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Upper Mekong and Laos – 10 Days

Upper Mekong and Laos – 10 Days

From USD $5,054

Description

Known in Laos as the “Mae Nam Khong” (“Mother of Water”), the upper Mekong meanders through fascinating riverine scenes, filled with scenes of captivating and unchanged local life in various settings.

This 9-Night itinerary named “Laotian Serendipity” offers enjoyable leisure sailing northbound through secluded areas. See isolated local riverside villages and witness how the residents’ daily life unfolds, experience long-standing cultures and traditions, enjoy active adventures as well as the enchanting laid-back life on board vibe – all while indulging in luxury aboard the River ship Anouvong. A full sightseeing of Luang Prabang is included in this cruise.

Trip Name
Upper Mekong and Laos - 10 Days
Days
10
Overview
Vessel Type:  River Small Cruise Ship Length: 48 m Capacity: 20 passengers (10 cabins) Built: 2019 Anouvong is Heritage Line’s first ever vessel to cruise the majestic Mekong River in Laos. This lesser-travelled stretch of one of the world’s most spectacular waterways is home to serene nature, quaint villages and stunning temples. It is only fitting that a boat cruising this pristine and beautiful region of Laos should be named after the Vientiane Kingdom’s last monarch, King Anouvong, who so loved his country that he bravely fought for its independence from neighbouring Siam. To create a true boutique sailing experience, Anouvong has only eight spacious staterooms and two luxurious suites. All cabins feature floor-to-ceiling windows and open onto elegant French balconies or a private terrace overlooking the verdant shores of the Mekong River. What makes Anouvong unique is the blend of traditional Laotian artwork with French-colonial accents. From the intimate onboard restaurant to the refined setting of the lounge which opens onto the expansive terrace deck, this design theme creates an atmosphere of luxury and savoir-vivre. Set at the stern of the ship, Anouvong’s luminous spa adds a distinctive lifestyle element for endless hours of blissful relaxation. CAFÉ-BAR LOUNGE The indoor café-bar and lounge is situated on the terrace deck and welcomes guests at any time of the day with elegantly designed sofas and cushioned rattan chairs. This lounge is the perfect setting to while away time, read and relax in an air-conditioned environment. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows encircle the lounge, allowing fantastic views of the dramatic backdrops. The lounge’s doors open wide onto the terrace deck, creating a pleasant commute between these two public facilities on Anouvong. The lounge is also used for activities on board such as lectures, demonstrations or evening cinema screenings. BODHI SPA The state-of-the-art spa is located on the upper deck and occupies the ship’s entire stern. Designed with a Laotian spiritual theme and grand tree of life mural, the spa atmosphere evokes a sanctuary of well-being. Guests find three treatment rooms in the Bodhi Spa. Comfortable chaise lounges for reflexology, manicures and pedicures alongside wonderful window outlooks comprise one part of the spa, whilst two private single rooms, which can be combined for couples treatments, complete the Anouvong’s spa haven. TERRACE DECK Anouvong’s terrace beckons guests to enjoy the outdoors while on board. Comfortable sun loungers make for a flawless place to take the weight off your feet and marvel at the breath-taking views while crème-coloured sun sails provide cooling shade. Two sheltered cabanas offer a hideaway for couples wishing to cherish a special moment together in privacy. DE-LAGRÉE DINNING HALL The dining hall, named after the leader of the French expedition which fully explored the Mekong River, evokes the beauty of the temples of Luang Prabang paired with French-style tile flooring. The entire rear wall is covered in intricate gold leaf artwork depicting traditional Laotian patterns, while two carved wooden statues inspired by Buddhist mythology adorn the opposite side of the room. The dark brown colonial furniture along with the gold tones of the restaurant give the room a timeless elegance, while massive full-sized windows on both sides of the vessel flood the dining hall with sunlight. CUISINE Aboard Anouvong, we take pleasure in presenting the rich and flavourful cuisine of Laos and Southeast Asia. Whether our chefs prepare traditional Laotian recipes passed down for generations or treats from around the world, we use the best and freshest ingredients to please even the most particular of palates. Your voyage comes with a variety of culinary occasions – whether dining à la carte or bountiful buffet with the spectacular ambiance of the De Lagrée Dining Hall, open-air barbecues, al-fresco breakfasts, sandbank aperitifs or in-suite afternoon teas. ACTIVITIES Local dance & music performances, sandbank barbecue and cocktail events, Tai Chi class, interesting lectures and presentations by local experts and historians, cooking class, evening cinema, kayaking, traditional welcome ceremony, board games, public Wi-Fi (subject to mobile network availability), small library & boutique shop corner.  

