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LAOS RIVER CRUISES

Spectacular Laos River Cruises

Our spectacular Laos river cruises allow you to discover the undiscovered as you travel on the Upper Mekong River.

The mighty Mekong River makes its way through six countries and a Pandaw river cruise allows you to explore remote parts of these countries that the average traveller ordinarily wouldn't get to see.

Our exciting cruise travels to or from Vientiane in Laos to Chiang Saen in Thailand. Passengers need to bring with them a real sense of adventure and flexibility as the itinerary of such a monumental cruise can change at any time.

Travelling between these South-East Asian countries can be logistically difficult, embarking on a Travelling between these South-East Asian countries can be logistically difficult, embarking on a Laos River Cruise takes away these stresses and takes you into the heart of these beautiful and fascinating countries. The native people are warm and welcoming and waiting to meet and educate you to their way of life. As well as immersing yourself in the culture you will be awe-inspired by the varying, stunning landscapes from lush jungle scenery to mountains, forests, gorges and rapids.

Visit working villages, local markets and experience the difference between the French colonial Laos capital of Vientiane, the temple city of Luang Prabang and the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar border.

Step aboard a specifically designed Pandaw ship for our Laos cruise, purpose-built for sailing on the Upper Mekong with low draft and extra powerful engines. Your staterooms are spacious and come with fresh fruits and flowers on arrival. Our staff go above and beyond to make your stay as comfortable as it can be.

River Cruise itinerary for The Laos Mekong River Cruise map for The Laos Mekong

The Laos Mekong

10 NIGHTS

This 10 night Mekong cruise explores 3 countries; Laos, Thailand and Burma. We make our way past breathtaking jungle scenery and lone riverside, tribal villages to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang with its buzzing night market and Buddhist temples.

Rivers: Mekong River

Ships: RV Champa Pandaw, RV Laos Pandaw

from US$4,796 per person

members from US$3,836.80 per person

River Cruise itinerary for Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong River Cruise map for Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong

Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong

21 NIGHTS

If you really want to immerse yourself in the rich culture and beautiful surroundings these countries have to offer, why not embark on a 21 night river cruise where you will not only discover Halong Bay, the Red River and Hanoi in Vietnam, but also embark on a cruise on the Mekong in Laos.

Rivers: Halong Bay & The Red River, Mekong River

Ships: RV Angkor Pandaw, RV Champa Pandaw

from US$7,630 per person

Rivers in Laos

Mekong River

Mekong River

The Mekong River is the 12th largest river in the world flowing 4, 350km from SW China to discharge into the sea through a vast delta in Vietnam. Discharging 16, 000 cubic meters per second this great beast of a river actually flows through or marks the boundaries of six different nations: China , Laos , Burma , Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam . Navigable approximately 3, 000km in high water from Saigon to Stuc Treng in Cambodia and again above the Cambodia Laos border formed by the impassable Khone Falls, the river is navigable from Pakse all the way to Jinghong in China. In French colonial times it was said that for officials taking up postings in Laos it took longer to sail up the Mekong from Saigon to Luang Prabang than it did to sail from Paris to Saigon. In fact, the French built a railway round the Khone Falls to connect steamer services above and below. Passengers of our famous Mekong river cruises experience enormous cultural and ecological diversity on this magnificent river. However, both ways of life and the biodiversity of this vast region will be affected by the construction of a number of new dams. Seven are planned for Laos alone, with one nearing completion. Our ship already passes through in a specially-constructed lock. Though flowing through six countries there is a far greater human diversity than merely six nationalities. Numerous minority groups and hill tribes have settled along the banks, from the Chams in Vietnam to Akas, Lisus, Shans, Dai and many others the further up you go into the Highlands. All of this makes for a truly fascinating ethnography. Pandaw operates three Mekong river cruise ships on the Lower Mekong and Tonle rivers through Vietnam and Cambodia and from Laos to China on the Upper Mekong.

Laos Ships

RV Champa Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Champa Pandaw

The Champa Pandaw, sister ship of the Laos Pandaw, began cruises on the Upper Mekong from September 2016. The ship has quality mountain bikes fo....
RV Laos Pandaw river cruise ship

RV Laos Pandaw

Seeing the quality of this ship it is hard to believe it was built in a hurry. There are no proper ship yards above the Khone Falls and we could....

