Lanjia Lodge + Mekong Cruise (Downstream Cruise)
The famed royal capital of Laos, Luang Prabang, is today a mystical yet friendly place where visitors always feel welcomed by locals and are enchanted by its charming surroundings. The town is accessible by air, however the most intriguing and romantic way to reach Luang Prabang is by boat up the Mekong River. Your journey begins in the mountainous border region of Thailand.
Staying overnight at the lovely Lanjia Lodge, a community-based lodge situated within a peaceful village of Hmong and Lahu hill tribes, you will experience ethnic hill-tribe culture firsthand. Located high above a beautiful valley in the heart of the village, Lanjia Lodge is just a 30-minute drive to the Thailand-Laos border, where you board Luang Say boat to Luang Prabang. Cruising down the Mekong will be an unforgettable experience.
DAY 1 Chiang Rai – Lanjia Lodge
Pick up at the hotel in Chiang Rai (or Chiang Rai airport) in the morning.
After checking into the Lanjia Lodge, your host will give you an overview of the lodge, the Hmong and the Lahu hill-tribe communities in the area, as well as the Golden Triangle and the giant catfish (locally known as Pla Buek) – the world’s biggest fresh water fish, found in the Mekong River. You will learn about activities that affect the Mekong River and about the people whose lives depend on the river.
Lunch will be served on the charming terrace overlooking the Mekong River and Laos beyond.
In the afternoon, you will learn how to dye cloth using local batik methods or you may be shown how to make and set animal traps.
In the evening you will enjoy a delicious Thai dinner at the Lanjia Lodge. Villagers, both Hmong and Lahu, will demonstrate local dances and music during the evening. Stay overnight at Lanjia Lodge.
DAY 2 Huay Xay – Pakbeng
After breakfast, you will transfer to Chiang Khong immigration at the Thailand-Lao border. Luang Say boat staff will meet you at the immigration office and assist you during the border crossing. Once you are on the Lao side, a minivan will bring you to the boat pier to board the Luang Say Boat.
Lunch is served on board in a buffet style with a main course from Laos’ cuisine. A different choice of fish and meat dishes than on the first day is prepared for a greater culinary experience.
Along the way to the town of Pakbeng, you will stop at Ban Houy Phalam, a Kamu village, to observe firsthand rural life along the Mekong.
You will arrive at Pakbeng around sunset where you will check into Luang Say lodge for an overnight stay.
A Laotian dinner is served on the open air terrace overlooking the Mekong River.
DAY 3 Pakbeng – Pak Ou – Luang Prabang
After breakfast, you board the boat and continue cruising to Luang Prabang.
A few hours into the day after enjoying the sights of granite cliffs and sparkling sandy shores, the river boat makes a stop to visit the hill tribe village of Baw, where you can watch the traditional process of making Lao whiskey.
After lunch, the boat will stop again at Pak Ou to visit ‘Tham Ting’ cave. The cave is famous for housing over 2,500 Buddha statues of all sizes and for being a place of pilgrimage for locals.
The boat arrives in Luang Prabang before sunset.