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SEE IT ALL, FROM LAOS TO CHINA, YUNNAN PROVINCE

THE MEKONG: FROM LAOS TO CHINA
14 NIGHTS LAOS - CHINA FROM US$6,300
SAVE UP TO 10% AND NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ON SELECTED DATES

For the first time it is possible for travellers to sail on the mighty Upper Mekong River from Laos to China or vice versa. This will be an incredible, pioneering 14-night river expedition discovering charming villages, stunning scenery, pristine jungle, the Golden Triangle and the very different emerald green Mekong in China's Yunnan province. Our journey also includes overnight stops in Luang Prabang, Chiang Saen and Jinghong.

The river recces sail aboard a Pandaw, specifically designed and built for sailing on the Upper Mekong with low draft and extra powerful engines.

Pandaw's founder, Paul Strachan, said: “it has been a long held dream to sail the length of the navigable sections of the Mekong River; now we can. There is much to explore in this undiscovered region; travellers need to be up for a real adventure as the daily itinerary might change, but with a flexible attitude will have the adventure of a lifetime”.

Please note this expedition is NOT suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

We are also offering pre and post cruise extensions visiting Kunming, Dali and Lijiang in Yunnan Province and the Plain of Jars in Laos.

IMPORTANT NOTE: These are reconnaissance voyages and the itinerary is indicational only subject to daily revisions and many a change. Travellers should be up for a real adventure and be prepared for such uncertainties. This will be the first time a river expedition ship will have made this expedition and there may be delays at border crossing points when dealing with formalities. Travellers who might find sudden changes of plan or delays stressful should not book this trip. Our guides will do their best to ensure that we cover as much of this indicational itinerary as possible but some excursions may be changed for others. We can assure we will see and do as much as we can, hopefully more than indicated in the itinerary below.

LOW WATER SEASON DECEMBER - APRIL (Upstream) 

Passengers booking in the low water season months of December to April are advised in the event that the ship’s master decides that the water is too low it will be necessary to transfer passengers from as close to the China border as the ship can reach to Jinghong by speed boat and stay at the  InterContinental or similar for two nights in order to complete the Yunnan sightseeing.

LOW WATER SEASON DECEMBER - APRIL (Downstream)

Passengers booking in the low water season months of December to April are advised in the event that the ship’s master decides that the water is too low it will be necessary to stay at the  InterContinental or similar for two nights in order to complete the Yunnan sightseeing and then join ship by speed boat transfer from Jinghong to a position as close to the Laos - China border as the ship can safely reach.

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Please Note: Prices shown are per person in USD$ and include all discounts. Member pricing & benefits are available to previous clients who have travelled with Pandaw before and are part of our Members Club.
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IMAGES

EXPEDITION MAP

YOUR SHIP

EXTENSIONS

PRE CRUISE EXTENSIONS

The Plain of Jars - Pre Cruise Upstream China

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POST CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Scenic Yunnan Province - Post

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OPTIONAL PACKAGE ADDONS

Private Dining

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Pre-Bookable House Wine Package

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ITINERARY

Upstream      Downstream

DAY 1 LUANG PRABANG

Embark by noon for a lunch followed by an afternoon walking tour of this World Heritage Site with its delightful traditional Laos wooden houses and many gilded monasteries. Return to ship for drinks and dinner and a welcoming Lao baci ceremony.

More about Luang Prabang

DAY 2 LUANG PRABANG

Further visits in Luang Prabang: The Royal Palace was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. After the death of King Sisavang Vong, the crown Prince Savang Vatthana and his family were the last to occupy the palace.

We will visit the Buddhist temples Wat Xienthong and Wat Mai, the latter being the biggest and most decorated temple.

Afternoon at leisure for individual exploration. In the evening visit Luang Prabang’s lively night market and savour the buzzing café life.

More about Luang Prabang

DAY 3 KUANG SI FALLS

05.30am walk to the town centre to watch the alms giving and ceremony. Visit the morning market before returning to the ship for breakfast.

Our bus will take you to the butterfly park, founded by a Dutch couple in 2014 as a research and preservation centre of Laotian butterflies. After a brief journey we reach our next stop, the stunning Khaung Si Waterfalls with stunning jungle pools and scenery. Don’t forget your swimsuit!

