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While you are on one of the Mekong River Cruises, you will be able to stop off at many unique and interesting locations. You’ll be able to see some many traditional riverside villages and towns so that you are able to get a good glimpse of everyday life in Laos for most of its citizens. There will also be the chance to see some great natural features of the landscape and surrounding area as well, most of which will be close to the river.

Of course, you won’t just notice the natural points of interest while you are on the cruise. You will also see some iconic manmade structures as well. The Xayaburi Dam is the first of 11 dams to be built along the Lower Mekong River, and as part of your Pandaw River Cruise, you’ll get the chance to see it up close.

Here’s a quick guide about the Xayaburi Dam and what you can expect to see while visiting it.

What Is The Xayaburi Dam?

The Xayaburi Dam is a large hydroelectric dam, situated right on the banks of the Lower Mekong River. This is in northern Laos and about 19 miles to the east of the town of Xayaburi. Even though construction started back in 2012, it is due to finally start operating sometime in 2019. Once the operations begin, the dam will be able to produce hydroelectric power, which can be used for all kinds of purposes throughout Laos and the neighboring countries.

The History Of The Dam

Construction on the dam began in 2012, and the work is finally about to come to an end so it can start to produce hydroelectric energy. There were a few delays throughout the whole construction period and the work on the dam was halted a number of times. This was largely down to the surrounding controversy regarding environmental issues and downstream riparians. Eventually though, work was allowed to continue and will soon be operational in the area.

Construction work around the Xayaburi Dam
Construction work around the Xayaburi Dam

The Xayaburi Dam’s Impact On The Surrounding Area

Many people wonder what the impact would be from a new dam being constructed in such a rural area, and it is very evident to see the impact that the Xayaburi Dam has had. Before the work got underway, around 2,100 people had to be relocated as their homes would have been in the way of the construction. Some people claim that the dam will have a negative impact of the complex ecosystem that can be found in the Mekong River and will, as a result, affect the fish populations. Some believe that this would be an issue for locals whose diet features a lot of locally caught fish.

Whatever your thoughts about the Xayaburi Dam and its construction, you can’t deny that it really is an impressive sight on the Lower Mekong River. The best way to experience the Xayaburi dam is through our Laos Mekong cruise which starts at Vientiane and also stops at Luang Prabang. If you want to explore more, our Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong combination cruise explores the best of Vietnam’s rivers and gives you a taste of what it’s really like to live in Asia.

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