Pandaw River Cruises
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VIENTIANE, LUANG PRABANG, JUNGLE AND VILLAGES

THE LAOS MEKONG

10 NIGHTS FROM US$4,316.40
SAVE UP TO 10% AND NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ON SELECTED DATES

No Single Supplements on selected dates

Enjoy the splendour of Laos on Pandaw's 10 night expedition on the Upper Mekong. Sailing between Chiang Khong on the Thai-Laos border, and through Laos toward Vientiane, the old French capital, you will witness stunning scenery, meet amazingly warm and friendly locals and learn about Laos’ national animal, the majestic elephant. We stop for three nights at the UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang with its dazzling wood-carved monasteries before heading deep into the mountains, through rapids and gorges on our high-powered little Pandaw vessels.

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
10 NIGHTS FROM US$4,316.40
SAVE UP TO 10% AND NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ON SELECTED DATES

No Single Supplements on selected dates

IMAGES

EXPEDITION MAP

YOUR SHIP

OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS

PRE CRUISE EXTENSIONS

The Rachamankha Hotel, Chiang Mai Pre Tour

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The Hill Tribes of North Thailand Pre Tour

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POST CRUISE EXTENSIONS

The Plain of Jars - Post Cruise Downstream Laos

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Exploring Vientiane 2 Night Post Tour (La Seine Hotel)

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Exploring Vientiane 2 Night Post Tour (Settha Palace)

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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 CHIANG KHONG

Transfers from airports or any city hotel in Chiang Rai (2 hours) and Chiang Mai (6 hours) including Lunch at Ban Rai Sabaidee Farm plus guided visit to the Golden Triangle and the now infamous opium museum. Embark your ship by 16.00 and enjoy welcome drinks on the sundeck with traditional Thai dancing.

More about Golden Triangle
Chiang Khong
Chiang Khong

DAY 2 INTO LAOS

Pass through immigration formalities at the Thai/Laos border and re-join the ship. Set sail downstream on the beautiful Upper Mekong River, Morning presentation on the Lao language. After lunch, if time allows, sightseeing on foot in Pak Sith.

More about Into Laos

DAY 3 PAK BENG ELEPHANT SANCTUARY

Morning walk at Ban Luang Tong Lao Lowland village. Laos is known as ‘The land of a million elephants’ and after Lunch 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. In the evening we moor at a sandbank for a special riverside barbecue and cocktail party. Light paper lanterns with the crew and enjoy a dance in remote Laos.

Pak Beng Elephant Sanctuary
Pak Beng Elephant Sanctuary

DAY 4 BAN BOR AND YOI HAI KHMU VILLAGES

Today we discover the Khmu minority group and learn about their remote way of life. In the morning we will visit Ban Bor village, home to the Lao & Khummu people. We will have the opportunity to support locally produced handicrafts and walk through the Khummu village of Yoi Haoi in the afternoon.

DAY 5 PAK OU CAVES

Continue cruising downstream to Pak Ou, 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 before sailing into the World Heritage City of Luang Prabang. Moor overnight in central Luang Prabang.

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

DAY 6 LUANG PRABANG CRAFTS & CULTURE

Today we explore the various handicrafts of Laos in more detail. We start with a morning walk up the 228 steps to Phousi temple where the best views of Luang Prabang can be found. After lunch aboard the ship, we visit 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. Cocktail hour is accompanied by a traditional Bacci ceremony onboard highlighting some of the instruments seen in the afternoon.

DAY 7 LUANG PRABANG

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. 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
Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang

DAY 8 KAUNG SI WATERFALL

After breakfast sail downstream to Ban Chan where we take part in a pottery demonstration at the local pottery workshop. After Lunch we moor at Ban Mouang Khai and take a short drive to see the deep jungle pools at the Khaung Si Waterfall where you can swim in the crystal-clear waters. We then stop at the Laos Buffalo Farm, a social enterprise utilizing the abundant buffalo in Laos before rejoining the ship. We sail downstream for a sunset cruise and moor overnight at Ban Na San.

More about Kuang Si Waterfalls

DAY 9 XAYABOURI DAM

Morning walk through Ban Na San Hmong Village. In the afternoon we pass through Xayabouri Hydroelectric Dam and take an inside look of the workings of this somewhat controversial attraction as we pass through the locks. Afternoon walk at Ban Khok Fark and moor overnight.

Xayabouri Dam
Xayabouri Dam

DAY 10 BAN PAK YUN TO PAK LAY

Explore Ban Pak Yun Mixed minorities tribe in the morning, a rural local village before setting sail to Pak Lay, our final destination. Enjoy a tour of your Pandaw ship and fruit carving demonstration on the sundeck in the afternoon before farewell cocktails and dinner in the evening.

DAY 11 VIENTIANE

Disembark at 08:30am followed by a local long-tail boat expedition downstream to Vientiane. Lunch and drinks will be provided on the local boat by your Pandaw chef and bar staff. Arrival to Vientiane around 17:30 with drop off at your hotel or Vientiane airport.

More about Vientiane

WHATS INCLUDED

Cruise Price Includes: Entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes. Transfers Chiang Rai / Chiang Mai to ship v.v. and ship to Vientiane v.v.

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 CHIANG KHONG

Hotel pick-ups from city hotels in Chiang Mai can be as early as 06.00 or as late as 08.00. From Chiang Rai hotels can be as early as 08.30 or as late as 10.00. Timing varies according to the docking place of the Pandaw vessel. Our representative will call you on the evening before or leave a message with the hotel to reconfirm the exact pick up time.

If your arrival is after the above mentioned time we will pick you up from the airport Chiang Rai (arrival must be before 13.00) or airport Chiang Mai (arrival must be before 13.00) and transfer you to the ship. This transfer will not include any visits to Golden Triangle, Opium House and Lunch due to time limit.

