Travel along the Mekong in Northern Laos and enjoy a fascinating journey along this famous river through villages as yet untouched by modern technology. From the deck of your boat, drift through magical scenery and tropical vegetation and experience traditional local cuisine and customs.
Depart the UK with international economy flight to Bangkok, Thailand.
Upon arrival we will be met and transferred to the hotel for check-in and tour briefing. If time permits, we’ll take an orientation walk. Tonight, a welcome dinner awaits us.
We take a morning flight to Chiang Rai in the heart of the Golden Triangle which connects Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. Once arrived, we’ll be met and transferred to the hotel. In the remainder of the day, we’ll visit the Hall of Opium, which presents an intriguing look into opium production and its effects on the region, and Wat Rong Khun – a very impressive beautiful ornate delicate white stuccowork temple designed by the famous Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.
Early morning, we depart for the border town of Chiang Khong. After completing Thai immigration formalities, we’ll be met and assisted with the transfer to Laos and Lao immigration formalities. Next, we’ll be transferred to the slow boat pier in Houei Say to board the Luang Say boat. After one hour, the boat stops at Ban Houy Phalam, a small traditional Kamu village. This is a chance to observe rural life along the Mekong and witness the daily life of ethnic minorities and their talented craftsmanship. Enjoy buffet lunch aboard while leisurely navigating downstream towards Pakbeng. The boat arrives at Luang Say Lodge before sunset, giving us plenty of time to refresh, enjoy the scenery of the river and admire the surrounding nature. Enjoy a Laotian dinner on the open air terrace overlooking the Mekong River.
Mornings are special times at Luang Say Lodge with stunning sights of the peaceful neighbouring mountains, often shrouded in mist, while a full breakfast is served on the expansive teak terrace. At 8:00 AM, the cruise departs for another day of nature discovery along the legendary river with two stops planned along the way to Luang Prabang. A few hours into the day after enjoying the sights of granite cliffs and sparkling sandy shores, the river boat makes a stop to visit the village of Ban Baw, where we’ll meet people from Lao Loum, Tai Lue, and Shan groups, and watch the traditional process of making Lao whiskey. Mid-afternoon, the boat arrives at Kamu Lodge, an Eco lodge surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. Check in and enjoy lunch at the opened air restaurant. Later, we can opt to participate in a variety of activities: visiting Kamu village, archery contest, rice planting and harvesting, traditional fishing and gold panning (January to June).
It’s our choice to further take part in farming works or just relax. Check out by 12:00 and enjoy lunch at the lodge. After lunch, the boat will depart Kamu Lodge and continue cruising downstream towards Luang Prabang. About one and a half hours later, the boat stops opposite the mouth of the Nam Ou River and we’ll visit Pak Ou caves. The boat arrives in Luang Prabang before sunset, docking at Auberge Calao pier. We’ll be picked up and transferred to the hotel.
Early rise to take the fantastic opportunity to watch or participate in the unique daily morning ritual, where hundreds of saffron-clad monks walk in procession collecting offerings of sticky rice from devout residents along the roadsides.
After breakfast we commence our exploration of the town from the National Museum, formerly the Royal Palace, which houses an eclectic collection, including statues, mosaic covered walls, French mirrors, and a piece of moon rock presented by the former U.S President Nixon. We continue on foot to Luang Prabang’s main temples: Wat Mai with unique five-tiered roof and golden bas-reliefs, and then Wat Visoun with collection of antique wooden Buddha statues, and Wat Xiengthong with the sweeping roofs, Wat Sene boasting the most dazzling facade. In the afternoon, we can opt to visit the Traditional Art & Ethnology Centre or negotiate the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi. The Traditional Art & Ethnology Centre is a beautiful exhibition of traditional costumes, tools, and artefacts alongside in-depth descriptions and written histories, providing a great insight in to the Lao people. Mount Phousi offers a panoramic view of the city and the beautiful surrounding countryside. Conclude the day with a leisurely walk through the iridescent Night Market to see a lovely array of handicrafts.
Today we’ll visit the striking three-tiered waterfalls of Khuang Si. Located in lush forest, the falls are accessible via wooden walkways and bridges, making this a leisurely journey. Enjoy lunch in a Khmu village before returning to town. The rest of the day will be free time.
Free before transfer to the airport for departure flight.
Bangkok – 5*
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We used Emperor for a group trip to India. they were fantastic with their choice of hotels (some truly incredible) their tour guide, the whole programme and their choice of airlines for the trip. We made things quite tough for them with different members of the group travelling for different periods and arriving in and out of different airports. We specifically had some issues with one of the airlines on the return leg of our trip, through no fault of Emperor, but they did their utmost to put things right and made the journey home as pleasant as possible by meeting the cost of a lounge at the airport for us do to the shortcomings of one of the airlines checking in procedures. The pre holiday package of information was very comprehensive and we were presented with very durable luggage tags. We would have no hesitation in recommending Richard and his team in tailoring a package for a trip to India. We had an amazing culturally stimulating trip and will certainly go back to India in the future.