Pandaw River Cruises
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PANDAW COMBO RIVER CRUISE

HALONG BAY, RED RIVER & LAOS MEKONG

21 NIGHTS FROM US$7,970.40
SAVE UP TO 10% AND NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ON SELECTED DATES

For the first-time travelers will be able to explore the key sites of Northern Vietnam by river ship traversing the Red River delta and its main tributaries, connecting the wonders of Halong Bay with the excitements of down town Hanoi, and then on into the interior, well off the beaten track. This is a combination of scenic beauty, lively and interesting (sometimes industrial) life of the river and exploring rivers where no other tourist craft operate.

Combined this with a three-country expedition as we will traverse Laos to touch Thailand and Burma at the once notorious Golden Triangle. From Vientiane, the old French capital, and so redolent of L’Indochine, beyond Luang Prabang, Pandaw is the first river expedition since prewar days to cross all Laos.

This trip included flight between Hanoi and Vientiane or v.v. with a one-night hotel stay.

Please note: During the months February to April there may be an increased risk of smog across Laos and northern Thailand. This is due to the annual crop burnings and whilst usually mild, can sometimes be quite severe. We would advise that any passengers with respiratory issues consult with their doctor before booking for this period. Most departures and travellers will be unaffected, however.

CHECK AVAILABILITY & BOOK ONLINE

or call TOLL FREE 1-877-872-6329
represented by Sayang Holidays
21 NIGHTS FROM US$7,970.40
SAVE UP TO 10% AND NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ON SELECTED DATES

IMAGES

EXPEDITION MAP

YOUR SHIP

OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS

PRE CRUISE EXTENSIONS

The Plain of Jars - Pre Cruise Upstream Laos

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4 Night Hue & Hoi An Pre Tour

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Exploring Vientiane 2 Night Pre Tour (La Seine Hotel)

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Exploring Vientiane 2 Night Pre Tour (Settha Palace)

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POST CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Post Tour Hanoi (Sofitel Legend Metropole)

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Post Tour Hanoi (Silk Path Boutique)

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Sapa & Hanoi 4 Night Post Tour

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4 Night Hue & Hoi An Post Tour

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OPTIONAL PACKAGE ADDONS

Private Dining

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Pre-Bookable House Wine Package

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Free Flow Drinks

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Free Flow Drinks & Wine Package

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ITINERARY

Upstream      Downstream

DAY 1 VIENTIANE

Pick up from your hotel in Vientiane at 08.00am, followed by a local long-tail boat expedition to your Pandaw vessel upstream. Lunch and drinks will be provided on the local boat by your Pandaw chef and bar staff. Embark your Pandaw in the afternoon for a welcome briefing and welcome drinks. We moor overnight at Pak Lay.

More about Vientiane
Vientiane
Vientiane

DAY 2 CRUISING THE MEKONG

Cruise upstream on the Mekong, passing lush jungle scenery and tiny riverside villages. Morning presentation on the Lao language after a short walk at Pha Laeb village. If time permits, we will also enjoy an afternoon walk at Ban Khok Fark.

More about Cruising The Mekong

DAY 3 XAYABOURI DAM

Morning walk at Ban Pak Bor Khummu village before passing through Xayabouri Hydroelectric Dam, taking an inside look of the workings of this somewhat controversial attraction as we navigate the locks. Afternoon visit to Ban Na San village, a Hmong minority village.

Xayabouri Dam
Xayabouri Dam

DAY 4 KUANG SI WATERFALLS

In the morning we moor at the village of Ban Mouang Khai and visit the dramatic Kaung Si waterfall. On the way back to the ship, we stop at the Laos Buffalo Farm, a social enterprise utilizing the abundant buffalo in Laos. Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang mid-afternoon where there is a buzzing night market and many great cafes and local restaurants. Traditional Laos Bacci ceremony and dancing on the upper deck during happy hour. Moor overnight in central Luang Prabang.

More about Kuang Si Waterfalls

DAY 5 LUANG PRABANG CRAFTS & CULTURE

Today we explore the various handicrafts of Laos in more detail. We start with Ock Pop Tok, a social enterprise providing sustainable employment and training for the women of local weaving villages. We then head to TAEC (Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre) to understand more about Laos musical instruments. After lunch aboard the ship, we sail toward Ban Chan and take part in a pottery demonstration at the local pottery workshop. We finish the day with a sunset cruise on the Mekong alongside Luang Prabang, returning to moor overnight in the centre of town.

