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Best of Laos and Northern Thailand – River and Land Tour

Best of Laos and Northern Thailand – River and Land Tour

From $ 6,359 AUD

Description

Explore the beauty and culture of Laos and Northern Thailand with Pandaw on our new and exclusive river and land tour. Experience all that Laos has to offer along the scenic and serene upper Mekong where local life remains unchanged for centuries aboard your expertly crafted and luxuriously comfortable small Pandaw vessel. We also venture high into the mountains of Northern Thailand to discover the rich culture and diversity of the hilltribe peoples that have inhabited this area for centuries. This unforgettable 16 night adventure is sure to be the trip of a lifetime..

Trip Name
Best of Laos and Northern Thailand - River and Land Tour
Days
17
Overview
Vessel Type: River Boat Length: 44.50 metres Passenger Capacity: 20 Built: 2015 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. ACCOMMODATION 10 main deck staterooms - Staterooms are 14 square meters (150 sqf), finished in teak and brass - Panoramic sliding door - Kimonos and slippers - Spa-branded amenities - Unlimited mineral water - Electric mini safe - Imported quality linens with duvet and two kind of pillows - Premium mattresses - Convertible bed configuration - Welcome flower arrangement and welcome gift - Mirror - Multi-configuration plugs - Generous closet space and under-bed storage - Hair dryer - Nightly turndown service - 24hr laundry service - Complimentary evening canapés WINING & DINING Local master chef heading an experienced international culinary team - Personalized meal services - Daily lean & light menu options - Complimentary local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes - Extensive wine list with premium wines - Series of cultural performances, educational talks, cooking classes, and ship tour - Welcome drink on arrival - Welcome cocktail - Farewell reception - Theme dinners - Open air lounge and bar - Bistro style al fresco dining - 24hrs hospitality bar - Onboard bakery with daily freshly baked breads and rolls ON EXCURSIONS Admissions - Shoe cleaning after excursions - Bottled drinking water - Cold towel service after excursions - Refreshing drink following excursions SAFETY & SECURITY All onboard crew is trained and certified as per international marine standards - Fire alarm system in all cabins, public areas and back areas - Firefighting system in all ship areas - Expert marine superintendant - 24 hrs watch on duty