Itinerary



Day 1 - DAY 1 Vientiane – Pha Liep
In the afternoon, our local expert guide presents a lecture on the history of Lao royalty with a focus on King Anouvong – this vessel’s namesake. Until we reach our first overnight stop, just relax in your room or in our comfortable public lounge and bar area. You may like to opt for a wellness treatment in our tucked away spa area. Dinner is served in the ship’s elegant De-Lagree Dining Hall tonight. Afterwards, while some time away in the lounge or join the cinema under the stars on the open terrace deck.Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Day 2 - DAY 2 Pha Liep – Don Saynhan
Embarking on the first morning of your Upper Mekong adventure, our expedition takes us to the enchanting village of Pha Liep. This hidden gem is framed by majestic limestone mountains, creating an awesome backdrop that sets the stage for a truly captivating experience. It's a remarkable setting to explore one of the first local villages along our journey, offering a genuine encounter with the unique charm and culture of the region.In this region, the Lao Loum community predominantly relies on agriculture. Today however, we delve into two distinct "industrial" pursuits. First, witness the craftsmanship involved in producing traditional longtail boats. Though termed a factory, the construction of these iconic watercraft, still vital for transportation in Laos, is a labour-intensive manual process. The second venture is perhaps more enjoyable - a local whiskey distillery. Being the owner not only grants the craftsman the occasional quality check but also ensures a business that never runs dry in Laos. Lao whiskey is a national staple, with every Laotian having a bottle at home. We recommend trying a bottle, mixing the classic “Laotian whiskey cola” - a delightful variation of the renowned Cuba Libre.Thereafter, we continue on our journey, arriving at Don Saynhan in the afternoon. Once ashore, we going to explore the surrounding area, taking a local “Tuk Tuk” inland to visit the ‘Khao Cave’. Traveling through lush jungle-like surroundings, the cave, home to a longstanding bat population, serves as a crucial fertilizer source for the village. Stroll inside to witness stalagmites and stalactites.The ship moors here overnight. Join us for prelude snacks at the bar with our guide offering insights for the next day. Enjoy the evening on the deck or opt for post-dinner reflexology to ease into slumber.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - DAY 3 Don Saynhan – Khok Akha – Xayaburi
Begin your day with a refreshing session of yoga and leisure, setting the tone for a relaxing morning. As we cruise northbound towards the nation's famous first dam and hydroelectric power plant later in the day, our knowledgeable guide will share fascinating insights into the pivotal role of energy production in Laos' economy. Discover its potential to become the 'battery' of Southeast Asia during an engaging evening discussion. The following morning, the journey will bring you up close to this significant structure as we pass through the huge water gate. In the afternoon, we disembark for another excursion at Khok Akha. Wander through the quaint village of Khok Akha, nestled on the riverside plateau. The community, primarily comprised of "Lao Loum" (translating to "lowland Laotian"), sustains itself through rice cultivation, fishing, and wood selling. Delve into the heart of Lao cuisine as you witness the preparation of sticky rice, a staple food source. Paired with meats, vegetables, and various sauces, it forms a delectable side dish. The elevated vantage point of the village offers splendid views of the meandering Mekong, providing ample opportunities to capture superb photos. Returning to the vessel, we cruise upstream towards the Xayaburi hydroelectric power plant. We take our mooring spot midriver somewhere not far from it near a little village.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - DAY 4 Xayaburi – Kuang Si