River Cruise Stops

Chiang Saen

Chiang Saen

Commonly believed to be the oldest city in Thailand, Chiang Saen offers a unique glimpse into the history of this majestic district. Facilitating trade with other countries via the Mekong River, Chiang Saen was originally a thriving commercial area. Whilst a turbulent history led to the area being abandoned by many residents, Chiang Saen has recovered in recent years and is now a hidden gem for tourists and holidaymakers. With rural villages and well-known attractions to explore, Chiang Saen gives you a glimpse into Thailand’s unique history. Despite the natural, historical and contemporary sights, many tourists miss out on what the district has to offer. For holidaymakers and travellers lucky enough to stop off at this stunning destination on their Mekong river cruise , the lack of tourists only serves to provide a more peaceful and authentic Thai experience. RV Champa Pandaw at Chiang Saen Top Attractions in Chiang Saen Golden Triangle The Golden Triangle lies at the joining point of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, meeting altogether in the Mekong River. Historically, this has been known as one of the biggest opium-producing locations of the world. The Golden Triangle Park offers educational experiences, souvenir shops and views of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Situated just 9 kilometres outside of Chiang Saen, day visitors can access the Park via public transport or pre-arranged hire vehicles. With the Golden Triangle tri-point situated within the village of Wiang, this is perhaps the most popular place to visit in Chiang Saen. Hall of Opium The Golden Triangle Hall of Opium is located within the Chiang Saen district and is a must-see for Chiang Saen visitors. Offering a unique insight into the opium trade, the museum reflects the area’s history and gives visitors an unparalleled understanding of how the drugs trade impacted the district and the Golden Triangle as a whole. Wat Pa Sak This stunning Buddhist temple in Chiang Saen is perfect for those wanting to learn more about ancient history as it originates back to the 13th or 14th century. This site is filled with teak trees and intricate architecture. More Reasons To Visit Chiang Saen With new destinations being developed in Chiang Saen, there are more reasons to visit this remarkable city than ever before. A new museum and learning centre is set to open in 2020, along with the world’s largest flagpole. Visible from distances as far as 20km away, the city’s new landmark will be a reminder of the area’s historic importance and its cultural revival. Perfect for holidaymakers and travellers of all ages, the Chiang Saen district provides an unrivalled view of Thai culture and history. Whilst the Chiang Saen district may sometimes be overlooked by some tourists, its location ensures its ideally situated for guests aboard Pandaw river cruises . Our Laos Mekong expedition , Laos to China cruise and the Halong Bay, Red River and Laos, Mekong river cruises all include stops at Chiang Saen, so you can enjoy this undiscovered gem as part of your travels.
Cruising The Mekong

Cruising The Mekong

Continue up the Mekong with Burma on our left and Laos on our right.
Golden Triangle

Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle remains a favourite amongst travellers. This joining point between the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar is located in the North Thailand province of Chiang Rai. This popular stopping destination on our Mekong River cruises guarantees to be a memorable part of any Thailand-based trip. Due to its location, the Golden Triangle started life as a hotspot for opium growing. The trade was so rife that around 70% of the heroin in America originated from this area at one point. But, that’s a history which is far behind the Golden Triangle we see today, with only the Hall of Opium museum remaining as a testament to that past. Nowadays, Chiang Rai has become the most popular tourist destination within Northern Thailand, an accolade which locals have enhanced using impressive landmarks which impress hordes of tourists each year. Golden Triangle and Golden Buddha Top Attractions Near The Golden Triangle The Golden Buddha From the moment your tour arrives in the Golden Triangle, there are spectacular views, starting with the golden Buddha statue. Greeting visitors from a boat by the shore, the impressive scale of the golden Buddha is a pretty accurate representation of the amazing sights on offer during your visit. The White Temple - Wat Rong Khun Just a twenty-minute ride outside of our Chiang Rai cruise drop off is the iconic White Temple, arguably the most recognisable and popular destination of any Golden Triangle tour. Known by locals as Wat Rong Khun, this sparkling white modern temple comes complete with plenty of unique quirks and features which are sure to stick in the minds of anyone who views it. White Temple at Wat Rong Khun The Hall of Opium All of our Golden Triangle stop-offs also come complete with a visit to the Hall of Opium. This museum combines multimedia exhibitions to portray every angle of the Golden Triangle opium story, including opium wars, smuggling and effects, then finishing with examples of how residents rehabilitated their living conditions. The Golden Triangle Cruises You can expect to see the Golden Triangle on a fair few of our cruise packages. Our Laos Mekong cruise , for instance, involves a Golden Triangle river crossing on the tenth and penultimate day, while The Mekong: Laos to China cruise package involves an entire afternoon exploring the Golden Triangle. Our Halong Bay, Red River and Laos Mekong cruise would also see you stopping off here during your 22nd day while en route to Chiang Sean. If the Golden Triangle has caught your eye, then, don’t hesitate to book up for one of our fantastic cruise packages today.
Kuang Si Waterfalls

