Laos Revealed with Mekong River Cruises
From Chiang Rai To Golden Triangle, Huay Xay, Pak Tha, Pak Ou, Luang Prabang, Kuang Si Falls, Xayabouri Dam, Salakham, Vientiane - 7 Nights
- Departing from:
- Chiang Rai
- Golden Triangle, Huay Xay, Pak Tha, Pak Ou, Luang Prabang, Kuang Si Falls, Xayabouri Dam, Salakham, Vientiane
- 7 Nights
- Regular Upper Mekong cruises from October to February. Request a price and your preferred dates.
- Tour Operator:
- Lernidee Trains & Cruises
- Reference Code:
Price per person
Savour the magnificent scenery of the Mekong River on this unique cruise from Luang Prabang, in the heart of Laos, to the Golden Triangle in Thailand. Travel along formerly inaccessible stretches of Southeast Asia’s most exciting river. Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, stroll through colourful markets, and experience firsthand the Laotian people’s traditional way of life.
Relax aboard your exclusive river vessel and enjoy the unspoiled nature along the mighty upper Mekong. The upper Mekong is one of the most difficult rivers in the world to navigate, with fluctuating water levels. Your comfortable cruise vessel masters tight gorges, negotiates labyrinths of sandbanks, and clears churning rapids. Along this part of the Mekong, tranquil stretches of the river combine with striking shore scenery of lush green mountains, impressive rock formations, and secluded villages. The upper Mekong is considered one of the world’s most spectacular rivers navigable by a cruise vessel.
Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle to Luang Prabang (Downstream)
DAY 1: Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle—Boarding (LD)
On your first day, you attend a meet and greet between 8 and 9 am in Chiang Rai city. Later you transfer by bus to the Golden Triangle area at Chiang Saen, where you enjoy lunch in a local restaurant overlooking the Mekong River before visiting the Golden Buddha of Sop Ruak and the Hall of Opium Museum. This fascinating museum, sponsored by the royal family of Thailand, gives a deep background on the history and politics of the opium trade and the health effects of opium abuse using multimedia exhibitions. In the evening, you board your comfortable German–Laotian boutique cruise ship, where you settle into your comfortable cabin and unpack for a seven-night cruise. That evening, you can enjoy the ship’s spacious decks and lounge and attend your welcome reception. Overnight on board.
DAY 2: Welcome to Laos (BLD)
In the morning, your cruise will take you from the Golden Triangle region, situated on borders of Burma, Laos and Thailand, into Laos. From the town of Huay Xay on the Laos–Thailand border, your voyage leads into the beautiful scenery of northern Laos. You continue to the small village of Pak Tha, where you board a long-tail boat for a trip up the Nam Tha River to visit a remote Khmu village. There, you visit a small village school supported by donations from guests of Mekong River Cruises. Overnight on board.
DAY 3: The Mighty Mekong (BLD)
The river traffic increases as you pass through a densely populated region accessible only by water. You can relax on deck, in your comfortable cabin or in the lounge and soak up the remote scenery as the landscape becomes more and more spectacular—hills covered with tropical vegetation, awe-inspiring rock formations along the riverbanks, and a diverse array of rapid currents and slow rivulets. The power of the mighty Mekong gives your cruise the feeling of a real expedition. Overnight on board.
DAY 4: Pak Ou Caves (BLD)
After a relaxing morning on board, you stop at the famous Pak Ou Caves, known for the thousands of small Buddha statues that inhabit its chambers. From here, you can go on a short jungle trek through the forest to a small riverside village and visit the village distillery. Alternatively, you can reach the village comfortably by boat. This evening we enjoy our famous Mekong River Cruises barbecue dinner in a beautiful riverside location. Overnight on board.
DAY 5: UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang (BL)
Today you reach Luang Prabang, the former royal capital of Laos, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You start the day with a walk through the city to the famous Wat Xieng Thong temple with its gold-trimmed tile roofs, which leave you in awe. You enjoy other highlights during this full-day excursion through Luang Prabang. In the evening, you walk up Mount Phou Si, which offers a spectacular view over the Mekong as well as the Khan River and the surrounding mountains. You enjoy a stroll along the Mekong promenade or visit the colourful Hmong night market. Luang Prabang offers many opportunities for fine dining, tonight you are free to choose from the numerous offerings in town or along the Mekong River. Overnight on board.
DAY 6: Relaxation and Village Life (BLD)
In the early morning, you can view the traditional giving of alms in the streets of Luang Prabang. After breakfast on board your boutique ship, your cruise takes you further downriver, where you discover remarkable, impressive landscapes. In the afternoon, you visit a traditional Hmong hill tribe village. You enjoy the beautiful views and watch nature’s wonders along the shores before you stop at a tranquil place to stay for the night. Overnight on board.
DAY 7: Kuang Si Waterfalls (BLD)
Today a tuk-tuk excursion takes you to the Kuang Si Falls, one of Laos’ most beautiful waterfalls. Back on board, your cruise heads north and reaches Luang Prabang after lunch. In the afternoon, you are free to explore this beautiful city at your own pace. You can rent a bike to reach some of the lively outskirts of the town or spend some time shopping for souvenirs and gifts. In the evening, you enjoy a traditional Lao Baci Ceremony and watch some local dances on board before celebrating with the crew at a farewell dinner. Overnight on board.
DAY 8: Farewell, Laos! (B)
After breakfast you say goodbye to your Laotian crew, check out, and disembark from your boutique ship. You transfer to the airport or your centrally located hotel in Luang Prabang, bidding farewell to the Mekong River and its treasures.
