Tiger Trail - We are Laos

6 days | Secret War Tour


TOURCODE 71537 (SWT-6) Description

During the Secret War in Laos there were many places of significance, with Long Tieng being the most famous. Luckily for us it is recently open to the public, and this tour will head straight for this mountain outpost that served as the command and control center of the counterinsurgency here during the 1960's and early 70's.

During the Secret War in Laos there were many places of significance, with Long Tieng being the most famous. Luckily for us it is recently open to the public, and this tour will head straight for this mountain outpost that served as the command and control center of the counterinsurgency here in Laos during the 1960's and early 70's.
And in between we will see stunningly beautiful landscapes, eat local meals and take in their unforgettable hospitality, and visit some of the most remote destinations in Laos.


Daily Itinerary


We start our journey heading north-east towards Xaysomboun, Laos' newest province established in 2013. Previously called the "special zone", Xaysomboun is very mountainous and was covered in thick jungle, making it the perfect strategic logistical location and hideout during the 60's and early 70's. Recently there has been logging and mining activity (upwards to 3,200 Hmong work in large mining projects) but most of the Hmong, Khmu, and Lao Leum still primarily live off subsistence farming and hunter gathering. And you will be as new and novel to the locals as they will be to you. 

By noon we should arrive in the town of Anouvong, named after king Anouvong whose reign was from 1807-1812. Anouvong is the home of Phou Bia, the highest mountain in Laos standing at 2,820 meters and part of the  Annamite Range which covers 1,100 kilometers through Laos, Vietnam and a small portion of Cambodia.
From here we will continue on through some of the most beautiful and unspoiled countryside to the town of Long Tieng, where we will stay the night (250 km / approx. 8 hrs.)


Once considered “the most secret place on Earth '', Long Tieng was the country’s second largest city until the mid-1970s and one of  the busiest airports in the world.  The town had a population of 40,000 made up mostly of Hmong soldiers in traditional clothing, Khmu and Thai Leu in military outfits, Thai mercenaries and American pilots. Here the Hmong set up businesses such as taxi service, cobblers, food vendors and equipment repair. 

Today there are still many remains of what was the center of a guerilla-led clandestine war on communism backed by the CIA. We will spend the whole day exploring the area including Skyline ridge, the airstrip and buildings that are leftovers from the Vietnam war era.
Overnight in Long Tieng.


After breakfast we will resume touring Long Tieng. There is a lot to take in, and we will cover anything we missed the day earlier and go over some areas again with a different light. Then we leave for Phonsavan, which we will reach in the afternoon passing through Xam Thong Lima Site 20 which played a major role in the war. A new school stands on the old Hospital base, and the Air America bunk House Chimney is still standing.

Upon arrival in Phonsavan we will visit the Plain of Jars; a huge site of stone urns, some with lids. What the jars were used for isn’t known, but there are many guesses. The most popular guess is that the jars were used as a ‘burial ground’. Time permitting we will visit the 1000 step Mountain and the spoon Village. 

(90 km / approx. 2-3 hrs).
Overnight in Phonsavan.


The Plain of Jars is a large cultural site in Laos containing thousands of stone jars. Archaeologists believe that the jars were used 1,500 to 2,000 years ago. Most of the excavated material has been dated to around 500 BC to 800 AD.  Anthropologists and archeologists have theorized that the jars may have been used as funeral urns or perhaps storage for food. 

Lao stories and legends claim that there was a warrior race of giants who once inhabited the area.  The local legend tells of the ancient king named Khun Cheung, who fought a long, victorious battle.  It is said that he celebrated his victory by creating the jars to brew and store huge amounts of lao lao, a traditional rice wine.  The jars lie scattered throughout the northern end of the Xieng Khouang plain in the Lao Highlands which meet the Annamese Cordillera, the principal mountain range of Indochina which divides Laos and Vietnam.  In the context of the Vietnam War and the Secret War, the Plain of Jars typically refers to the entire Xieng Khouang plain rather than the cultural sites themselves.  On your way to the cultural site you might see old Russian tanks and large craters which are now historic remnants themselves.

The tour will take you to visit sites 1 & 2 within the Plain of Jars.

Near Muang Kham we can visit the Tham Piu cave, which was used as a shelter during the war years and the site where hundreds of people were killed during a missile attack in 1968. 
Overnight in Phonsavan.


Transfer overland via Muang Sui and Phou Khoun to Luang Prabang with several stops along the way for photo opportunities.

The quiet little town of Muang Sui is notable for several reasons. During the Indochina War, this was the last position of the Nationalist Lao Army and the CIA, supported by Air America, before it was evacuated. Muang Sui is home to some interesting sites, including historic temples and caves. Like the caves around Sam Neua, some of them were used as bomb-shelters and aid-stations during the war and evidence (in the form of medical wastes) can be seen in some caves even today.

(270 km / approx.7-8 hrs).
Overnight in Luang Prabang.


We conclude the tour today in Luang Prabang with a visit to the UXO Museum / Visitor Center, an exhibition & collection of war-time relics and information about clearing unexploded ordnance in Laos, a deadly legacy which continues to endanger many people's lives.

Depending on your further travel plans, we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight (or you extend your stay in Luang Prabang on your own).


                                                                                                                            -End of service-





Included Travel Services

  • All sightseeing as described in program above
  • Transportation in private vehicle
  • Transfer from airport and back
  • Accommodation in hotels (twin shared)
  • English speaking guide
  • Admission fees to sights described above
  • Meals: B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner
  • Lao PDR governmental tax and service charge
  • Luggage Handling

Not Included Travel Services

  • International air tickets to/from Lao PDR
  • Visa fee  (approximately US$40/pax)
  • Travel insurance of any kind
  • Meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tips, drinks, personal expenses and other expenses not described in the program above
  • Single room surcharge on request 


Travel duration (in days): 6
Difficulty level (easy 1 - 5 challenging): 1
Accessibility: Our trips are generally unsuitable for people with reduced mobility and other disabilities. Please contact us to discuss if this trip is suitable for your specific requirements.

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