1. Home
  2. Laos
  3. Adventure
  4. Laos Wildlife & Nature

Laos Wildlife & Nature

Laos' elephants and waterfalls await in this wild nature tour to Pakse and the Nam Kan National Park.


Laos is home to a diverse variety of nature and wildlife, on this 14-day wildlife and nature tour you will meet rescued bears and elephants, hike and zipline through the jungle, cruise the Mekong River, visit caves, explore the charming city of Luang Prabang, and see the mountains, waterfalls and tea and coffee plantations of the Bolaven Plateau. Our suggested itinerary can be tailored to suit your taste, budget, and time availability in accordance with your personal wishes.

Nam Kan National Park

Your Laos nature tour adventure begins in the Nam Kan National Park, where you will fly through the jungle, from mountain to mountain, via a series of exceptionally long ziplines. See the country’s biggest tree; stay in a jungle tree house; hike through the national park and swim in the Nam Nga River.

Your Mekong River Cruise

Step aboard a French-colonial-styled riverboat for a leisurely Mekong River cruise through Laos to Luang Prabang. While discovering the most beautiful, remote, areas of Laos, you will see serene nature, isolated villages and magnificent temples. Interact with the elephants at an elephant preservation sanctuary. Meet the local ethnic Lao, Khmu, and Hmong residents at the tiny village of Kop Aek, and dive into centuries-old traditions and practices. Observe the local weavers honoring their timeworn traditional crafts at the village of Muang Keo, and take a short and easy trek to the famous Pak Ou Caves on the Mekong’s rocky shore.

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is a tiny city, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995; it is one of Laos’ best-loved destinations. Stroll around the charming town and in the evening, visit the famous night market. Spend a full day trekking in the Lao countryside through the surrounding rice fields and farms and into the jungle. Explore a cave that served as a natural bomb shelter for the villagers during the Second Indochina War. Meet the sun bears and Malayan black bears at a bear rescue center, and swim in the natural pools at the gorgeous Kuang Si Waterfalls.

Elephant Conservation Centre

Continue your Laos wildlife tour by taking a boat ride across Nam Tien Lake to the Elephant Conservation Centre in Sayaboury Province. Visit the only hospital dedicated to elephants in Laos and meet the vet, visit the museum and the mahout school. Hang out with the mahouts and the elephants, join them on a walk through the forest, swim and relax on the lakeshore. Feed and connect with the resident elephants, and learn the traditional way to ride an elephant bareback. Visit the elephant nursery located deep in the forest, watch the baby elephants play, and gain insight into the reproduction program set up by the NGO ElefantAsia. Take a half-day trek through the forest to discover a hidden sacred Buddha footprint.

The Bolaven Plateau

Transfer to Pakse, the gateway to the Bolaven Plateau. Marvel at the coffee and tea plantations and dramatic waterfalls at an altitude of 4000 feet above sea level. Trek the jungle-clad Phou Asa Mountain and spend the day uncovering the secrets of its enigmatic ruins comprised of 108 stacked stone pillars, each topped by a large flat rock. Keep your eyes peeled for signs of wildlife and indigenous medicinal plants.

All tours and transport are with a private guide, with the exception of the cruise portion, which is on a shared basis with other passengers.

Itinerary & Prices

All itineraries are subject to change due to seasonal weather conditions (and resultant variations in river and tributary water levels) affecting accessibility to locations. Thus navigation routes, times and excursions may need to be modified at the cruise captain’s or your guide's discretion.

14 Day - Laos Wildlife & Nature
itinerary map

Zipline through the Jungle

Depart from Huay Xai for an approximately 1-hour drive to Nam Kan National Park. Meet your local guide upon arrival and start your 3 hours jungle escapade walk through a series of very long ziplines, adventurers fly from mountain to mountain into the heart of the Nam Kan National Park and to the biggest tree in Lao PDR, the Tree King. You will reach your jungle Tree House in the early afternoon – explore some of the surrounding ziplines and the Big Tree before an early dinner. Evening at your disposal, perfect to observe the stars far from the city lights and listen to the sounds of nature.

Huay Xai to Nam Kan National Park
1 / 14

...and Zipline Back

Wake up at a crack of dawn for a nice cup of coffee and some more zipline challenges before breakfast. Later, start your hike back, through the Nam Kan National Park and over the Nam Nga River.
Take a picnic-style lunch break by the river, where you can go for a swim, before being picked up by your driver.

Ride back to Huay Xay for a night at the local guesthouse.

Nam Kan National Park to Huay Xai
2 / 14

Join the Mekong Cruise

In the morning we will pick you up from the guesthouse to your Anouvong embarkation point.

