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Luang Prabang: Elephant Ride, Trekking and Boat trip with Shangri Lao

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: May-24-2011 in
Elephant Ride - click for more photos
Thomas Wanhoff

You may have been to to Luang Prabang once or twice, but haven't you ever tried to explore the surrounding nature? Shangri Lao offers you now an unforgettable trip - with a lot of luxury included. It is not just that you are in the footsteps of French explorer Dr. P. Neiss, you actually feel kind of like back in the colonial days.

The one day trip starts at the Elephant village, where you get a brief introduction into the work they do. You can talk with the veterinarian in the hospital, feed the elephants and get even some advice from the mahouts. Then get ready: sit on the comfortable bench on the back of the female elephant, be sheltered by a bamboo roof will cover you (nice extra is a hole on the side so you still can take pictures right and left).

You will cross the exclusive area of the Huay Sae Valley for 1.5 hours before you stop at a waterfall and get off the elephant. Say goodbye and walk abut 5 minutes and then get a BIG surprise. In the middle of nowhere Shangri Lao has build a small hut next to a waterfall: There is lunch offered, and since we are following our French hero, you can have red wine as well (what goes well with the traditional Lao food they offer).

It is a challenge to get up and leave these place in paradise, but there is another 1.5 walk to do. The trekking isn't difficult at all, nearly everyone can do it. Just watch your head sometimes because of low hanging branches and be aware of some slippery parts during rainy season. What you get is a unique experience of flowers and plants, insects and - if you are lucky - even bigger animals. Listen to the birds and the cicadas, and enjoy the chilly atmosphere of untouched nature.

When you arrive at the Nam Khan River again, a boat waits for you. It is a bamboo raft, but in the Rolls Royce version: Pillows and mats make it comfortable for you to rest a bit while getting offered tea or coffee. Depending on the current you will be back at the camp in 30-60 minutes and still have time to jump in the pool there.

There are half day, full day or two day excursions with or without staying overnight available. Note that the Tad Sae Waterfall is dry between February and July (but was not a problem for me).

You can book the tour in Vientiane with Diethelm Travel. Email them info [at] la [dot] diethelmtravel [dot] com or just pass by the office at Nam Phou Square. Telefon (+856-21) 213 833 and 215 920


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