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29 DAYS - EXPERIENCE MEKONG RIVER WITH LUXURY TRAVEL
29 Days - Experience Mekong River with Luxury Travel
Bangkok, Jinghong, Chiang Rai
Unforgettable: The Mekong River is the lifeblood of South East Asia. In this exclusive Signature Tour from Luxury Travel guests will be escorted down this amazing river from Yunnan Province, China to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Along the way you will visit highlights of China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam as well as see daily life as it happens on the river. With English speaking local guides no question will go unanswered and the beauty, history and activities of the people and places will come alive. From traditional villages to bustling capitals, from ancient temples to modern palaces, pass through or along the borders of six countries on everything from a 34-foot cruise boat to a local long tail boat. The only tour of its kind the Luxury Travel Mekong Experience is an exploration into culture, tradition and history all with the comfort and safety of experienced tour leaders. We are proud to offer this epic journey and invite you to come and Experience the Mekong!

Day 01: Arrival Bangkok ( -/-/Diner)
Today is the very latest you should arrive in Bangkok! We highly recommend you plan to fly in earlier in case of flight delays and to allow time to reset your biological clock before we set off.

Whenever you fly in you will be met by a Luxury Travel representative and taken to your hotel. If you have been staying elsewhere we will help arrange for you to get to the Silom Serene Hotel today.

If you do get in today and arrive late head for bed; otherwise you might like to relax by the pool, catch up on your sleep and recover from jet-lag or head into Bangkok. Overnight at the Silom Serene Hotel

Day 02: Bangkok to Jinghong, China ( Breakfast/-/-)
Breakfast at hotel before heading off to the airport. Our flight from Bangkok Airport departs at 11:35 arriving Jinghong, China at 16:10. On arrival we will be met by our Chinese guide and taken to the hotel. Relax before we meet for dinner at the hotel. Overnight: King Land Hotel

Day 03: Jinghong - Menghun Market (Breakfast/-/-)
We set off with our guide to visit the Market in Menghun. Well known because it is a blaze of color due to the amazing variety of head gear, leggings and locally woven materials worn by the visiting ethnic minorities. This market is a wonderful introduction to the local cultures. We will continue on to visit a pagoda set high above the town giving a commanding view of the area before stopping for lunch. Relax back at the hotel before joining us for dinner at a local traditional hot pot restaurant. Overnight: King Land Hotel

Day 04: Around Jinghong (Breakfast/-/-)
We will start the day at a leisurely pace. In the morning we will explore Jinghong and after lunch in town we will head out to the Tropical Flower and Plant Garden where we will spend the afternoon. Here we can walk thru the plants that make up the local tropical forests and enjoy the peace and tranquility of these beautiful gardens. On the way home we'll stop at a local supermarket to see what is for sale and to buy some snacks for the boat trip tomorrow. Overnight: King Land Hotel

Day 05: Jinghong to Chiang Rai, Thailand ( Breakfast/-/-)
After an early start we board a local passenger boat and head down the Mekong thru the spectacular gorges with mountain-sides covered in bamboo forests. The river is stunning in the early part of the trip and later wends along the border with Myanmar and, at first, China and then Laos. We will pass Chinese Cargo boats, and rocky out-crops as large as cargo boats, navigate minor rapids and wind and twist to avoid sand banks and shallows. After lunch on board we will reach the famed Golden Triangle where Myanmar, Thailand and Laos come together and arrive towards evening at Chiangsaen, Thailand. We transfer to our hotel, the Wiang Inn, from where you can wander into town at your own speed to find a spot for dinner. Overnight at the Wiang Inn

Day 06: Myanmar ( Breakfast/-/-)
Our guide will come with us to Mae Sai where we will walk over the Friendship Bridge to Myanmar. Here we can explore the bustling markets of Ta Chi Lek, find riverside stalls where we can rest, eat, and drink, and observe the trade in jade, rubies, sandalwood, handicrafts, and herbal cosmetics. We will visit the Shan quarter and make a blessing at the Schwedagon replica temple, crossing back into Thailand for lunch at a local restaurant….
In the afternoon we will visit the award-winning Hall of Opium museum; a fascinating journey through the history and influence of the opium trade. Both educative and emotive, this multi-media museum explores the facts and the myths of the crop, which for decades made the Golden Triangle so infamous.