This afternoon we will sail upstream towards Pak Ou.

DAY 4 PAK OU BUDDHA CAVES

Visit to Pak Ou, a Buddhist sanctuary and one of Laos’ most respected holy sites with spectacular limestone cliff faces. Packed with over 4,000 Buddha icons, the caves which are a shrine to the river spirit and Lord Buddha, are set in a dramatic limestone cliff at the point where the Mekong joins the Nam Ou River.

We continue upstream and visit a village by small boat known locally as the “Whisky Village”. Learn how they produce their alcohol.

More about Pak Ou Caves and Nam Ou River

DAY 5 SAILING THE MEKONG

An exciting day spent sailing through dramatic scenery with lush jungle and forest punctuated by tiny villages clinging to the river bank.

Pause for a walk ashore at Ban Huay La village with wooden houses and women at work weaving. Later presentation by the guide on Laos language and culture.

More about Cruising The Mekong

DAY 6 PAK BENG

The scenery becomes even more dramatic and the river faster and more treacherous. This passage can be very exciting and most passengers sit spellbound on deck. Morning cooking demonstration of favourite Laos dishes by our Pandaw chefs. Afternoon walk around the market town of Pak Beng. Jungle mooring.

More about Pak Beng

DAY 7 SAILING THE MEKONG

A long sailing day covering a considerable distance but punctuated by a morning walk around Ban Pak Sit village, a traditional riverside village full of charm and life, and an afternoon walk around Pak Tha village. Village mooring.

More about Cruising The Mekong

DAY 8 INTO THAILAND

After an afternoon visit to the local pagoda, we proceed to Lao and Thai Immigration, joining the Pandaw ship again in Chiang Kong. Sail further into Thailand in the late afternoon and moor overnight in Chiang Kong.

DAY 9 CHIANG SAEN

This morning we visit a Thai hill-tribe village to appreciate a very contrasting culture from Laos.

After lunch on board we explore Chiang Sean and the Wat Phangao Pagoda. In the evening traditional Thai dancers perform on deck. Overnight in Chiang Saen.

More about Chiang Saen

DAY 10 GOLDEN TRIANGLE

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 we will reunite 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.

More about Golden Triangle

DAY 11 BAN DOM MOON

Leaving behind the bustle of the Golden Triangle we 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.

DAY 12 SOB LUOY PROVINCE

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.

DAY 13 GUAN LEI

Crossing into China at Guan Lei Port in the morning, we are free to take a walk and explore before passing immigration. Sail the final stretch of the scenic and dramatic Mekong in China to Jinghong where we moor overnight.

Note: In the event that water levels are too low, too high or the flow too fast, we may not reach Jinghong. In this case you will be transferred for the final stretch by speed boat and lodged in the best available four or five star hotel.

DAY 14 JINGHONG

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. 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.

On our 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. Moor overnight in Jinghong Port.

More about Jinghong

DAY 15 JINGHONG

Disembark after breakfast.

More about Jinghong

DAY 1 VIENTIANE

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.

Please note this cruise is not suitable for those with walking difficulties.

Low Water Itinerary: Passengers booking in the low water season months of December to March are advised that in the event that the ship's master decides that the water is too low, it will be necessary to stay at the four star InterContinental or similar for 2 nights in order to complete the Yunnan sightseeing (the last stretch into China would need to be done by speed boat).

Embarkation 11.30am, followed by lunch and afternoon explorations of the delightful French city including visits to 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.

More about Vientiane

DAY 2 CRUISING THE MEKONG

Today we 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 where we more overnight.

More about Cruising The Mekong

DAY 3 PAK LAI

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. We return to the ship at Ban Muang where we overnight.

More about Pak Lai

DAY 4 BAN PARK BOR VILLAGE

Afternoon visit and walking tour of Ban Park Bor (Kmu Tribal) Village, a typical village, set on the banks of the Mekong amidst lush jungle.

DAY 5 BAN MOUANG KHAI VILLAGE

In the morning we pass the newly constructed lock that forms part of the Xanyaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant. Continue upstream to the village of Ban Mouang Khai.

