can discover the sleepy little French colonial town of Luang Prabang – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – which offers visitors a chance to slow down and enjoy a sunset or two. Once revitalized, spend a day exploring the local Wats or head onto the Mekong in a long boat and see the Pak Ou Caves or the Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls.

The Plain of Jars is one of the world’s great mysteries. How did they get there? Who put them there? And why?

The capital, Vientiane, is a timeless city with a slower pace than its neighbors that retains a peaceful and charming quality. One can stroll along the river front and explore the various Wats before heading out for fabulous French dining or a cultural show.

Head further south and wile away a few days surrounded by the peace and tranquility of life on the river in the 4,000 Islands.

For those with more time to explore and who really want to get off the beaten track, we highly recommend the far east of the country around Sam Neua, which boasts some of Southeast Asia’s most stunning scenery, and where you can really learn more about life in one of the most remote and less-traveled areas of Indochina.

Country Guide

We have put together an extensive Laos Country Guide to help you advise and prepare your guests in the lead up to their trip. This is available to anyone partnered with JWGO in Laos, and includes detailed information on the following –

  • Top Ten Tips
  • Passport & Visa Requirements
  • Bureaucracy
  • Currencies and Money Matters
  • Tipping
  • Languages
  • Internet
  • Laundry
  • Photography
  • Toilet Facilities
  • Climate
  • Luggage
  • Clothing
  • Regional Airline Maximum Weight Restrictions
  • Suggested Packing List
  • Health (Inoculation Requirements, Medical Facilities, Water and Food)
  • Safety
  • Etiquette in Southeast Asia
  • Responsible Travel
  • Shopping
  • Recommended Books, Movies and Travel Apps
  • Travel Insurance Advice
  • A Typical Day On Tour
  • JWGO Management Team
  • Journeys Within Local Office Contact Details

Tour Options

Here is a selection of the kind of unique tours we can create in Laos. Please CONTACT US for more information on detailed itinerary options.


Tour Style: Classic Journey

Tour Name: Highlights of Laos Tour (9 days)

Countries Visited: Laos

Brief Description: If guests are looking to truly get away, let Journeys Within take them to another world with our Highlights of Laos tour. This nine-day tour combines the luxury of upgraded hotel options with adventure. Guests will begin in beautiful Luang Prabang, nestled between mountains and rivers. There they can take in the stunning landscape, stroll through the local villages, and travel by boat on the mighty Mekong River. They can set their creative side free learning to cook Lao-style and try their hand at the traditional art of weaving. After they have soaked up the incredible atmosphere and history of this World Heritage Site, they can head to the capital of Vientiane where they will enjoy a tour of the city and experience the traditional Laos style of dance. Guests will end their time in Pakse for a truly unique experience where they will visit with hill tribes, explore ancient ruins and relax beside waterfalls.

Must-See Sites Include: Luang Prabang, Mekong, Vientiane, 4,000 Islands,

Exceptional Experiences Include: Participating in a traditional Baci ceremony, alms giving at sunrise, exploring remote fishing villages along the Mekong, delicious cooking class, exploring the Bolaven Plateau

Family vacations in Laos

Tour Style: Family Focus

Tour Name: Classic Family Laos Tour (9 days)

Countries Visited: Laos

Brief Description: Put down the iPad and step into a real life adventure worthy of the Discovery Channel. Guests will kayak, explore caves, and swim in waterfalls through the stunning Laos scenery. Visitors can get to know the friendly local people and visit the elementary school sponsored by JWOC. This is a family trip that no one will forget.

Must-See Sites Include: Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang,

Exceptional Experiences Include: Exploring caves by foot and bicycle, kayaking on the Nam Song River, visiting a primary school in picturesque village supported by JWOC

Monk in window of Angkor Wat

Tour Style: Real Romance

Tour Name: Discovering Cambodia and Laos (12 days)

Countries Visited: Cambodia, Laos

Brief Description: This itinerary allows guests to spend 12 days playing the part of a 19th century explorer with this luxury tour designed to help them discover the natural and man-made wonders of Cambodia and Laos. Explore these two unique and forgotten landscapes in the capable hands of our fantastic team of guides who will introduce guests to the hidden gems of these magical lands.

Must-See Sites Include:  Angkor Wat and other temples, Tonle Sap Lake, Luang Prabang, Mekong

Exceptional Experiences Include: VIP treatment at some of the world’s top hotels, admiring the incredible Angkor temples by helicopter, exploring your guide’s village where he grew up, interacting with students in one of JWOC’s English-language classes, kayaking on the Tonle Sap Lake, private seminar on Laos’ unique handicrafts, exploring remote fishing villages along the Mekong, visiting a primary school in picturesque village supported by JWOC

Buddha statue in Laos

Tour Style: Activity and Adventure

Tour Name: Legacies of Laos (12 days)

Countries Visited: Laos

Brief Description: For those travelers who don’t mind roughing it, traveling great distances on mountainous roads and getting very local, this is the tour to choose. This trip is a grand adventure for those seeking one, and truly allows you to comprehend how today’s Laos was formed. Beyond the cultural and historical experience, guests will get to see some breathtaking countryside, highly impressive (and sought after) textiles and meet some of the best people in Laos. This 12 day tour is the adventure of a lifetime for those who truly want to go “off the beaten path.”

Must-See Sites Include: Luang Prabang, Plain of Jars, Sam Neua, Vieng Xai caves, Pak Ou River

Exceptional Experiences Include: alms giving at sunrise, learning about the distinctive method of weaving from local villagers in the far east, exploring the Vieng Xai caves with the former bodyguard of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and the first Prime Minister of the new Lao PDR, experiencing a night safari in the remote area of Houaphan

Active Philanthropy tour

Tour Style: Educational Escape

Tour Name: Give As You Go: Laos and Cambodia Tour (15 days)

Countries Visited: Cambodia, Laos

Brief Description: At Journeys Within, we’ve specialized in custom Southeast Asia tours for philanthropically minded travelers from the very beginning – what we call “active philanthropy.” So for us, the 15-day “Give As You Go: Laos & Cambodia” tour is our holy grail – each hotel, restaurant and experience included in this itinerary was chosen with the idea of giving back and supporting local community development efforts.

At Journeys Within, we believe that this type of travel not only helps those countries we visit, but also creates incredible experiences for our travelers.

Must-See Sites Include: Luang Prabang, Mekong, Vientiane, Angkor Wat and other temples, Phnom Penh, Killing Fields,

Exceptional Experiences Include: Participating in a traditional Baci ceremony, alms giving at sunrise, exploring remote fishing villages along the Mekong, visiting a primary school in picturesque village supported by JWOC, sampling some of Laos and Cambodia’s finest restaurants focused on hospitality training, playing a football game with a local student team, interacting with students in one of JWOC’s art classes, watching the famous Phare circus, donating a well to the JWOC’s Clean Water Project and visiting the well in a local village and seeing how it benefits the local community