Mekong River Cruises in Laos

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Aug 19th, 2010, 08:12 PM
  #1
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Mekong River Cruises in Laos

I am looking for a high quality river cruise in Laos. Would appreciate any suggestions. Also am interested in best spots to visit in Laos besides Luang Prabang and Vientienne. Southern Laos? Thanks
djsilverman is offline  
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Aug 21st, 2010, 02:44 PM
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Have you googled "Mekong River Cruises Laos" ? That will give you lots of info.

There was a post here (I think it was the "Love Boat" post) that gave a rundown of the Lao cruises.
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Aug 21st, 2010, 11:49 PM
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Southern and Northern Lao are very different. The south is mainly about the river, staying on one of the islands in the Si Phan Don area, down towrds teh Cambodian border is well worth a few days. Mostly very peaceful, Don Khong is my favourite island but Don Dhet can be a bit of a party place. Also in the south is the Bolevens Plateau one of the main coffee and tea growing regions, very beautiful with lots of waterfalls etc. Tad Lo and the surrounding area is a good place to base yourself in the area. Also worthy of consideration is Wat Phu a ruined temple complex which pre dates Angkor (although mostly unrestored and in much worse condition and not nearly so impressive).

My personal favourites are in the mountains in the north, Phongsali, Muang Sing, Ban Bountai, Luang Namtha great for trekking and visiting the minority peoples in there villages. It is (or at least was!) much more remote and has few, if any luxury places to stay, but is well worth the effort.

The main lux. cruise operator is http://www.luangsay.com/ which runs from Huay Xai near the Thai border to LP. Don't expect to be sailing through pristine rain forest as much of it along the banks has been destroyed by slash and burn agriculture over the years. We also rented a boat to get further north along one of the smaller rivers to Luang Namtha etc. but I certainly would not describe it as "high quality" but the forest is less damaged there - real Heart of Darkness stuff.
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 04:46 PM
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Thank you very much for the valuable information.
DJS
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 05:46 PM
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The other Laos Mekong cruise I'm aware of is www.cruisemekong.com

They have cruises through southern Laos and the islands.
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Sep 3rd, 2010, 08:16 PM
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Nagi of Mekong do pretty much the same cruise as luangsay at a fraction fo the price.
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Sep 12th, 2010, 01:58 PM
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Vientianeboy, I looked at the website for Nagi Of Mekong and it looks great. Can I hijack this post and ask a couple of questions please?
Do you know people who have taken this cruise and is it good or do they visit 'tourist' villages where you feel compelled to buy overpriced handicrafts. I think you will know what I mean by that comment (I hope)

I you go from Luang Prabang to Huoi Xai then I suppose you would not want to come back with the same cruise as you do the same visits each way. How would you leave Huoi Xai and get back to Luang Prabang or other parts east? I dont see it on Laos airlines schedule.
Thanks for any info.
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Sep 13th, 2010, 07:59 AM
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I guess that i will just catch another slow boat, different one, back to Luang Prabang. I was hoping to then go south to Pakse.
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Sep 16th, 2010, 05:48 PM
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live42day
Personally, no I don't know people who have taken that cruise. However on another site, TripAdviser, this cruise was discussed at length.
Yes, I do know what you mean by stopping at villages and being pressured to buy. This really does not happen in Laos, (yet, but I guess it will as more tourists come.) You will rarely find yourself pressured to buy anything here.
Here is a link to start you off:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...-Huay_Xai.html
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Sep 16th, 2010, 06:30 PM
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"Yes, I do know what you mean by stopping at villages and being pressured to buy. This really does not happen in Laos. . ."

I guess it depends on what you mean by pressured. I had a private boat and driver from Luang Prabang up the Mekong an hour and a half to the caves. We stopped in a "village" and they make rice wines. I didn't like the stuff and didn't want to buy, but when you're the only one there and they've given you tastes of three types of wines and the "poor" villager is begging you to buy -- well, yes, I call that pressured, and so I finally agreed to one small bottle 30,000 -- but when I gave her a 50,000, the smallest bill I had, there was no change available (huh? It was nearly 5 PM and they'd had a thousand visitors through that day) so she said I could have another smaller bottle too. I'm just not comfortable in those little "villages" and it seems so exploitive of the people, yet I realize they are there now strictly for tourism. Their lives revolve around it. Sort of like being a monkey in a zoo with the people coming to stare at you-- pardon the analogy.

Meanwhile two nights ago at the night market in Chiang Rai I happened to run into the German couple who stayed at the same hotel in Luang Prabang. They had just arrived from their two day boat trip up from LP. They enjoyed it, and loved the opportunity to get off the boat as they said it was really very uncomfortable. They said they probably wouldn't do it again, as it was kind of boring particularly the second day -- just a lot more of the same.
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Sep 16th, 2010, 07:26 PM
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NeoPatrick,
It is actually quite possible they did not hve any change. The 50K Kip note has been in circulation for 5 years now. Even in town vendors sometimes have to go to another stall in the market to get change, so in a rural village, it is no surprise.
You didn't like Laos Laos? I love it; it is very similar to grappa. By the way, I was last in LP a year ago. It seems prices have increased. I bought the Lao Lao for 10,000 Kip, not 30k. That is a big price hike. Someone else was telling me that boatmen to the Pak Ou caves are now asking $60.00 per boat. I paid $20.00 a year ago. The fact that I can speak Laos might help a bit, but not that much I am sure.
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Sep 17th, 2010, 08:26 AM
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"You didn't like Laos Laos? I love it; it is very similar to grappa."

Exactly. I despise grappa!

Nope. It was 30,000 for one small bottle (the one with weaving around it) of the wine. The second bottle she "gave" me since she didn't have change was without the weaving. And it's hard to imagine that in an entire day of sales not one other person bought a bottle and the woman didn't have a 20,000 note -- but believe what you want about the total "innocence" of the locals selling the wine to tourists.

And I paid 350,000 for a boat and driver to the caves. (about $42 US) for just me. It was arranged by the young guy at my hotel. I saw the boat driver hand the guy a 50,000 note though when he came to meet me (presumably his "pay off", which I don't object to).
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Mar 10th, 2013, 08:37 PM
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If you want your next holiday to be exciting and exotic you should book a ticket on one of many Mekong River cruises. Cruising through the heart of Southeast Asia, and running though China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam there are so many great places to see along the way. My suggesting would be just to contact on the you local travel experts and then once you have some tour info then do your research on line to finalise your itinerary.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 09:18 PM
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leeward - are you saying that you can cruise from China to Vietnam via Laos, Thailand, Cambodia on the Mekong River?
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Mar 10th, 2013, 10:04 PM
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You missed one, Hanuman, his cruise covers Burma as well. Amazing!
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Mar 11th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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The China portion of the Mekong River in southern Yunan Province is called the Lancang River, haven't heard you could cruise on it all the way south ...
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Mar 11th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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AFAIK, you can't.
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