Itinerary



Day 1 - DAY 1 VIENTIANE ARRIVAL
Upon arrival the airport, our driver will wait you at the airport and transfer to your hotel.
Day 2 - DAY 2 VIENTIANE FULL DAY CITY TOUR
Depart with your local guide for a full day city tour exploring Laos' French colonial capital. Visit Talaat Sao - Vientiane's Morning Market, Wat Sisaket, Haw Phra Kaew and Putousay, the victory gate inspired by the Arc of Triumph in Paris. After lunch at a local restaurant, head out of town to visit one of Laos' slightly stranger attractions - Xieng Khuan Buddha Park.Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Day 3 - DAY 3 VIENTIANE
Check out of your hotel and be picked up at 08:00am for the transfer to your Pandaw ship.Embark our local long-tail boat expedition to your Pandaw vessel upstream. Lunch and drinks will be provided on the local boat by your Pandaw chef and bar staff. Embark your Pandaw in the afternoon for a welcome briefing and welcome drinks. We moor overnight at Pak Lay.
Day 4 - DAY 4 CRUISING THE MEKONG
Cruise upstream on the Mekong, passing lush jungle scenery and tiny riverside villages. Morning presentation on the Lao language after a short walk at Pha Laeb village. If time permits, we will also enjoy an afternoon walk at Ban Khok Fark.
Day 5 - DAY 5 XAYABOURI DAM
Morning walk at Ban Pak Bor Khummu village before passing through Xayabouri Hydroelectric Dam, taking an inside look of the workings of this somewhat controversial attraction as we navigate the locks. Afternoon visit to Ban Na San village, a Hmong minority village.
Day 6 - DAY 6 KUANG SI WATERFALLS
In the morning we moor at the village of Ban Mouang Khai and visit the dramatic Kaung Si waterfall. On the way back to the ship, we stop at the Laos Buffalo Farm, a social enterprise utilizing the abundant buffalo in Laos. Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang mid-afternoon where there is a buzzing night market and many great cafes and local restaurants. Traditional Laos Bacci ceremony and dancing on the upper deck during happy hour. Moor overnight in central Luang Prabang.
Day 7 - DAY 7 LUANG PRABANG CRAFTS & CULTURE
Today we explore the various handicrafts of Laos in more detail. We start with Ock Pop Tok, a social enterprise providing sustainable employment and training for the women of local weaving villages. We then head to TAEC (Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre) to understand more about Laos musical instruments. After lunch aboard the ship, we sail toward Ban Chan and take part in a pottery demonstration at the local pottery workshop. We finish the day with a sunset cruise on the Mekong alongside Luang Prabang, returning to moor overnight in the centre of town.
Day 8 - DAY 8 LUANG PRABANG
Early morning walking tour to observe the alms offerings to the hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. We continue after breakfast to the morning market before taking tuktuks for a city tour of this well preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace. The afternoon is free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang.
Day 9 - DAY 9 PAK OU CAVES
Morning at leisure in Luang Prabang before setting sail at midday upstream. Afternoon sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. See the production of local Laos whisky at the Whisky village and shop for locally produced handicrafts.
Day 10 - DAY 10 BAN TON AND SANDBANK BBQ
Day of sailing upstream along the Mekong with morning walk through Ban Ton village. In the evening, we moor alongside a sandbank for a special riverside barbecue and cocktail party. Light paper lanterns with the crew and enjoy a dance in remote Laos.
Day 11 - DAY 11 PAK BENG ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
Laos is known as ‘The land of a million elephants’ and today we will visit a rescue sanctuary that is helping to preserve the elephants of Laos and provide sustainable alternative employment for Mahouts who once trained and rode these beautiful creatures. Afternoon walk at Ban Pak Sith Khummu village.
Day 12 - DAY 12 PAK SITH - CHIANG KHONG
Today we sail the final leg of our journey upstream toward Huayxay. Cross over into Thailand via the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge before rejoining your ship in Chiang Khong. Enjoy a ship tour of your Pandaw vessel and fruit carving demonstration from your Pandaw Chef. Farewell cocktails and Thai traditional dance on board for your last evening.
Day 13 - DAY 13 PANDAW CRUISE - CHIANG KHONG
Disembark after breakfast by 8.30 in Chiang Khong.Upon arrival at Chiang Khong, meet and greet by our local guide for pick up and transfer to Mae Chan Mountain and your resort for the eveining. (approx. 90 minute drive)Overnight at Katiliya Mountain ResortMeals: Lunch, Dinner
Day 14 - DAY 14 GOLDEN TRIANGLE – DOI TUNG
After breakfast. Drive to Chiang Saen, a small crossroads town on the banks of the Mekong. Scattered throughout the town are the ruins of the Chiang Saen Kingdom, founded in 1325, including chedis, images of the Buddha, and earthen city ramparts. Continue to visit the Golden Triangle where the Ruak river empties into the Mekong river bringing together the boundaries of Thailand, Burma and Laos. Next visit is the Hall of Opium which was built to educate people about the dangers of the drug through an entertaining exhibition which traces opium’s history from its first use 5,000 years ago to current issues of drug abuse and addiction.Lunch is at a local restaurant before we drive uphill to visit Doi Tung Royal Project, Hall of Inspiration and Mae Fah Luang Garden. Doi Tung Royal Project is a sustainable project founded by Princess Mother of King Rama IX aiming to support communities in Chiang Rai.Overnight at Katiliya Mountain Resort & SpaMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15 - DAY 15 BAAN LORCHA – DOI ANGKHANG – CHIANG MAI
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before we head to an Akha hill tribe village called Ban Lorcha. This community-based tourism (CBT) project at Ban Lorcha was established in the mid-1990s and ensures that money from tourism activities is distributed evenly throughout the village. Continue to Doi Angkhang National Park. The area has a cool climate all year round, particularly from December to January. We visit Doi Angkhang Royal Agricultural Station which is a site for planting and researching for flowering plants, temperate fruit trees, vegetables and other crop under the patronage of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX).After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the Muser Hill tribe at Baan Khob Dong village who believe in ghosts and spirits and still hold on to simple ways of life.The next stop will be Baan Nor Lae village, located on the Thai-Burmese border it is home to the No Lae people who migrated from Myanmar about 15 years ago. They speak their own language and are Buddhists. From here we continue to the villages of Baan Khum located near the Royal Agricultural Station. It is a small community comprising of people from various races such as Burmese, Hwa, and Thai Yai. They settled in the area and run souvenir shops and restaurants.Overnight at the RachamankhaMeals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 16 - DAY 16 HILLTRIBE EXPERIENCE
After breakfast we travel to the outskirts of town to Mae Tang area to visit a traditional Lisu Village. Our Lisu guide will take you for a guided walk through the village, observing village life as it happens. If we are lucky, we may have a chance to meet the village Shaman and learn about his traditional and spiritual healing methods.In the afternoon we visit Araksa Tea Garden and plantation. Your local guide and our resident plucker will lead you to the tea bushes where they will show you how to pluck tea leaves. At the roasting station, we will demonstrate the art of making tea by hand from kneading to roasting tea leaves. During the process, learn from your guide about the different processes and methods used to cultivate young tea plants.Overnight at the RachamankhaMeals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 17 - DAY 17 CHIANG MAI DEPARTURE
Today will be your own leisure until check out time at noon. We will transfer you to boarding either flight or train depending on your selection of transportation to next destination. Rachamankha to Chiang Mai Airport: 15-20 min.Meals: Breakfast
Day 18 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

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Inclusions

    • Vientiane City Tour: Explore the capital city of Laos, visiting attractions like Talaat Sao, Wat Sisaket, Haw Phra Kaew, and the victory gate, Putousay. Experience the unique Xieng Khuan Buddha Park.
    • Mekong River Cruise: Enjoy a scenic cruise upstream on the Mekong River, passing picturesque landscapes and riverside villages. Take leisurely walks at Pha Laeb village and Ban Khok Fark.
    • Cultural Experiences in Luang Prabang: Discover the handicrafts of Laos, visit weaving villages, explore the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, and witness the alms offerings to the monks. Take a city tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang.
    • Golden Triangle and Doi Angkhang: Visit the Golden Triangle, enjoy stunning views from the Golden Buddha viewpoint, and learn about opium history at the Hall of Opium. Explore Doi Angkhang National Park and interact with local hill tribes.

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