Enjoy a three country expedition as we will traverse Laos to touch Thailand and Burma at the once notorious Golden Triangle. From Vientiane, the old French capital, and so redolent of L’Indochine Pandaw will be the first river expedition since pre war days to cross all Laos.
We stop two nights at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang with its dazzling wood carved monasteries and then on deep into the mountains, through rapids and gorges on our high powered little Pandaw.
Visit tribal villages and explore into jungle and countryside.
Embarkation 11.30, followed by lunch and afternoon exploration of the delightful French city including visits to the golden Pha That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple, the President’s Hall, Wat Prakeo Temple and the Phatouxay monument. Set sail late afternoon, enjoy a welcome dinner on board and overnight near Vientiane. PLEASE NOTE: The itinerary for this expedition is indicative only and subject to reconnaissance. As we travel to remote areas, changes to the itinerary will inevitably occur. A flexible approach is required if you book this cruise.
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 - Pak Lai
Afternoon visit to the French administrative town of Pak Lai with many colonial buildings and a bustling local market.
This town boasts the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, usually in February.
Day 4 - Ban Park Bor Village
Morning visit and walking tour to Khamo tribal village, a typical village, set on the banks of the Mekong amidst lush jungle.
In the afternoon pass through the Xanyaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant.
Day 5 - Ban Mouang Khai Village and Luang Prabang
In the morning visit a Hmong village and continue upstream to the village of Ban Mouang Khai.
Afternoon sightseeing by minibus visiting the jungle pools and dramatic Khaung Si waterfall then on to a butterfly garden.
Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang where there is a buzzing night market and many great cafes and some good local restaurants.
Day 6 - Luang Prabang
In the morning explore by tuktuk this well-preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace.
Visit the National Museum and have the afternoon free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang on your own.
Enjoy traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck late afternoon. Moor overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 7 - Pak Ou Caves
Early morning walking tour to see the alms offering by the local people to hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning.
Passengers are invited to join in with offerings we provide for the alms giving. Morning sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves and Elephant camp, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces.
Evening cocktails on a sandbank.
Sail upstream on the beautiful Mekong towards Ban Bo.
Day 8 - Pak Beng
Morning visit to a local Khamo village.
Sail upstream on the Mekong passing Pak Beng towards Pak Sit.
Day 9 - Ban Houayxay
Early morning walking tour in a Khamo village then cruise through stunning scenery to the border of Laos and Thailand.
The night is spent on the Lao side in the Huay Xay area where we take a late afternoon village walk.
Day 10 -Chiang Saen
Cruise upriver to the Town of Chiang Sean for border crossing at the Golden Triangle.
Farewell cocktails and Thai traditional dance on board for your last evening.
Day 11 - Chiang Saen
Disembark by 8.30 in Chiang Sean 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).
Transfers from airports or any city hotel in Chiang Rai (2 hours) and Chiang Mai (6 hours) including a visit to the Golden Triangle and the now infamous opium museum. Embark your ship by 16.00 and cruise up river towards the Burma border for sunset.
PLEASE NOTE: The itinerary for this expedition is indicative only and subject to reconnaissance. As we travel to remote areas, changes to the itinerary will inevitably occur. A flexible approach is required if you book this cruise.
Day 2 - Into Laos
Pass through immigration formalities at the Thai/Laos border and re-join the ship.
Set sail downstream on the beautiful Upper Mekong River.
After lunch, if time allows, sightseeing on foot in a Laos jungle village.
Day 3 - Khamo Village
Morning walk in a Khamo village.
Sail downstream on the beautiful Mekong then relax with evening cocktails on a sandbank.
Day 4 - Pak Ou Caves & Luang Prabang
Continue cruising downstream to Pak Ou, transfer to a local boat and enter the Nam Ou River to visit the extraordinary Pak Ou Buddha Caves.
Admire spectacular limestone cliff faces in the Buddhist sanctuary.
Day 5 - Luang Prabang
In the morning explore by tuktuk this well preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace.
Visit the National Museum and have the afternoon free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang.
Traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck late afternoon.
Moor overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 6 - Khaung Si Waterfall
Early morning walking tour to observe the morning alms offering by local people to the hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning.
Drive to see the deep jungle pools at the Khaung Si Waterfall, the teak forest trails and butterfly farm.