As the morning unfolds, our journey takes us past the dam, with a bit of sailing upstream before we approach the lock. During this time, guests are invited to a brief guided visit to the wheelhouse. Here, the captain unveils the intricacies of his instruments, offering insights into the challenges of navigating this dynamic river and piloting through the water gate. Leaving the gate behind, this sailing day is dedicated to pampering and relaxation for mind and body. Become one with the therapeutic Mekong for a bit and be assured we fulfil our role as your gracious hosts for the day. The morning program extends to the deck or lounge, presenting guests with a comprehensive introduction to Laotian and Asian culinary delights. Discover exotic fruits, unique vegetables, special herbs, and distinctive spices that grace the kitchens of Laos and Asia. Guests are encouraged to indulge their taste buds with likely unfamiliar or unseen food. At the same time, the bar opens its doors, enticing guests with an assortment of special fruit smoothies, allowing to savour some of the locally popular, yet undiscovered, concoctions. After a delightful lunch and maybe some soothing siesta in your stateroom, the mid-afternoon brings some more culinary indulgence – a special cooking session tailored for those with a sweet tooth. Revel in the creation of local dessert dishes that promise to be both delicious and easily replicated at home. Whether a warm or chilled delight, guests can relish their afternoon coffee specialty or special tea time with some sweet creations prepared freshly by our chef, like a delectable and famous roti dish. There remains plenty of time to continue the spoiling in the afternoon, for those seeking relaxation, a spa treatment beckons, offering a serene retreat for both the soul and body - a flawless choice for a leisurely finale of the pampering day. As the day draws to a close, we find our overnight mooring close by to the Kuang Si awaiting us for a great discovery tomorrow.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - DAY 5 Kuang Si - Luang Prabang
Embark on a delightful morning with yoga and freshly brewed coffee or tea in the bar-lounge or the open deck – always the best choice to begin a day. Enjoy a full breakfast to recharge batteries for the exciting morning outing to come. Our first destination today are the mesmerizing Kuang Si waterfalls, a picturesque natural park that is the perfect setting for a leisurely hike and swim. The many cascades are not typical waterfalls as one of us would image it, making them so attractive to watch. In the same time the turquoise and shallow pools formed on the top of the falls allowing to take a refreshing dip. Continuing our journey, we explore the innovative and socially responsible Laos Buffalo Dairy Farm. Witness how Laos has transformed from a lack of dairy products decades ago to now producing locally made cheeses, ice cream, and yogurt distributed to markets. Once back to the ship, we'll enjoy a late lunch continuing our sail towards Luang Prabang, renowned as one of Southeast Asia's most enchanting towns. Upon arriving in the later afternoon, seize the opportunity for a leisurely stroll through downtown Luang Prabang, capturing the magical hues of the sunset. Climb up Mount Phousi for a panoramic view of the city and the approaching dusk. Return to the ship's restaurant for dinner. Should you wish to extend your exploration of downtown Luang Prabang, venture out again after to dive into the town's calming aura. Let the tranquility of Luang Prabang permeate to the depths of your soul, creating a serene and unforgettable evening experience.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - DAY 6 Luang Prabang
Start your day with the beauty of a sunrise, accompanied by freshly brewed coffee and a selection of teas in the bar lounge. Rejuvenate your mind and body with our daily Yoga class on the terrace deck, nestled at the footstep of one of Laos' most iconic temples.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinnerr
Day 7 - DAY 7 Ban Khok Phou - Had Sako - Ban Khok Ek
Before the sun is fully risen, witness the spiritual Buddhist tradition of the morning alms round, known as “Tak Bat” in Lao. Wake before dawn to observe hundreds of saffron-robed monks in a serene procession—a tradition deeply rooted in Lao culture. Bid farewell to Luang Prabang as we continue our upstream cruise on the Mekong River heading towards the renowned Pak Ou Caves, our expert guide presents an engaging lecture on the intricate tapestry of Laos' diverse ethnic groups along the Mekong River. Over the next few days, you'll immerse yourself in the fascinating array of cultural lifestyles, characteristics, and traditions. Arriving at the Pak Ou Caves, nestled along the rocky shore of the Mekong. There are two grottoes sheltering