Meandering the Mekong

Float the Mekong to Luang Prabang and fly to Vientiane
Overview

overview

Board a local river launch for a comfortably-paced, two-day guided trip down the Mekong with frequent stops for villages, nature, temples, and whatever you fancy. This is a great way to see and phtograph life and nature along this famous river. Explore the sites of scenic Luang Prabang, then fly on to Vientiane. Your guide speaks fluent English and knows the local people you will meet. There are opportunities for casual exploration of temples, markets, and villages.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Chiang Rai, Thailand
    Take in a costumed dance performance

    You will be met at the airport in Chiang Rai and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, you may choose to experience an afternoon cyclo ride through town.

    This evening, we recommend a Kantok dinner and cultural show. You'll be treated to an authentic northern Thai dinner while being entertained by traditional dancers dressed in decorated costumes. This is the best way to get some insight into a local dining experience. The dinner and show are not included in the land cost and are an additional $25 per person.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Nam Khong Riverside Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Huay Xai / Pakbeng
    Explore Pakbeng's primitive streets

    You arrive at the Thailand/Laos border by road in mid-morning, cross the Mekong River, and meet your guide at Huay Xai, the immigration checkpoint for Laos. Travel with your guide down the Mekong for about four hours by local boat to your overnight guesthouse in Pakbeng. Pakbeng is an active, rough-around-the-edges river village with many shops, restaurants, boats, and trucks. The guesthouse is quite basic, with a great view of the Mekong, outside facilities, and part-time electricity.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Phetsokxai Lodge or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Tribal Villages
    Meet villagers and learn about their lives

    After breakfast, you will be picked up and driven to the villages of Ban Lao Sung and Ban Done Keo. Your trip takes you through a scenic gorge and sparsely-populated mountain country. The villages are very friendly in this area, and we will introduce you to local people who are happy to show you how communities are organized, invite you to visit their homes, and discuss and show you some of their traditions. You will sample some local foods and gain a good feeling for the simple life of rural Laos. Return to your guesthouse in Pakbeng for your overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Phetsokxai Lodge or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Boat to Luang Prabang
    Visit Pak Ou Cave and its many statues

    After breakfast, continue by chartered, powered riverboat to Luang Prabang with a picnic lunch along the way. The boat offers a broad deck for panoramic viewing and a sheltered area in case of sun or rain. The day will be busy with visits to the villages of Ban Hat Kham, Ban Hat Mad, and Ban Sang Hay, known for jars and a special locally-fermented and distilled beverage. You will also visit Tham Ting Cave and Pak Ou Cave. You may decide to stop to observe and photograph fishermen, elephants hauling logs from the forest, gold panning, riverbank agriculture, and rich natural forests. Dock at a temple in Luang Prabang and walk to your hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Ancient Luang Prabang or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Luang Prabang
    Visit some of the city's many Buddhist temples

    After breakfast, take a city tour where you will be able to visit the temples, then head onward to the weaving village of Ban Phanom. You will enjoy the pace and uncrowded space of Luang Prabang, which is a favorite Asian city of many people. Most sites are within walking distance and the climate is moderate.

    Today, we have included the opportunity to witness a local Baci ceremony, which celebrates a special time in a Loatian's life such as a marriage, homecoming, a birth, etc. 

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Centrally located 3 star hotel
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Luang Prabang
    Explore Luang Prabang, including the daily market

    Today is yours for exploring in Luang Prabang. Consider wandering among vendors' stalls in the daily market, do a bit of shopping, and take in the colorful scenes of city life.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Ancient Luang Prabang or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Luang Prabang / Vientiane
    Monks collecting alms in Luang Prabang

    Early this morning, witness the alms offering to the monks. This ritual is a way for Buddhists to "make merit" and how they obtain their meals for the day. Your hotel will provide you with sticky rice to offer the monks. We suggest avoiding purchasing food from the local "alms vendors". As a group of around 200 monks walks by, you and villagers will give them your offerings. Women should cover their arms and legs if giving alms.

    Later, transfer to the airport for your flight to Vientiane, where you spend the rest of the day visiting some of its many wonderful local sights, including amazing temples, an interesting museum, and a colorful and active riverfront.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Chanthapanya Hotel or similar
  • Day 8: Vientiane
    Explore Vientiane's many sights

    You'll have the day free to explore on your own. Even though it is still a small city, Vientiane has much to offer, including many temples, Buddhist stupa, monuments, parks, and more. Simply taking in daily life on the city's streets can also be a treat if you allow yourself to wander, perhaps getting a bit lost while you're there.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Chanthapanya Hotel or similar
  • Day 9: Vientiane / Onward
    Bid farewell to Laos

    You may have time for a visit to the temples and souvenir shops after breakfast before you transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Nov 3-11, 2014
Dec 8-16, 2014
Jan 18-26, 2015
Dec 7-15, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$2,595
- $2,995
Group size 2-3 cost: $2995 Includes Luang Prabang to Vientiane flight
Single Supplement:
$550
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
9 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
2
Comfortable guesthouses to 4* boutique hotels
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
1
Comfortable guesthouses to 4* boutique hotels

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Bangkok Hospitality

Duration: 3 days

If you are passing through Bangkok and want more than a transit stop, ask for our three day/two night Bangkok Hospitality Extension. We meet you at the airport and transfer you to an attractive centrally located hotel. This extension also includes y... read more

Phuket

Duration: 4 days

Phuket is the largest of Thailand's islands. It is incredibly varied with rocky beaches, long broad sandy beaches, forested hills, and clear waters great for snorkeling and relaxing. There is no better way to end a trip!

Angkor Wat 3-Day Odyssey

Duration: 3 days

This excursion focuses on the amazing ruins of Angkor in Siem Reap. Angkor Wat, a spectacular architectural legacy of a period of bizarre regimes, is the most famous and confusing of the ruins in southeast Asia. This makes a perfect extension to any ... read more

Angkor Wat 5-Day Odyssey

Duration: 5 days

This excursion takes you to Siem Reap where you explore the magnificent Angkor sites followed by a ride on the Tonle Sap to see the local fishing villages. Then a short flight to Phnom Penh where you visit interesting museums, including Toul Sleng, a... read more

Bangkok Exploration

Duration: 1 days

Accompanied by your personal guide you will meet exotic, ancient, enigmatic Bangkok head-on. After completing this multi-transport, mobile cultural immersion seminar, you should be able to go anywhere in Bangkok by train, ferry, sky-train, taxi or tu... read more

River Kwai & Erawan National Park

Duration: 4 days

This extension gives you a mixed variety of history and nature. You begin by exploring along the River Kwai stopping at important historical sites. You then travel to Erawan National Park, a unique and rugged landscape of high elevation plateau and s... read more

Ko Samui

Duration: 4 days

Relax and explore the beautiful island of Ko Samui. A perfect extension to any Asia tour.

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