Settle in your room as the boat starts the downstream journey. The first stop today is Huay Palang village, home to the Khmu minority. The locals’ lifestyle here depends fully on the Mekong as a means of transportation and a primary food source.

PM: As the sun sets over the Mekong River, we will hold a Baci Ceremony, traditionally performed by the village elders as a Laotian welcome. It’s a ceremony of spirit-calling practiced at special occasions in life. After dinner, there is a famous Laotian “comedy” movie scheduled in our nightly “on-board cinema”. The movie, called “Chang” (Laotian for“elephant”), was shot not far away from our current location in 1927 and was made by the same producer as the first King Kong movie.

Anouvong Upper Mekong Cruise
3 / 14

Elephants and Ethnic Communities

AM: Early birds are welcome to join the daily morning exercise on the terrace deck (Tai Chi or Yoga). As we cruise along in the morning, our local expert hosts a lecture about Asian elephants, particularly the Laotian species, their cultural importance in the past, and the current threats which have brought them to the brink of extinction.

PM: After lunchtime, we arrive in the small town of Pakbeng. We pass by the local market scene and visit a beautiful hilltop temple with amazing views of the gently flowing Mekong below. We then have the chance to expand on the knowledge from our morning lecture when visiting an elephant preservation sanctuary. The elephants here used to work as logging elephants and can live in peace and safety here as they cannot now survive in the wild.

Back on board, the journey continues for a few more hours – lay back and enjoy the scenic views as the Anouvong proceeds towards her next destination. At a secluded sandbank, the local ethnic Lao, Khmu, and Hmong residents welcome us to the tiny village of Kop Aek. Dive into centuries-old traditions and practices as you immerse yourself in a unique Laotian experience. As we remain at the sandbank into early evening, kick back with an aperitif accompanied by a classical dance performance by the local people.

After the show, we have another highlight in store for our guests – a barbecue dinner on the terrace deck as we take in the sights and soothing sounds of nature.

Anouvong Upper Mekong Cruise
4 / 14

Pak Ou Caves and a Lao culture expert

AM: After breakfast, join the lecture about the Laotian culture of the diverse tribes living along the upper Mekong. Next up – the cooking class. The rest of the morning is at your disposal as Anouvong sails through lush vegetation and gently rolling verdant hills. PM: In the afternoon, we arrive at another little village named Muang Keo. Here you can observe the local weavers honoring their timeworn traditional crafts.  From Muang Keo, we take a short and easy trek to the famous Pak Ou Caves on the Mekong’s rocky shore. There are two spacious grottoes with approximately 4,000 sacred Buddhist statues.  Back on board, you can the peaceful waters of this part of the Mekong. Get refreshed before the evening, where we get to meet Mr. Francis Engelmann, a writer and retired consultant to UNESCO on heritage preservation projects since 1994. He will share some insights into the country’s rich cultural heritage, the turbulent history, and the day-to-day life of the Lao people. Our culinary team is pleased to spoil you on your last evening as our chefs have prepared some delectable dishes for dinner. Have a grand time together with your newly made friends and join our staff to celebrate this wonderful journey and dance the night away. The ship moors this evening near Pak Ou.

Anouvong Upper Mekong Cruise
5 / 14

Disembark Anouvong, Night Market and Local Dinner

The last sunrise aboard paired with a morning activity is the perfect way to commence your final day. After breakfast buffet, we arrive in central Luang Prabang.

Disembark in the morning and meet your local guide at the pier.

Transfer to your hotel by private car and enjoy some free time to walk around this splendidly charming town.

Meet your guide in the early evening for a short ride to Luang Prabang’s famous night market. Explore the small side streets where vendors offer food buffets and different local snacks. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells while your guide explains the various ingredients and cooking methods used in Lao cuisine.

Continue to a well-known local restaurant for traditional sindad BBQ where diners grill right at the table. Allow your guide to recommend some of the restaurant’s specialties and help with the ordering.

Anouvong to Luang Prabang
6 / 14

Hike to Kuang Si Waterfalls

Spend a full day trekking in the Lao countryside to visit local villages and the stunning Kuang Si Waterfalls.

Morning 40-minute drive to the Hmong village of Ban Long Lao. Walk around the village for an insight into the rural lowland Lao and Hmong community.

Begin an easy trek through the surrounding paddy fields and farms and into the jungle. Follow a forest trail, stopping to explore a cave that served as a natural bomb shelter for the villagers during the Second Indochina War.

