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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 for again 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.

This is a river of enormous cultural and ecological diversity. 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 ships on the Lower Mekong and Tonle rivers through Vietnam and Cambodia and from Laos to China on the Upper Mekong.

River Cruise Expeditions

River Cruise itinerary for Classic Mekong

Classic Mekong

Saigon - Siem Reap

Save up to 10% and No Single Supplement on selected dates

7 nights

from US$1840.50
members from US$1636

River Cruise itinerary for Classic Mekong
River Cruise itinerary for Saigon and Phnom Penh

Saigon and Phnom Penh

Saigon - Phnom Penh

Save up to 10% and No Single Supplement on selected dates

3 or 4 nights

from US$1107

River Cruise itinerary for Saigon and Phnom Penh
River Cruise itinerary for Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

Save up to 10% and No Single Supplement on selected dates

3 or 4 nights

from US$832.50

River Cruise itinerary for Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
River Cruise itinerary for The Laos Mekong

The Laos Mekong

Vientiane - Chiang Khong

Save up to 10% and No Single Supplement on selected dates

10 nights

from US$3780
members from US$3052

River Cruise itinerary for The Laos Mekong
River Cruise itinerary for The Mekong: From Laos to China

Save up to 10% and No Single Supplement on selected dates

14 nights

from US$6610.50
members from US$5655.65

River Cruise itinerary for The Mekong: From Laos to China

Image Galleries

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Travel Blogs

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....

River Cruise Stops

 

Ban Paklay

Known for its caves and sacred Wat Sisavangvong temple, and steeped in history, culture, and nature, Paklay acts as a gateway to the province’s ....

 

Chau Doc

The main jetty is in the town center next to the Victoria Hotel. A sampan trip to visit the Cham villages is a must to view the cat fish farms c....

 

Chiang Khong

Chiang Khong is a fast-growing town in Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand. It is mainly visited as a stop-off point en-route to Lao, and is ....

 

Chiang Saen

According to an ancient chronicle the original city of Chiang Saen (Chiang: "offshoot", saen: "100, 000") was built in 545 CE in an area called ....

 

Cruising The Mekong

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

 

Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle is in Chiang Rai Province, in the far north of Thailand. The English name comes from the meeting of Laos, Myanmar and Thaila....

 

Jinghong

Jinghong was previously known as Jinglong and Cheli in, where a total of 13 tribes such as Dai,  Hani,  Jinuo,  Bulang,  Hui and Yao all lived t....

 

Kampong Trolach

Cast off to Preak Kdam, en route you will experience an ox cart ride to the village of Kampong Trolach. In the afternoon we will visit the Sil....

 

Kratie

Kratié is the capital of Kratié Province in eastern Cambodia. The small town has a population of about 13, 000 and lies on the banks of the Meko....

 

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang, or Louangphrabang, is a city located in north central Laos, at the confluence of the Nam Khan river and Mekong River about 300 km....

 

Mangfeilong Monastery and Tea Plantation

Mangfeilong Monastery & Tea Plantation.....

 

Menglun Botanical Gardens

Menglun Botanical Garden is famous for its tropical botanical landscape, including some rare exotic and endangered plant species.....

 

Muang Long

Muang Long is a mountainous district west of Muang Sing, that Shares 50 Km-long border with Mynamar.....

 

My Tho

My Tho is the hub of the Delta. This is a busy commercial port and currently our ships are wedged between the Foster's Brewery and a timber yard....

 

Pak Beng

The small village of Pak Beng lies half-way between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang, perched high on the banks of the Mekong river. You will likely b....

 

Pak Lai

A French administrative town with many colonial buildings and a bustling local market. This town boasts the largest elephant festival in South E....

 

Phnom Penh

Sailing into Phnom Penh past the Royal Palace and bustling corniche is highlight to any Mekong voyage. We moor right in the city centre and you ....

 

Sa Dec

Sa Dec is said to be yet another 'little Venice of Asia' and it does live up to this name with countless canals bustling with water borne craft ....