approximately 4,000 sacred Buddhist statues and images. We delve into the lower cave, the most impressive and easily accessible. Post-cave visit, Heritage Line offers two optional choices to enhance your excursion: an adventurous kayak tour along the serene Nam Ou River or a visit of the nearby village of Ban Muang Keo, known for traditional silk weaving. We also meet in this village a local “medicine man” (if time and availability permit) who explains the traditional ways of treatments using mother nature as a natural pharmacy. As the afternoon progresses, we reach our mooring location for the night and explore the 200-year-old village of Ban Khok Phou. Primarily inhabited by the Lao ethnicity, many villagers engage in mountain farming. Gain insight into their practices and witness the collection and processing of agricultural products. The highlight is the traditional Baci ceremony, a heartfelt Laotian ritual led by local elders, bestowing blessings upon your journey. If time permits, we may ascend to a small temple, offering moments of quiet meditation with the local monk and novices.The evening begins with a welcome cocktail on the sandbank, followed by a barbecue dinner amid astonishing natural beauty. Welcome to a memorable exploration of Laotian culture along the Mekong.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - DAY 8 Ban Khok Kham – Ban Kok Aek
For early risers, our daily yoga class on the terrace deck, framed by the stunning Mekong backdrop, offers a refreshing start to the day.The ship sets sail early, allowing you to enjoy breakfast while observing the morning life of nature along the river. Our mid-morning stop takes us to the enchanting village of Had Sako, a hidden treasure nestled in the mountains. Thriving with the Hmong ethnic community, known for their unique cultivation of corn, this village stands out among the various ethnic groups. Traverse a picturesque path through the rainforest to reach this secluded village, witnessing the traditional farming practices of the Hmong people and gaining insights into their agricultural methods. The highlight awaits at a local house, where residents adorned in traditional costumes will introduce the intriguing traditional instrument called “Kene” and treat us to the hypnotic melodies of this flute accompanied by a unique dance. Sailing into mid-afternoon, another breath-taking riverine spectacle awaits as we arrive at another remarkable village. Here, three distinct ethnic groups—Hmong, Lao Loum, and Khamo—coexist almost literally under one roof. Each group possesses its own unique history, traditions, ways of life, family dynamics, and housing styles. Venture into the village to a family home where representatives from each ethnic group will showcase and explain their differences and characteristics in day-to-day life. The theory provided the day before, through our lecture, suddenly comes alive before your eyes. If time allows and the season permits, we may offer a glimpse of the organic gardens where villagers nurture their crops (and we can try one or other local produce). Back on board, as the afternoon transitions to evening, gather at the bar to enjoy snacks while receiving a preview of the upcoming day's program. Prepare for an enriching experience before dinner as a traditional dance performance takes place on the terrace deck or the sandbank in front of our ship. After dinner, feel free to join us in the lounge for a cosy cinematic setting featuring "Chiang" (Laotian for “elephant”). This cinematic gem, shot in this very region in 1927 and produced by the same visionary behind the first King Kong movie, promises to set the mood for our next day’s adventure.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - DAY 9 Ban Khok Ek - Pakbeng - Huay Ting
