Exploring the Mekong on a cruise is a memorable and relaxing holiday experience. In Laos, the varied sights and attractions on offer along the river mean that you can easily pass several days, stopping off to visit local villages, trekking to natural wonders or taking photographs at ancient temples.
A cruise along the Mekong takes you back to the 19th Century when French colonial explorers first discovered this incredible region. The river's banks and islands provide a rich habitat for many different bird and animal species while traditional settlements line the course, some of which have hardly changed for hundreds of years. During a cruise along this mighty river, the natural landscape constantly changes with dramatic views around every corner as the the boat navigates the Mekong's winding path. The hinterland is coated in tropical vegetation with striking limestone rocks extending from the earth to the sky. Travelling along one of the world’s most powerful rivers is not only relaxing but also provides an opportunity to learn about the local cultures, flora and fauna in the area.
One of the cultural attractions while cruising the Mekong in Laos is the Wat Phou ruins. This protected ancient temple site is located at the base of a bizarrely formed mountain with a sharp peak and steep, tree clad sides. A 15 metre monolith tops the mountain, and pilgrims pay homage here, believing it to be a natural phallic representation of the Hindu God Shiva. The UNESCO site also features carvings of the female genitalia, called Yoni, and the ruins are said to include some of the most important historical artefacts in South East Asia.
A Mekong cruise aboard a restored and refurbished teakwood ferry boat is both relaxing and comfortable. Modern facilities like air-conditioned cabins with ensuite bathrooms, wide, open deck spaces and an on-board restaurant and bar afford passengers all the luxuries of a good hotel. Friendly, efficient staff cater to every need and also provide insights onto the passing sights and attractions. Dining is a special experience as you can eat on deck, watching the dramatic scenery pass while you indulge in the rich and varied flavours of both Lao and International cuisine.
The Mekong is a powerful force and changing conditions mean that boats tend to navigate slowly and cautiously along the river. On longer trips, the vessel will moor by the river bank or anchor at a village jetty to ensure passengers sleep soundly in safety.