DAY 6 LUANG PRABANG

Morning sightseeing by mini coach to visit the jungle pools and dramatic Khaung Si waterfall. We also visit a butterfly garden and elephant camp. Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang. After lunch, explore by tuktuk this well-preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace. There is a buzzing night market and many delightful cafes and some quite good restaurants ashore.

More about Luang Prabang

DAY 7 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 walking tour visiting the National Museum and morning market. Afternoon free to enjoy the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang on your own explorations ashore. Enjoy traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck late afternoon. We moor overnight in Luang Prabang.

More about Luang Prabang

DAY 8 PAK OU BUDDHA CAVES

Morning sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. Sail upstream on the beautiful Mekong towards Ban Bo. After lunch, enjoy a cooking demonstration on the upper deck.

DAY 9 PAK BENG

Morning walking tour of the market town of Pak Beng. After lunch, if time permits, we explore Ban Pak Sip, a traditional riverside village full of charm and life.

DAY 10 CHIANG KHONG

Scenic cruising to the border between Laos and Thailand at Huay Say. Here we cross into Thailand where our waiting transport takes you to re-join the ship at the bustling and pretty Thai port town of Chiang Khong. Afternoon visit the Golden Triangle and Opium Museum. Enjoy farewell cocktails and dinner on board the Champa Pandaw tonight.

More about Chiang Khong

DAY 11 BAN DOM MOON

Sailing on the dramatic upper Mekong arriving at Ban Pha Khao. Afternoon village walk up steep track up a hill with a small temple and stunning panoramic views of the surrounding jungle and valleys. Continue to Ban Don Moon where we overnight.

DAY 12 CRUISING THE MEKONG

Continue up the Mekong with Burma on our left and Laos on our right. Arrive at Ban Na Kor (Sob Luoy Port) for sail on to a remote sand bank where we moor for the night. Tonight experience sandbank canapés and cocktails followed by local Laos folklore stories and traditional floating fire lanterns.

More about Cruising The Mekong

DAY 13 GUAN LEI

Arrive in China at Guan Lei Port, take a walking tour and pass immigration. We are now in Yunnan Province, China - the only luxury ship to make this incredible journey. Continue on the Mekong in China past magnificent scenery of dramatic, scenic hillsides.

DAY 14 JINGHONG

Arrive in Jinghong, 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 the buildings and the local language. After lunch, visit the Tropical Plants Research Institute and Manting Park. 

On our 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.

More about Jinghong

DAY 15 JINGHONG

Disembark after breakfast.

More about Jinghong

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WHATS INCLUDED

Cruise Price Includes: Entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, locally made soft drinks, local beer and local spirits, jugged coffee and selection of teas and tisanes, mineral water. Transfers from Vientiane or Udon Thani to ship in Vientiane or v.v. Transfers from Jinghong airport/hotel to ship in Jinghong.

Cruise Price Excludes: International flights, port dues (if levied), laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), imported beverages such as wines, premium spirits and liqueurs, fancy soft drinks like Perrier, espressos and cappuccinos at bar and tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers.

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TRANSFERS & JOINING

DAY 1 LUANG PRABANG

Transfers included from airport or hotel in Luang Prabang. We suggest an early morning arrival. Any late arrivals will also be transferred to the ship but you might miss lunch and/or the afternoon excursion. If staying at a city hotel in Luang Prabang you will be picked up between 10.30am and 11.00am.

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

DAY 15 JINGHONG

Disembark after breakfast and morning transfer to Jing Hong airport or city hotel.

Jing Hong Port: Jinghong Port Jetty, No. 51 Xuanwei Road (near Xishuangbanna Bridge).

DAY 1 VIENTIANE

Transfers included from airport or hotel in Vientiane or Udon Thani. We suggest an early morning arrival. Any late arrivals will also be transferred to the ship but you might miss lunch and/or the afternoon excursion. If staying at a city hotel in Vientiane you will be picked up between 10.30am and 11.00am.

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

Vientiane Jetty - Land River Transport Enterprise, Thadeua Road km4, Sisattanark District.

DAY 15 JINGHONG

Disembark after breakfast and morning transfer to Jing Hong airport or city hotel.

Jing Hong Port: Jinghong Port Jetty, No. 51 Xuanwei Road (near Xishuangbanna Bridge).

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