15 Days / 14 Nights
Duration
River Cruising
Tours

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1

Mekong Cruise Highlights

Mekong Cruise from Laos to China is an incredible, pioneering 14-night river expedition. Here you will discover charming villages, stunning scenery, pristine jungle, and the Golden Triangle. Aside from these, you will also bask in 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 its low draft and extra powerful engines.

According to Pandaw’s founder, Paul Strachan, “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. Travelers 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.

2

Important Things To Remember

These are reconnaissance voyages, and the itinerary is indicational only and subject to daily revisions and many changes. Travelers 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 journey. There may be delays at border crossing points when dealing with formalities. Travelers 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. However, some excursions may be changed for others. We can assure we will see, and do as much as we can, hopefully, more than what’s indicated in the itinerary.

3

Low Water Season December - April

Upstream

Passengers booking in the low water season months of December to April are advised in the event that the ship’s master decides that the water is too low it will be necessary to transfer passengers from as close to the China border as the ship can reach to Jinghong by speed boat and stay at the InterContinental or similar for two nights in order to complete the Yunnan sightseeing.

Downstream

Passengers booking in the low water season months of December to April are advised in the event that the ship’s master decides that the water is too low it will be necessary to stay at the InterContinental or similar for two nights in order to complete the Yunnan sightseeing and then join ship by speed boat transfer from Jinghong to a position as close to the Laos – China border as the ship can safely reach.

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Thanks for your enquiry about Mekong Cruise from Laos To China – by Pandaw
Please fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon

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USI

UPSTREAM ITINERARY

D1

LUANG PRABANG

Embark by noon for a lunch followed by an afternoon walking tour of this World Heritage Site with its delightful traditional Laos wooden houses and many gilded monasteries. Return to ship for drinks and dinner and a welcoming Lao baci ceremony.

D2

LUANG PRABANG

Further visits in Luang Prabang: The Royal Palace was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. After the death of King Sisavang Vong, the crown Prince Savang Vatthana and his family were the last to occupy the palace.

We will visit the Buddhist temples Wat Xienthong and Wat Mai, the latter being the biggest and most decorated temple.

Afternoon at leisure for individual exploration. In the evening visit Luang Prabang’s lively night market and savour the buzzing café life.

D3

KHUANG SI FALLS

05.30am walk to the town centre to watch the alms giving and ceremony. Visit the morning market before returning to the ship for breakfast.

Our bus will take you to the butterfly park, founded by a Dutch couple in 2014 as a research and preservation centre of Laotian butterflies. After a brief journey we reach our next stop, the stunning Khuang Si Waterfalls with stunning jungle pools and scenery. Don’t forget your swimsuit!

This afternoon we will sail upstream towards Pak Ou.

D4

SAILING THE MEKONG

An exciting day spent sailing through dramatic scenery with lush jungle and forest punctuated by tiny villages clinging to the river bank.

Pause for a walk ashore at Ban Huay La village with wooden houses and women at work weaving. Later presentation by the guide on Laos language and culture.

D5

SAILING THE MEKONG

An exciting day spent sailing through dramatic scenery with lush jungle and forest punctuated by tiny villages clinging to the river bank.

Pause for a walk ashore at Ban Huay La village with wooden houses and women at work weaving. Later presentation by the guide on Laos language and culture.

D6

PAK BENG

The scenery becomes even more dramatic and the river faster and more treacherous. This passage can be very exciting and most passengers sit spellbound on deck. Morning cooking demonstration of favourite Laos dishes by our Pandaw chefs. Afternoon walk around the market town of Pak Beng. Jungle mooring.

D7

SAILING THE MEKONG

A long sailing day covering a considerable distance but punctuated by a morning walk around Ban Pak Sit village, a traditional riverside village full of charm and life, and an afternoon walk around Pak Tha village. Village mooring.

D8

INTO THAILAND

After an afternoon visit to the local pagoda, we proceed to Lao and Thai Immigration, joining the Pandaw ship again in Chiang Kong. Sail further into Thailand in the late afternoon and moor overnight in Chiang Kong.

D9

CHIANG SAEN

This morning we visit a Thai hill-tribe village to appreciate a very contrasting culture from Laos.

After lunch on board we explore Chiang Sean and the Wat Phangao Pagoda. In the evening traditional Thai dancers perform on deck. Overnight in Chiang Saen.

D10

GOLDEN TRIANGLE

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), Chinese temples 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 we will reunite 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.

