Meet the "People of Heaven"

A mosaic of traditional ethnic tribes, Laos is home to 130 different recognised groups divided into 4 main language groups. Some of these tribes only have a few hundred people and some are only found in Laos. The minorities that do not have a written history are at the biggest risk of disappearing completely.

At Muang La Lodge, we designed some of our excursions to allow you to meet and learn about the typical ethnic communities of the region. Originally from Yunnan in China & Tibet, these tribes of “hunter-gatherers” are called the “people of heaven” by the Lao people living on the plains. Their villages are found above 1,000m above sea level, built on the side of the mountains, where the villagers retain their centuries old, traditions and customs. Among these groups are the Ikhos, Akha and Hmong people.

Access to the villages can be difficult, so we use a 4×4 to follow the twisting mountain trails with some breathtaking views of the valleys and mountains. Some of our excursions include a walk of between 30 mins. to an hour, which is a small price to pay to experience a different world of small, teak houses where tourists are hardly ever seen!

Activity 05 Full day duration: 6h | depart 09:00 | with guide | level of difficulty: 5

Experienced hikers will choose this excursion of around 6 hours to meet the Khamu people. A trek of 2½ hours, along a forest trail to an isolated village where the houses are built on stilts. The remote villagers’ traditions and beliefs include respect for the wisdom of the elders, the innocence of youth and the solidarity of the community. The trek continues to some immense caves.

Activity 06 Half-day duration: 4h | depart 09:00 | with guide | level of difficulty: 1

Easier to reach, the villages of the Ikhos seem as if they are in a different world! Meeting this ethnic group reveals a way of life centred on belief in the spirit world, time-honoured customs and people in traditional dress dyed with plant extracts harvested from the forest.

Activity 07 Full day duration: 6h | depart 09:00 | with guide | level of difficulty: 1

Includes a stop in an Hmong village where you have time to learn about their way of life and the importance of their livestock (pigs, buffalos…) A short optional walk (of 30 min) will bring you to the first Ikho village, here you can enjoy your picnic lunch while enjoying the amazing surroundings. You will return to the Lodge at the end of the afternoon.

Activity 7A Full day duration: 7h | depart 09:00 | with guide | level of difficulty: 3

Is a full day spent in the Phouhipi National Park. Roughly 17km from our Lodge, are Khamu and Hmong villages set in the luxuriant forests of the mountains. There are plenty of great photo opportunities. The last village is reached after a 1½ walk through the forest and you can climb the huge rocks for some more stunning views.

Activity 16 Evening duration: 1h | start: 19:00

Back at our Lodge, you can enjoy a display of traditional Khamu music and dance. The villagers may ask you to join in!

Mountains and Minorities

We arrange the most memorable days for you after listening to your wishes. Subject to the weather conditions, the season and any local festivals.

Includes: Transfers by 4×4, a local English-speaking guide, any entrance fees, a picnic lunch prepared by our chefs (where indicated).

  • Half-days and full days can vary in length: 2-5 hours for half-days/4-6 hours for full days
  • Most excursions leave at 9:00 or 14:00
  • The majority of our excursions are accompanied by an English-speaking guide
  • Activities are graded from 1-5 in terms of the physical effort


As we all have our individual preferences, all our activities are organised on a private basis, i.e. they are not “join-in” excursions.

Important: between October and March, we recommend reserving your stay and any activities in advance.

We have recommended the most popular activities within our different packages and the options shown under “Your Stay”.


No request is too great and no detail is too small. We are also here to assist you before your trip begins.

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