Kuang Si Waterfalls

Also known as the Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls and Kuang Xi, Kuang Si Falls is a breathtaking three-tier waterfall that is adored by every tourist that visits each year and is a location visited on our Mekong River Cruises . Featuring turquoise waters and incredible surroundings, it’s a popular destination for many visiting the area – particularly between December and May after the monsoon season has ended. Situated in Northern Laos, during your Laos Mekong or the Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong river cruise you will be able to visit the falls by means of an exciting sightseeing minibus. A hidden treasure away from bustling Luang Prabang, you will want to return to the Kuang Si Waterfalls from the moment that you leave. Kuang Si Waterfalls Key facts about Kuang Si Waterfalls They have a 50m drop It is open every day between 8am and 5. 30pm It will take you 15-20 minutes to hike to the top It is 29km south of Luang Prabang (a UNESCO town) It is a popular tourist destination, visited by millions each year Top Things To Do While at Kuang Si Waterfalls Take a walk around the Kuang Si Falls Market As you walk towards the entrance of the waterfalls you will be greeted by the quaint Kuang Si Falls Market. Filled with delicious sweet and savoury treats, ice-cold beers and souvenirs (amongst other delights) it makes for a wonderful stop before you head to the waterfalls. Affordable and welcoming, it is a fabulous start to your trip to Kuang Si Falls. Explore the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre On your way into the waterfalls you will walk through the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre. Operated by the conservation foundation Free the Bears, the fascinating centre is home to over 20 Asiatic Black Bears which have been rescued over the years. A wonderful addition to your river stop, along with the market and butterfly garden, there is plenty to see and explore. Walk to the top of Kuang Si Waterfalls During your sightseeing trip you may have time to hike to the top of the waterfalls. Walking over a small wooden bridge, you will have unobstructed and awe-inspiring views of the main part of the waterfalls. With a lack of tourists and the beautiful sounds of nature around you, it’s a wonderful way to spend your time at the waterfalls. On a clear day you can even see out towards the Lao countryside. What Kuang Si Waterfalls is Famous For The perfect place to take incredible photos, your trip out to the falls will be unforgettable creating everlasting memories. Abundant with tropical greenery, extraordinary wildlife and boasting a sense of tranquility that showcases what the true Laos is all about, the Kuang Si Waterfalls will make you feel immersed into the surrounding nature the moment that you catch sight of it. Famous for its serenity and natural wonders, it is frequently voted as one of the top waterfalls to see in Laos and a must for anyone visiting Luang Prabang on their Pandaw river cruise. People swimming in the Kuang Si Waterfalls
Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is a beautiful town in Laos and a favourite amongst travellers. It lies where the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers meet, and it's a stop for several of our Mekong River cruises . This popular town is perfect for tourists stopping off for a day or two. It's brimming with history and culture, and there's plenty to see and do. Luang Prabang is considered to be the cultural hub of Laos, particularly because if its many traditional and historical elements. The town shows its development through the centuries, with its combination of traditional wooden houses and colonial architecture. It's also home to over 30 Buddhist shrines. Luang Prabang is in northern Laos, 700 meters above sea level. It is the perfect place for tourists, offering a warm welcome and many natural and historical sites to visit. Even though it is a popular tourist destination, it has still kept its character. Luang Prabang Places To Visit In Luang Prabang Kuang Si Waterfall If you want to get out of the town during your visit to Luang Prabang, there are some stunning natural sites to explore. The stunning Kuang Si Waterfall is less than 30km away and is a favourite for many tourists. Kuang Si Waterfall Pak Ou Caves Pak Ou Caves are a respected holy site with a long history. Located 25km from Luang Prabang, you can book a tour, which usually includes lunch. These limestone caves are fairly easy to explore but the upper cave requires some climbing. Pak Ou Caves Royal Palace Museum If you're interested in history, you can visit a museum or explore the many historical sites and buildings in Luang Prabang. The Royal Palace Museum was the residence of King Sisavang Vong during the French colonial era and has been a museum since 1995. It shows statues, paintings, weapons, and religious items, and is also home to the crown jewels of Laos. Royal Palace at Luang Prabang Buddhist Temples There are many Buddhist temples to visit in Luang Prabang, and Wat Wisunarat is the oldest, dating back to 1513. You can see traditional Lao architecture and religious artifacts. Cultural Experiences in Luang Prabang Luang Prabang is an amazing place to get some insight into Lao culture and how the local people live. The daily Buddhist Alms Giving Ceremony is one thing that you should see, which takes place as the sun rises. The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center is a good choice of place to visit if you're looking for somewhere more like a museum. It’s dedicated to preserving the ethnic groups of Laos. For a cultural day trip, try taking a tour to Ban Phanom village, where you can observe traditional textile making. At The Living Land Company, you can learn how to practice traditional Lao rice farming methods. Luang Prabang is a vibrant destination full of history. Whether you explore the town itself or take a day trip, there's so much to see and do.
Pak Beng