After another hour of trekking, reach the Kuang Si Waterfall. Enjoy a Lao-style set menu lunch served in a beautifully located restaurant.
Spend the afternoon relaxing by the pools and swimming. Also visit the nearby Bear Rescue Center, home to sun bears and Malayan black bears rescued from bile farms or wildlife traffickers.

Return to Luang Prabang by private transfer.

Luang Prabang
7 / 14

Transfer to the Elephant Conservation Centre

Depart Luang Prabang on a 2.5hrs drive to the pier at Nam Tien Lake. Take a 15min boat ride to the Elephant Conservation Centre in Sayaboury Province. After settling into your comfortable bungalow, enjoy a Lao-style lunch at the restaurant. In the afternoon, visit the only hospital dedicated to elephants in Laos and talk to a vet about their work here. Observe and learn more about elephants at the museum and the mahout school. Join the mahouts and learn three traditional ways to mount and dismount an elephant. See the interaction between mahout and elephant as they bathe together. In the late afternoon, accompany the mahouts for a walk in the forest to take the elephants back to their nightly resting place. Before dinner, enjoy a swim or simply relax on the lakeshore.

Luang Prabang to Sayaboury Province
8 / 14

Day with the Elephants

After breakfast and a safety briefing, join the elephants for an hour’s walk in the surrounding tropical forest. Your guide will teach you how Lao people use plants and trees collected from the jungle. Spend some time with Mae Khamon, Mae Bounnam, Mae Dok, and Phu Thongkhoon, the four resident elephants, and help feed them. Also learn the traditional way to ride an elephant bareback, sitting on its neck with the help of the mahouts and guides. After lunch, visit the elephant nursery located deep in the forest where the baby elephants learn how to behave by closely watching their mothers. While watching them play, gain insight into the reproduction program set up by the NGO ElefantAsia. After, observe as the elephants take their daily bath and accompany them through the forest back to their nightly resting place. In the late afternoon, take a boat trip on the lake to watch the sunset over the islands while enjoying a refreshing drink and snacks, followed by dinner in the restaurant.

Sayaboury Province
9 / 14

Forest Walk and return to Luang Prabang

After an early breakfast, join your guide on a half-day trek through the forest to discover a hidden sacred Buddha footprint. Along the way, learn about local customs and admire the beauty of the forest and natural landscapes.

After a final lunch, depart for Luang Prabang, arriving at your hotel at around 18:00.

Sayaboury Province to Luang Prabang
10 / 14

Transfer to the Lodge near Bolaven Plateau

After breakfast, we’ll pick you up for your transfer to the airport and a flight to Pakse. There meet your driver and take a ride to the lodge.

The remainder of the day at leisure.

Luang Prabang to Champassak Province
11 / 14

The Spectacular Bolaven Plateau

Formed by an ancient volcano and famous for incredible falls and coffee and tea plantations, the Bolaven Plateau is home to many tribal villages, some of them still practicing Stone Age cultures, like primitive agricultural tools or animal sacrifices.

Your driver and a guide will meet you after breakfast for a ride to the Tad Lo Waterfall, a series of three falls named Tad Suong, Tad Lo, and Tad Hang.

Enjoy your lunch at the Tad Fane Waterfalls. Next, walk to the impressive 42m (138ft) Tad Yeung Waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation.

End the day with a visit to a tea and coffee plantation before returning to the lodge.

12 / 14

Full Day Jungle Trek

Jungle-clad Phou Asa Mountain has long been an enigma, even to seasoned archaeologists. Spend the day uncovering the secrets of this scenic mountain and its enigmatic ruins comprised of 108 stacked stone pillars, each topped by a large flat rock.

Join a village guide to learn more about these mysterious pillars which some think were part of a jungle fort or perhaps an ancient Buddhist monastery to go along with the “Buddha’s footprint” carved into the rock face below. Summit the mountain for outstanding views of southern Laos. Along the way, walk along forest trails while learning how to spot signs of wildlife as well as indigenous medicinal plants. Lunch is included in this adventurous day trek.

Return to your lodge in the early evening.

13 / 14


This morning take a ride back to Pakse airport for your flight to Vientiane and back home.

Champassak to Vientiane
14 / 14
1 / 14


Cruises & Lodges


The first boutique ship to cruise the Upper Mekong, blends Laotian art with French-Colonial style.
20 Guests
10 Cabins

Hotel Options


Nam Khan Ecolodge

Luang Prabang
4 Star

The Grand Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang

Kingfisher Ecolodge

As Featured In

DEAL FLASH: Get Free Flights On The Nov 27 Thanksgiving Amazon Cruise Aboard Zafiro