D11

BAN DOM MOON

Leaving behind the bustle of the Golden Triangle we return to a Mekong that is now narrower and faster than anything encountered so far on this journey. Afternoon walk around the Pok Lok village followed by a talk by our guide on the region’s ethnography.

D12

SOB LUOY PROVINCE

Visit Ban Pak Keo, its villagers and walk up a small hill adorned with a pagoda and enjoy the beautiful view over the Mekong.

Stop at Ban Na Kor (Sob Luoy Port) in the afternoon and sail on to a remote sand bank to moor for the night. Canapés and cocktails are served on the sundeck followed by local Laos folklore stories and traditional floating fire lanterns.

D13

GUAN LEI

Crossing into China at Guan Lei Port in the morning, we are free to take a walk and explore before passing immigration. Sail the final stretch of the scenic and dramatic Mekong in China to Jinghong where we moor overnight.

Note: In the event that water levels are too low, too high or the flow too fast, we may not reach Jinghong. In this case you will be transferred for the final stretch by speed boat and lodged in the best available four or five star hotel.

D14

JINGHONG

Jinghong was founded in 1180 by Tai King Phanya Coeng. Its turbulent history has been influenced by Thai, Burmese and Chinese occupations, which can be seen in its buildings and the local language.

In the morning we will visit the fascinating Tropical Plant Institute, a vast garden with over 13,000 plant species and 35 exhibits. 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.

On our final evening in Jinghong, experience an evening cultural show at Maxmumbani, where dancers from 38 different ethnic groups display their traditions with acrobatics and fascinating story of China and its people. Moor overnight in Jinghong Port.

D15

JINGHONG

Disembark after breakfast.

DSI

DOWNSTREAM ITINERARY

D1

JINGHONG

Embark in the afternoon followed by briefing on Jinghong and a Chinese language lesson. Afternoon at leisure with opportunity to explore charming Jinghong.

Moor overnight in Jinghong Port.

D2

JINGHONG

In the morning we will visit the fascinating Tropical Plant Institute, a vast garden with over 13,000 plant species and 35 exhibits. 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 we will visit a cultural show at the Maxmumbani Theatre. Moor overnight in Jinghong Port.

D3

SAILING THE MEKONG

Cruise the Mekong in China with its magnificent scenery of picturesque hillsides and dramatic cliffs. Arrive at Guan Lei Port and pass through Chinese immigration. We have reached the Mekong between Laos and Burma. In the afternoon we will visit a Lao Lue village with wooden houses, local temples and local health care centre. The Lue people moved from Xishuangbanna China into Laos.

D4

SOB LUOY PROVINCE

We visit the village of Ban Done Jai now home to the Akha who were originally a hill tribe. Here we see traditional Akha houses and a Lao Lue temple.

Afternoon cruising until Ban Pha Kao where we visit another village and meet the local people. We walk up a small hill adorned with a pagoda and enjoy the beautiful view over the Mekong.

Canapes and cocktails on Sun Deck.

D5

BAN DOM MOON

We venture towards the bustle of the Golden Triangle and return to the most narrow and rapid part of the Mekong you will encounter on this journey. Morning visit to a small village Ban Pok Lok before reaching the Thai border. We travel by local 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.

D6

CHIANG SAEN

This morning we visit a Thai hill-tribe village to appreciate a very contrasting culture from Laos.

After lunch on board we explore Chiang Sean and the Wat Phangao Pagoda.

In the evening traditional Thai dancers perform on deck. Overnight in Chiang Saen.

D7

GOLDEN TRIANGLE

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), Chinese temples 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 we will reunite 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.

D8

CHIANG KONG

The morning is spent sailing further downstream with Laos on our left and Thailand on our right. Cooking demonstration by our chef.

Arrive in Chiang Khong, a bustling trading village on the Thai and Laos border connected by the Friendship bridge.

Chiang Khong also has an ethnic diversity of the local Laotian, Thai and Hill tribes, which results in three separate calendars and a variety of festivals held throughout the year.

Overnight in Chiang Kong.

D9

PAK THA & OUDOM SAI DISTRICTS

Pass through immigration formalities at the Thai/Laos border and re-join your Pandaw ship.

Set sail downstream on the beautiful Upper Mekong River. Sightseeing after lunch in Ban Pak Sit, a traditional Laos village. Jungle mooring.

