We booked this trek with Tiger Trail. The hike started 15 km out of Luang Prabang at the Lao Spirit Resort. The resort is surrounded by mountains and is flanked by a river across which is Tiger Trail’s Elephant Camp. But while we were blessed with beautiful geography, it wasn’t the hiking that made this trek special.
Sometimes you meet some wonderful, interesting people when you travel. We met a Dutch couple on this hike who were biking their way through South East Asia; they had started in Vietnam, ridden through most of Laos, and were on their way to Thailand. I found that remarkable. They had nothing but good things to say about the locals they met along the way, villagers who would wave and smile as rode by. Also on the trek was a solo English girl who was here for a 3 day mahout training course at the Elephant camp. She dreamed of training elephants. I guess I initially looked at her with an “are you crazy?” look on my face, but we got to chatting and she seemed sane. We all ended up being a great group, talking as we hiked and almost forgetting our surroundings.
We walked through some beautiful geography highlighted by large karst outcroppings. But what really struck us as we passed through villages were the number of kids. Tons of kids. We would think of them in the days to come.
Below: Some of the geography along the way.
The trek included a stop at a school where the children greeted us with a singing of the Lao national anthem. The school happily accepts donations and we gave them the equivalent of $20 which seemed, by the teacher’s reaction, a huge amount. Another thing I would suggest: bring something for the kids. We gave the kids colour markers that I had bought at the dollar store in Montreal. They seemed to really like that.
We met a lot of villagers and TONS of children, both at the villages along the route and at the school. The interaction with kids , who seemed really happy to see us, made the hike very special and was one of the highlights of our entire trip to South East Asia. I would recommend it to anyone coming to Luang Prabang.
Have you been on any unforgettable hike? Please don’t be shy to share your experience, we’re always looking for a good hike!