The Laos Mekong

  • CAD $5,110

  • 11 Days / 10 Nights

Starting in Vientiane, Laos’ former French capital, cruise the Mekong past fertile valleys and rolling hillsides until you reach Luang Prabang, a slow-paced city rife with glittering temples, colourful Indochinese villas, and cafés. On the way to Thailand and the famous Golden Triangle, the river reveals tribal villages, caves, and waterfalls.

Itinerary

Day Destination Activities
1 Vientiane EMBARKATION

Tour of Vientiane’s temples and palaces

2 The Mekong Morning presentation on Lao language

Upper deck cooking demonstration

3 Pak Lai See Pak Lai
4 Ban Park Bor Visit to a Kmutribal village
5 Ban Mouang Khai Morning spent cruising

Stop in village of Ban Mouang Khai

6 Luang Prabang Discover Khuang Si waterfall

Explore UNESCO-listed Luang Prabang

7 Luang Prabang Guided walking tour including National Museum

Free time to explore the city at your leisure

8 Pak Ou Caves Take a local boat to Buddhist Pak Ou Caves

Afternoon spent cruising

9 Pak Beng Morning walking tour of Pak Beng

Potential visit to a traditional village

10 Chiang Khong Scenic cruising en route to Thai border

Farewell cocktails and dinner on board

11 Golden Triangle DISEMBARKATION

Visit a local opium museum

Please note that this program is an expedition and travels to remote areas. As such, there will most likely be changes to the itinerary and timing. This cruise is therefore only suitable for travellers with a sense of adventure and who are flexible in their expectations.

Day Destination Activities
1 Golden Triangle EMBARKATION

Visit a local opium museum

2 Into Laos Cross the Thailand-Laos border

Potential visit to a traditional village

3 Pak Ou Caves Morning walking tour of Pak Beng

Take a local boat to Buddhist Pak Ou Caves

4 Luang Prabang Explore UNESCO-listed Luang Prabang

5 Luang Prabang Experience the customs of local monks

Traditional dance performance on board

6 Ban Mouang Khai Discover Khuang Si waterfall

Potential visit to an elephant camp

7 Xayaburi Dam Pass through the Mekong control lock

Late afternoon walking tour of local village

8 Pak Sao Morning visit to Ban Pak Hoang

Excursion to plantation village

9 Vientiane Scenic cruising en route to Vientiane

Evening is at your leisure in the city

10 Vientiane Tour of Vientiane’s temples and palaces

Farewell dinner

11 Vientiane Breakfast

DISEMBARKATION

Please note that this program is an expedition and travels to remote areas. As such, there will most likely be changes to the itinerary and timing. This cruise is therefore only suitable for travellers with a sense of adventure and who are flexible in their expectations.

VIENTIANE / EMBARKATION*

Join your luxury riverboat before noon, savouring lunch on board before an afternoon of exploration and discovery in the delightful capital of Laos, a former French outpost. Take in Vientiane’s inimitable mix of colonial and eastern architecture, and see landmarks including Wat Sisaket, the President’s Palace, Haw Prakeo Temple, and the Patuxai war monument. You’ll set sail in the late afternoon, enjoying a welcome dinner on board and mooring outside of Vientiane overnight.

CRUISING THE MEKONG

Cruise upstream, passing lush jungle scenery and small riverside villages. In the morning, attend a presentation on the Lao language, which serves as an important lingua franca in Laos, where over 80 languages are spoken. In the afternoon, there will be a cooking demonstration on the upper deck. Tonight, moor in Muang Xanakham.

PAK LAI

A former French administrative town, Pak Lai boasts numerous colonial buildings and a vibrant local market. It’s also home to the largest elephant festival in all of Southeast Asia, typically taking place in February. After exploring the town, return to the ship at Ban Muang. Mooring overnight.

BAN PARK BOR VILLAGE

Enjoy a guided tour of Ban Park Bor on foot. Set on the banks of the Mekong and surrounded by dense jungle, Ban Park Bor is a typical Kmu tribe village.

BAN MOUANG KHAI VILLAGE

Cruise past the newly constructed lock, which forms part of the Xayaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant before continuing upstream to the village of Ban Mouang Khai.

LUANG PRABANG

Set off by coach to see jungle pools and the dramatic Khaung Si waterfall en route to Luang Prabang. You’ll also explore a butterfly garden and elephant camp before we arrive in the capital of the Luang Prabang province. Located in central Loas, at the sacred confluence of the Khan and Mekong rivers, Luang Prabang offers much to see. Travel by tuk tuk to discover this well-preserved and distinctive UNESCO World Heritage Site’s gilded Buddhist temples, libraries, and sophisticated cafes, as well as the Royal Palace Museum. In the evening, enjoy dinner in one of the city’s many excellent restaurants or visit the buzzing night market. Mooring overnight.

LUANG PRABANG

Today, leave the ship in the early morning to witness an inspiring local tradition. Every morning, hundreds of monks fill Luang Prabang’s streets, collecting alms from city residents. You’re invited to join in before continuing the tour, with stops at the National Museum and morning market.

PAK OU CAVES

In the morning, set off by boat on a sightseeing excursion to the nearby Pak Ou Caves, a Buddhist sanctuary with remarkable limestone cliff faces. Later, follow the Mekong upstream towards Ban Bo and take in a cooking demonstration on the upper deck.

