Cruise Upper Mekong: Laos & Thailand

Laos, Thailand

Close  Reclining Buddha at the Wat Phou Si, located 150 metres above Luang Prabang, Laos.

Cruise Upper Mekong

Cruise Northern Laos and Thailand on upper Mekong section. Starting in Luang Prabang in Laos, board the Luang Say luxury river boat on the Mekong and cruise to Huay Xai on the border with Thailand. Enroute at Pak Ou village, explore the Rock Cave, famous for housing over 2,500 Buddha statues and a place of pilgrimage for locals. Nearby, in the hill tribe village of Baw, watch the traditional process of making Lao whiskey. Stay at Luang Say Lodge near Pakbeng. 

Cross the Thai-Laotian border at Chiang Khong (Thailand) and Ban Huay Xay (Laos). Take an excursion to the Golden Triangle area at Chiang Saen. Visit Golden Buddha of Sop Ruak and the new Hall of Opium. This fascinating museum, sponsored by the royal family of Thailand, gives a deep background on the history and politics of the opium trade and the health effects of opium abuse. 


We Love
  • Accommodation in shared twin room with air-condition (AC) and private bathroom
  • Meals as stated in the programme B= breakfast
  • Transfers and tours with local English guides (guides in other languages are on request and may be subject to supplements) in private air-conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance fees, boat fees and / or cyclo fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Bottled water and cold towels available on the vehicles
Need to Know
  • Your international airfare is not included. We can book your international and domestic flights.
  • When travelling in Asia things won't always be like they are in the West so it's best to come with an open mind. If you have some patience, you will find this is an unforgettable place with much to offer.
  • Most hotels in Laos and Cambodia accept credit cards and there are ATM machines in the country. However, cash is still king and credit cards something of a novelty item. Bring lots of money or hit the ATMs regularly.
  • You will require a visa to enter Laos. Please check with Laos Embassy for more details.

Cruise Upper Mekong Cruise the Mekong through Northern Laos and Thailand on the Mekong Explorer – a floating boutique hotel.
Luang Prabang, Pak Ou Caves, Taxuang, Pakbeng, Golden Triangle
(8 Days – Travel Fixed Dates)

Day 1 – Arrive
Luang Prabang Meet and greet on arrival. After a warm reception, our representative will escort you to the Mekong Sun, a comfortable new Laotian cruise ship.

Settle into your comfortable cabin for an eight-day cruise. Enjoy the spacious decks, lounge on board and attend our welcome reception and dinner this evening. A selection of Asian and European food will be provided throughout the cruise.
Overnight on board Mekong Sun

Day 2 – Explore
Luang Prabang Today you will explore Luang Prabang. Set at the confluence of two rivers that almost surround the town and beneath a temple-topped hill, Luang Prabang is a wonderful patchwork of traditional Lao wooden houses and European architecture – reminisces of the French colonial Indochine. Golden-roofed wats (temples), decorated with mosaics and murals of the life of Buddha are found amongst city houses with teak balconies and 19th century shuttered windows.

Visit the 16th century Wat Xieng Thong (Golden Tree Monastery), one of the most beautiful of Lao monasteries with over twenty structures on the grounds including shrines, pavilions and residences. The ornamental main entrance and gilded carvings from the Hindu epic Mahabharata are stunning. The Royal funeral chapel and chariots are beautifully carved and is worth seeing.

In the afternoon walk up Phou Si-hill, which offers a spectacular sunset view over the Mekong as well as the Khan river and the surrounding mountains. In the evening, enjoy strolling along the Mekong promenade or visiting the colourful night market of the local Hmong minority.
Meals: B,
Overnight at hotel

Day 3 – Explore
Pak Ou Caves In the early morning you will able to visit the traditional giving of alms in the streets of Luang Prabang. Today your cruise begins with the departure from Luang Prabang. You will cruise north and visit a Laotian village, nick-named as “Whiskey Village”, which has for centuries made the traditional Lao-Lao, the local liqueur. Nowadays, it specializes in producing a wide range of lau lao (Lao whisky) and lau hai (Lao wine). Be sure to try just a little!

