LAOS CRUISING TRIP TO THAILAND

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NONG KHAI - PHU WUA NATIONAL PARK - NAKHON PHANOM - THAT PHANOM - MUKDAHAN - UBON RATCHATHANI
7 Days/ 6 Nights
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The cruise is also available upstream starting in Mukdahan and ending in Nong Khai. All services and visits will be identical regardless of the cruise direction. Pick-up for the upstream cruises will be from Ubon Ratchathani airport (UBP) in the morning, individual arrangements for later arrivals or pick-ups from hotels in the region can surely be arranged upon request.
* BRIEF ITINERARY:

Day 1: Welcome aboard in Nong Khai – Embarkation (D)
Day 2: Nong Khai Cruising Tour on Mekong River (B/L/D)
Day 3: Cruising Along Mighty Mekong to Nakhon Phanom (B/L/D)
Day 4: Pioneering Cruise Expedition Through Remote North-East Thailand (B/L/D)
Day 5: Cruising to Visit Thailand and Laos (B/L/D)
Day 6: Cruising Trip to pilgrim center of That Phanom (B/L/D)
Day 7: Disembarkation (B/L)

DAY 1 – LAOS CRUISING TRIP TO THAILAND: WELCOME ABOARD IN NONG KHAI – EMBARKATION ( -/-/D)

Your cruise director and friendly crew await you this afternoon (after 2pm) with a warm welcome upon embarkation in the town of Nong Khai. (Nong Khai can be reached by a short flight from Bangkok to Udon or with a transfer from the Lao capital of Vientiane across the friendship bridge, we will be happy to arrange transfers accordingly.) A guided tour will get you acquainted with the bizarre, yet very interesting Buddhist-Hindu sculpture park. After a short stroll along the river promenade you attend our welcome reception and enjoy the Southeast Asian specialties served during your dinner menu on board. Overnight onboard your river vessel.

Nong Khai Cruising Tour on Mekong River      Monks in Forest Monastery - Thailand
Nong Khai Cruising Tour on Mekong River – Monks in Forest Monastery

DAY 2 – LAOS CRUISING TRIP TO THAILAND: NONG KHAI CRUISING TOUR ON MEKONG RIVER (B/L/D)

Breakfast is served on board. This morning an excursion takes you to a beautiful forest monastery, where lavish ornaments at the temple and belfry are contrasting with the asceticism of the Buddhist monkhood. Upon your return aboard your cruise experience begins with the departure from Nong Khai downstream. Along both sides of the quiet river banks you may spot every once in a while small golden temple spires, while a presentation on tropical fruits grown in this region provides with possibly surprising insight benefits used in traditional local medicine. This cruise caters especially to those travelers who fancy discovery tours and an authentic Asia more than a fixed cruise schedule without having to miss the comfort and atmosphere of a Boutique river cruise ship such as the Mekong Sun. At night your vessel is moored at a secluded sandbank or small village pier. After dinner, a documentary shows the river flow of the Mekong from the Tibetan highlands all the way to the South China Sea.
Overnight onboard your river vessel.

DAY 3 – 4 – LAOS CRUISING TRIP TO THAILAND: PIONEERING CRUISE EXPEDITION THROUGH REMOTE NORTH-EAST THAILAND (B/L/D)

While enjoying your breakfast on board picturesque mountains pass by on the Lao side of the river. A short drive brings you to an impressive cliff monastery, which stands seven levels high above local rice paddies. Western visitors are welcomed very seldom – just like most of the times during your entire tour. Along the mighty Mekong – “the mother of all waters” as the locals call the river here – you will get to know the region with its grand nature, pristine villages and Buddhist pilgrim sites while cruising in style and comfort, well catered for by your crew and European cruise director. Before reaching the town of Nakhon Phamon you will go on a short and easy trek (approx. 1 hour) through the tropical environment of Phu Wua Nationalpark. In Nakhon Phanom we recommend to join your tour guide to have a drink in a local bar – menus with latin characters will probably be not available anywhere, though.
Overnight onboard your river vessel.