Please note: There is a surcharge for private transfers if you are not able to meet us at above scheduled pick up times.

DAY 11 VIENTIANE

Disembark 08.30 in Pak Lay after breakfast and transfer to Vientiane by Pandaw's local long-tail boat. Arrival in Vientiane approx 17:30 at your chosen hotel or VTE airport.

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

I hope I've wet the appetite of my friends to take one of your cruises - posted by Jeanette Forrest and Carl Brook

The journey on the smaller longtail boat was just as exciting and spectacular - posted by Simon and Jackie

Yet another amazing experience under our belts - posted by Richard

This was an outstanding trip and we enjoyed the longtail boat segment as well; all part of the adventure spirit of Pandaw! - posted by Bruce Johnson

The Pandaw was fabulous, and the journey was exceptional - posted by Gary Walsh

There is nothing to say other than positives about the staff, the food, the ship and the experience generally - posted by Janette Grierson

The facilities on the RV Laos Pandaw are first class. From morning coffee to the cocktail hour and dinner the service was impossible to fault - posted by Stephen Horsfield

There is absolutely nothing that I can imagine to improve upon our experience. The delights of exploring the quiet country of Laos, the superb boat, the wonderful crew - posted by Frank and Barbara Almond

We just departed the Laos Pandaw yesterday here in Vientiane and want you to know that the trip was fantastic - posted by Captain Gerald Salvo and James Graf

New Year was celebrated in great style with special food and later all the crew joined with us - posted by Maxine Godley and Vicki Stannard

Pandaw has again impressed us, fully meeting and often exceeding our expecations - posted by Steve Bousfield

This was my 5th river cruise with Pandaw and I wasn't disappointed - posted by Penelope Cooke

Our third Pandaw expedition met the high expectations that had been set by our two previous journeys - posted by Solveig, Krishna and Lindsay Isaac Lalla

We could not think of travelling with any other company if we want to continue to explore Asian and other river systems - posted by Val Gribble

Four cruises down and a few more to go. Everyone a great trip. - posted by Gavin and Joan Carpenter

It is my second experience of travelling with the Pandaw and both trips have been excellent - posted by MH

Altogether a wonderful and relaxing holiday - posted by Andrew Featherstone and Rosemary Doey

The most magical days I have ever experienced - posted by Irene Clarke

The cruise itself and the timing in November were perfect - posted by Axel Ciossek

This was a fabulous cruise, a real highlight and totally different to the lower Mekong - posted by Stuart Betlem

This was the third trip, having previously enjoyed seeing Cambodia/Vietnam and Burma with Pandaw - posted by Hans and Brita Nauman

My only concern now at our age is how much longer we can go on enjoying such treats! - posted by Tim & Diana Goetz

Unspoilt by other tourists, so relaxing, so peaceful, we all loved it - posted by Narelle & Trevor Petith

TRAVEL BLOGS

Land of One Million Elephants

Luang Prabang , nestled in the lush, mountainous landscape of northern Laos , is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a jewel of Southeast Asia . Th.... read more

 

Tale of an early morning on the misty Upper Mekong

Pandaw Blog Compeition 2023 - 2nd Prize Winner TALE OF AN EARLY MORNING ON THE MISTY UPPER MEKONG submitted by Jim Wingrove I was gently.... read more

 

Sailing up the Mekong from Vientiane to the Thai Border 2016

Guest Blog submitted by Donalda Reid for our Pandaw Blog Competition 2023   In former generations people of the Downtown Abbey clas.... read more

 

French Colonial Vestiges in Laos

The French colonial influence is easily witnessable in the cities we traverse on river cruise expeditions through Laos . One is Vientiane , .... read more

 

Laos Tribes We Visit Along the Way and Other Attractions

Join our Laos Mekong river cruise to experience the village life and interact with tribes populating small riverside villages. The government.... read more

 

Laos, the final frontier

No visitor to the Laotian capital Vientiane should leave without visiting Pha That Luang, the 45 metre tall golden stupa four miles from th.... read more

 

Extra, extra! Pandaw adds more dates as Laos becomes firm favourite

We pride ourselves on our flexibility at Pandaw, so when a product proves as big a hit as our Laos Mekong expedition, we do everything we can to.... read more

 

MEDIA MENTIONS

The Mekong's Magical Secret

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

 

Retraced grandmother's Mekong trip

01 Mar 2021 - article by David Smith for the International Travel News

 

Pandaw’s Pursuit Of Laos

05 Mar 2020 - article by Steve Leland for the Porthole Cruise Magazine

 

Cultural immersion on Laos river cruise

10 Jan 2019 - article by Group Leisure & Travel. From Buddhist ceremonies to stunning scenery, Jeannine Williamson finds out why Laos should be on your river cruise agenda. Read the full article here.

 

Exploring Laos by Boat

29 Nov 2018 - article by Norma Myer, Freelance Writer & Traveller for the San Diego Union Tribune

 

King of the Mekong

11 Oct 2018 - article by Cruise Adviser

 

Just Back From Pandaw: 7 Reasons to Take a River Cruise in Laos

09 Oct 2018 - article by Chris Gray Faust, Managing Editor for CruiseCritic

 

Queen Kong: A trip down the Mekong in Laos is an eye-opening marvel

09 May 2018 - article by Jeannine Williamson, World of Cruising

 

An exciting Pandaw river cruise through South East Asia’s least-known destination

05 Feb 2018 - article by Jeannine Williamson for Silver Travel Advisor

 

Lao and now: Mekong River, Vientiane, Thailand

22 Apr 2017 - article by John Borthwick for THE AUSTRALIAN