One of the best ways to enter Laos is by river from the Thai border.
The boat, which comfortably accommodates up to 40 passengers, is the beautifully crafted Pak Ou which has armchair seating in the shade, a sun-deck and a large dining table where your local style lunch will be served. There is also a well stocked bar on board, and complimentary tea, coffee and water are available all day. The seats in the prow of the boat offer the best views of the countryside and provide the perfect place to relax as you meander your way down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang, the spiritual capital of Laos.
The journey takes you through surprisingly varied scenery, from remote 6,000 foot mountains to lunar rock faces and sandbanks. You will pass many tiny villages where the way of life has remained unchanged and unspoilt for centuries; you will witness a truly timeless Asia.
Your first day’s sailing will see you arrive in a small riverside village of Pakbeng, where you will spend the night at the Luang Say Lodge. Built on the shores of the Mekong River, the secluded lodge consists of only 19 bungalows, and the views of the Mekong from the lodge are unparalleled. The bungalows are simple but beautifully designed in the local style, and each room has en suite facilities, hot water and are fan cooled, making for a comfortable night on the river's edge.
The second day will take you onto Luang Prabang, a journey that takes most of the day. You will have the opportunity to visit a local hill tribe village and the Pak Ou caves en route, before finally arriving at your destination.
It is worth nothing that this cruise also operates in reverse, so it is possible to do this boat journey at the end of your time in Laos, before continuing into Northern Thailand. This option works particularly well with some itineraries; and we often find that availability on the upstream cruises is better. Whichever direction works best for you trip, the Luang Say Cruise will undoubtedly be a highlight of your time in Laos.