Mekong Sun Cruise        Cabin of Mekong Sun Cruise
Mekong Sun Cruise

DAY 5 – LAOS CRUISING TRIP TO THAILAND: CRUISING TO VISIT THAILAND AND LAOS – TWO WORLDS APART YET SO CLOSE ( B/L/D)

This morning you will cross the river into Laos. In the town of Thakhek you will find many remaining buildings from the French colonial era such as the governor’s palace from the 19th century. Once planned to become the capitol of Laos under French rule, today’s Thakhek is a typical charming and sleepy Lao provincial town with an interesting small town market life. In the surroundings of the city at the foot of a karst mountain panorama a Buddhist-grotto was discovered only a few years ago in 2004 and will also be part of your visit. Returning back to Thailand and your boat, you will continue your cruise further south. Overnight onboard your river vessel.

DAY 6 – LAOS CRUISING TRIP TO THAILAND: CRUISING TRIP TO PILGRIM CENTER THAT PHANOM (B/L/D)

After cruising for a few hours you will reach the holy pilgrim center of That Phanom. Legend has it that Buddha himself came here to command that after his death one of his breastbones be treasured in That Phanom as a reliquary. The devoutness of the local pilgrims, which you will notice during your visit of the temple and its Buddhist mural-walls and well kept garden is quite impressive. On board of a motor-rikscha you continue your tour via a Lao-style Arc De Triomphe to a local weaving village. A neat handicraft market is held regularly at the nearby temple tower. At night you will celebrate your farewell dinner together with your crew and captain!
Overnight onboard your river vessel.

DAY 7 – LAOS CRUISING TRIP TO THAILAND: DISEMBARKATION (B/L/-)

After beakfast you will disembark and leave with your entire luggage on a last exciting day excursion. Lying along an international trade route, the local market town of Mukdahan is well known for its wide assortment of goods from Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Observe the hustle and bustle of the local market and try your own negotiating skills on the local traders. South of the town the national park of Pha Taem impresses with natural rocks shaped almost mushroom like. Before the road winds inland and takes you through small villages on your way to Ubon, you will be able to say a last farewell to mother Mekong. End of service in the afternoon upon reaching the airport of Ubon Ratchathani from where frequent flights to Bangkok are offered by Thai Airways.

That Phanom in Thailand       Wat That Phanom in Nakhon Phanom - Thailand
Wat That Phanom Temple in Nakhon Phanom

There are many possibilities to continue your exploration of Thailand and/or Laos, e.g. spend a night in a lovely river lodge in Khong Chiam or cross the Mekong Bridge into Southern Laos to Pakse (where you can enjoy another fantastic cruise through the region of 4,000 islands on the Mekong Islands river vessel). Whatever you prefer, we will be happy to arrange your individual tour services upon request!

End of service!

* INCLUDING:
•    6 overnights aboard your Boutique river vessel
•    All meals and tour program as per above itinerary
•    Coffee, tea, water and juices during meal times
•    All excursions and necessary entry fees
•    Presentations and lectures by your cruise director

* EXCLUDING:
•    Visa fees (Lao visa needed of wanting to join the excursion to Thakhek)
•    Alcoholic and soft drinks
•    Flights
•    Tips
•    Transfer to/from Nong Khai (depending on cruise direction, can be arranged on request for an extra charge)
•    Video or photography-fees (if requested during excursions)
•    Personal expenditures or not mentioned services of any kind

The cruise is also available upstream starting in Mukdahan and ending in Nong  Khai. All services and visits will be identical regardless of the cruise direction. Pick-up for the upstream cruises will be from Ubon Ratchathani airport (UBP) in the morning, individual arrangements for later arrivals or pick-ups from hotels in the region can surely be arranged upon request.

LAOS CRUISING TRIP TO THAILAND
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