THAILAND CRUISE HOLIDAY TO LAOS ON MEKONG RIVER

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UBON RATCHATHANI - MUKDAHAN - THAT PHANOM - NAKHON PHANOM - PHU WUA NATIONAL PARK - NONG KHAI
7 Days/ 6 Nights
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Welcome on board of the longest river cruise in the Kingdom of Thailand! During your 7-day Mekong cruise you will get to know a very special and most authentic region of Thailand, the province of Isaan. During exciting land excursions to lively villages, Buddhist pilgrim sites or exotic national parks you will notice that hardly any English is spoken outside of your vessel – you are traveling on a truly pioneering route through a most rewarding part of the country still unknown to most tourists in Thailand! This cruise will be operated for the first time in early 2010 – belong to the first to get to know this unique part of Thailand, where the term “land of smiles” remains more than just a slogan!
* BRIEF ITINERARY:
Day 1: Through Remote North-East Thailand – Afternoon Embarkation (D)
Day 2: Religion Discovery and Cruise Tour in That Phanom (B/L/D)
Day 3: Thailand and Laos Combination Tour (B/L/D)
Day 4-5: Nakhon Phanom and Phu Wua National Park (B/L/D)
Day 6: Cruising to Forest Monastery and Buddhist Monkhood (B/L/D)
Day 7: Nong Khai – Disembarkation (B)
 

DAY 1 – THAILAND CRUISE HOLIDAY TO LAOS ON MEKONG RIVER: THROUGH REMOTE NORTH-EAST THAILAND – AFTERNOON EMBARKATION (-/-/D) 

After arrival at the Ubon Ratchatani airport transfer by minivan along an international trade route. First you will visit southern the town of Mukhdahan the national park of Pha Taem, impresses with natural rocks shaped almost mushroom like. Mukdahan itself 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. Your cruise director and friendly crew await you (after 2pm) with a warm welcome upon embarkation. 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. Welcome reception and enjoy Southeast Asian specialties, served during your dinner menu on board.
Overnight onboard your river vessel.
 

Mekong Sun Cruise in Laos       Cabin on Mekong Sun Cruise in Laos
Mekong Sun Cruise

DAY 2 – THAILAND CRUISE HOLIDAY TO LAOS ON MEKONG RIVER: RELIGION DISCOVERY AND CRUISE TOUR IN THAT PHANOM (B/L/D)

This morning your cruise begins! 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.
Overnight onboard your river vessel.
 

DAY 3 – THAILAND CRUISE HOLIDAY TO LAOS ON MEKONG RIVER: THAILAND AND LAOS COMBINATION TOUR (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 4-5 – THAILAND CRUISE HOLIDAY TO LAOS ON MEKONG RIVER: NAKHON PHANOM AND PHU WUA NATIONAL PARK (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 National  park. 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.
Phu Wiang National Park in Thailand      Forest Monastery in Thailand
Phu Wua National Park – Forest Monastery

DAY 6 – THAILAND CRUISE HOLIDAY TO LAOS ON MEKONG RIVER: FOREST MONASTERY AND BUDDHIST MONKHOOD (B/L/D)

Breakfast is served on board. 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. 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. 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. At night you will celebrate your farewell dinner together with your crew and captain!
Overnight onboard your river vessel.
 

DAY 7 – THAILAND CRUISE HOLIDAY TO LAOS ON MEKONG RIVER: NONG KHAI – DISEMBARKATION (B/-/-)

Arrival in the town of Nong Khai. 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 need to say good bye to your friendly Laotian crew. (From Nong Khai can go by a short flight back to Bangkok. Or transfer to Udon Thani, where you can reach flights to UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang. Or cross the friendship bridge for a visit to the Lao capitol of Vientiane. We will be happy to arrange transfers accordingly.)
There are many possibilities to continue your exploration of Thailand and/or Laos, e.g. spend a night in Vientiane before starting a flight to Southern Laos in 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!
* NOTE:
This cruise will be operated the first time in early 2010. Until today there are no cruise schedules yet as never before has there been an overnight cruise vessel on this strip of the Mekong. Therefore small changes in the itinerary must be expected and in fact contribute to the expedition atmosphere of this exclusive cruise.
THAILAND CRUISE HOLIDAY TO LAOS ON MEKONG RIVER
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