Getting to Laos
Bordered with 5 countries there are many ways to get into Laos and you can be as adventurous as you dare.
Laos – Luscious landscapes, winding rivers, beautiful people. With an experience to offer everyone, a visit to Laos will leave you with long-lasting and treasured memories. Here is some travel information about getting around Laos on a Mekong Cruise Tour.
From the Tibetan Plateau through the mountains of Yunnan - where the Chinese know it as the Lan Cang River - the Mekong flows 4,350 kilometers. It shapes the borders and cultures of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Only the Amazon boasts greater biodiversity than the Mekong, which hosts many thousands (and the number is still growing) of unique plant and animal species. Whether you're considering its biodiversity or its volume or the number of people who depend on it, the Mekong is among the world's greatest rivers, yet stretches of it are relatively unknown to outsiders.
In northern Thailand and Laos, the river, known as the Mae Nam Khong - the Mother of Waters, or Mekong River - is at the heart of Lao geography and culture. Whether you're in Luang Prabang, Vientiane, or Pak Se, the Mekong will be right there. The urge to set out in a boat is probably as old as the river itself, and Luang Prabang offers an array of options, from fully-appointed multi-day luxury cruises to two-hour excursions for a picnic on a quiet bank away from the city.
Our partners offer some of the best (and most luxurious) river cruises in Laos.
Featuring one of the most distinctive boats on the river -- the 14-cabin, two-story Mekong Sun -- Mekong River Cruises offers immersive journeys from six to fourteen days in comfort and style in luxury cabins facing the Mekong river. From the Golden Triangle to Vientiane and everything in between, there's no other experience of the Mekong river like this one. The Cruise ship features a wonderful sun deck and exquisite Lao and Western food prepared by well trained chefs. A small library offers books to read and a lounge area to sit while cruising the majestic Mekong. Some of the excursions on the Mekong Sun are exclusive and unique tours that you can only experience while traveling on such an outstanding tour. Enquire about Mekong Sun
Shompoo books a maximum of 40 passengers on its spacious 35-meter boats for the two-day trip to or from the Thai border at Houay Xay. Relax in comfort on the sundeck with a book as the Mekong scenery unwinds on both sides of you, and enjoy the prepared Lao meals each day for lunch, served at your table on-board. The styling of the boats is classic Mekong, featuring hand-carved teak and rosewood, and their captains have the kind of knowledge and confidence that comes from knowing this difficult river well.
Shompoo offers a few options for lodging overnight at Pak Beng, or you can book your own accommodation through us.
A magical tale of a young girl discovering Laos on the Mekong River:
The enchanting terrain of Laos is graced by the unhurried meandering of the upper Mekong River, where time-honored local existence has persisted over countless generations. Crafted with distinctiveness, meticulously designed travel plans offer an unparalleled immersion into the riverine world of Laos, presenting captivating vistas, unspoiled riverside hamlets, indigenous communities, and indigenous traditions. Complementing these experiences are insightful lectures and a touch of excitement.
Embarking on a leisurely voyage, this brief cruise navigates the captivating Golden Triangle, bridging northern Thailand with Luang Prabang. For those seeking a more extensive exploration, lengthier expeditions expand this odyssey to Vientiane (including comprehensive exploration of Luang Prabang), unveiling lesser-known corners of the nation while surrendering to unexpected Laotian discoveries.
The Le Grand Cruises were meticulously constructed in two fleets during 2016 and 2017, skillfully crafted by a team of local expert shipbuilders hailing from the renowned Luang Prabang shipyard. This adept team possesses extensive knowledge and hands-on experience in navigating the upper Mekong River basin, specifically along the route connecting Luang Prabang, Houay Xay, and back to Luang Prabang. These vessels, strategically designed, are equipped to gracefully navigate challenging conditions, including robust currents, confined waterways, and moderate rapids, adapting seamlessly to varying water levels during both dry and rainy seasons. Additionally, the itineraries may encompass a single or multiple overnight stays at the Le Grand Pakbeng Resort in Pakbeng.
Unfortunately in 2023 Bounmi Cruises announced it was closing.
Unfortunately in June 2022 Mekong Cruises announced it was closing "Luang Say Lodge and Cruises" and the "VatPhou Cruises" after operating on the Mekong River for 20 years.