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After a few days of spiritual relaxation in Luang Prabang, we headed to Laos tribal villages with my friends. We started the adventure: three days of climbs, valleys, laughter, dignity, rafting, rafts, deep looks … and rats!

A hiking tour to discover Laos tribal villages between stunning forests, plateaus, and rapids along with the Nam Tha. Three days organized by the Greendiscovery Travel Agency in Luang Prabang ($ 135 each).

Silvia's Trips in Laos

After a magical breakfast on the terrace of our bungalows, we left the bulk of our luggage at the front desk of the Thongbay Guesthouse and set off on board of a van – school bus style – with our two fantastic guides, Tchit and Tsak (become later: Tai & Chi, Chip & Dale, etc.). Two nice guys that make the conversation in the bus easy and joyful, till my unfortunate question …

  • “Have you ever eaten a mouse?” (question due to the skewers mouse for sale at the market …)
  • “Yes, not bad.”
  • “What does it taste like? Chicken, beef …?”
  • “Hmmm … it is like eating dog!”

… I changed the subject!

The bus dropped us at the foot of a mountain, about 40km from the city, and from there began the rise …

Silvia's Trips in Laos

Laos tribal villages

For lunch, we had a break in a Khmu village at about 800m asl, Ban Nalan Tai. It is an isolated and impoverished tribal village; about fifty families live here, or 300 animists people. Looking around seems to stand firm two centuries ago … and it feels good!

Silvia's Trips in Laos

Silvia's Trips in Laos

We feasted on the “front porch” of a bamboo hut, on whose walls are posted instructions on recognizing and avoiding landmines that dot the region from the 60s.

After lunch, we start walking uphill, for about four hours through rice paddies, banana plantations as far as the eye, forest … fantastic scenery, unforgettable for me.

Silvia's Trips in Laos

Local central electric unit…

Towards evening we reached another Khmu village, Ban Nam Goy, where we spent the night. Although this village is impoverished, people have an admirable dignity. Tchit showed us our hut … that was completely perforated with sacks of rice crunched on the floor … my first thought: “we are sleeping with the rats.” I spent the evening and night just thinking about this small detail …

Silvia's Trips in Laos

However, a great dinner cooked by using a small makeshift terra cotta stove on the floor and savored at the light of our front porches, then lots of stories and laughter. At 7 pm, all in bed, after a pseudo “bath” in pseudo-lake-pond, whose details I’ll spare you!

After a sleepless night, we got up before dawn because of rats, chickens, roosters, and pigs under the cabana and all around. I would say that a tribal village knows no silence.

Tchit prepared an excellent omelet with herbs and a kind of focaccia, crushed and spicy for breakfast. A real treat, but only if accompanied by gallons of green tea 😉

Silvia's Trips in Laos

Immediately after greeting the hut neighbors, we left for a day of hiking. Actually a pretty light one, through the countryside and some Khmu villages where you can see children fishing on the river and rice processing.

Silvia's Trips in Laos

Silvia's Trips in Laos

In the afternoon, we reached the last stage of the day and got acquainted with the amazing family that hosted us.

Before dinner, we went down to the river, the Nam Tha, to wash and give us a relaxing and everlasting “happy hour” with a super cheap Lao bear.

Silvia's Trips in Laos

The dinner was really, very good and very funny. Sitting together on mats spread on purpose for us, each with his own bamboo bowl between the legs, serving ourselves directly by the plate of food at the center. Dishes whose names I am not able to mention, but what a revelation to the palate!


After dinner, some neighbors showed up to bring their remains, which the hostess has traded with ours. In the neighborhood, it is normal to give others what you cannot eat so that no one ever skips the meal.

Before going to bed, we moved outdoors, as well as all households in the village. Gathered around bonfires in front of house entrances, everybody chat, joked, and arranges transportation to work for the next day … here almost everyone, from 7 years old, works in the banana plantations or the rice fields, while children and the elderly go to the river to look for gold. As we were told these things, we were offered lao homemade rice-whiskey … and you need to drink two glasses to drop, because “if you do not drink two, you are not a friend”!

The night was slightly more zen but always awake and always in the company of mice …

Upon awakening, we had breakfast with “our family,” and I have also learned how to build a car with a plastic bottle and wood survived the bonfire. My teacher was a 5-year-old boy with a machete! The alternative was the lesson in dental hygiene by the grandmother, who wanted me to wash my teeth with ashes !!! 😀

Silvia's Trips in Laos

When the family left for the hard-working day, we went down to the river to retrieve our kayaks and begin the descent towards Luang Prabang. My partner was Tsak, who immediately told me that passing the many rapids would not be a problem: the person in front guides and the one behind paddles… “do not worry, so easy!” … We flipped passing the first rapids … so easy …

Silvia's Trips in Laos

The day is and will remain unforgettable and funny. The landscape is sublime and varied.

We stopped by a bamboo raft for lunch, and we devoured the freshly grilled fish, rice, and seaweed spicy from rare goodness. We shared the feast with a group of children, who taught us to do all and various stunts in return. A precious moment.



Once in Luang Prabang, we fixed an appointment with Tsak and Tchit for one last dinner together and headed back to our guesthouse for a real hot shower (!). The evening was a hoot, and greeting our guides at the end very moving.



We also got moved the following morning, saying goodbye to the girls at Thongbay Guesthouse, and when checking out, we were given godlike bracelets and silk scarves!


If you can, visit Laos and don’t miss this kind of hiking tour!

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.


  • jipp says:

    Wow. Nicely captured moments in Laos. Keep on writing because I really enjoy reading your blog especially on Laos which is very much in my bucketlist.