Rise with the sun for the option of an invigorating yoga class. As the ‘Anouvong’ gracefully navigates upstream, indulge your creative side in a bamboo weaving workshop, where you'll craft your own bamboo basket—a cherished memento of this traditional art.Post-lunch, the next stop of our journey is Pakbeng. Along the riverside opposite of the town and nestled in the jungle lies Laos' most sustainable elephant sanctuary. Here, in an almost pristine natural setting, we have the privilege of encountering these majestic creatures. Born in Laos and once employed as logging elephants, they now find sanctuary in a peaceful and natural environment, their ability to survive in the wild having been curtailed in captivity. The sanctuary, a symbol of ecotourism and sustainability, reflects a deep commitment to these principles. Witnessing these gentle giants in the rainforest, and learning about their unique stories, makes for an unforgettable experience. If time allows, we'll take you to a hilltop vantage point in Pakbeng town (by vehicle), offering breath-taking panoramic views—perfect for capturing enduring memories. There is a remaining small Buddhist temple on the hill top of the former Lan Na Kingdom. Many of the temples had been destroyed during wars with the Thai Kingdom 300 years ago.As the afternoon unfolds, our journey continues, culminating in our final overnight mooring spot. Once again, we anchor at a splendid sandbank, creating a picturesque setting for a relaxed aperitif, ideally accompanied by a stunning sunset. Subsequently, a farewell dinner is served on the terrace deck, marking the conclusion of this remarkable journey.Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - DAY 10 Huay Ting - Huay Xai
Feel free to extend your morning snooze if desired. Breakfast is intentionally simplified, with fewer choices or à la carte, as we prepare for a diverse culinary brunch later- a prelude to bidding farewell. As we sail into the heart of the Golden Triangle, the morning is yours to relax or engage in our captivating presentation unravelling the intricate history of the Golden Triangle, exploring its complexities of colonialism, opium, conflicts, and the roles played by Burma, Thailand, Laos, Britain, China. The Golden Triangle, where Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos meet, extends far into each country. The name "Golden Triangle" was originally invented by the CIA referring to this area. We are passing the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Tha River, a major tributary known as the "Green River". Our captain expertly navigates through rocks, rapids, and sandbanks, offering a fascinating observation from the terrace deck. Just before appetites awaken, we delve into the lifestyle aspect of our final cruising day. Engage in a culinary Lao cooking class, setting the stage for a brunch featuring a buffet spread of enticing mains and desserts to tantalize your taste buds. Relax and relish the concluding tranquil hours of our voyage, with brunch served until approximately an hour before arrival, available in the restaurant, lounge, or on the terrace deck. As we dock at Huay Xai pier in the mid-afternoon, we facilitate a seamless transfer to the Lao-Thai border, bidding you farewell in front of the Lao immigration office. We extend our best wishes for a pleasant onward journey.Meals: Breakfast
Day 11 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
23-02-202403-03-2024USD $6,016DELUXE STATEROOM
23-02-202403-03-2024USD $7,280DELUXE EXECUTIVE STATEROOM
23-02-202403-03-2024USD $8,604SIGNATURE SUITE
10-12-202419-12-2024USD $6,016DELUXE STATEROOM
10-12-202419-12-2024USD $7,280DELUXE EXECUTIVE STATEROOM
10-12-202419-12-2024USD $8,604SIGNATURE SUITE
15-01-202524-01-2025USD $6,317DELUXE STATEROOM
15-01-202524-01-2025USD $7,644DELUXE EXECUTIVE STATEROOM
15-01-202524-01-2025USD $9,034SIGNATURE SUITE
02-02-202511-02-2025USD $7,644DELUXE EXECUTIVE STATEROOM
02-02-202511-02-2025USD $9,034SIGNATURE SUITE
02-02-202511-02-2025USD $6,317DELUXE STATEROOM
20-02-202501-03-2025USD $6,317DELUXE STATEROOM
20-02-202501-03-2025USD $7,644DELUXE EXECUTIVE STATEROOM
20-02-202501-03-2025USD $9,034SIGNATURE SUITE
12-08-202521-08-2025USD $5,054DELUXE STATEROOM
12-08-202521-08-2025USD $6,115DELUXE EXECUTIVE STATEROOM
12-08-202521-08-2025USD $7,227SIGNATURE SUITE
15-09-202524-09-2025USD $5,054DELUXE STATEROOM
15-09-202524-09-2025USD $6,115DELUXE EXECUTIVE STATEROOM
15-09-202524-09-2025USD $7,227SIGNATURE SUITE
19-10-202528-10-2025USD $6,317DELUXE STATEROOM
19-10-202528-10-2025USD $7,644DELUXE EXECUTIVE STATEROOM
19-10-202528-10-2025USD $9,034SIGNATURE SUITE
22-11-202501-12-2025USD $6,317DELUXE STATEROOM
22-11-202501-12-2025USD $7,644DELUXE EXECUTIVE STATEROOM
22-11-202501-12-2025USD $9,034SIGNATURE SUITE
10-12-202519-12-2025USD $6,317DELUXE STATEROOM
10-12-202519-12-2025USD $7,644DELUXE EXECUTIVE STATEROOM
10-12-202519-12-2025USD $9,034SIGNATURE SUITE

Inclusions

    • Vientiane
    • Mid-River
    • Luang Prabang
    • Ban Khok Kham
    • Ban Kok Aek
    • Pak Ngui
    • Huay Xai

Map