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Cruise up the Mekong from Vientiane in Laos to southern China, stopping en route at small riverside villages and markets, visit the Unesco-listed town of Luang Prabang and explore the once notorious Golden Triangle. The cruise continues north into China to explore a remote area of Yunnan province, little-visited by tourists, before ending in the riverside port town of Jinghong.
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Arrive into Vientiane and transfer to Ansara Hotel for a 1-night stay. (N)
Transfer to RV Laos Pandaw for a 14-night cruise. Take lunch on the ship just after boarding, then begin an afternoon walking tour of Vientiane, visiting Sisaket temple, the President's Hall, Wat Prakeo temple and the Phatouxay monument. Return to the ship in the late afternoon and begin cruising upriver. (B, L, D)
Spend a full day on the Mekong, passing lush jungle scenery and small riverside villages. A presentation on the Lao language will be held in the morning, followed by a cooking demonstration in the afternoon. (B, L, D)
Arrive at the former French administrative town of Pak Lai, home to buildings dating from the colonial era and a bustling market. This town boasts the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, which is typically held in February. (B, L, D)
Continue your journey along the Mekong, with time to visit some of the many small riverside settlements en route to learn about local village life. (B, L, D)
This morning transfer to a coach for an excursion to the Kuang Si waterfalls and a butterfly garden. Continue by coach to the ancient temple city of Luang Prabang, where lunch will be taken followed by a tour to visit the city's Buddhist temples. Later in the day there is time to visit the busy night market and shop for souvenirs and local snacks. (B, L, D)
Rise early to participate in the daily morning ritual of alms-giving, when saffron-clad monks collect offerings of alms, in the form of rice, from the faithful residents. Later in the morning there will be a guided tour of Royal Palace Museum, with the afternoon free to explore the city at your leisure. Back on board this evening there will be a traditional Laos dance performance followed by dinner. (B, L, D)
Board a small local boat this morning for the journey onwards upriver to the caves of Pak Ou, where thousands of Buddhist statues have accumulated over hundreds of years of pilgrimage. Return to the cruise ship afterwards for lunch, followed by an afternoon cooking demonstration. (B, L, D)
Morning visit to Pak Beng, a small town set on the hillside above the river and home to many wooden houses on stilts and a busy local market. (B, L, D)
Continue to the border between Laos and Thailand. Cross into Thailand at Huay Say and into the area of northern Thailand known the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos converge. Visit local markets, villages and the unique Hall of Opium museum, before returning to the ship for the night. (B, L, D)
Cruise along a dramatic section of the Upper Mekong to the village of Ban Pha Khao, then disembark for a walk through the village to a hilltop temple for superb views of the surrounding jungle and valleys. The following day, continue upriver with Burma to your left and Laos to the right, and moor near a remote sand bank for canapes and cocktails. (B, L, D)
Cross the border into China Guan Lei port, then enter into Yunnan Province. Continue along the Mekong past dramatic scenery onto Jinghong. (B, L, D)
Arrive into Jinghong this morning, the capital of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture and home to many of China's minority ethnic groups including the Dai, Hani and Yi people. Afternoon visit to the Tropical Plants Research Institute and Manting Park. Enjoy an evening cultural show at Maxmumbani, where dancers from 38 different ethnic groups display their traditions with acrobatics and tell the fascinating story of China and its people. (B, L, D)
Disembark after breakfast. Transfer to Jinghong airport and fly to Shanghai, where you will spend 1 night at the Central Hotel. (B)
As per itinerary - B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
This tour is based in 4- and 5-star accommodation.
Please note the cruise itinerary is subject to change, depending on river and navigation conditions and at the captain's discretion. During low water season (typically December-April) it may be necessary it transfer to a hotel near the Laos-China border and conduct sightseeing in the Yunnan area by smaller boat instead.
The above 14-night itinerary refers to travel from September 2019 onwards. For travel before that date, the itinerary is 13-nights long and begins in Luang Prabang.
For a price quote based on alternative accommodation standards, to discuss flight options or to tailor this itinerary, please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
LCC2019: 16 Nights
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