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The newest cruising route available on South East Asia’s great river, this exciting new cruise explore’s the rugged, undeveloped reaches of the Mekong, with its rich history and varied indigenous cultures.
a Destinations d > Laos > Anouvong Mekong River Cruise
Meals: 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners. Coffee, tea and mineral water throughout
Accommodation: 7 nights in a Deluxe Stateroom cabin
Transportation: Transfers by air-conditioned vehicles as specified, some short transfers by local tuktuk
Sightseeing: all shore excursions as noted in itinerary with English-speaking guides and entrance fees
Other: Port/anchorage fees and taxes, internet on board
*Price is per person based on twin share. Please speak to our team or view our terms and conditions for more information
08 Sep 2023, 15 Nov 2023, 11 Dec 2023, 04 Aug 2024, 07 Sep 2024, 11 Oct 2024
* other dates may be available; reverse direction departures also available, 9 nights duration
Sailing down the spectacular Mekong River from Huay Xai to the Lao capital, Vientiane, explore the remote reaches, tribal villages and historic towns of this majestic river. Tour Luang Prabang’s rich Buddhist heritage and culinary highlights, swim in waterfalls and kayak secluded river reaches, and learn from local people about their unique cultures and river lifestyles.
Back to Laos Tours
Cruising one of the least known sections of the Mekong on the river’s newest and most stylish vessel, the only vessel operating this route.
Accessing remote river communities, exploring and experiencing their unique culture and lifestyles.
Touring Luang Prabang’s historic Buddhist temples and streets, experiencing its rich history, culture and architecture.
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This morning you will be met by Heritage Line’s staff at the Thai immigration office at Chiang Khong. Our team assists you with all immigration procedures on both the Thai and Laos sides. After all formalities, we transfer you to the ship, moored at Huay Xai pier on the Laos riverside. Upon check-in, get acquainted with the ship and settle in your room as we start our journey.
Enjoy your first hours onboard as we sail from the Thai-Lao border southbound. The river in this area is mostly wide, however our captain always has to watch out for rocks and stones or sandbanks in order to navigate safely - making the sailing an interesting one to observe from the open deck. After some hours the landscape and the river starts to change, becoming more mountainous and the river increasingly narrows.
Our first stop in the afternoon is Khon Teun, a relatively modern Laotian village showcasing various wooden sculptures and home to roughly 800 residents belonging to the Tai Lu ethnic minority. For a traditional Laotian greeting and to wish us a safe journey, the village elders welcome us with a time-honoured “Baci ceremony”. The villagers here practice long-held traditions and techniques of weaving handmade garments with distinguishing patterns.
The village also has a lovely temple nearby in which we can arrange an optional meditation session (limited availability). Resident monks and novices are always eager to interact and socialize with visitors. After taking in a bit of ‘Zen’ the ship continues cruising to the overnight mooring spot.
Dinner is served in Anouvong's elegant De-Lagree Dining Hall. Afterwards you may like to while away some time in the bar or join our cinema under the stars on the open terrace deck. Enjoy your first night’s sleep mid-river at a seclude sandbank in the middle of nowhere. (L)(D)
Wake up early to catch your first sunrise in Laos on the Mekong River, perhaps with some on deck tai chi.
After breakfast, we arrive in the small town of Pakbeng. This riverside settlement is halfway between our embarkation at Huay Xai and Luang Prabang. Many locals also stop here when they travel or transport goods between these two “hubs” on the river.
Opposite of the town – so to say on the starboard side of cruising direction– is the country’s most sustainably managed elephant sanctuary. If we arrive early enough, we may still see elephants freely walking along the shoreline and taking a morning bath. All the elephants here used to work as logging elephants, after their time as working animals, they lack the ability to live and survive in the wild. The sanctuary is fully committed to the tenets of ecotourism and sustainability.
During lunchtime we continue our journey with stunning views of the shores from the comfort of the dining room. At a sandbank further down the river, the local ethnic Lao, Khmu and Hmong live in the tiny village of Kok Aek. At the riverside they have set up a little parcel of land as an organic garden, caringly maintained and enclosed by bamboo fences and growing organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs. As we get to know the villagers, be sure to sample a local specialty, kai paen, which is made of dried freshwater “seaweed” topped with sesame and vegetables.
Back on board, as we cruise for some more hours, lay back and take in the absolutely amazing scenery or enjoy some pampering time in our tucked away spa. We drop anchor to overnight near another small and secluded village. Subject to our arrival time and daylight availability, we may explore this tiny village of just around 300 inhabitants which is bereft of electricity or any semblance of modernity, but for sure not of abounding charm and warm-heartedness of the villagers. As we remain here at the sandbank overnight, kick back with an aperitif while being serenaded by some local villagers who have come onboard to perform on their ‘Khene’ – a handheld, ancient instrument made of bamboo and originating here in Laos. (B)(L)(D)
After breakfast, a morning lecture provides us with interesting insights and facts about Laotian culture relating to the diverse tribes living along the upper Mekong. The remainder of the morning is free to enjoy beautiful scenery as we sail along the river. After lunch there is the opportunity to kayak along this quiet stretch of the river.
We stop close to Pak Ou, and go ashore where we will meet the local “medicine man” who takes us on a jungle trek explaining various interesting facts and astonishing features about the flora and the nature in this area. In the village we may one more time be able to observe local weaving, and find here as well ‘the art of local whisky distilling’.
