- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Wake up early to catch your first sunrise in Laos on the Mekong River. Early birds are welcome to join our daily morning exercise on the terrace deck (Tai Chi or Yoga). There is no better backdrop than the stunning river scenery to do some revitalizing morning exercise to start the day.
After breakfast, you will arrive in the small town of Pakbeng. This riverside settlement is halfway between our embarkation at Huay Xai and Luang Prabang. Many locals also stop here when they travel or transport goods between these two “hubs” on the river.
On the cruise route is the country’s most sustainably managed elephant sanctuary. If you arrive early enough, you may still see elephants freely walking along the shoreline and taking a morning bath. Visit the conservation sanctuary to supplement your knowledge from the previous lecture about these magnificent animals. All of the elephants here used to be logging elephants; after their time as working animals, they are unable to survive in the wild (there are only a few wild elephants left). The sanctuary is fully committed to the tenets of ecotourism and sustainability.
During lunchtime, continue your journey with stunning views of the shores from the comfort of the dining room. At a sandbank further down the river, the local ethnic Lao, Khmu, and Hmong live in the tiny village of Kok Aek. They have established an organic garden on the riverbank, which they have meticulously maintained, surrounded by bamboo fences, and where they grow organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Though these plots are unusable at certain times of the year due to flooding, the nutrient-rich Mekong irrigation promises bountiful annual harvests. As you get to know the villagers, taste the local specialty, kai paen, made of dried freshwater seaweed and topped with sesame and vegetables.
Back on board, cruise for more hours, lay back and take in the beautiful scenery, or enjoy some pampering time in our tucked-away spa. The ship dropped anchor overnight near another small and secluded village. You may explore this tiny village of around 300 people, subject to your arrival time and daylight availability, which is devoid of electricity or any semblance of modernity but not of the villagers' abounding charm and warmth.
As you remain here at the sandbank overnight, kick back with an aperitif while being serenaded by some local villagers who have come onboard to perform on their "Khene," a handheld, ancient instrument made of bamboo and originating here in Laos. End your day with a culinary highlight as you dine tonight on the terrace deck, with the sights and soothing sounds of nature all around us.