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The Laos Mekong

Upstream - Example 11 Day Cruise aboard RV Champa Pandaw
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Enjoy a three-country adventure on this 11-day Laos Mekong river cruise as you travel through Laos, Thailand, and Burma in the once-infamous Golden Triangle. Pandaw is going to be the first river expedition to cross all of Laos since pre-war days, departing from Vientiane, the old French capital so reminiscent of L'Indochine. You spend two nights in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, with its dazzling wood-carved monasteries, before continuing deep into the mountains, through rapids and gorges. Explore tribal villages and the surrounding jungle and countryside.
  • Visits to the golden Pha That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple, the President’s Hall, Wat Prakeo Temple and the Phatouxay monument
  • Morning visit and walking tour to Khamo tribal village, Ban Park Bor Village
  • Explore the unique Pak Ou caves
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Vientiane | Embarkation

PLEASE NOTE: The itinerary for this expedition is indicative only and subject to reconnaissance. As you travel to remote areas, changes to the itinerary are inevitably occur. A flexible approach is required if you book this cruise.

Pick up from your hotel in Vientiane at 08.00am, followed by a local long-tail boat expedition to the ship vessel upstream. Lunch and drinks are provided on the local boat by the ship chef and bar staff. Embark your ship in the afternoon for a welcome briefing and welcome drinks. You moor overnight at Pak Lay.

Day 2: Cruising the Mekong

Cruise upstream on the Mekong, passing lush jungle scenery and tiny riverside villages. Morning presentation on the Lao language. Afternoon cooking demonstration on the upper deck. Arrive in Ban Xanakham to moor overnight.

Day 3: Xayabouri Dam

Morning walk at Ban Pak Bor Khummu village before passing through Xayabouri Hydroelectric Dam, taking an inside look of the workings of this somewhat controversial attraction as you navigate the locks. Afternoon visit to Ban Na San village, a Hmong minority village.

Day 4: Kuang Si Waterfalls

In the morning you moor at the village of Ban Mouang Khai and visit the dramatic Kaung Si waterfall. On the way back to the ship, you stop at the Laos Buffalo Farm, a social enterprise utilizing the abundant buffalo in Laos. Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang mid-afternoon where there is a buzzing night market and many great cafes and local restaurants. Traditional Laos Bacci ceremony and dancing on the upper deck during happy hour. Moor overnight in central Luang Prabang.

Day 5: Luang Prabang Crafts & Culture

Today you explore the various handicrafts of Laos in more detail. You start with Ock Pop Tok, a social enterprise providing sustainable employment and training for the women of local weaving villages. You then head to TAEC (Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre) to understand more about Laos musical instruments. After lunch aboard the ship, you sail toward Ban Chan and take part in a pottery demonstration at the local pottery workshop. You finish the day with a sunset cruise on the Mekong alongside Luang Prabang, returning to moor overnight in the center of town.

Day 6: Luang Prabang

Early morning walking tour to observe the alms offerings to the hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. You continue after breakfast to the morning market before taking tuktuks for a city tour of this well preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace. The afternoon is free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang.

Day 7: Pak Ou Caves

Morning at leisure in Luang Prabang before setting sail at midday upstream. Afternoon sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. See the production of local Laos whisky at the Whisky village and shop for locally produced handicrafts.

Day 8: Ban Ton and SandBank BBQ

Day of sailing upstream along the Mekong with morning walk through Ban Ton village. In the evening, you moor alongside a sandbank for a special riverside barbecue and cocktail party. Light paper lanterns with the crew and enjoy a dance in remote Laos.

Day 9: Pak Beng Elephant Sanctuary

Laos is known as ‘The land of a million elephants’ and today you visit a rescue sanctuary that is helping to preserve the elephants of Laos and provide sustainable alternative employment for Mahouts who once trained and rode these beautiful creatures. Afternoon walk at Ban Pak Sith Khummu village.

Day 10: Pak Sith | Chiang Khong

Today you sail the final leg of your journey upstream toward Huayxay. Cross over into Thailand via the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge before rejoining your ship in Chiang Khong. Enjoy a ship tour of your vessel and fruit carving demonstration from the ship Chef. Farewell cocktails and Thai traditional dance on board for your last evening.

Day 11: Chiang Khong | Disembarkation

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark by 8.30 in Chiang Khong and group transfer to hotel/airport. En route, explore the Golden Triangle including a visit to the opium museum. Continue to airports or city hotels in Chiang Rai (2 hours) and Chiang Mai (6 hours).


RV Champa Pandaw

RV Champa Pandaw - Public Area
RV Champa Pandaw - Lounge Area
RV Champa Pandaw - Deck

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$4,796 2-3 travelers
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
RV Champa Pandaw - Cabin
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Pandaw Stateroom
Bedroom: 12' x 10' Bathroom: 6' x 4' Showeroom: 2'8" x 3'4" Single Bed: 6'7" x 3'3"
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • English Speaking Guide
  • All entrance fees as per program
  • Local mineral water, Jugged coffee, Teas & Tisanes
  • Transfers Chiang Rai / Chiang Mai to ship v.v. and ship to Vientiane v.v.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Laundry 
  • Port Fees
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions
  • Passport or Visa fees
  • Tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers.


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.


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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor

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