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  • Tourist taxi in Mingun, Mandalay region, Myanmar
  • Myanmar - Kengtung (Kyaing Tong) Temple of Wat Inn
  • Wat Xieng Khuan Buddha park. Vientiane, Laos
  • Laos Pandaw, Laos
  • Buddhist Temple in Luang Prabang Royal Palace, Laos
  • Wat Thap Luang in Vientiane, Laos

The Mekong: Laos to China

18-day River Cruise


Short description

An 18-day cruise from Laos to China, stopping at Vientaine, Pak Lai and Jinghong


  • Explore the riverine Landscapes of the northern Mekong as you cruise from Laos, via Thailand and Myanmar into China.
  • Discover historic cities including Vientiane and Luang Prabang in Laos, and Jinghong in China's Yunnan Province.
  • Spend a day exploring the remote villages and majestic landscapes of Kengtung State on the Old Mandalay Road in eastern Myanmar.

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Vientiane
  • 1 Night Pak Lai
  • 2 Nights Luang Prabang
  • 1 Night RV Laos Pandaw
  • 1 Night Pak Beng
  • 1 Night Chiang Saen Chiang Rai Thailand
  • 2 Nights RV Laos Pandaw
  • 1 Night Muang Long
  • 1 Night Gang Lei
  • 1 Night Menglun Botanical Garden
  • 2 Nights Jinghong


Recommended for:
History & culture | River cruise

After a pre-cruise night in Vientiane, join the 14-night river cruise along the Mekong River, from Laos to China that will bring you to the majestic landscapes of the northern Mekong. Discover the historic cities along the way including Vientiane and Luang Prabang in Laos and Jinghong in China's stunning Yunnan Province. Along the way, you'll also get the opportunity to see the remote Kangtung State on the Old Mandalay Road in eastern Myanmar. 

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
London - Vientiane

Fly overnight from London to Vientiane.

Day 2

Transfer from the airport in Vientiane and check into your centrally located hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing or exploring the city at your own pace.

Stay: Ansara Hotel (Superior) 

Day 3

Board the RV Laos Pandaw at 11:30am, before enjoying lunch and an afternoon exploration of the delightful French Quarter of the city. Spend the evening in port for dinner on board or ashore in one of the many cafes, bistros and elegant restaurants of this charming city. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard)

Meals: B L D

Day 4
Ban Paklay

Leave the cultivated plains of Vientiane and head north to enter a dramatic landscape of jungles and mountains where the river flows fast and wild. There are amazing rock formations here that straddle the riverbanks. Dock at Ban Paklay, known for its natural caves. Moor on a sand bank overnight. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 5
Pak Lai

Visit the small town of Pak Lai. A French administrative town with many colonial buildings and a bustling local market, Pak Lai boasts the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, which is usually held in February. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 6
Luang Prabang

Moored in the heart of the temple city, you will explore this well-preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and its royal palace. Ashore, there are many night markets, delightful cafes and some good restaurants. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 7
Luang Prabang

Observe the morning alms round with thousands of monks collecting door-to-door. Afterwards, you will head inland to explore the Hmong villages and swim in the deep jungle pools at the Khaung Si waterfall for the fit trek forest trails. You are free to enjoy the evening as you wish. Explore the city further, or visit some of its many craft studios and workshops. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 8
Pak Ou Caves and Nam Ou River

Today, you will visit the Pak Ou Caves, where you will have the opportunity to stop and admire the Buddhist sanctuaries as well as entering the Nam Ou River with its spectacular cliff faces. You will continue on the river for the rest of the day through its rapids and deep pools. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 9
Pak Beng

Stop for a walk in Pak Beng market town, which is located deep in the Laos jungle. When you reach Pak Tha, you will take a side trip up the Namtha River by local long boat, in order to visit a Khmu village. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 10
Chiang Saen, Thailand

Arrive in Chiang Sean at lunchtime. In the afternoon, go by coach to the Golden Triangle tourist area, and visit its Opium Museum. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 11
Old Mandalay Road, Burma

Today you'll visit the Burmese side of the Mekong, which you will reach with a car journey deep into the Kengtung State on the Old Mandalay Road. If time permits, you will visit the old colonial hill station of Loi Mwe, which features an abandoned Anglo-Indian Dak bungalow set about a golf course, polo ground and tennis courts. Your trip along the Old Mangalay Road will pass through pretty Shan villages, which are set in the cultivated valleys between great ranges of mountains and swathes of jungle. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 12
Cruising the Mekong

Continue up the Mekong with Burma on your left and Laos on your right, and stop to explore a jungle village on the Laos side and if possible trek in the jungle. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 13
Muang Long, Laos

Moor at Xiang Kok and travel inland by car to the town Muang Long and visit Aka tribal villages. You will be on the edge of the Nam Ha Natural Biodiversity Conservation Area, but await further information as to whether time and distance will enable you to cover much of the area. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 14
Into China

After a visit to a local village, leave Laos and cross the border into China. When there, the Mekong River turns into a beautiful emerald green. Continue to Gang Lei where you will go ashore for a walking tour. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 15
Menglun Botanical Garden

This morning, you will visit the famous Manglun Botanical Garden that was built in 1959 and is one of China's most important botanical research centres. Explore the impressive gardens, which are home to many rare, exotic and endangered plant species such as the dragon tree, the poisonous upas tree, the 'clock flower' that opens and closes along with the sunrise and sunset, and the 'dancing grass' that responds to sound. After lunch, sail upstream and stop at Mengzhan, where you will get the opportunity to explore the famous Mangza temple. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 16
Mangfeilong Monestary and Tea Plantation

In the morning sail to Jinghong. Afterwards, take a morning visit to the impressive Mangfeilong Monastery. After lunch, visit a Chinese tea plantation including tasting and Manting Park Temple, the third most important Buddhist temple in Yunnan province. After your farewell dinner, enjoy a traditional dancing show in the Mengbalanaxi theatre. 

Stay: RV Laos Pandaw (Standard) 

Meals: B L D

Day 17

Disembark after breakfast in Jinghong, a city in the far south of China's Yunnan Province. Head to the airport, where you will take your overnight flight back to London. 

Breakfast included

Meals: B

Day 18
Arrive in London

Arrive in London and make your onward journey home. 


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