D10

PAK BENG

As the scenery becomes even more dramatic and the river becomes faster and more treacherous, this passage can be very exciting and most passengers sit spellbound on deck. Morning cooking demonstration of popular Laos dishes by our Pandaw chefs. Afternoon walk around the market town of Pak Beng.

Jungle mooring.

D11

SAILING THE MEKONG

An exciting day spent sailing through dramatic scenery of lush jungle and forest, punctuated by tiny villages nestled on the river bank.

Pause for a walk ashore at Ban Huay La village with wooden houses and women at work weaving. Later presentation by the guide on Laos language and culture.

During low water, approximately January to April, we have a sand bank cocktail party or take a small boat to watch elephant bathing.

Jungle mooring.

D12

PAK OU BUDDHA CAVES

This morning we continue downstream and visit a village by small boat known locally as the “Whisky Village”. Learn how they produce their alcohol.

Continue to Pak Ou, a Buddhist sanctuary and one of Laos’ most respected holy sites with spectacular limestone cliff faces. Packed with over 4,000 Buddha icons, the caves which are a shrine to the river spirit and Lord Buddha, are set in a dramatic limestone cliff at the point where the Mekong joins the Nam Ou River.

On arrival at Luang Prabang, our jetty is located in the town centre. Join us for an exploratory walk through town including the pretty Wat Xieng Muan Temple to admire the paintings and woodcraft.

D13

LUANG PRABANG

Tour of the World Heritage Site Luang Prabang with its charming traditional Laos wooden houses and many gilded monasteries.

The Royal Palace was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. After the death of King Sisavang Vong, the crown Prince Savang Vatthana and his family were the last to occupy the palace.

We will visit the Buddhist temples Wat Xienthong and Wat Mai, the latter being the biggest and most decorated temple.

Afternoon at leisure for individual exploration. In the evening visit Luang Prabang’s lively night market and savour the buzzing café life.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

D14

KHUANG SI WATERFALL

05.30am walk to the town centre to watch the alms giving and ceremony. Visit the morning market before returning to the ship for breakfast. Rest of morning at leisure.

After lunch, our bus will take you to the butterfly park, founded by a Dutch couple in 2014 as a research and preservation centre of Laotian butterflies.

After a brief journey we reach our next stop, the stunning Khuang Si Waterfalls with stunning jungle pools and scenery. Don’t forget your swimsuit!

D15

LUANG PRABANG

Disembark after breakfast.

I

INCLUDED

Cruise Price Includes:

    Entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes. Transfers from Luang Prabang airport/hotel to ship in Luang Prabang (until May 2019) or Vientiane / Udon Thani airport/hotel to ship in Vientiane (as of September 2019) v.v. Transfers from Jinghong airport/hotel to ship in Jinghong.
NI

NOT INCLUDED

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.
TJ

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 15.00 – 15.30pm.

Jing Hong Port:

    Jinghong Port Jetty, No. 51 Xuanwei Road (near Xishuangbanna Bridge).

DAY 15 LUANG PRABANG
Disembark in Luang Prabang after breakfast around 08.30am and transfer to airports or hotel in Luang Prabang.

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Set Tour Packages

From
To
Standard of accommodation
Number of People (price per person)
2 Adults
15 Sep 19 29 Sep 19 Upstream RV Sabaidee Pandaw Twin Share$10475
13 Oct 19 27 Oct 19 $13966
10 Nov 19 24 Nov 19 $13966
22 Dec 19 05 Jan 20 $10475
19 Jan 20 02 Feb 20 $13966
22 Aug 20 05 Sep 20 $10475
12 Oct 20 26 Oct 20 $10475
10 Nov 20 24 Nov 20 $8049
17 Jan 21 31 Jan 21 $8049
27 Oct 19 10 Nov 19 Downstream RV Sabaidee Pandaw Twin Share$12570
24 Nov 19 08 Dec 19 $13966
05 Jan 20 19 Feb 20 $11638
02 Feb 20 16 Feb 20 $13966
05 Sep 20 19 Sep 20 $10475
26 Oct 20 09 Nov 20 $13966
24 Nov 20 08 Dec 20 $6708
31 Jan 21 14 Feb 21 $8049
Prices are in NZ dollars per person, subject to availability at time of booking.

Thanks for your enquiry about Mekong Cruise from Laos To China – by Pandaw
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What's the age group of the adults ?

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Information for airfares

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Please select which best describes what you're looking for.

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Mekong Cruise