 

Saigon

Saigon or Ho Chi Minh is the capital of southern Vietnam and after Hanoi the country's second city. Remarkably despite the boom of the past ten ....

 

Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the town around which the Angkor monuments are situated. Modern Siem Reap is about 45minutes from the Tonle Sap and the port facili....

 

Tachileik, Burma

Tachileik, is a border town in the Shan State of eastern Burma. It is the administrative seat of Tachileik Township and Tachileik District.....

 

Vientiane

Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, situated on the Mekong near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1563 du....

 

Vinh Long

Vinh Long is a city and the capital of Vinh Long Province in Vietnam's Mekong Delta.....

River Cruise Ships

RV Bassac Pandaw river cruise ship

The third of these rather grand Vietnamese sisters, along with the Orient and Indochina, and the only sister remaining on the Mekong. She is a g....

RV Champa Pandaw river cruise ship

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

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....

RV Mekong Pandaw river cruise ship

Built in Rangoon in 2002 she was sailed round to Saigon under her own power and many a drama described in Paul Strachan’s Pandaw Story. This shi....

RV Sabei Pandaw river cruise ship

We are excited about the addition of a seventeenth ship to the Pandaw Flotilla which is being constructed to meet demand on our very popular Lao....

RV Tonle Pandaw river cruise ship

Modelled on Pandaw II and originally called Pandaw III, the Tonle saw a year’s service in Burma in 2002/3 before being sent under tug-tow to the....

Mekong River Climate

Mekong River climate chart

Optional Extensions

4 Rivers Floating Resort Tatai 2 nights

Koh Kong is one of Cambodia’s most forested provinces which offers some exceptional experiences. A maze of rivers flow into the Gulf of Thailand....

Exploring Angkor (Jaya House Riverpark)

Jaya House Riverpark This is a private tour.....

Exploring Angkor (Victoria Resort)

Victoria Resort. This is a private tour.....

Phnom Penh 1 night - Amanjaya Pancam Hotel

Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s busy capital, sits at the junction of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers. It was a hub for both the Khmer Empire and French ....

Phnom Penh 1 night - Raffles Le Royal Hotel

Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s busy capital, sits at the junction of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers. It was a hub for both the Khmer Empire and French ....

Saigon & Surroundings (InterContinental Asiana)

This hotel boasts 305 elegantly appointed rooms, bespoke treatments at Spa InterContinental and three international restaurants. This 5-star lux....

Scenic Yunnan Province -

This is a Pandaw group tour depending on how many guests booked this extension.....

The Hill Tribes of North Thailand

Travel off the beaten track with your English speaking guide and discover the hilltribes, beautiful scenery and history of the land of opium, in....

The Plain of Jars -  Cruise Downstream China

The Plain of Jars offers fascinating insights into Phuan, Hmong, Khmu and Tai Dam culture. Very little is known about the civilization that crea....

The Plain of Jars -  Cruise Downstream Laos

The Plain of Jars offers fascinating insights into Phuan, Hmong, Khmu and Tai Dam culture. Very little is known about the civilization that crea....

The Plain of Jars -  Cruise Upstream China

The Plain of Jars offers fascinating insights into Phuan, Hmong, Khmu and Tai Dam culture. Very little is known about the civilization that crea....

The Plain of Jars -  Cruise Upstream Laos

The Plain of Jars offers fascinating insights into Phuan, Hmong, Khmu and Tai Dam culture. Very little is known about the civilization that crea....

The Rachamankha Hotel, Chiang Mai

Enjoy the comfort and charm of the deluxe Rachamankha Hotel and explore Chiang Mai on our included full day excursion.....

Vietnam's Heritage Road, Hue - Hoi An - Saigon 5 nights

Hue and Hoi An are two of Vietnam’s scenic and historic highlights and a ‘must seex’ on most people’s visit to this most wonderful country. Our ....

Vietnam's Heritage Road, Saigon - Hue - Hoi An 5 nights

Start this extension after your cruise at Saigon with a two-night stay and full day tour of the city. Hue and Hoi An are two of Vietnam’s scenic....

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