River Cruise Itinerary for The Mekong: From Laos to China Downstream | Pandaw.com
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SEE IT ALL, FROM LAOS TO CHINA, YUNNAN PROVINCE

THE MEKONG: FROM LAOS TO CHINA

14 NIGHTS FROM US$4,708.80
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.

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14 NIGHTS FROM US$4,708.80
SAVE UP TO 10% AND NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ON SELECTED DATES
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IMAGES

EXPEDITION MAP

YOUR SHIP

EXTENSIONS

PRE CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Scenic Yunnan Province - Pre

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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 JINGHONG

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.

Check into your four star hotel with briefing from the guide and a voluntary Chinese lesson. Afternoon at leisure with opportunity to explore charming Jinghong.

Overnight in Hotel.

More about Jinghong

DAY 2 JINGHONG

In the morning visit the Tropical Plant Institute, an extensive botanical garden with over 13,000 plant specie. 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.

After dinner visit the Maxmumbani Theatre where dancers from 38 different ethnic groups display their traditions with acrobatics and fascinating story of China and its people.

Overnight in Hotel.

More about Jinghong

DAY 3 GUAN LEI

Travel by road to Guan Lei Port and pass through Chinese immigration and free time to take a walk and explore this remote border post. Continue by speed boat down the Mekong through the white water filled gorges to join our ship waiting below. On the way stop to visit a Lao Lue village with wooden houses, local temples and local health care centre. The Lue people moved from Xishuangbanna China into Laos.

DAY 4 SOB LUOY PROVINCE

Walk ashore to visit village of Ban Done Jai now home to the Akha who were originally a hill tribe passing traditional Akha houses and a Lao Lue temple.

Afternoon cruising until Ban Pha Kao to visit another village and meet the local people climbing a small pagoda hill to view the Mekong in all its splendour.

Canapes and cocktails on Sun Deck.

DAY 5 BAN DOM MOON

Proceeding towards the bustling Golden Triangle we first pass through some extreme narrows, a tense moment for all on board. Morning visit to a small village Ban Pok Lok before reaching the Thai border. Travel by tractor and cart to visit a school and a hot spring.

In the Afternoon we reach Thai immigration and cross the border. Later we reach Chiang Sean. Moor overnight.

DAY 6 THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE AND INTO BURMA

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.

More about Golden Triangle

DAY 7 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. After lunch, if time allows, sightseeing on foot in a Laos jungle village.

DAY 8 KHAMO VILLAGE

Morning walk in a Khamo village. Sail downstream on the beautiful Mekong then relax with evening cocktails on a sandbank.

DAY 9 PAK OU CAVES AND LUANG PRABANG

Continue cruising downstream to Pak Ou, transfer to a local boat and enter the Nam Ou River to visit the extraordinary Pak Ou Buddha Caves. Admire spectacular limestone cliff faces in the Buddhist sanctuary.

Afternoon drive to see the deep jungle pools at the Khaung Si Waterfall, the teak forest trails and butterfly farm.

More about Pak Ou Caves and Nam Ou River

DAY 10 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.

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. Traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck late afternoon.

Moor overnight in Luang Prabang.

More about Luang Prabang

DAY 11 XAYABURI DAM

Pass through the Mekong water control lock at Xayaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant (itself an interesting and perhaps controversial tourist attraction). Late afternoon walking tour of a local village.

More about Xayaburi Dam

DAY 12 BAN PARK BOR VILLAGE

Walking tour to Khamo tribal village, a typical village, set on the banks of the Mekong amidst lush jungle.

DAY 13 PAK LAI

Pass through a dramatic landscape of jungle and mountain where the river flows fast and wild. Amazing rock formations straddle the river banks. Here we enter the cultivated plains of Vientiane province.

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.

More about Pak Lai

DAY 14 VIENTIANE

Morning exploration of the delightful French city including visits to the golden Pha That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple, the President’s Hall, Watt Prakeo Temple and the Phatouxay monument. Opportunity for independent exploration and experience the many cafes and bistros in this charming little corner of L’Indochine. Farewell cocktails and dinner.

More about Vientiane

DAY 15 VIENTIANE

Disembark after breakfast.

More about Vientiane

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WHATS INCLUDED

Cruise Price Includes: Entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes. Transfers from Vientiane/hotel to ship in Vientiane (as of September 2019) 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), 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 JINGHONG

Transfer included from the airport or hotel in Jing Hong. If staying at a city hotel in Jing Hong, you will be picked up between 14.00 – 14.30pm.

Please Note: There is a surcharge for early check in before 14:00 

DAY 15 VIENTIANE

Disembark in Vientiane after breakfast and transfer to airports or hotel in Vientiane.

Please note: There is a surcharge for private transfers, and pick up and drop for Udon Thani 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.

TESTIMONIALS

TRAVEL BLOGS

The flowers of Yunnan: in the land of the plant hunters

When in 2016, Pandaw became the first Western river expedition operator to break into Southern China , we were following – as befits our comp.... read more

 

Shocking truth - the scourge of electrofishing

As explored previously in in this blog Mekong's Xayaburi Dam , the $3. 5bn hydroelectric installation due for completion in 2019 has been h.... read more

 

Pandaw - First Tour Operator to sail on The Mekong into China

Pandaw River Expeditions has become the first Western operator to reach China's Yunnan Province via the Mekong River, when the RV Champa Pandaw .... read more

 

Rite of passage: Champa Pandaw conquers first big challenges

There's something very exciting – not to say nerve-wracking – about the maiden voyage of a new ship. Dispatches from our new build supervisor Ca.... read more

 

MEDIA MENTIONS

Sabaidee Pandaw successfully completes river trials

03 Sep 2018 - article by Rebecca Gibson for Cruise & Ferry

 

Going with the flow: River cruising has never been more popular

01 Mar 2016 - article by Jo Andrews for the Daily Mail UK

 

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