This evening you are free to head into town where there are many restaurants to choose from, a fun night market to wander and the opportunity to relax and experience a Thai massage. Overnight at the Wiang Inn

Day 07: Chiang Rai to Pakbeng, Laos ( Breakfast/Lunch/Diner)
Pack your day pack for a one night stay so we can leave the big bags onboard tonight; include your reading material for the boat ride. We will be picked up from our hotel and taken to the Mekong where we will check out of Thailand before crossing by boat to the Laos Immigration point at Houeisay. After checking in we will take a short tuk-tuk ride to board our boat the beautiful Luangsay.

Fitted out for comfort this 34 meter boat will provide a little luxury for this stretch of our river travels and enable us to relax and watch the countryside slide past, read a book or get to know our fellow travelers a little better. We may see elephants at work on the river banks and will stop and visit a local village before lunch is served on board. Late afternoon we will arrive at the delightful Luangsay Lodge. Dine at the beautiful terraced dining room overlooking the Mekong. at Luangsay Lodge

Day 08:  Pakbeng to Luang Prabang ( Breakfast/-/-)
After breakfast we will stroll down to the river to join the Luangsay again to continue downstream. During the morning we will stop at a Hmong village where traditional rice alcohol has been brewed for centuries and then after lunch at the famous Pac-Ou Caves – the caves of 1000 Buddhas –  before arriving at Luang Prabang.

Our boat will pull into the ancient Royal steps where we will be met and taken to our hotel. From the hotel a quick walk will get you to downtown Luang Prabang which is a delight to explore. Choose your dinner spot from the many restaurants and visit the evening market. Enjoy a performance of the Laos Royal Ballet at the spectacular Royal Palace Museum if there is one scheduled. Overnight at the Mekong View Hotel

Day 09: Luang Prabang City Tour and Kuang Si Waterfall ( Breakfast/-/-)
Wake up at sunrise to give monks morning alms. We'll be accompanied by our guide who can demonstrate the proper method of alms giving and explain this daily Buddhist ceremony. Return to the hotel for breakfast, after which our guide will take us on a tour of the city including The National Museum, Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Visun and Wat Aham

For those who would prefer an afternoon to explore Luang Prabang or wander the banks of the Mekong on their own we will leave you to find a lunch spot on your own and then the afternoon is yours; the rest will leave the city for a scenic drive to visit the stunning Kuang Si Waterfall. On the way we'll stop at a Khmu village for a glimpse of local life. Once at the falls, enjoy a picnic lunch amongst the beautiful scenery and then wind down with a relaxing afternoon dip in the serene pools. A trek is available on a path up the side of the falls for the sure footed.

In the evening experience a traditional Bacci ceremony followed by a traditional Laos dinner with a local family. Overnight at the Mekong View Hotel

Day 10: Elephants and Kayaking ( Breakfast/-/-)
We will be picked up at our hotel and taken to Ban Xienglom Elephant Village, which is on the lush bank of the Nam Khan about 15 km out of town. After crossing the river we will be introduced to the protected Asian elephants and take an hour scenic ride on them. Enjoy the view as you make your way through the tropical forest along the river. We will then take a 15 minute boat ride to the Tad Sae Waterfall where you can relax and swim in the pristine
waters.

Return to the Elephant Village, where those who would like to can take a kayak and paddle for a few hours on the Nam Khan River watching local life along the river as we return to town. Overnight at Mekong View Hotel

Day 11: Luang Prabang to Vientiane ( Breakfast/-/-)
This morning meet Luxury Travel Our Community's Laos coordinator and if possible the Scholarship Students JWOC is sponsoring. Chat with her about the plans for our not-for-profit in Laos, if possible join activities at the local school we support and hear how she will be using the donation from our Mekong Tour to help in the local community.

