Long Tieng Laos

The Most Secret Place On Earth

10 Day Adventure Tour In Northern Laos

Tour Highlights

Whilst the Vietnam war raged, next door in Laos there was a secret war going on. Undisclosed to the rest of the world, the US were bombing Laos day and night. In the north, the ground war against the NVA was led by General Van Pao from his mountain fortress, Long Tieng, with his SGU units. Backed by the CIA, Long Tieng was truly the most secret place on earth. After the war, it remained off limits for nearly 50 years. Now it’s open to the public along with it’s secrets. Our tour is a 10 day loop starting and ending in Vientiane.  During that loop we take in some of the key War sites in Laos along with many cities and places of interest and natural beauty. The tour can be made by 4×4 truck, minibus, or motorcycles.  It takes us through the heart of Laos and as far East as Xam Neua before heading south again. This is great tour with time to see it all at a steady pace and enjoy the spectacular countryside we have here in Laos.

Start Point

Vientiane

Finish Point

Vientiane

Distance

1,400 km

Level

Intermediate 

Vehicles

Honda CRF 250L/4×4/Minivan

Terrain

75% off Road

Day 1: Vientiane to Long Tieng – 200 km

Leaving Vientiane we will head east, picking up the gravel road for Xaysomboun Province. Dubbed the ‘special zone’, this area has seen little in the way of tourism so you will be as new to the ‘locals’ as they are to you! Lunch time should see us arrive in Anouvong, which was formerly Xaysomboun, until it was renamed a few years back. It’s a small town with a very interesting history. Then, we’ll continue our ride to Long Tieng. A ride that will take us through beautiful and unspoiled countryside. Reaching Long Tieng, we’ll settle in for the night with our first day of ‘trail riding’ behind us.

Day 2: Long Tieng

Set in a valley surrounded by limestone karsts, you’ll see how Long Tieng got the nickname “the most secret place on Earth”. It was the country’s second biggest city until the mid-1970s with its airport then the busiest in the world. Once at the center of a guerilla-led clandestine war on communism, it was backed by the CIA. From the past to the present though, we will spend the whole day exploring the site. During that exploration you will visit not only Skyline ridge, Vang Pao’s house, and the Kings Palace, but also the air strip and buildings still standing from the historic days of the Secret War. It’s a very different place now.

Day 3: Long Tieng to Phonsavan – 120 km

After a breakfast, we will leave Long Tieng and ride the short distance to Phonsavan. We will pass through LS20 Xam Thong and many other Lima sites en route to our destination. As the road has been upgraded, it will not take long for us to get there. On arrival we’ll visit not only the Plain of Jars, but other sites of interest. We stay overnight in Phonsavan, eating and enjoying local food and hospitality.

Day 4: Phonsavan to Xam Neua – 230 km

Another early start as we head North to Xam Neua, which is quite a ride. That ride includes sections ‘off road’ and ‘on tarmac’. It will take us most of the day to get to our eventual destination of Xam Neua. There’s a lot to see along the route though, including the Hintung Archeological site. Apart from seeing the site, you will be continuously treated to spectacular, natural views along the way. Views that will just leave you speechless.

Getting to Xam Neua in the early evening sees us settle into our guest house. We’ll need to rest up as tomorrow will be a busy day of sight seeing. In particular, the Vienxai Underground Cave Complex which the Pathet Lao used to run their war effort during that historical conflict.

Day 5: Vienxai Underground Cave Complex

The complex used by the Phatet Lao is not only ingenious, it’s also very sophisticated. Caves were split into living areas connected by tunnels to larger communal areas, military barracks, and government quarters. There were also school and hospital caves, as well as a theatre used for weddings and film screenings. You will see all this and more in a very interesting day of recounting local history.

Day 6: Xam Neua to Muang Hiam (Veingtong) – 193 km

We head into the Hills for another full day and ride to Lima Site 85. LS 85 was upgraded in 1967 to one with an all weather night bombing facility. The North Vietnamese retaliated and attacked the site in March, 1968. In a ferocious one day battle, they destroyed it. Fifty years later, we take the steep climb to that mountain top and are rewarded with breathtaking views. We leave the site and head for Muang Hiam (Veingtong). Once there, we enjoy the Hot Springs and stay overnight in a local guest house.

Day 7: Muang Hiam to Luang Prabang – 225 km

A further visit to a LS site, Lima Site 36. Another TACAN site, this time near the village of Ban Nakham. Just outside the Village the airstrip is still visible after all these years. The Village itself is testament to that time, as war scrap can still be seen everywhere.  A beautiful weaving village though now, it offers you the chance to buy some souvenirs. After the visit, we will drive to Luang Prabang for our overnight accommodation.

Day 8: Luang Prabang

We will spend our time in Luang Prabang sightseeing. Our exploration will show us what makes this a UNESCO town. We take a tour of the UXO Museum, following which we go to Kuang Si Waterfalls. Returning from the Falls, we will take a ‘sunset cruise’ in the evening and after the sun goes down, we can enjoy a few drinks along the Mekong with some tasty local foods.

Day 9 : Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng – 220 km

Our drive through the mountains is a nice one. We pass various Lima Sites nestling in the hills before arriving in Vang Vieng. There, we take an Air Balloon ride. The views from it above the Karst mountains surrounding the very lively town of Vang Vieng, are just amazing. We will overnight in a local guest house.

Day 10: Vang Vieng to Vientiane – 200 km

Our last day, we head back to Vientiane via Route 13 with a detour to the lakes for lunch. On arrival in Vientiane, we have some sightseeing to do at the Buddha Park. Before arriving at our hotel for the evening, we will do some souvenir shopping. Following that, we head out for a relaxing evening and our last meal together.

WHAT IS INCLUDED

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

Lao Adv Tours Reserves the rights to change routes and planning due to road problems. Weather conditions can change very quickly. All rights reserved.

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