At a glance
15 Day Cruise on RV Sabei Pandaw , Pandaw from £4,316 pp
Departure 24 November 2020 | The Mekong: From Laos to China (Downstream)
Fares are cruise-only unless otherwise stated. Contact us to add flights and tailor-make your holiday.
- Golden Triangle
- Pak Ou Caves and Nam Ou River
- Luang Prabang
- Pak Lai
All departures (8)
The Mekong: From Laos to China (Downstream)
Members Club 10% Privilege Discount. 10% Discovery Discount.
Day by day itinerary
PLEASE NOTE: The itinerary for this expedition is indicative only and subject to reconnaissance. As we travel to remote areas, changes to the itinerary will inevitably occur. A flexible approach is required if you book this cruise.
Check into your four star hotel with briefing from the guide and a voluntary Chinese lesson. Afternoon at leisure with opportunity to explore charming Jinghong.
Overnight in Hotel.
In the morning visit the Tropical Plant Institute, an extensive botanical garden with over 13,000 plant specie. We then continue to Manting Park, the oldest park in Xishuangbanna, dating back 1300 years. Previously a Dai Imperial Garden, the park's attractions include the opportunity to learn about the culture of the Dai people. Manting Park is also called 'Chunhuan Park' which means the place where people can have relieve their mind and soul of all earthly worries.
After dinner visit the Maxmumbani Theatre where dancers from 38 different ethnic groups display their traditions with acrobatics and fascinating story of China and its people.
Overnight in Hotel.
Travel by road to Guan Lei Port and pass through Chinese immigration and free time to take a walk and explore this remote border post. Continue by speed boat down the Mekong through the white water filled gorges to join our ship waiting below. On the way stop to visit a Lao Lue village with wooden houses, local temples and local health care centre. The Lue people moved from Xishuangbanna China into Laos.
Walk ashore to visit village of Ban Done Jai now home to the Akha who were originally a hill tribe passing traditional Akha houses and a Lao Lue temple.
Afternoon cruising until Ban Pha Kao to visit another village and meet the local people climbing a small pagoda hill to view the Mekong in all its splendour.
Canapes and cocktails on Sun Deck.
Proceeding towards the bustling Golden Triangle we first pass through some extreme narrows, a tense moment for all on board. Morning visit to a small village Ban Pok Lok before reaching the Thai border. Travel by tractor and cart to visit a school and a hot spring.
In the Afternoon we reach Thai immigration and cross the border. Later we reach Chiang Sean. Moor overnight.
In the morning transfer by bus to the smuggler city of Tachilek in Burma where we will visit the ‘extraordinary market’ (essentially one massive duty free area), Chinese temples and the Tachilek Shwedagon Pagoda.
After lunch a visit to the Hall of Opium. The Golden Triangle used to be infamous as one of the largest producers of opium. Various Thai organizations led by the Royal Project and Doi Tung Development Project have spent decades battling this trade. As part of this campaign, the Hall of Opium was built to educate people about the dangers of the drug through an entertaining exhibition which traces opium’s history from its first use 5,000 years ago to current issues of drug abuse and addiction.
To end the day meet at the Buddha Statue at the Golden Triangle to take in the view over the three bordering countries Thailand, Laos and Burma.
Overnight in Chiang Saen.
Pass through immigration formalities at the Thai/Laos border and re-join the ship. Set sail downstream on the beautiful Upper Mekong River. After lunch, if time allows, sightseeing on foot in a Laos jungle village.
Morning walk in a Khamo village. Sail downstream on the beautiful Mekong then relax with evening cocktails on a sandbank.
Continue cruising downstream to Pak Ou, transfer to a local boat and enter the Nam Ou River to visit the extraordinary Pak Ou Buddha Caves. Admire spectacular limestone cliff faces in the Buddhist sanctuary.
Afternoon drive to see the deep jungle pools at the Khaung Si Waterfall, the teak forest trails and butterfly farm.
Early morning walking tour to observe the morning alms offering by local people to the hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning.
In the morning explore by tuktuk this well preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace. Visit the National Museum and have the afternoon free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang. Traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck late afternoon.
Moor overnight in Luang Prabang.
Pass through the Mekong water control lock at Xayaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant (itself an interesting and perhaps controversial tourist attraction). Late afternoon walking tour of a local village.
Walking tour to Khamo tribal village, a typical village, set on the banks of the Mekong amidst lush jungle.
Pass through a dramatic landscape of jungle and mountain where the river flows fast and wild. Amazing rock formations straddle the river banks. Here we enter the cultivated plains of Vientiane province.
Afternoon visit to the French administrative town of Pak Lai with many colonial buildings and a bustling local market. This town boasts the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, usually in February.
Morning exploration of the delightful French city including visits to the golden Pha That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple, the President’s Hall, Watt Prakeo Temple and the Phatouxay monument. Opportunity for independent exploration and experience the many cafes and bistros in this charming little corner of L’Indochine. Farewell cocktails and dinner.
Disembark after breakfast.
Sailing on RV Sabei Pandaw
The double decked vessel to be named RV Sabei Pandaw is designed to meet the navigational challenges of shooting the rapids in the Laos gorges with its shallow draft and powerful engines to ensure year-round passage.