After lunch we will catch our flight to Vientiane where we check into our hotel, which is well situated downtown. After arriving you can relax around the hotel or walk into town to explore before choosing your spot for dinner. Overnight at Salana Boutique Hotel

Day 12: City tour ( Breakfast/-/Diner)
After breakfast hit the town and take a guided city tour including Haw Pha Kaeo, Wat Si Saket, Pha That Luang, and Patuxai, and Wat Si Muang. Before going to lunch you will stop by the COPE center and learn how the organization is helping the physically disadvantaged in Laos. You may choose to be dropped off for lunch in the center of town or to return to the hotel. In the evening you will be picked up for a traditional dinner including a Lao music and dance performance. Overnight at Salana Boutique Hotel

Day 13: Vientiane to Sala Hine Boune ( Breakfast/Lunch/Diner)
Taking our small packs, packed for two nights, we will leave the busy streets of the city of Vientiane after breakfast and head out into the countryside. We will stop during the journey for lunch at a local restaurant before continuing to a tributary of the Mekong where we will catch a long tail boat upstream to Sala Hin Boun Eco Lodge. Along the way we will pass buffalo cooling in the waters of the river, dodge fish traps and sand banks, and pass below many local villages. The lodge is set on the bank of the river and in the afternoon you can swim in the river or just relax on the balcony of your room and watch the sun set. Overnight at Sala Hin Boun and Sala Konglo Eco Lodges

Day 14: Kong Lo Cave ( Breakfast/Lunch/Diner)
This morning we continue up river for half an hour or so to a village beyond which we need to be in smaller, local boats. We transfer across and our new boatmen will take us up to the mouth of the Kong Lo Cave where we have to clamber over rocks to get around the rapids at the entrance to the cave. Our boatmen work the boats thru to calmer water where, back in the boats, we enter the 4 km long cave, stopping to see formations midway. The rocks here are wet and slippery so getting out is only for the sure footed and don't forget your flashlight!

At times we may have to clamber out to help the boatman get our boat over shallow sandbars in between which the driver expertly propels us, our way lit only by flashlight, thru this amazing limestone tunnel at times 100 meters wide and nearly as high. On the far side you will reach the Shangri-la of Laos, a valley accessible only by this cave or on foot. The villages in this area are dependent on this route thru the mountain, or a footpath over the mountain for all their communication with the outside world!

Once more in day-light, stop for lunch on the bank of the river and a dip in the cool waters before heading back thru the cave to Sala Hin Boun. Overnight at Sala Hin Boun and Sala Konglo Eco Lodges

Day 15: Sala Hine Boune to Pakse ( Breakfast/-/-)
Leaving early we head off in our boats once more to meet our van and luggage down stream and continue on past Pakse, bypassing the section of the river in Southern Laos that can not be navigated. On reaching Pakse we continue down towards Champassak. At the end of our drive we take a short boat ride, once more on the Mekong, to our hotel situated on the tranquil river island of Don Deang. Overnight at La Folie

Day 16: Pakse to Khong Island ( Breakfast/-/-)
Enjoy your morning – you can take a bike ride around the island, laze by the pool or wander into the local village. Then after an early lunch we cross the river to take a short taxi ride to the pre-Angkorian temple ruins of Wat Phou, a World Heritage Site, and visit the stunning, small museum associated with it. This site represents the eastern-most border of the Khmer Empire, and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2002. It is situated on a hillside offering spectacular views of the surrounding plains.

Afterwards we will cross the Mekong and travel by air conditioned van, following the river downstream, towards the 4000 Islands where we take a short boat ride to Khong Island landing at the jetty right by our hotel. Choose your dinner spot from the many local style restaurants along the river front. Overnight at Pon's Arena Hotel.

Day 17: Sala Don Khone Island ( Breakfast/-/-)
We will set off from the hotel early, ready for a morning on the river. Taking a longtail boat ride thru the 4000 islands for about an hour we meet up with our river guides at Don Det Island. After a safety briefing we paddle down to the Old Bridge on Don Khone where we get off the water and travel by land to the southern point of the island, bypassing the large Lipphi Falls, which we see from the shore!

Jump back into the rafts again and start moving downstream meandering through islands towards the Cambodian border where we will look for the rare Irrawaddy dolphins in the dolphin pool at Preah Rumkel. From Veun Kham we will travel by bus to see Khon Pha Peng, “the Niagra of the East” before returning to Don Khong in the afternoon. Overnight at Pon's Arena Hotel.

