11 Day Mekong River Cruise Through Laos and Thailand from Chiang Rai to Vientiane
Golden Triangle – Huay Xay – Pak Tha – Pakbeng – Pak Ou – Luang Prabang – Kuang Si – Tha Deua – Paklay – Vientiane.
Savour the magnificent scenery of the Mekong River on this unique cruise between the Golden Triangle in Thailand, Luang Prabang, in the heart of Laos and the Laotian capital of Vientiane.
Travel on the “Mekong Pearl” or the “Mekong Sun” along formerly inaccessible stretches of Southeast Asia’s most exciting river.
Discover Vientiane and the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, stroll through colourful markets, and experience firsthand the Laotian people’s traditional way of life. Relax aboard your exclusive river vessel and enjoy the unspoiled nature along the mighty upper Mekong.
The upper Mekong is one of the most difficult rivers in the world to navigate, with fluctuating water levels. Your comfortable cruise vessel masters tight gorges, negotiates labyrinths of sandbanks, and clears churning rapids. Along this part of the Mekong, tranquil stretches of the river combine with striking shore scenery of lush green mountains, impressive rock formations, and secluded villages.
The upper Mekong is considered one of the world’s most spectacular rivers navigable by a cruise vessel.
We also have shorter itineraries from 5 – 8 days available. Download the Mekong River Cruises brochure for an outline of what we offer, then please get in touch so we can give you the full list of our Mekong River Cruise options
You are picked up from Chiang Rai Airport or at your hotel within city limits between 8 – 9 am and brought to the once-notorious Golden Triangle region. Your sightseeing tour today includes a visit to the Golden Buddha of Sop Ruak and the new Hall of Opium. This fascinating museum, sponsored by the royal family of Thailand, provides an in-depth look at history and politics of the opium trade and health impact of opium use. Afterwards it is time to board your exclusive river vessel. The Mekong Sun, under joint German-Laotian ownership, is a unique boutique vessel. Settle into your comfortable cabin and unpack for a ten-day cruise. In the evening enjoy the spacious decks, the onboard lounge, and attend a dinnertime welcome reception.
This morning your grand voyage on the mighty Mekong River really gets underway, with your departure from the Golden Triangle region, where Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Thailand meet. Today’s destination is the nearby Laotian town of Huay Xay on the Laotian-Thai border, where you will officially enter the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos. Your voyage then takes you into northern Laos amid stunning scenery and on to the small village of Pak Tha. Here you take a long-tail boat excursion on the Namtha River to visit a local village of the ethnic minority Khmu. You then continue downstream aboard your cruise ship and anchor at a sand or river bank.
The river traffic increases as you pass through a densely populated region accessible only by water. Here you will discover some of this still-untamed river’s most beautiful landscapes: hills covered with tropical vegetation, dramatic rock formations, and a fascinating mixture of fast currents and more placid stretches of river. The power of the mighty Mekong lends your cruise the feeling of a real expedition. Relax on deck, in your cabin, or in the lounge as you absorb the remoteness of these spectacular surroundings. A short while later you arrive in Pakbeng, a local market town serving the region. Nearby you are able to see elephants in action (unless they are employed elsewhere at the time of your visit).
After a relaxing morning onboard we stop at a small riverside village for a visit and to see their local distillery. From here, you can optionally go on a short jungle trek through the forest to the famous Pak Ou Caves, with thousands of small Buddha statues inside the caverns. Alternatively you can reach the caves comfortably by boat as well. This evening we enjoy our famous Mekong River Cruises BBQ dinner in a beautiful riverside location.
Overnight aboard the Mekong River Cruise Boutique-Boat
In the early morning you are able to observe the traditional giving of alms in the streets of Luang Prabang. Breakfast is served on board. After a several hours cruising downriver, you continue by bus to the famous Kuang Si Falls. Enjoy the natural pools and pause in another small village before reboarding. Your ship then heads south and passes through the Keng-Luang rapids.
This morning you start your spectacular river cruise upstream to formerly inaccessible parts of the Mekong. Enjoy the comfort onboard the boat, with its fine service and exclusive, yet casual setting, which you share with a limited number of fellow guests. During the next days you will take exciting excursions, both on water and on land, and enjoy an onboard programme of presentations, talks, and film documentaries on relevant topics, such as the French Mekong Expedition of the 1860s, the daily life of a Buddhist novice monk, or the flora and fauna of the Mekong region. A visit to a small riverside community acquaints you with the life of the local Lao people. At night you anchor at a secluded sand or river bank.
Enjoy the vistas and natural beauty along the river before your ship anchors at a remote sandbank for the night. Here, the Mekong once again becomes the boundary separating two unequal brothers: the neighbouring countries of booming Thailand and sleepy Laos. The river banks become less steep and more suitable for agricultural, especially on the Thai side.
You continue downstream along the “mother of all waters”, as the Mekong is known to the Thais and Laotians. Today’s destination is the Laotian capital of Vientiane, where you will see Pha That Luang Temple, the Lao national symbol, as well as the picturesque Arc de Triomphe. This last evening of your cruise is celebrated with a farewell dinner on board, together with your ever-friendly crew, cruise director, and captain.
After breakfast you say goodbye to your Laotian crew as you check out and disembark (until 10am). Your memorable river journey ends with your transfer to the airport or to your hotel (within city limits).
Prices start from US$ 3,160 per person. For more information please contact us
GOLDEN TRIANGLE – VIENTIANE ( downstream)
25 Oct 2023 – 5 Nov 2023 – Mekong Sun
6 Dec 2023 – 16 Dec 2023 – Mekong Pearl
21 Dec 2023 – 31 Dec 2023 – Mekong Sun
31 Dec 2023 – 10 Jan 2024 – Mekong Pearl
17 Jan 2024 – 27 Jan 2024 – Mekong Sun
15 Feb 2024 – 25 Feb 2024- Mekong Sun
18 Feb 2024 – 28 Feb 2024 – Mekong Pearl
VIENTIANE – GOLDEN TRIANGLE ( upstream)
6 Oct 2023 – 16 Oct 2023 – Mekong Pearl
5 Dec 2023 – 15 Dec 2023 – Mekong Sun
18 Dec 2023 – 28 Dec 2023 – Mekong Pearl
3 Jan Dec 2024 – 13 Jan 2024 – Mekong Sun
30 Jan 2024 – 10 Feb Jan 2024 – Mekong Sun
- 10 overnights in selected cabin type aboard your boutique river cruise ship
- Local English- and/or German speaking guides
- Entrance fees for sightseeing mentioned in the itinerary
- Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary
- Tours and transfers as mentioned, by air-conditioned vehicles
- Water in the vehicles and on the ship
- All meals, other than on Luang Prabang stopover where you have a day to explore for yourself.
- Coffee, tea, and table water during meal times onboard your boutique river cruise ship
- Presentations and lectures onboard by the cruise director
- Transfers from/to Chiang Rai and Vientiane airports or hotels within city limits (only guaranteed if information was correctly provided 4 weeks prior to embarkation, at the latest)
- Visas for Thailand and Laos
- Laundry, telephone calls, and personal expenditures
- Gratuities for guides, drivers, porters, boat crew, and personal, non-itinerary services
- Alcoholic and soft drinks other than mentioned
- Personal Insurance