Cruising upstream on the Mekong River we stop at the Pak Ou caves, a famous tourist attraction outside Luang Prabang. The caves hold over 4,000 Buddha images, mostly the standing Buddha. The caves are a popular pilgrimage site and get crowded in April, during the Lao New Year. The night is spent on a secluded river bank or sandbank.
Meals: B,
Overnight at hotel

Day 4 – Embark at Luang Prabang
Taxuang Today is a day to take it all in; relax on deck, in your comfortable cabin or in the lounge and soak up the untouched scenery. The river traffic thins out as you proceed upstream, and you can enjoy the fantastic landscapes along the river. In the afternoon, you will visit a small village school sponsored by the cruise company.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight aboard cruise vessel.

Day 5 – Cruise
Pakbeng Cruise the Mekong River towards Pakbeng. In Northern Laos, the mighty river has maintained its untamed character with rapids and pristine forests along each bank. En route, visit a Hmong minority village, whose women are renowned for their beautiful embroidered costumes and impressive silver jewellery. Arrive at Pakbeng, a rustic village that sits on a steep hillside with spectacular views over the Mekong River.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight aboard cruise vessel.

Day 6 – Cruise Pak Tha - Houyxay
Chiang Khong Cruising along the green hills, heading upstream, we will reach Pak Tha, a small village, where we will take a long-tail boat excursion on the Namtha River to visit a Khmu village. The natural landscape is only broken by the seldom sights of small villages and local herds of cattle. Today you proceed to the Thai-Laotian border at Chiang Khong (Thailand) and Ban Huay Xay (Laos). Enjoy a relaxing dinner and evening onboard.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight aboard cruise vessel.

Day 7 – Explore
The Golden Triangle Today we take an excursion to the Golden Triangle area at Chiang Saen, where you will visit the Golden Buddha of Sop Ruak and the new Hall of Opium. This fascinating museum, sponsored by the royal family of Thailand, gives a deep background on the history and politics of the opium trade and the health effects of opium abuse. This last evening on board will be celebrated with a farewell dinner. Meals: B, L, D
Overnight aboard cruise vessel.

Day 8 – Disembark & Transfer
Chiang Rai (Thailand) After breakfast you will say goodbye to your Laotian crew. Check-out and disembark and transfer to Chiang Rai. .
June to mid-Dec at Chiang Saen,
Mid-Dec to May at Chiang Khong
Meals: B,

NOTE: Every river cruise on the upper Mekong is a pioneering experience and is subject to constantly changing river conditions, including flood waters and shallows. Therefore please understand that we must reserve the right to alter the itinerary of this tour due to the logistical complexities involved. Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, local authorities and river and/or road conditions. For safety reasons and according to navigation conditions, these programs may be amended without previous notice.

Cruise Upper Mekong: Laos & Thailand Laos, Thailand

Make this your holiday

  • Exclusive Tour: your own private multilingual guide throughout the trip  
  • Price Guarantee: costing 25-30% less than similar tours of the same flexibility and quality
  • Tailor Made: customised itinerary to create your dream holiday
  • Duration: shorten or lengthen the tour to suit your wishes
  • Dates: depart and return whenever you choose
  • Hotels: change hotel grade to suit your budget
  • Group Discounts: call 020 8350 6199

Getting There There are only three international airports in Laos. Wattay International Airport in Vientiane; Luang Prabang International airport and Pakse International airport. Lao Airlines is the national carrier and monopolises the majority of flights in and out of the country, though many code-share with other air carriers.  

There are no direct flights to Cambodia from the UK, but good connections are available from major Asian destinations. You can fly with Thai Airways to Bangkok, Malaysian Airlines to Kuala Lumpur or British Airways via Hong Kong. From there you can take the budget airline Air Asia or Dragon Air. The total journey time, excluding transit, is about 15 hours.

From Phnom Penh you can take direct flights to Siem Reap, which now operates on daily basis. Direct one-hour flights are now also available from Bangkok.

When to go The climate in Laos and Cambodia remains tropical. The best time to visit the region is in the months between November and mid-March. During these months the days are pleasant and the nights are chilly. Thereafter the temperature begins to rise and March to May gets very hot. The monsoon arrives in the month of April-May and peak in August but continues until mid-October. Travel is difficult during these months. Avoid travelling during March-April and August.