Pak Beng

Sitting midway between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai lays Pakbeng on the Mekong. The river used to be the one major route for transport in the country, and over the years, Pakbeng has developed massively as a stop for both cargo and passenger ferries. If you want scenery, you should sit here where the Nam Beng flows freely into the Mekong. When you are on a Mekong river cruise from Chiang Khong on the Thai border on the Mekong, you're treated to spectacular views of Pakbeng. If you want to explore Pakbeng, start on the boat journey down the Mekong. The town is flourishing right now, and it's gaining more tourism and popularity as time goes on. The one thing to remember is that Pakbeng is not just somewhere to transit to Thailand. It's a corridor to so many different places, and it's for this reason that the hotels and guesthouses are so popular. They get very full in the higher seasons, and while arrival by boat can be a little busy, there isn’t as much to do or see than other places, but it still makes for an interesting stop-off! Elephant opposite Pakbeng Places To Visit When you come to Pakbeng, you want to have a list of things to do while you are off the boat. However, it's a small place to visit, and the reason it’s so popular is that it's where all the boats stop on the way from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai. There is a sleepy charm to Pakbeng, and it's the arrival of tourists in the evening that makes it so. There are some temples that are definitely worth seeing, but there are some things that you can see and do in the neighbouring villages, too. Head to Wat Koh Koh, a nearby town for excellent views over the town. See the skies around Pakbeng in the evening as the sun sets and enjoy the view from one destination to the other. There isn't much in the way of infrastructure in Pakbeng itself, but there are a lot of tours that are becoming more and more popular alongside the river cruises that stop in Pakbeng. There are a handful of restaurants and bars in the town, too, so you can always stop off at the Hive Bar for a drink overlooking the river. There may not be much in the way of shopping malls in Pakbeng, but there are local market stalls along the main road serving up baguettes stuffed with local ingredients, and you can stock up for getting back on the boat home. When you head on one of the Pandaw river cruises through Pakbeng, you get a little taste of life with the locals, and they will be able to greet you and show you some of the local charm available to you. The best way to experience Pakbeng is on our Mekong: From Laos To China cruise where you’ll stop off for a quick visit and a look around. Sunset on the Pakbeng waterfront
Pak Lai

