Services commence with a bus transfer from the Airport in Ubon Ratchathani to the ship. Please advise flight details well in advance of arrival.
Day 1: Ubon Ratchathani
You will be met at the airport and taken by bus to the Mekong Explorer, where the captain and crew will be waiting to greet you. Tonight there will be a welcome reception on the ship, before a dinner of South East Asian specialities.
Day 2: Thailand and Laos
This morning you can cross the river and enter into Laos. In the town of Thakhek you can see many buildings dating back to the French colonial era, such as the 19th century Governor's Palace. Even though the French planned to make Thakhek the capital of Laos under their rule, the town of today is a sleepy yet interesting provincial market town. As recently as 2004, a Buddhist grotto was discovered at the foot of the karst mountain panorama on the town's outskirts and you will be able to visit this grotto as part of today's excursion. Returning to Thailand you reach the pilgrim centre of That Phanom. Legend says that Buddha himself came here to command that one of his breastbones be treasured here as a reliquary after his death.
Day 3: Nakhon Phanom
Today you will reach the provincial town of Nakhon Phanom. Take a tour of the town on foot or by tuk tuk. The Governor's Palace was once a residence for Thai kings when they visited this part of the country and now serves as the town museum. In the late 1920's Ho Chi Minh planned the Vietnamese communist movement from his base in exile here and today you can visit the house where he lived. In the evening, why not join your guide for a drink in a local bar before returning to the ship for the night?
Days 4 - 5: Cruising through North-Eastern Thailand
Enjoy the sight of picturesque mountains on the Lao side of the river as your cruise continues upstream. A short drive from the ship lies an impressive cliff monastery, standing high above the rice paddies. Western visitors are a rare sight here and are very welcome. Take a short trek through the tropical environment of the Phu Wua National Park and cross the river into Laos. Here you will call at the small village of Pak Khading where you will take a longtail boat trip up the Nam Khading River to visit a remote village. Returning into Thailand, rejoin the Mekong Explorer to continue cruising northwards
Day 6: Nong Khai Sculpture Park
Continue cruising along this quiet stretch of the river and enjoy a presentation on how the tropical fruits grown in the region are utilised in traditional local medicine. In the afternoon there will be a tour of the bizarre, yet interesting Hindu Sculpture Park in Nong Khai.
Day 7: Phu Prabat - Nong Khai
Today you will enjoy an excursion to the historical park of Phu Prabat, which has recently enlisted to become a UNESCO World heritage Site. Here you can see the strange natural rock formations and enjoy the river views from a nearby temple. In the evening, the Mekong Explorer docks at Nong Khai where you can take a walk along the river promenade or snap up a bargain at the colourful market in town.
Day 8: Nong Khai
Your cruise of North-Eastern Thailand comes to an end today as you disembark in Nong Khai for your onward journey.
Disembark in Nong Khai on the final day. Exact timings to be advised upon confirmation. Please note that in low water season (usually from mid January - March), you may need to spend the first night of your tour in a panoramic hotel by the river and then meet the ship north of Nakhon Phanom. Excursions on the last two days will then be by road.
- 7 Nights' accommodation on board the Mekong Explorer
- Full Board (from dinner on day 1 to lunch on your last day) including water, tea and coffee with meals
- All sightseeing and excursions as detailed in the itinerary
- Presentations and lectures by your Cruise Director
- Transfers to/from Nong Khai or Ubon (depending on cruise direction)
- International transportation
- Transfers between the Mekong Explorer and Udon Thani/UTH (Transfers can be booked at an additional supplement of 85 EUR single traveler and 43 EUR for two people traveling together)
- Alcoholic and soft drinks
- Visa for excursions into Laos (most nationalities are eligable to apply for a Lao Visa On Arrival, or VOA, at a cost of approximately USD 30. You will need to bring USD cash and a passport sized photo with you. Please check with your embassy if you are eligable). Please note that visa costs are subject to change without notice.