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8 Days Nong Khai - Mukhdahan with RV Mekong Explorer


Day 1: Welcome aboard - embarkation (D)

Your cruise director and friendly crew await you this afternoon (after 2pm) with a warm welcome upon embarkation near the town of Nong Khai. (Nong Khai can be reached by a short flight or by train from Bangkok to Udon Thani (UTH) as well as onland with a transfer from the Lao capitol of Vientiane across the friendship bridge. Upon request we will be happy to arrange transfers accordingly.) Attend our welcome reception and enjoy Southeast Asian specialties served during your dinner menu on board. Overnight onboard your river vessel.

Day 2: Your cruise experience begins today (B, L, D)

Breakfast is served on board. In the morning we will take you on a excursion to the historical park of Phu Prabat, impressed with natural rocks shaped almost mushroom like. Phu Phrabat has also been a sacred place for centuries and has recently enlisted to become a UNESCO world heritage site. From a temple close by you can enjoy one of the most impressive Mekong-views along the river in this region. Upon returning aboard your cruise experience begins. Lunch is served aboard while cruising leisurely in a few hours from the small town of Sri Chiangmai downriver towards Nong Khai. In the evening you can stroll along the river promenade or bargain at the colorful Indochina market in town. Dinner and overnight aboard your cruise vessel.

Day 3: Bizarre sculptures in Nong Khai (B, L, D)

In the morning, a guided tour will get you acquainted with the bizarre, yet interesting Buddhist-Hindu sculpture park. Upon your return aboard your cruise experience continues. 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 Explorer. At night your vessel is moored at a secluded sandbank or at a small village pier. After dinner, a documentary shows the river flow of the Mekong from the Tibetan highlands all the way to the East Sea. Overnight onboard your river vessel.

Day 4 - 5: Pioneering cruise expedition through remote North-East Thailand (B, L, D)

While enjoying your breakfast on board you will reach the starting point for your next shore excursion. 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. On the fifth day you will go on a short and easy trek (approx. 1 hour) through the tropical environment of Phu Wua National Park. In the afternoon you will cross the river into Laos (as the next immigration office is several driving hours away Mekong River Cruises arranges for a special permit by the provincial Lao government that their guests can enter Laos today without having to pass immigration). Continue to the small village of Pak Khading where we join a long-tail boat for a trip up the Nam Khading River to visit a remote village. Returning back to Thailand and your cruise vessel; continue your cruise further south. Overnight onboard your river vessel.

Day 6: Nakhon Phanom (B, L, D)

In this region picturesque karst-mountains pass by on the Lao side of the river. After a few hours cruise along the mighty Mekong - “the mother of all waters” as the locals call the river here - you will reach the provincial town of Nakhon Phanom. You will get acquainted with the town during a short city tour on a motor-rikscha/TukTuk or by foot. The governor’s palace was formerly the residence of the Thai kings while visiting this part of the country, today it serves as a local museum. In the late 1920s Ho Chi Minh planned and organized the Vietnamese communist movement from his exile in Nakhon Phanom. Your will visit the house where he lived during these years. 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.

Day 7: Thailand and Laos - two worlds apart yet so close (B, L, D)

This morning you will cross the river into Laos (see below for visa requirements for Laos). In the town of Thakhek you will find many remaining buildings from the French colonial era. Once planned to become the capitol of Laos under French rule, today’s Thakhek is a typical charming and sleepy Lao provincial town that you get acquainted with during a guided stroll. 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. After returning back to Thailand 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. At night you will celebrate your farewell dinner together with your crew and captain! Overnight onboard your river vessel.

Day 8: Farewell to Isaan! (B, L)

After breakfast you will disembark and leave with your entire luggage. You can leave towards Ubon Ratchathani (UBP) from where frequent flights to Bangkok are offered by Thai Airways. If time allows you will be visiting the Ubon national museum after your lunch in a local restaurant. End of service in the afternoon upon reaching Ubon Ratchathani airport.*
There are many other 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!
NOTE: Every river cruise on the Mekong is a pioneer experience and is subject to constantly changing river conditions, including from floodwaters and shallows. Therefore please understand that we must reserve the right to alter the itinerary of this tour due to the logistical complexities involved. Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, local authorities and river and/or road conditions. For safety reasons and according to navigating conditions, these programs may be amended without previous notice.

* The cruise is also operated in the opposite direction starting with the bus transfer from Ubon Ratchathani airport in the morning and ending with the transfer out to Nong Khai. All services are identical and the same program will then be conducted from south to north!
Not available in 2014!
Destination: Nong Khai - Phu Phrabat - Nakhon Phanom - Ubon Ratchathani
EUR2220 - EUR4330

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