Luang Prabang Crafts & Culture
Luang Prabang Crafts & Culture

DAY 6 LUANG PRABANG

Early morning walking tour to observe the alms offerings to the hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. We continue after breakfast to the morning market before taking tuktuks for a city tour of this well preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace. The afternoon is free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang.

More about Luang Prabang

DAY 7 PAK OU CAVES

Morning at leisure in Luang Prabang before setting sail at midday upstream. Afternoon sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. See the production of local Laos whisky at the Whisky village and shop for locally produced handicrafts.

More about Pak Ou Caves and Nam Ou River
Pak Ou Caves
Pak Ou Caves

DAY 8 BAN TON AND SANDBANK BBQ

Day of sailing upstream along the Mekong with morning walk through Ban Ton village. In the evening, we moor alongside a sandbank for a special riverside barbecue and cocktail party. Light paper lanterns with the crew and enjoy a dance in remote Laos.

DAY 9 PAK BENG ELEPHANT SANCTUARY

Laos is known as ‘The land of a million elephants’ and today we will visit a rescue sanctuary that is helping to preserve the elephants of Laos and provide sustainable alternative employment for Mahouts who once trained and rode these beautiful creatures. Afternoon walk at Ban Pak Sith Khummu village.

More about Pak Beng
Pak Beng Elephant Sanctuary
Pak Beng Elephant Sanctuary

DAY 10 PAK SITH - CHIANG KHONG

Today we sail the final leg of our journey upstream toward Huayxay. Cross over into Thailand via the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge before rejoining your ship in Chiang Khong. Enjoy a ship tour of your Pandaw vessel and fruit carving demonstration from your Pandaw Chef. Farewell cocktails and Thai traditional dance on board for your last evening.

DAY 11 CHIANG KHONG

Disembark by 8.30 in Chiang Khong and group transfer to hotel/airport. En route, explore the Golden Triangle including a visit to the opium museum. Continue to airports or city hotels in Chiang Rai (2 hours) and Chiang Mai (6 hours).

Chiang Khong
Chiang Khong

DAY 12 HALONG BAY

Transfer from Hanoi International Airport or meeting point to Halong Bay to embark your Pandaw ship followed by lunch on board. Cast off in the afternoon with a welcome cocktail for an evening sail, dropping anchor in a sheltered bay amidst the beautiful island scenery.

More about Halong Bay

DAY 13 HALONG BAY

Morning sail around Halong Bay and beyond with its 1,500 dramatic limestone islands and extraordinary rock formations, dating back 20 million years. 

We make a stop at Viet Hai Village and continue our journey by mountain bike or electric buggy to visit the village’s vegetable farm and typical village houses. It is a breathtaking trip along a small road winding its way through the limestone rocks.

In the afternoon we will continue cruising towards Lan Ha Bay for a visit to a floating fishing house.

Weather dependent, we will end the day with cocktails at a beautiful beach in Halong Bay.

More about Halong Bay
Halong Bay
Halong Bay

DAY 14 HALONG BAY

Our exploration of Halong Bay continues and we stop at the so called “Dark and Bright Cave”. Take a kayak or a local basket boat rowed by fishermen and enter this remarkable cave into an enclosed area similar to a crater. Bats can be heard in the cave and massive stalagmites hang from the ceiling.

In the afternoon, we leave Halong Bay and are enter the river where we  drop anchor near Hai Phong. 

More about Halong Bay

DAY 15 THE KINH THAY RIVER

Observe the lively and interesting life of the Kinh Thay river, a key commercial waterway. 

Afternoon excursion to Thanh Ha Commune with village walk and a private water puppet show set under shade by a beautiful pond of lotus and lilies. 

We continue cruising until late evening and drop anchor midstream. 

The Kinh Thay River
The Kinh Thay River

DAY 16 DAY RIVER

This morning we will sail on the Lower Red River and Day River. Afternoon visit the Dien Xa Bonsai Village where we will walk to the bonsai village and meet with local artists and share their bonsai experience. Cruise on Day River towards Ninh Binh City.

DAY 17 NINH BINH

In the morning we will visit Tam Coc, taking a rowing boat ride to visit the so call "Halong on land" in Ninh Binh. In the afternoon we visit the quaint village of Pham Phao where guests can walk around the village visiting a host family where musician instruments have been made and repaired for generations. Listen to the owner who plays every instrument within his family run business. We visit local Woodworking Artisans who produce items for local and international markets.

Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh

DAY 18 THE LOWER RED RIVER

In the morning we sail upstream on the Red River to Phat Diem Cathedral visit the famous stone cathedral of Pat Diem. We then continue on the Red River to Hanoi.

DAY 19 HANOI

Dropped anchor in the bustling city of Hanoi, passengers will visit some highlights of this Asian metropolis, must see’s like the notorious Vietnam war prison known as the Hanoi Hilton, temple of literature where Confucius did his thinking and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Afternoon walking tour of Hanoi including a visit to a coffee shop where we learn about Vietnam’s famous coffee making industry. Before returning to your ship you will enjoy a traditional unicorn and lion dance at the jetty.

Hanoi
Hanoi

DAY 20 HANOI

Morning going off shore to visit Bat Trang ceramic village then sail through day from Hanoi up the Red River to Viet Tri, not the most picturesque of towns but an excellent base for going deeper into Highland Vietnam. Going a shore we visit a timeless Arcadian Vietnam with emerald green rice paddies punctuated by lime stone rock formations. Of particular interest is the Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas, hardly known, yet with exquisite temples dating from the 8th and 11th century and home to some fine Buddhist statuary carved from jackfruit trees. We will arrive in Vinh Phuc in the evening.

DAY 21 THE UPPER RED RIVER

In the morning we go ashore to visit the UNESCO praised village of Duang Lam. In the afternoon, visit the carpenter and smith village of Ly Nhan. We sail upstream on the Upper Red River to Viet Tri. Enjoy traditional dances on board.

The Upper Red River
The Upper Red River

DAY 22 VIET TRI

Disembark after breakfast and visit the conical hat making village of Gia Thanh. By bus we continue to Hung Lo Temple, Lunch will be served at a local restaurant, followed by a transfer to Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport or your central Hanoi hotel.

WHATS INCLUDED

Cruise Price Includes: One overnight hotel in Hanoi, one flight between ships, entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes. Transfers between ports of embarkation and Hanoi International Airport at the start and end of the voyage.

Cruise Price Excludes: International flights, port dues (if levied), laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), all beverages except local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes and tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers.

TRANSFERS & JOINING

DAY 1 VIENTIANE

Transfers included from your hotel in Vientiane to the ship in Pak Lay via Pandaw's local long-tail boat. Pick up will be at 08:00am so we advise to stay in VTE at least 1 night pre cruise. Please ensure your hotel information is provided to Pandaw so that pick-ups can be arranged.

DAY 11 CHIANG KHONG

Disembark by 8.30 in Chiang Khong and group transfer to hotel/airport. En route, we will visit the Halls of Opium and the Golden Triangle before we transfer you to Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai airport. You will reach Chiang Rai at 15.30 and Chiang Mai at 17.30.

DAY 12 HALONG BAY

TRANSFER FROM HANOI CITY
For passenger already in Hanoi the night before, we will pick you up from your hotel in central Hanoi and transfer you directly to the ship. Please ensure your pre-cruise hotel information is provided to Pandaw in advance. Pick up times will be notified to your hotel reception the night before and will typically be between 09:30am and 10:00am. Lunch will be served upon arrival to the ship. Surcharges may apply for hotel transfers outside of Hoan Kiem District or Hanoi Old Quarter.

DAY 22 VIET TRI

DEPARTURE TRANSFER
After lunch at local restaurant departure for Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport. Estimated arrival at Hanoi Airport at 14:45 and continuing to central Hanoi hotels, arriving 15:30. Your flight out of Hanoi airport must be after 16.00pm (domestic) or 17.00pm (international).

VISA INFORMATION

Downstream
Visa on arrival for Laos can be acquired easily at the border crossing and requires 1 passport photo plus USD40 - USD55 in cash for processing. Alternatively, an E-visa can be obtained prior to travel for a fee of $50 USD. Please use the official Laos E-visa website only - https://laoevisa.gov.la.

Upstream
Most nationalities are eligible for visa waiver in Thailand meaning no visa is required for stays of 15 days. Please check your local embassy for up to date information about your personal requirements.

Click here for further visa information.

TESTIMONIALS

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MEDIA MENTIONS

The Mekong's Magical Secret

25 May 2021 - article by Caroline Hendrie for the Mail Online

 

The 30 best river cruises for 2021 and beyond

16 Mar 2021 - article by Sara Macefield for The Telegraph

 

Pandaw Cruises Pte Ltd ©2024 Pandaw Cruises Ltd. All rights reserved.

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