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.

Continue to detailed itinerary...
itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: arrive chiang rai, thailand
    Wat Rong Kung in Chiang Rai

    Arrive Chiang Rai from either Chiang Mai or Bangkok flight not included). On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel. 

    Consider adding on a few days in Chiang Mai or Bangkok before starting your Laos adventure.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    The Legend Chiang Rai or similar
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  • 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, Dinner
    Lodging
    Pakbeng Lodge or similar
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  • 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, Dinner
    Lodging
    Pakbeng Lodge or similar
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  • 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
    3 Nagas Boutique Hotel or similar
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  • 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.

    If you like, we can include an 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. (additional cost)

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    3 Nagas Boutique Hotel or similar
    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
    3 Nagas Boutique Hotel 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
    Ansara 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
    Ansara 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

Land Cost:
$2,500
- $2,800
Group size 4+ cost: $2500 Group size 2-3 cost: $2800 Includes Luang Prabang to Vientiane flight
Single Supplement:
$650
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.
Privately on Request
Dec 7-15, 2015
Nov 8-16, 2016
Jan 20-28, 2017
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.
Comfort Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Charming Lao lodges in beautiful settings to Superior boutique style hotels
Activity Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
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.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, land transfers between components, English speaking guides, park or site entry fees, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation and check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.

Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes not included with air tickets, visas, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, acts of nature or other happenings beyond our control, or other costs as are more fully described in Journeys Terms & Conditions.

Deposit and payment schedule: $500 per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. Custom trips and private departures require $800 per person deposit. A second deposit of $800 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 60 days prior to departure.  Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well.  Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail, or via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

Air fares: Journeys can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.

Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

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 yo... 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

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.

Download Trip Itinerary

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comfort level
Choose accommodations and amenities that fit your personal style
●○○○○ Simple
Our most natural accommodations. Bath facilities often shared, sometimes rustic.
●●○○○ Delightful
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized lodges, typically with private bath.
●●●○○ Superior
Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined artistry, or extra-special settings.
●●●●○ Deluxe
Exclusive or luxury lodges, hotels, or safari camps with fine dining options.
●●●●● Uncommon
The most indulgent accommodations arranged specially for private trips.
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activity level
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
●○○○○ Gentle
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
●●○○○ Active
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
●●●○○ Vigorous
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
●●●●○ Challenging
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
●●●●● Demanding
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.
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