Day 7 - Xayaburi Dam
Pass through the Mekong water control lock at Xayaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant (itself an interesting and perhaps controversial tourist attraction).
Late afternoon walking tour of a local village.
Day 8 - Xanakham
Morning visit to Ban Pha Leab with its beautiful limestone mountain.
Continue to Pak Houng-Thai Lao Border for an excursion to a plantation village and meet the local people.
Day 9 - Vientiane
Pass through a dramatic landscape of jungle and mountain where the river flows fast and wild.
Amazing rock formations straddle the river banks.
Here we enter the cultivated plains of Vientiane province. Arrive mid-afternoon in Vientiane to moor overnight.
Opportunity for independent exploration of this delightful, French influenced city.
Day 10 - Vientiane
Morning exploration of the delightful French city including visits to the golden Pha That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple, the President’s Hall, Watt Prakeo Temple and the Phatouxay monument.
Opportunity for independent exploration and experience the many cafes and bistros in this charming little corner of L’Indochine.
Farewell cocktails and dinner.
Day 11 - Vientiane
Disembark in Vientiane after breakfast and transfer to airports or hotel in Vientiane or Udon Thani in Thailand (1.5hrs, just across the river).
Seeing the quality of this ship it is hard to believe it was built in a hurry. There are no proper ship yards above the Khone Falls and we could not persuade our Vietnamese builders to assemble a ship trucked in in bits on the river bank. We tried our Rangoon builder and he also chickened out. By January 2015 we were taking bookings and selling out for November but still had no ship. Paul Strachan in a panic flew to Vientiane and took a taxi down to the river bank and boarded the first cargo ship we saw, a 40 meter barge used to carry heavy loads of cement and rice up to China. She had two 400hp truck engines and was just the thing for tackling the terrifying fast flow of the Upper Mekong .
The captain was the owner and agreed terms with Paul. The owner agreed to stay on as skipper and is still there. He immediately took her up to the Golden Triangle, a week’s sail away. The Golden Triangle is where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet and was the perfect place to convert the ship. The build team came over from Mandalay, a two-day bus journey across the Shan mountains. They made a camp on the Burma river bank opposite where she lay on the Laos. We hired a house on the Thai side to act as an office and could source material and supplies from Thailand.
Amazingly we had the ten cabin ship finished on time for the maiden voyage on the 1st November 2015. Actually it was the first time we have actually had the ship finished on time! Normally there are still sparks flying as the first passengers come on board. The ship has quality mountain bikes for your independent exploration.
The 10 main deck staterooms, air-conditioning 150 square feet, finished in teak and brass with panoramic French window, leading to personal deck space. Kimonos and slippers and Spa-branded amenities. Daily nightly turn down service Unlimited mineral water in your cabin
Launched in September 2016, RV Champa Pandaw, Sister to RV Laos Pandaw, RV Champa has just 14 staterooms and provides an intimate setting of style and comfort as she cruises on the Upper Mekong. She features two decks of panoramic staterooms with French sliding doors that open out to breathtaking riverside scenery.
At 150 sq. ft., each stateroom offers plenty of space for guests to stretch out and relax.
Onboard facilities and amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi in public areas, bistro style dining with a delectable range of exotic creations, free flowing complimentary beverages, themed dinners, captivating cultural performances, educational talks and much more.
The ship has quality mountain bikes for your independent exploration.
The 12 main & 2 Upper deck staterooms, air-conditioning 150 square feet, finished in teak and brass with panoramic French window, leading to personal deck space.
Kimonos and slippers and Spa-branded amenities.
Daily nightly turn down service
Unlimited mineral water in your cabin
Cruise Price Includes: Entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes. Transfers between the meeting point and the ship at the start and end of a voyage. Cruise Price Excludes: International flights (Call for prices), port dues (if levied), laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), all beverages except local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes and tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers.
The Pandaw experience is all about exploring remote and often hard to navigate rivers and coasts in specially designed luxury small ships. each ship, hand crafted in brass and teak, is an object of beauty in itself. A Pandaw adventure is very different from that offered on an ocean cruise. The ships are small in scale, and the atmosphere is informal and very friendly. Make you trip a memorable one and talk to us about the add on available to your cruise, we can book your flights, transfers, hotels and pre and post cruise stays with included excursions for you. 0800 471 4754