PAK BENG

Visit Pak Beng, a small Laotian market village on the banks of the Mekong. Following lunch, if time permits you’ll also explore the charming village of Ban Pak Sip.

CHIANG KHONG

Marvel at the stunning natural scenery as we approach the Laos-Thailand border at Huay Xai. After crossing into Thailand, explore Chiang Khong. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner on board the ship.

GOLDEN TRIANGLE / DISEMBARKATION

Disembark in the morning in Chiang Sean to explore Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle, including a visit to an opium museum. From here, take a transfer to set off on the next leg of your journey.

GOLDEN TRIANGLE / EMBARKATION

Explore Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle, including a visit to the region’s infamous opium museum. Embark your ship in the evening and set sail towards the border as the sun is setting.

INTO LAOS

Cross the Thailand-Laos border, marvelling at the stunning natural scenery of the Upper Mekong River. If time permits, after lunch you’ll embark on a sightseeing excursion in Huay Xai, the capital of the province of Bokèo on the Laos side of the Thailand-Laos border.

PAK OU CAVES

Visit Pak Beng, a small Laotian market village on the banks of the Mekong. Continue cruising downstream to Pak Ou, where you’ll set off by boat on a sightseeing excursion to the nearby Pak Ou Caves, a Buddhist sanctuary with remarkable limestone cliff faces. Later, follow the Mekong upstream towards Ban Bo and take in a cooking demonstration on the upper deck.

LUANG PRABANG

Arrive in the capital of the Luang Prabang province in the morning. Located in central Loas, at the sacred confluence of the Khan and Mekong rivers, Luang Prabang offers much to see. After breakfast, travel by tuk tuk to discover this well-preserved and distinctive UNESCO World Heritage Site’s gilded Buddhist temples, libraries, and sophisticated cafes, as well as the Royal Palace Museum. In the evening, enjoy dinner in one of the city’s many excellent restaurants or visit the buzzing night market. Mooring overnight.

LUANG PRABANG

Today, leave the ship in the early morning to witness an inspiring local tradition. Every morning, hundreds of monks fill Luang Prabang’s streets, collecting alms from city residents. You’re invited to join in before continuing the tour, with stops at the National Museum and morning market.

BAN MOUANG KHAI VILLAGE

Set off by coach to see jungle pools and the dramatic Khaung Si waterfall. You’ll also explore a butterfly garden and, if time permits, an elephant camp before enjoying a cooking demonstration on board and scenic cruising on the Mekong.

XAYABURI DAM

Cruise past the newly constructed lock, which forms part of the Xayaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant. In the late afternoon, explore a local village.

PAK SAO

In the morning, see Ban Pak Huoang, a unique local village on the Thailand-Laos border.

VIENTIANE

Cruise upstream, passing lush jungle and mountain scenery where the river carves a path through rock. You will see the plains of Vientiane. After arriving mid-afternoon, debark the ship for independent exploration in the delightful capital of Laos, a former French colonial outpost. Mooring overnight in Vientiane.

VIENTIANE

Take in Vientiane’s inimitable mix of colonial and eastern architecture, and see landmarks including Wat Sisaket, the President’s Palace, Haw Prakeo Temple, and the Patuxai war monument. In the afternoon, explore the city’s cafés and bistros on your own. Tonight, enjoy cocktails and a celebratory farewell dinner on board the ship.

VIENTIANE / DISEMBARKATION

Your adventure ends in Vientiane, where you’ll disembark after breakfast to prepare for your onward journey.

Dates & Prices

Sailing SeasonPrice per person
November 2018 - April 2019Main Deck* From $5,110
November 2018 - April 2019Upper Deck* From $6,320
August 2019 - April 2020Main Deck* From $5,300
August 2019 - April 2020Upper Deck* From $6,570

* Price per person based on double occupancy. Due to the dynamic nature of availability and pricing, please click here to contact us directly for sailing schedule and full pricing |

Ship Information

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RV Champa Pandaw

The Champa Pandaw, sister ship of the Laos Pandaw, began cruises on the Upper Mekong from September 2016. The ship has quality mountain bikes for your independent exploration.

Masthead-RV-Laos-Pandaw

RV Laos Pandaw

Seeing the quality of this ship it is hard to believe it was built in a hurry. There are no proper ship yards above the Khone Falls and we could not persuade our Vietnamese builders to assemble a ship trucked in in bits on the river bank. We tried our Rangoon builder and he also chickened out. By January 2015 we were taking bookings and selling out for November but still had no ship. Paul Strachan in a panic flew to Vientiane and took a taxi down to the river bank and boarded the first cargo ship we saw, a 40 meter barge used to carry heavy loads of cement and rice up to China. She had two 400hp truck engines and was just the thing for tackling the terrifying fast flow of the Upper Mekong .The captain was the owner and agreed terms with Paul. The owner agreed to stay on as skipper and is still there. He immediately took her up to the Golden Triangle, a week’s sail away.

Masthead-RV-Sabaidee-Pandaw

RV Sabaidee Pandaw

In true Pandaw style this double decked vessel is designed to meet the navigational challenges of shooting rapids in the Laos gorges and sailing through shallow waters all the way to China.

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