The mighty Mekong flows all the way from China, through Thailand, Myanmar, & Laos ending up in Vietnam. We took a lush boat from Chiang Khong in Thailand all the way to Luang Prabang in Laos which took two days. Cruise down the Mekong through Laos in Style as we did! Like I always do I researched the companies available and I ended up choosing Luang Say Lodge & Cruises by Mekong Cruises.
Let’s Get Cruising!
We got a crazy little tuktuk from our hotel to the Friendship bridge Just outside of Chiang Khong
Right outside the door we were greeted immediately by a Company Representative. This made the whole process of passing immigration simpler than it already was. You will need two passport photos, but don’t worry if you haven’t got any, they will take your picture for a fee. There are a couple of forms to complete, and any questions we had were promptly answered by our guide Kip. There are four kiosks to go through, each one has a different purpose but are very quick to pass along.
A few Baht later and you are put on a coach. This takes you the 1km journey across the bridge and in to Laos! Exciting! Eight of us were then transferred in to a mini van and were taken to the boat!
Getting To The Boat
I wasn’t really wearing the most appropriate shoes to walk down to the boat to be honest. But I made it and it was worth the slightly rickety climb down. As you can see I’m very excited about my upcoming cruise!
Once on the boat you can choose where you want to sit. There are blocks of two’s and four’s in the main area and a lounging area at the rear. We grabbed a place for two just in case the boat was full and we got stuck with annoying people for two days! We needn’t have worried as on the whole boat there were only twelve guests. Perfect! After a quick safety briefing we were on the move; two day cruise here we come!
This boat has everything you need for a day cruising down the Mekong. From the bench on the front deck for even more views to the kitchen full of chefs who create fresh lovely food for your lunch and snacks. The bar has everything you could need and there are two very clean toilets at the rear. All you need to do is sit back and relax until you reach the first stop of the day.
First Stop on the Mekong Cruise
After lunch the boat stops at a village where you can watch the families dry pampas grass on the shores, used to make brooms. Wandering around the village you can see their traditional houses and way of life.
Back on the boat it’s now full steam ahead to your lodge for an overnight stay. Set back and up hill from the river this beautiful wooden lodge provides you with great views. Arriving before sunset gives you an opportunity to explore before dark. The rooms are large airy, and have everything you need – including the view!
Your evening meal and soft drinks are included in the package, however there is a great lobby bar for anything else you may need. The breakfast in the morning was delicious too. The mornings are much cooler, bring a jumper as the boat will feel a little chilly when you leave for day two.
Before lunch we stopped at another village. This time there seemed to be a market put on for us to buy their products. We took along new pencils, paper and school bags which Mekong Cruises distributed between the two villages we visited.
The villagers were also brewing the local moonshine known as rice whiskey! The distilled this from large metal containers and we were offered a sip! The brave few pulled some strange faces, similar to if they were drinking white spirit! No thank you!
Then it was back on the boat for lunch, sailing towards our final stop before reaching Luang Prabang. This was the Pak Ou caves, a short distance outside our final destination. These caves contained hundreds of Buddha statues brought here by worshippers. Beware, there were local children here with birds in cages asking for money to set them free. It may seem the right thing to do but we were asked not to as they will simply recapture them.
Feeling relaxed after our two day Mekong Cruise, the final part of the journey was here to Luang Prabang. Little did I know that this City was about to become my new love, it’s just so pretty! But that’s a whole other blog.
What Was The Verdict?
Our Mekong Cruise with Luang Say Lodge’s was one of the highlights of our two week holiday. The scenery is stunning along the whole route, you will not be bored. I brought a book to read and didn’t even open it. We saw buffalo, cows, goats……but not one bird apart from the one in the cage. They are still hunted here and it was only on day two it dawned on everyone that we just hadn’t seen any. This didn’t detract from the experience, it’s just a different culture. Cruise down the Mekong through Laos in style with this company, they cannot do enough for you. A true experience you will remember forever.
The boat and lodge were immaculate and the attention to detail was stunning. Considering we arrived just before sunset, were only staying one night, the concierge greeted us by name at breakfast – amazing! We thought the whole experience from start to finish was completely worth the slightly pricey price. No complaints at all from us, we would love to do the other cruise the company offer too.