Day 18: Khong Island to Kratie, Cambodia ( Breakfast/-/-)
This morning we leave for the border. After checking out of Laos we cross the river to check into Cambodia before boarding a boat with our new Cambodian guide. Down river we stop at Stung Treng for lunch after which we visit a local silk weaving project. We continue down-stream by air-conditioned van to Kratie where we can take to the river again to try and see the dolphins if we missed them the day before. Overnight at the Santepheap Hotel.

Day 19: Kratie to Phnom Penh ( Breakfast/-/-)
Today we continue by boat or van to Phnom Penh and check into the comfortable Cambodiana Hotel. There are many good restaurants to choose from in Phnom Penh. Overnight at the Cambodiana Hotel.
 
Day 20: Phnom Penh ( Breakfast/-/-)
This morning we will drive to the notorious Tuol Sleng Prison Museum where our guide will explain the history of the Khmer Rouge and walk us through the different museum displays. We will then head out to the Killing Fields, where a memorial stupa and shallow pits remind visitors of the thousands killed under the Pol Pot Regime.

Returning to town you will have time to relax or stroll along the river front before finding a restaurant of your choice for dinner. Overnight at the Cambodiana Hotel.

Day 21: Phnom Penh to Siem Reap ( Breakfast/-/-)
In the morning our guide will meet us at our hotel and take us on a tour of the Royal Palace, still the residence of the king. See the amazing royal collection and the beautiful architecture before heading to the National Museum where pre-Angkorean pieces, as well as special pieces from the temples are housed. Take a tour of the museum with a trained museum guide. Enjoy lunch at Friends a restaurant benefiting at risk street children before catching our flight to Siem Reap where we will check into Overnight at Victoria Hotel & Resort.

We can arrange for a tuk-tuk to take you into town for dinner or you can relax and enjoy the pool and dinner at the hotel. Overnight at Victoria Hotel & Resort

Day 22: Angkor Wat ( Breakfast/-/-)
For anyone prepared to wake up early our guide will escort you to Angkor Wat to watch the sun rise over this amazing building.  Return to the hotel for breakfast then all head out to Angkor Wat in an air conditioned van with our guides to explore this majestic temple throughout the morning while it is still cool and has fewer tourists. We will go back to city for lunch. Over lunch we will be joined by JWOC's Managing Director who will then take us to see the community center and explain what JWOC is achieving in the poorest of the poor communities in the immediate area around JW and JWOC and how they will be using the donation from our tour.

Later in the afternoon we head to Angkor Thom, the famous walled city to see the many fascinating temples within its borders, including Bayon temple with its spectacular faces. Watch the sunset over Angkor Wat, or climb Phnom Bakheng and watch the sunset from on high. Overnight at Victoria Hotel & Resort

Day 23: Banteay Srei ( Breakfast/-/-)
After breakfast travel in an air conditioned van with your guide to Banteay Srei, the intricately carved temple just 30 km beyond Angkor Wat. On your way back stop at the Land Mine Museum, a rather humble look at the land mine problem, past and present, in Cambodia. Lunch downtown or back at the hotel as you choose meeting our guide later in the afternoon to go back to the temples where we will visit Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, two of the prettiest temples in the complex. Overnight at Victoria Hotel & Resort

Day 24: Siem Reap to Chau Doc, Vietnam ( Breakfast/Lunch/Diner)
Starting early we will catch the public ferry to Phnom Penh where we will lunch on the river front. After lunch our private boat will collect us from the jetty and we head down river checking out of Cambodia and into Vietnam along the way. Watch as the pace of life on the river changes from the occasional, peaceful Cambodian fisherman to the busy commercial comings and goings of Vietnamese traders.

Early evening arrive at the ‘Mekong Feeling’. Board this beautiful boat where staff will be waiting to welcome us and help us to check in. Enjoy the prepared snacks as we relax and watch the sun set over the river. Dinner will be served around 7pm followed by our own time onboard Overnight onboard the ‘Mekong Feeling’

Day 25: Chau Doc to Cantho ( Breakfast/Lunch/Diner)
Enjoy a relaxed breakfast this morning watching the river waking up around us. Casting off the Mekong Feeling will progress downstream towards Cho Moi, a small town tourists rarely get to experience. Along the river we will pass commercial ships, fishing boats, cargo boats and family floating businesses, both big and small.