Luang Prabang to Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle (Upstream)
DAY 1: Luang Prabang—Boarding (D)
After your arrival at Luang Prabang airport, you are picked up and transferred to the city centre. In the afternoon, you board your boutique Laotian cruise ship. You settle into your comfortable cabin and unpack for an eight-day cruise. Your first excursion is a walk up Mount Phou Si, which offers a spectacular sunset view over the Mekong as well as the Khan River and the surrounding mountains. In the evening, you can take a stroll along the Mekong promenade or visit the colourful Hmong night market. You have time to enjoy the ship’s spacious decks and lounge before attending your welcome reception and dinner. A selection of Asian and European food is provided throughout the cruise. Overnight on board.
DAY 2: Luang Prabang and Kuang Si Falls (BLD)
After breakfast on board, you explore the city on a half-day excursion, beginning with the famous Wat Xieng Thong temple and the National Museum of Luang Prabang. You enjoy the city’s unique architectural style, which is a blend of Buddhist temples and monasteries with French colonial buildings. During lunch on board, your vessel starts cruising downstream. An afternoon tuk-tuk excursion takes you to the Kuang Si Falls, one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in Laos. Overnight on board.
DAY 3: Pak Ou Caves (BLD)
After a relaxing morning on board, you stop at the famous Pak Ou Caves, populated by thousands of Buddha statues of all shapes and sizes. From there, you can go on a short jungle trek through the forest to a small riverside village and visit the village distillery. Alternatively, you can reach the village comfortably by boat. That afternoon, you continue cruising upstream towards Oudomxay Province. Overnight on board.
DAY 4: The Mighty Mekong (BLD)
The river traffic thins out as you proceed upstream, where you enjoy fantastic landscapes along the river. You relax on deck, in your comfortable cabin or in the lounge and soak up the scenery as the landscape becomes more and more spectacular—hills covered with tropical vegetation, awe-inspiring rock formations along the riverbanks, and a diverse array of rapid currents and slow rivulets. The power of the mighty Mekong will give your cruise the feeling of a real expedition. Overnight on board.
DAY 5: Relaxation and Village Life (BLD)
Today is a day to take it all in—the diversity of the landscape astonishes you as tropical hills emerge in the distance. You enjoy the tranquillity of northern Laos, a real retreat from the hustle-and-bustle of life back home. As you cruise past green hillsides, you start heading upstream toward Pak Tha. In the evening, you enjoy our famous Mekong River Cruises barbecue dinner in a beautiful riverside location. Overnight on board.
DAY 6: Pak Tha and Huay Xay (BLD)
At Pak Tha, a small village, you take off on a long-tail boat excursion on the Namtha River to visit a Khmu village. The small village school has been supported by donations from guests of Mekong River Cruises for many years. The purely natural landscape is only broken by seldom sights of small villages and herds of cattle. In the afternoon, you proceed to the Thailand–Laos border at Chiang Khong, Thailand, and Huay Xay, Laos. That evening, you relax and enjoy your final delicious dinner in Laos. Overnight on board.
DAY 7: The Golden Triangle (BLD)
Today you go on an excursion to the Golden Triangle area at Chiang Saen, where you visit the Golden Buddha of Sop Ruak and the Hall of Opium Museum. This fascinating museum, sponsored by the royal family of Thailand, gives a deep background on the history and politics of the opium trade and the health effects of opium abuse. Your last evening on board is celebrated with a farewell dinner. Overnight on board.
DAY 8: Farewell, Mekong! (B)
After breakfast you say goodbye to your Laotian crew. Later you check out and disembark from your boutique ship, taking with you a treasure chest of memories. Depending on the season and water level, check-out is either at Chiang Saen or Chiang Khong.
Tour Prices Include
- 7 nights aboard your boutique river vessel
- Meals according to itinerary (B= Breakfast, L=Lunch, and D=Dinner)
- Coffee, tea and water during meal times on board
- All excursions and necessary entry fees according to itinerary
- Presentations and lectures by your cruise director
- Transfers between airports and hotels within city limits
- Meals and services other than those noted in the itinerary
- Visas for Thailand and Laos
- Laundry, telephone calls and personal expenditures
- Gratuities for guides, drivers, porters, boat crew, and personal, non-itinerary services
- Alcoholic and soft drinks other than mentioned
- Personal insurance
- Video or photography fees (if requested during excursions)
- The once infamous Golden Triangle region, where Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos meet, including visit to the Hall of Opium Museum
- The UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, a superb fusion of a multitude of temples, monasteries, and architectural gems from the French colonial age–one of Asia’s most beautiful historical towns
Our Unique Highlights
- First-hand experience of the Thai and Lao peoples’ traditional lifestyles
- The waterfalls at Kuang Si with opportunity to swim in their lovely natural pools
- The Pak Ou Caves on the Mekong– lined with thousands of Buddha statues
- Traditional Baci ceremony on board
Life on Board
- Experience the wild Upper Mekong aboard a boutique river vessel–one of the most spectacular river cruises in the world
- Relaxing on the sun deck with bar service–enjoy a cocktail or the tasty BeerLao
- Laid-back atmosphere on board– casual clothing welcome
- A maximum of 28 guests on board
- Professional onboard infotainment, including lectures and documentaries on the region
- Meals are freshly prepared in the well-equipped galley and ingredients bought from local merchants during the tour (vegetarian specialties available on request)
- Self-service: pluck fresh bananas right from the stalk or have a piece of papaya, dragon fruit or mangosteen
- Traditional Asian massage treatments available on board
NOTE: Every river cruise on the upper Mekong is a pioneering experience and is subject to constantly changing river conditions, including floodwaters 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 and river conditions. For safety reasons and according to navigating conditions, these programs may be amended without previous notice.
This journey is generally not for guests with limited mobility or who depend on CPAP machines. Please contact us for more information about your specific requirements before booking.