Featured programs / Laos - Mekong river Back to programs list
Tour boat on the Mekong river - Laos

This is a sample nature + cultural Laos program suitable for small group of 4 to 12 people. The trip starts in Chiang Rai - Chiang Khong in northern Thailand, crossing the Mekong river to Houixai and using a boat down the Mekong river. It is combined with one or two days walk along the river to Luang Prabang.

A hilltribe village on Mekong river Day 1: Chiang Rai
Meet in a town in Chiang Rai (Chiang Rai town, Mae Sai, Golden Triangle - Chiang Saen, etc.) or somewhere in the northern chiang Mai province and transfer by car to Chiang Khong.

We will provide accommodation in Chiang Khong - Thai border town on the Mekong river.

Day 2: Houixai - by boat to Pakbang
After breakfast at hotel we will send you by car to Thai immigration. Cross the Mekong river by a small boat to Lao side - Houixai. You can get visa on arrival by providing a colour photo, passport, and a fee. We will buy some fruits and bread for lunch. Transfer to the boat landing place where our rented boat is waiting.

By boat down the Mekong river to Ban Pakbeng - used by most travellers as overnight stop before continuing to Luang Prabang. On the way we will visit hilltribe villages. There are Lu, Hmong villages along the river. They grow rice, sticky rice, corn, some fruits and vegetables as well as peanut on the sand banks when the water is low. You can see cows, chicken, pigs, buffalos, and goats. Some villagers do hand weaving.

We should arrive Pakbang for overnight stay before sunset.

Day 3: Pakbeng - Pak-Ou cave, hilltribe village home stay
A scene of Mekong river We will leave Pakbeng in the morning at about 9 a.m. There are more villages and views waiting. We might see elephants working for timber business. About 3 pm we should arrive at Pak-Ou caves (Tham Ting). After the visit of the caves we will continue on foot along the Mekong river to our home stay village. Luggage which are un-necessary will go to Luang Prabang (hotel) with the boat. We willll walk with the village guide. Study the simple life of the villagers, their rice and corn fields, fishing boats, and so on. Dinner and overnight in a village on the river bank.

Day 4: To Luang Prabang
Breakfast at the village. Today we will walk about 6 hours. In the begining we will walk up the hills covered with hard wood forest that include teak and Padauk wood. We will walk along the stream and pass a waterfall, and visit Ban Phuluang Mai of Hmong people on a hill. Then continue walking along the ridge of Phuluang hills and pass a Lao Lourn people village. We will have our packed lunch. Continue walking on dirt road to Xieng Maen, opposite of Luang Prabang town. We will cross the Mekong river by small ferry boat to Luang Prabang where tuk tuk taxi transfer will take us to hotel.

Hmong village in the hills Day 5: Luang Prabang - Free at your leisure
Breakfast is at the hotel. Today is free day at your leisure. You can explore the old town, its beautiful temples, and markets yourselves. Overnight hotel in Luang Prabang.

Day 6: Luang Prabang - Free at your leisure
Breakfast is at the hotel. Another free day in the town. You can explore the old town, its beautiful temples, and markets yourselves. Overnight hotel in Luang Prabang.

Day 7: Luang Prabang - Vang Vieng
Breakfast at hotel. Leave the town in a bus to Vang Vieng. Along the road you will see many minority hilltribe villages. In the early afternoon you will arrive at scenic small town of Vang Vieng. This place is famous for river, limestone mountains and caves, and for hill villages. Free free to explore the town yourselves. Overnight in a resort.

Day 8: Vang Vieng - Vientiane
Breakfast at resort. You have a couple of hours in the morning to go out visit the spots you like, and take photos. At about 10 a.m. the bus will take you down the road to the capital Vientiane.

Vientiane visit is also on your own. We will provide hotel. A Luang Prabang temple - wat

Day 9: Vientiane - Nong Khai
Breakfast at hotel. We will send you in a bus to cross the border bridge to Nong Khai, a Thai town. The trip ends here.

For the trip like this we will provide
  • Private bus or van, private boat, tuk tuk taxi for transportation. The boat will have comfortable seats, life jackets, roof, toilet, table; and cups and spoons, boiled water, etc. are provided
  • Acommodation in Chiang Khong, Pakbeng, Village home stay, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane
  • Tour leader
  • Also village guide for the walking part of the trip
  • Meals during the walking part of the trip, and breakfast at hotels
Additionally we can customise the trip to include a Lao guide and sightseeing in Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, and Vientiane. As well if you want tour of north-eastern Thailand and finally transport to Bangkok, these will be included too.

This is different from the normal tour programs. For the hiking and village home stay we have to arrange well before the trip by informing the village head. They do not have telephone, so it is necessary that booking of the trip mustbe done at least 1.5 month ahead.

The program can be changed or modified to include other places. For example instead of going along the Mekong river, after Pak Beng we can go to the hills and mountain villages in Xayabouri province for one or two nights and come back to Mekong river to continue in the boat to Luang Prabang. Or we can leave the Mekong at Pak beng to the north to Udomxai and Phongsali. Then boat down Saung Ou (Mae Nam Ou) river to meet the Mekong again. Or the trip can end at Luang Prabang.

Also if there are people who do not want to do the walk and village home stay, they can continue in the boat to Luang Prabang a day ahead.

Northern Lao map
  1. Phongsali (northern-most provincial town)
  2. Muang Khua in Phongsali province, which can be reached by road or by Saung Ou river
  3. Botene - border check point to Yunnan province of China
  4. Muang Sing
  5. Luang Nam Tha
  6. Xieng Kok - a small town on the Mekong river across Myanmar's Shan state
  7. Muang Xai (Udomxai province)
  8. Muang Ngoy in Luang Prabang province, which can be reached by road or by Saung Ou river
  9. Sam Neua (Hua Phan province)
  10. Houi Xai - border check point across Mekong river with Thailand's Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai province
  11. Paktha - a village from where ones could go up in a boat on Nam Tha river to Luang Nam Tha
  12. Pak Beng - a small town on the Mekong, a stop over place for the slow boat to and from Luang Prabang
  13. Luang Prabang
  14. Xayabouri
  15. Phonsavan (provincial town of Xieng Khoung province)
  16. Namkan - border check point with Vietnam
  17. Vang Vieng
  18. Phonhong
  19. Vientiane
  20. Pakxan in Borikhamsay province - local Lao and Thai people can cross the river
Featured programs / Laos - Mekong river Back to programs list

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