At Cho Moi, transfer to a small boat to cruise through the canals witnessing local daily life. We will stop and stretch our legs with a walk though a small village to see and learn about the craft of hand-weaving bamboo baskets. Back on board the ‘Mekong Feeling’ enjoy our lunch as the boat makes it way deeper in to the southern-most part of the Mekong. As we reach the area of Long Xuyen and Thot Not we will have some more time on land. This time with the opportunity to learn about a family run brick-making businesses.

Relax back on board and as the afternoon draws to a close we will find ourselves nearing Can Tho ready for our second night onboard. Watch the sunset followed by dinner while the boat anchors at a peaceful spot for the night. Overnight onboard the ‘Mekong Feeling’

Day 26: To the East Sea! ( Breakfast/-/-)
Today is a long day, but we must make it to the sea and the end of the Mekong! We'll be up early and depart the ‘Mekong Feeling’ after breakfast to visit the floating market at Can Tho, one of the largest and busiest on the delta. Over the day we will make our way down thru the Mekong Delta to toast our arrival at the South China Sea, before heading back up river for lunch on Phoenix Island in My Tho. Our river journey will end in Saigon where we will be met at Bach Dang Wharf and taken to the Majestic Hotel. Relax for a while before we head out for dinner. Overnight at the Majestic Hotel

Day 27: Cu Chi Tunnels ( Breakfast/-/-)
Today is an 8 am start. Leaving Saigon behind and heading northwest into Tay Ninh province we will find the Cao Dai Great Temple. Along the way we can stop for a short break to stretch our legs and meet Kim Phuc's family (The Girl in the Picture). Later, at the temple, we will see where Cao Daism is practiced and witness the midday mass. Cao Daism is a unique religion worshiping Jesus, Confucius and Buddha!

After lunch in a local restaurant we will be driven back in a southeasterly direction to arrive at the Cu Chi tunnels. Here we will learn about, and be given the opportunity to descend into, the tunnels themselves where the guerrilla fighters constructed an amazing underground base and village network during the French Resistance, and the Vietnam War. Finally, to end our trip, we will be taken to the private home of Mr. Nam, a war veteran of the Vietnamese/American war. Here we will have the opportunity to meet and chat with him and his family whilst enjoying a delicious home cooked dinner before heading back to Saigon. Overnight at the Majestic Hotel

Day 28: Ho Chi Minh City Tour ( Breakfast/-/-)
After breakfast enjoy a full day city tour including: Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Hall, History Museum, Thien Hau Lady Godess Pagoda and Jade Emperor Pagoda. Have lunch at a local restaurant and then visit the War Remnants Museum, a powerful look at the Vietnam War. Enjoy our final dinner together as we cruise the Saigon River. Overnight at the Majestic Hotel.

Day 29: HCMC to Bangkok, Thailand ( Breakfast/-/-)
Our guide will take us to the airport to catch our flight arriving Bangkok in time to catch an evening onward flight.

If you would like to extend your stay in Vietnam or go on to enjoy a few days of relaxation, perhaps on the beaches of Phuket, please let us know, and we will be happy to help you plan your extra days.

We definitely advise you to get to Thailand before the tour starts and will be happy to help you arrange any extra days you have if you would like us to. If you would like a few days in Bangkok before the tour starts, we are happy to book you in at Silom Seene or any other hotel of your choice and to arrange any tours you might like to do.

Tour Includes:

  • Western tour leaders from Luxury Travel Tour Company
  • Accommodation every night as described
  • Meals: all breakfasts, lunches and dinner when shown in the itinerary
  • Flights: Bangkok to Jinghong; Luang Prabang to Vienienne; Phnom Penh to Siem Reap; Saigon to Bangkok
  • English speaking local guides
  • Road transport in air conditioned vans
  • River transport in a variety of boats
  • Tips for local guides and drivers
  • Entry fees to attractions in the itinerary

Not Included:

  • Visas and visa stamping fees
  • Airport taxes, entry and exit fees
  • Alcohol
  • Dinners and lunches when not on the itinerary
  • Tips for personal services received
  • Personal expenses

Remark: Keeping up a tradition started a few years ago, Luxury Travel Company
will donate a portion of each traveler's fare to different regional projects, and guests
will visit these communities to see the results of their donations. ***

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