How to Plan the Perfect Mekong River Cruise
A Journey of a Lifetime
Discover the magic of Indochina as you cruise along the Mekong River. Join the river on its journey as it winds its way around the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea. The river cruise is one to savour and it’s ideal to explore southeast Asia. Sail past ancient mountain temples and old gipsy villages famous for stilt houses. Plan your cruise of the Mekong River with care and you can embark on a journey of discovery, as this article on how to plan the perfect Mekong River cruise explains.
Understanding the Magical Allure of the Mekong River
The Mekong River was thought of as the final frontier for explorers to savour. This was in the 1990s. Along the northern edge of the river are the borders of Thailand and the regions of Laos, which lay off-limits due to constraints laid down by communism. And around 1995, the highlight of a tour was crossing the Friendship Bridge, which spanned across the Nong Khai border to the Laos capital of Vientiane.
Amongst this fine adventure, the Luang Prabang area of the Mekong River is the most fascinating. The area is home to lush forests and old villages. Overall, the entire journey along the Mekong is a kind of step back in time, since you cruise past ancient temples and historical sites, and those famous stilt villages. The best Mekong River cruise is the Luang Prabang sunset cruise. An experience to savour, this tour takes you across the misty mountains of Laos and past ancient wonders, with a chance to relax to your heart’s content. Some fine experiences are promised by Mekong Kingdoms and other Mekong River tour operators on chic gipsy boats refurbished to perfection.
The Golden Triangle Tour of the Mekong River
One of the more popular routes to take when doing the Mekong River cruise is the Golden Triangle route, which covers Chiang Rai in Thailand, Chiang Khong in Laos, and Pak Beng in Luang Prabang. The Luang Prabang cruise is perfect for unwinding on the water and rejuvenating your mind, body, and soul. The temples of Thailand are a great treat for the culture buffs and curious tourists while cruising amidst the tall mountains of Laos is quite awe-inspiring.
Along the way, you can stop at Hmong Village. There, make sure to explore the famous rice whisky distillery known as Lao-Lao. As you head closer to Luang Prabang, get ready to explore the Pak Ou Caves.
These caves are rustic beauties that promise to take you back in time to an era of magical allure. The caves are carved into limestone cliffs and are decorated with images of the Buddha, lovingly put there by ardent devotees over a period of time. Your journey ends in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to dozens of temples. And in the pre-dawn light, you can watch in fascination as saffron-clad monks create a line of tranquillity, as they meander along the streets in search of daily alms.
Plan an Excursion to the Tham Kong Lor Caves
If you can, plan to visit these magical caves. The Tham Kong Lor Caves are located along a jungle river that takes you deep into the mountainside of Laos. The limestone caves are located within the Phu Hin Bun National Park. There, you can see the legendary underground cave, which was discovered by villagers in the 16th century according to ancient folklore. The experience is one to savour, with many likening the underground waterway to the River Styx from Greek mythology.
The Journey Further Up the River is Rewarding
The Mekong River widens as it flows deeper into Laos until it becomes part of Cambodia’s waterfalls. This part of the river was once part of the mighty Khmer Empire and you get to see the remains of Wat Phu, built at the base of the Lingaparvata Mountain. At Si Phan Don, the river branches out, thus creating a tranquil archipelago. Take out the cameras as you pass the magnificent Khon Phapheng Falls, aptly dubbed the ‘Niagara of the East’. On this route, you are treated to sights of fishermen using traditional methods to trap fish. Make sure to stop and taste some traditional dishes like the spicy laap salad.
There is more, of course, to savour on a Mekong River Cruise. All you need is the right tour guide, the perfect Mekong River cruise operator, and you can enjoy the journey of a lifetime.