The mighty Mekong River is one of Asia’s most exciting and enigmatic rivers, which makes its way from high up on the Tibetan Plateau down through Laos, Cambodia and into Vietnam where it spills out into the South China Sea. It is the artery of life in Laos: a trading route, a source of food and water, and a social centre for the settlements along its route. Known locally as ‘The Mother of Waters’, the Mekong River has been venerated and worshipped for thousands of years.
- Relax onboard the Luangsay cruise into Northern Thailand
- Observe the daily life of ethnic minority groups in remote and rural villages
- Be dazzled by the spectacular scenery
- Explore the treasures of the Southern region
It is possible to enjoy a cruise on various parts of the river including Cambodia and Vietnam, but in Laos one of the best areas to explore is Si Phan Don, more often known as ‘Four Thousand Islands’. This is in the southern part of the country at Pakse, where during the rainy season the Mekong River is up to nine miles wide, but during the dry season, the water recedes to leave literally thousands of islands and islets, the largest of which are inhabited all year round.
The Vat Phou rice barge, which is a fully restored former teak wood ferry boat, offers a delightful 3 day / 2 nights cruise that starts and finishes in Pakse, This cruise visits the majestic UNESCO Vat Phou ruins at Champasak, the mysterious Oum Muong ruins at Huei Thamo, the myriad of waterways in the ‘4000 Islands’ and the Pha Pheng waterfall on the Laos-Cambodia border. The area is also known for the rare Irrawaddy dolphins, which live in the area and can occasionally be seen by the lucky few on a boat trip.
To cruise along this remarkable river is a wonderful way to explore a rarely visited part of Laos and offers the perfect opportunity to witness some of the great highlights of the region not only at a gentle pace, but also whilst enjoying all the comforts of a thoroughly comfortable boat.