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SIGNATURE MOMENT
Soaking in the multicultural atmosphere of laidback Vientiane
SIGNATURE MOMENT
Savouring local cuisine on board our lovely brass and teak river cruiser
SIGNATURE MOMENT
Joining locals in almsgiving to monks in Luang Prabang
SIGNATURE MOMENT
Marvelling at the hundreds of Buddhas in the Pak Ou caves
SIGNATURE MOMENT
Watching the diverse tropical scenery of the Mekong unfold

Upper Mekong River Cruise

Laurielle Penny recently hosted an informative webinar about this tour! Click here to watch (28 mins)
 
The mighty Mekong runs the length of Laos, its course shaping the country’s history and culture. In a place where life is lived to the rhythms of “Mother River,” the Mekong is a valuable spiritual and material resource: a holy waterway lined with temples. A source of water for rice paddies and coffee plantations. A provider of food, in the form of endless varieties of fish. An indispensable thoroughfare for trading goods and transporting people. As Laos develops, an increasingly important yet deeply controversial source of hydroelectric power.

Our ten-night, exclusively chartered Upper Mekong River cruise is the perfect way to discover the cultural and ecological richness of life along this fabled river. Our journey combines visits to major cultural and religious sites and traditional villages with ample sailing time to enjoy the panorama of the brilliant green landscape. We are on board the newly built (2016) R/V Champa Pandaw; enjoy all the comforts of handcrafted luxury, superb cuisine, and the intimacy of vessel with just 28 passengers.

Our adventure starts in the capital, Vientiane, where traditional Buddhist stupas sit alongside beaux-arts villas, a legacy of decades of French rule over Indochina. Friendly Vientiane offers excellent markets and plenty of cafés serving strong Lao coffee and baguette with local pâté. We then leave urban life behind to immerse ourselves in the northern Lao backcountry, where the lush jungle occasionally gives way to small market villages, elephant camps, and natural treasures such as the Khaung Si waterfall. We’ll also make a stop in the city of Luang Prabang, a Unesco World Heritage site full of beautifully preserved temples and boasting a dynamic culinary scene. Our river voyage ends at the Golden Triangle, a corner of Southeast Asia that’s had an outsize effect on global geopolitics owing to its role in opium production.

Our trip continues with four nights in the beautiful mountains of northern Thailand. Traditional and contemporary meet in Chiang Rai, where we’ll visit the workshops of prominent Thai artists and stop at a modern Hindu–Buddhist temple/art installation that combines religious and pop culture imagery. In Chiang Mai, historic temples take centre stage. We’ll admire the magnificent naga (dragon-headed serpent) staircase at Wat Pra That Doi Suthep and have an opportunity to meditate in the peaceful wooded setting of the 12th-century Wat Umong.

An optional pre-tour visit to the mystifying Plain of Jars and a post-tour stay in Bangkok round out this exceptional experience.
Cultural Explorations Expedition Cruise Classic Explorations

Laos | 15 days
Cultural Explorations

Dates:
Feb 15 - Mar 01, 2019
Cost:
US$6345 for Main Deck (Incl. US$350 taxes and gratuities)
Group Size:
Limited to 26 participants

Includes:
Accommodation for 4 nights based on double occupancy in hotels listed or similar, accommodation for 10 nights based on double occupancy on board the RV Champa Pandaw, meals as indicated in the itinerary, all meals while on board the RV Champa Pandaw, complimentary coffee, water, tea, soft drinks, local beer, local spirits, juices while on board, kimonos and slippers in your cabin on board, cultural performances and cooking classes on board, series of on-board presentations by our study leader and local guides, sightseeing with qualified English-speaking guides, all activities and entrance fees, airport transfers for participants arriving and departing per the group itinerary, fully escorted by your Worldwide Quest tour leader. Taxes and gratuities of US$350 are included. 

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Meet in Vientiane
Day 2: Embarkation in Vientiane and a tour of the capital’s highlights
Day 3: Sailing the Mekong and an introduction to Lao culture
Day 4: Morning river cruise and afternoon exploration of Pak Lai market town
Day 5: A morning on the river and afternoon visit to Ban Park Bor tribal village
Day 6: An ambitious power project and Ban Muang Khai village
Day 7: A day of colour with waterfalls, butterflies, and gilded Buddhas
Day 8: Almsgiving and a tour of royal Luang Prabang
Day 9: Dramatic Pak Ou Buddhist caves and onward journey to Ban Bo
Day 10: In the backcountry touring the Pak Beng market town and traditional Ban Pak Sip
Day 11: Scenic sailing to Chang Khong
Day 12: Disembarkation in Chiang Saen and transfer to Chiang Rai
Day 13: The famous “White Temple” and scenic drive to Chiang Mai
Day 14: A tale of two temples...Peaceful Wat Umong and golden Wat Doi Suthep
Day 15: Depart Chiang Mai
Get a Detailed Itinerary >

Ship Information

We have exclusively chartered the 20-passenger RV Champa Pandaw. One of the famed Pandaw fleet, the 44.5-metre ship built in 2015 is handcrafted in brass and teak. The K-class ships have ultra-shallow drafts designed to reach remote areas. The 10 main deck staterooms are each a spacious 150 square feet. Cabins do not have minibars, telephones, or internet. They do however have panoramic French sliding doors, premium mattresses, plenty of electrical outlets, and A/C with individual controls. There is ample outdoor deck space and a flexible bistro space offering indoor and outdoor dining. The ship has mountain bikes on board for your independent exploration. A local master chef heads an experienced international culinary team; daily lean and light menu options are available as are delicious European-style options.

Your Tour Leader

Paula Swart is a museum curator and expert on Asian culture and history. Paula has degrees in Sinology, Asian art history, Chinese history, and archaeology and has published several books and numerous articles on the art and architecture of Asian cultures. Paula is a lecturer at the University of British Columbia and has recently been teaching courses on UNESCO World Heritage sites at the UBC Summer Institute and the University of Victoria.

Ready for More?

You can request a detailed itinerary for this tour or call 1.800.387.1483 or email us with any questions or to reserve your booking!
Cultural Explorations Expedition Cruise Classic Explorations

Laos | 15 days
Cultural Explorations

Dates:
Feb 15 - Mar 01, 2019
Cost:
US$6345 for Main Deck (Incl. US$350 taxes and gratuities)
Group Size:
Limited to 26 participants

Includes:
Accommodation for 4 nights based on double occupancy in hotels listed or similar, accommodation for 10 nights based on double occupancy on board the RV Champa Pandaw, meals as indicated in the itinerary, all meals while on board the RV Champa Pandaw, complimentary coffee, water, tea, soft drinks, local beer, local spirits, juices while on board, kimonos and slippers in your cabin on board, cultural performances and cooking classes on board, series of on-board presentations by our study leader and local guides, sightseeing with qualified English-speaking guides, all activities and entrance fees, airport transfers for participants arriving and departing per the group itinerary, fully escorted by your Worldwide Quest tour leader. Taxes and gratuities of US$350 are included. 

WHAT THEY SAY:

"I greatly enjoyed interacting with the genuinely friendly people of Laos."

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Worldwide Quest Int.
491 King Street East
Toronto, ON M5A 1L9 Canada

toll-free: 1-800-387-1483
phone: + 416-633-5666
email: travel@worldwidequest.com
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