The famous Pak Ou Caves are located directly on the Mekong’s rocky shore and opposite the mouth of the Ou River. There are two limestone grottoes which house approximately 4,000 sacred Buddhist statues and images ranging in size from mere centimeters up to 2m (7ft) in height.
From Pak Ou we have about three more hours to sail. During this time, we meet Mr Francis Engelmann, who used to work for UNESCO on heritage preservation projects. Born in Paris in 1947, he has lived in Laos for over 20 years and knows Luang Prabang like the back of his hand. Join his fantastic presentation, in which he shares some of his expertise on Luang Prabang’s rich cultural heritage and fascinating history.
We arrive at the enchanting town of Luang Prabang in the early evening. Dinner is served on board after our arrival. Afterwards, you may like to have a first taste of the mesmerizing charms of this old town on a stroll through the small streets on your own. (B)(L)(D)
This morning after breakfast we explore one of Southeast Asia’s most unique and charming cities. We head out for a walking tour to discover ancient Luang Prabang.
See Luang Prabang’s distinct architecture and hear interesting stories about the houses and the places we pass. We stroll leisurely along the crisscross of small roads and streets lined with antique structures and mango trees. Some of the 100-year-old Lao-style buildings brim with a by-gone era atmosphere.
We return to the vessel for lunch and refreshments before we continue in the afternoon on our discovery of Luang Prabang. The afternoon is dedicated to a visit to the former Royal Palace – which is now the National Museum. The museum displays interesting local art and other exhibits which used to belong to the Lao royal family. After the museum tour, you have some time on your own to walk around the small city center further - or just pick one of the inviting street cafés and enjoy the laid back, or “sabai-sabai”, atmosphere before we return to the ship.
In the early evening, you are warmly invited for a sunset aperitif on the terrace deck which is accompanied by a classical local dance or music performance. Afterwards, we leave the vessel for an evening out, dining in one of the city’s fine venues for a distinctively Lao-style ambiance. After dinner, the rest of the evening can be spent exploring the night market or back on board. (B)(L)(D)
For the very early risers, we have a special treat today. Before the daylight basks the town in warm golden tones, the morning alms round, referred to as “Tak Bat” in Lao, is a spiritual Buddhist tradition for Lao people and dates back generations. Wake up before dawn to witness a procession of hundreds of saffron-robed monks in the early morning light. After the alms giving, walk through the morning market and watch as the town comes to life before returning to the ship in time for breakfast, as we continue our journey further downstream on the Mekong river.
In the morning, we set out for our today’s sightseeing and pay a visit to an innovative Buffalo Dairy Farm. See how various dairy products, such as cheeses, ice cream and yoghurt are made locally and distributed to local markets. We continue with a visit to the cascading Kuang Si waterfall with its rushing turquoise waters. It is a pleasure to hike leisurely through the surrounding natural park, and if you like you can also refresh yourself with a swim in the natural pools of water at the waterfall’s base.
Back on the vessel, the cruise carries on towards the nation’s famous dam and hydroelectric power plant. Eventually, we arrive at the Xayaburi Hydroelectric Dam. The ship slowly passes through two ship locks, bringing the vessel down by about 30 meters. We also have the chance to discover this enormous structure during a short guided tour.
After some additional sailing time into the evening, we moor near the southern side of the dam midstream at a sandbank. (B)(L)(D)
After morning exercise (Tai Chi or yoga on the terrace) and breakfast, choose from two different excursion or activities to choose from:
Set out in a long-tail boat and go on an exploratory and adventurous joyride upstream through the lush jungle along the remote, beautiful Nam Fuang River. We stop over at the shore to explain some facts about the interesting jungle life of the local tribes residing in this area.
Alternatively, you may stroll through the small village of Khok Akha sitting right on the riverside plateau. The village’s population is mainly comprised of “Lao Loum” (which translates to “lowland Laotian”) whose main income is from planting rice, fishing and selling wood. The elevated location of the village allows for some great views on the meandering Mekong to take home some great photos.
Setting sail, the shorelines have now become a bit rockier with some very narrow channels to navigate through. In the afternoon we stop at Don Saynhan village, from where we take a short local “Tuk Tuk” ride to visit the so-called Khao Cave.
Back on board, we keep cruising until we reach Pak Lay village, where we stop for the night. (B)(L)(D)
After breakfast join this morning’s exciting kayaking excursion. In this area, the Mekong is very calm and shallow with many small sandy islands along its shoreline, making it ideal to explore on your own for some time.
The ship then travels along the Thai-Lao border, something you are reminded of by the large Buddha greeting us from the opposite shore.
After lunch we stop at Phalat village, a small hamlet which looks over the Mekong, in sight of Thailand. By local means of transportation again, we take tuk tuks to explore a nearby chopstick factory.
After Phalat, we make our way to one of the deserted sandbanks, where we moor for your final night. To end your journey with us on a high note, our kitchen team has prepared a culinary treat. Step off Anouvong onto the sandbank and savour a barbecue dinner in a wonderfully remote and romantic setting. (B)(L)(D)
Enjoy your last sunrise aboard with a morning Tai Chi or Yoga. Today you can take a long leisurely breakfast as we voyage towards Vientiane. During the morning time our local guide presents a lecture on the history of Lao royalty with a focus on King Anouvong – this vessel’s namesake.
Around midday we arrive in the Laos’ capital, Vientiane. Our team assists with your check-out and helps with your luggage. We bid you farewell wishing you a pleasant onward journey. (B)
View the Terms & Conditions
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