Experience life in Laos the Stray way while staying in a remote Lao village on the banks of the Mekong River. No other groups visit this village, so it's as off-the-beaten-track as you can get. As you arrive, you'll be greeted by the local children, welcomed to the village by the Chief and witness a special welcoming Baci ceremony during the evening.
Vibe: The vibe at the Mekong Homestay is welcoming, friendly, and warm. The local people in the tiny village appreciate the little tourism that they get, and you’ll instantly be made to feel at home as you walk past people’s homes and they greet you with a ‘sabaidee’ (hello) and a smile.
Known for: Being so off-the-beaten-track that it’s not known at all! However, Stray travellers know it for its authentic home stay experience, and a chance to gain real insight into rural Laos. Stray is the only group that visits this special village.
Must Do: The Baci welcoming ceremony is a real highlight.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
This special Lao ceremony takes place after dinner in the village hall. It consists of prayer, drinking Lao whiskey, and the people of the village tying 32 cotton bracelets (representing the 32 components of your soul) around your wrist. The ritual is thought to protect you, bring you good luck and health, and leave a small piece of you wherever you go in your travels. It's followed by a singalong - the villagers will sing in Laos, and then you'll sing a song in English. It's a real Lao-style party!
Take a dip in the Mekong River
With very limited amenities available, the Mekong River plays a central role in village life. It is where the villagers bathe, wash their clothes and where the children play. There’s no better way to embrace village life than by taking a dip in the river. Not ideal for hair washing, but it is refreshing and fun, especially when watching the children in their element.
Walk around the Village
There is no harm in simply taking a walk around to observe a very different way of life from what you know back home. The village is developing and there is always construction of sorts going on. It is interesting to see the changes being made. Take a minute to soak it in!
EATING AND DRINKING
There are no restaurants and bars at the village. A delicious, traditional Lao group meal is prepared for you on the slow boat that you've travelled to the village on, with vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes available.
The slow boat stocks a few beers and drinks in a chilly bin if you'd like to purchase a drink to enjoy while the sun goes down over the river.
WHERE STRAY STAYS
Mekong River Homestay
Experience life in Laos as only Stray can show you at our exclusive Mekong River Homestay. Take a walk through the village and see how life is lived in this tiny, 400 year old settlement on the banks of the Mekong River. Here you'll have the chance to experience a traditional Laos Baci ceremony and try the local Laos whiskey.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Lao culture is very conservative. Female tourists should not wear bikinis, short dresses, shorts or halter necked tops around the village. It's considerate to cover shoulders and knees while you are in the village.
It’s illegal in Laos for western men to fraternise with Lao women.
You will need to pay if you order a beer or buy some food/drink from the local shop.
If offered a shot of home brewed Lao Lao (rice whisky) you normally do not have to pay.
HOW TO GET HERE
The Mekong Homestay is the overnight stop on our two-day slow boat cruise of the Mekong River.
Cruise from Houay Xai on our private slow boat up the Mekong River to this secluded river side village. Sit back and soak up this incredible journey as you wind your way through lush farmland, thriving jungle and rugged mountain scenery; drifting past water buffalo, locals fishing, and kids splashing in the shallows. We arrive at the Mekong Homestay in the late afternoon so you can make the most of this incredible experience.
The next morning, we jump back aboard our private boat and head downriver to the famous limestone Pak Ou Caves. Here you will see thousands of Buddhist images that have been placed throughout the caves over hundreds of years. Jumping back on board our boat a short trip takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage town, Luang Prabang.
What if you could entirely remove yourself from your everyday routine and experience life lived in the most simple way? Would you start to see the world a little differently? This is what life is like in Laos.
Included in the cost of each traveller’s stay in the village is a monetary contribution to the village project fund, and we’re excited to share exactly where those contributions have gone.