Destinations: Chiang Saen–Huay Xai–Pak Tha–Pakbeng–Pak Ou–Luang Prabang–Kuang Si-Tha Deua–Paklay–Vientiane
Relive the pioneering experience of the French Mekong-Expedition of 1866 during your cruise aboard the spacious Mekong Explorer. Enjoy a unique adventure through mainly unexplored regions of central Laos in utmost comfort. Experience truly unspoiled nature along the banks of the Mekong and enjoy fascinating shore excursions to local villages on the route between Luang Prabang and the Golden Triangle.
Day 1: Chiang Saen Departure
Day 2: Golden Triangle- Huay Xai
Day 3: Huay Xai- Pak Tha
Day 4: Pakbeng- Pakou- Luang Prabang
Day 5: Luang Prabang
Day 6: Luang Prabang- Kuang Si
Day 7: Tha Deua-Pak Lay-Ban Donchai
Day 8: Mekong Sightseeing
Day 9: Vientiane
Day 10: Final Port
Welcome to the Golden Triangle! This is a lush region where northern Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma) collide forming a provocative mixture of cultures and landscapes.Your journey will begin in the late afternoon where you will board your Mekong Explorer cruise ship. Settle into your cabin and get ready for a breathtaking 10 day adventure through the pristine jungles and mysterious rivers of Laos. You will begin with a sightseeing tour of the Golden Triangle, including visits to the Golden Buddha of Sop Ruak and the Hall of Opium, a fascinating museum that gives a deep background on the history and politics of opium and the opium trade.Enjoy your first evening on board with a lovely welcome dinner.
You will begin this morning by taking an excursion to Mae Sai. Here, you may visit the local market and enjoy a scenic view across the border of Myanmar (Burma). Next, we will head to the Doi Tung Royal Orchid Botanical Gardens, one of Southeast Asia's most beautiful botanical gardens. After a quick stop at Chiang Saen port for border formalities, we will begin to cruise towards Huay Xai, a town on the Thai and Laotian border. Enjoy the stunning scenery in Northern Laos as we sail along the mighty Mekong River.
Enjoy some free time on deck to relax as we cruise through this densely populated region, accessible only by water. We will begin by cruising upstream towards Pak Tha, a small local village where you will take a boat excursion along the Namtha River to visit a Khmu village. You will stare in awe as we sail through Laos’ abundantly lush natural views, including jungle-carpeted mountains, spectacular waterfalls, untouched greenery and quaint local villages. This is truly a journey through a pristine and unspoiled world.We will spend the night on a beautiful sandbank, surrounded by nothing but pure nature.
The cruise will continue this morning by sailing towards Pakbeng. Upon your arrival, we will have a short coffee break and time to visit a local market. We will then begin your highlights tour with a visit to the Pak Ou Village, where you will visit the breathtaking Tam Ting Caves of a Thousand Buddhas. Then, after a relaxing stroll through the jungle, we will head to Laotian village to observe how Lao-Lao, the local liqueur, is traditionally distilled. In Nam Ou village, you will also have the opportunity to see the working elephants.
Once we arrive in Luang Prabang we will have time for a bit of exploring. Our first stop will be a visit to the Wat Xieng Thong temple, also known as the temple of the golden city. In the late afternoon, take a leisurely walk up Phou Si hill where you can enjoy a spectacular sunset view over the mountains surrounding the Mekong and Khan rivers. Enjoy a stroll along the Mekong promenade or take a visit to the colourful night market of the local Hmong minority group. Appreciate the unique atmosphere created where the French colonial architecture collides with traditional Buddhist temples.With a magnificent fusion of traditional architecture, colonial European buildings and Lao urban structures surrounded by lush greenery, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is sure to impress.
After enjoying your breakfast on board, you will be given a guided tour of the highlights of this wonderful city. Visit the National Museum, followed by a chance to see the famous temples of Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Khili and Wat Sene. After the tour, you will be given free time to explore the city on your own.In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner and traditional Laotian dance show and Baci ceremony. The rest of the night is free for you to relax.
Today, you will begin the day by observing the traditional alms giving ceremony in the streets of Luang Prabang. After returning to the ship, we will continue to sail down the mighty Mekong. Our first stop will be an excursion along the shore, taking you to the Kuang Si Falls, a gorgeous three-tier waterfall that is sure to leave you amazed. Next, we will stop at a rural paper-making village to discover the fascinating techniques of the local experts. We will continue to sail south, passing through the Keng-Luang rapids.
Today, as we sail, watch local fishermen along the shore and discover the daily life of the Laotian locals. Today you will be able to witness the Mekong ferry crossing at Tha Deua, the region connecting the Luang Prabang province with the Sayaboury province. After a short hike through the pristine and untouched nature, we will make our way to Ban Donchai village for you to explore a small cave, unseen by most travelers.Marvel at the breathtaking scenery and enjoy a stunning sunset while peering out into the water. We will spend the night near the Thai-Laotian border.
Today you will witness some of the most remarkable and impressive landscapes in Laos as we sail along the mighty Mekong River. As you take in the beautiful scenery, we will visit some local villages along the shores. Enjoy nature’s breathtaking wonders such as hills covered in tropical vegetation and rock formations along the river banks as we continue to sail. Enjoy the tranquility and diverse landscape of this region, a real retreat from the hustle-and-bustle of daily life in the big cities. Continue your cruise sailing alongside stunning mountains and rolling green hills as we sail towards Vientiane.The rest of the evening is free for you to relax on deck.
As we cruise further downstream, we will be making our way towards the Laotian capital city, Vientiane. Upon arrival, our first stop will be to visit the That Luang Temple, a large golden stupa known as the national symbol of Lao. Next we will visit the picturesque Patuxai, Laos’ very own Parisian Arc de Triomphe.Enjoy your last evening on board with a lovely farewell dinner.
After breakfast, you will sadly say goodbye to your wonderful Laotian crew and prepare for your onward journey.
NOTE: Every river cruise on the upper Mekong is a pioneer experience and is subject to constantly changing river conditions, including flood waters and shallows. Therefore please understand that we must reserve the right to alter the itinerary of this tour due to the logistical complexities involved. Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, local authorities and river and/or road conditions. For safety reasons and according to navigating conditions, these programs may be amended without previous notice.