At a glance
15 Day Cruise on RV Sabei Pandaw , Pandaw from £6,808 pp
Departure 15 March 2020 | The Mekong: From Laos to China (Upstream)
Fares are cruise-only unless otherwise stated. Contact us to add flights and tailor-make your holiday.
- Cruising The Mekong
- Pak Lai
- Luang Prabang
- Pak Ou Caves and Nam Ou River
- Golden Triangle
All departures (5)
The Mekong: From Laos to China (Upstream)
Discovery Discount - Save 10%
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.
Embarkation 12.30, followed by lunch and afternoon exploration of the delightful French city including visits to the golden Pha That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple, the President’s Hall, Wat Prakeo Temple and the Phatouxay monument. Set sail late afternoon, enjoy a welcome dinner on board and overnight near Vientiane.
Cruise upstream on the Mekong, passing lush jungle scenery and tiny riverside villages. Morning presentation on the Lao language. Afternoon cooking demonstration on the upper deck. Arrive in Ban Xanakham to moor overnight.
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 visit and walking tour to Khamo tribal village, a typical village, set on the banks of the Mekong amidst lush jungle. In the afternoon pass through the Xanyaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant.
In the morning visit a Hmong village and continue upstream to the village of Ban Mouang Khai. Afternoon sightseeing by minibus visiting the jungle pools and dramatic Khaung Si waterfall then on to a butterfly garden. Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang where there is a buzzing night market and many great cafes and some good local restaurants.
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 on your own. Enjoy traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck late afternoon. Moor overnight in Luang Prabang.
Early morning walking tour to see the alms offering by the local people to hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. Passengers are invited to join in with offerings we provide for the alms giving. Morning sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves and Elephant camp, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. Evening cocktails on a sandbank. Sail upstream on the beautiful Mekong towards Ban Bo.
Morning visit to a local Khamo village. Sail upstream on the Mekong passing Pak Beng towards Pak Sit.
Early morning walking tour in a Khamo village then cruise through stunning scenery to the border of Laos and Thailand. The night is spent on the Lao side in the Huay xay area where we take a late afternoon village walk.
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) 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.
Leaving behind the bustle of the Golden Triangle return to a Mekong that is now narrower and faster than anything encountered so far on this journey. Afternoon walk around the Pok Lok village followed by a talk by our guide on the region’s ethnography.
Visit Ban Pak Keo, its villagers and walk up a small hill adorned with a pagoda and enjoy the beautiful view over the Mekong.
Stop at Ban Na Kor (Sob Luoy Port) in the afternoon and sail on to a remote sand bank to moor for the night. Canapés and cocktails are served on the sundeck followed by local Laos folklore stories and traditional floating fire lanterns.
In the early morning continue by speed boat up the white waters, through the gorges, to cross into China at Guan Lei Port in the morning. Free time there to walk and explore before passing immigration. Then transfer by road to Jinghong to overnight in a four-star hotel.
Jinghong was founded in 1180 by Tai King Phanya Coeng. Its turbulent history has been influenced by Thai, Burmese and Chinese occupations, which can be seen in its buildings and the local language.
In the morning we will visit the fascinating Tropical Plant Institute, a vast garden with over 13,000 plant species and 35 exhibits. 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.
On the final evening in Jinghong, experience an evening cultural show at Maxmumbani, where dancers from 38 different ethnic groups display their traditions with acrobatics and fascinating story of China and its people.
Overnight in hotel.
After breakfast transfer to the airport or your hotel in Jing Hong.
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.