Pak Lai

Our Mekong River Cruises can take you to many magical destinations, one of the most stunning of those is Pak Lai. Pak Lai is a stunning administrative French town with a plethora of colonial buildings and a small yet bustling local market that can itself be a wonder to witness. This town boasts the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, and this festival is usually hosted in February. The town stretches five kilometers of route four that is joined by an east road that is very sparsely dotted with buildings in the French-colonial and Lao style. The clamouring Mekong waterway port of Pak Lai is a practically unavoidable stop on one of our river cruises on the Mekong. Pak Lai sits prettily among Sainyabuli and Loei in Thailand. The town pursues a 5km twist of the river, paralleled further east by a smaller riverside cut-out that's sparsely sprinkled with historic structures in both Lao and French-colonial style. Pak Lai is popular with tourists for its free walk opportunities through some incredible rainforest. It even boasts a considerable number of elephants, so if you have never experienced a ride on an elephant before, this could be your chance. Forest Walks in Pak Lai Many residents of neighbouring towns such as Vientiane or Sainyabuli arrive in Pak Lai by bus as it people often travel to visit the famous market. Of course, one can not mention visiting such a wonderfully beautiful place without talking about how we get to it. The journey itself via the Mekong should be appreciated alone for its glory of being the twelfth longest river in the world. Apart from the famous market, there are also some fantastic restaurants to sample some of the finest local cuisines. School children in Pak Lai One place that everybody should also make an effort to visit is Wat Sisavang. Wat Sisavang is a Buddhist temple in Pak Lai that lies on route 4. Wat Sisavang sports some ancient monks' quarters and now has a new bell tower and gateway. Within a short 500 meter walk of Wat Sisavang, you will pass the main guesthouse and a river port. At this point, you will cross a picturesque wooden bridge where you will arrive at a quaint village-like area. All in all, any trip to northern Laos will be one that will surely stay with you for the rest of your life. If it wasn't for this colorful history, Laos would not play host to some of the incredible beauty that it does today. The best way to experience Pak Lai is on our Laos Mekong cruise, where you will visit colonial buildings and a bustling market.
Vientiane

Vientiane

Vientiane is the capital city of Laos and a popular stop-off on our Mekong River cruises , thanks to the numerous attractions to be found in this ancient, charming and bustling city. Vientiane is home to more than 783, 000 people and has been given evocative nicknames, such as the City of Sandalwood and the City of the Moon, at certain points in its history. Modern Vientiane is a relatively young city. The original settlement was an administrative centre serving in the Kingdom of a Million Elephants from 1545 but was then razed to the ground by the Siam (modern-day Thailand) in 1827 during a siege. The city was only rebuilt upon discovery by French colonists at the end of the nineteenth century, giving us the basis of the modern city we see today. Top Attractions In Vientiane Pha That Luang This is a stunning gold Buddhist stupa in the middle of the city. Not only is this a national symbol for Laos but it is also a national monument, attracting hundreds of tourists each year. Pha That Luang Patuxai Patuxai is Vientiane’s version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The city completed the giant gateway, which sits in front of a lake surrounded by parkland, in 1968, and it has stood firm ever since, towering over the surrounding areas. Eager tourists can climb steps inside the archway for a small fee and get prime views over the city. Patuxai in Vientiane Ho Phra Keo Museum Ho Phra Keo museum, also called Hophakaew museum, is located just a couple of minutes walk from the Mekong, right in the heart of Vientiane. The museum is an ancient Buddhist temple built for the Emerald Buddha, dating back to the 1500s. The museum contains many artefacts, and there’s a gift shop once you’re done. Wat Si Muang Wat Si Muang is one of the most popular destinations for people arriving in Vientiane. The Buddhist temple was built in 1563 and is said to be guarded day and night by a restless spirit. Sisaket Temple A stunning historic temple located in the city centre, near the President’s palace, making it easily accessible. This temple remains the only one that wasn’t destroyed by the Thai invasion in the 19th century. Buddha statue at the Sisaket Temple Top Things To Do And See While In Vientiane Relax On The Mekong Riverfront The Mekong river is one of the largest rivers in Laos. The banks of the Mekong are famously lush and attract hundreds of people every day from all over the capital. Visit The New World Shopping Centre The New World shopping centre, a region of the city that comes to life after sunset, offers local food and drink to hungry tourists. It’s a must-visit part of the town if you want to experience life in Vientiane at its most authentic. Explore the Riverside Night Market The Night Market, sometimes called the Chinese Market, pops up along the riverfront in the evening, selling an assortment of drinks, sundries, and novelty items. The old market used to be some distance back from the river, but thanks to infrastructure upgrades by the city, it’s now held at the water’s edge. Pandaw offers a few different river cruises including Pandaw’s Laos Mekong river cruise that enable you to explore the beautiful Vientiane.

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