Monks crossing the Mekong River in Lao PDR. Asian Development Bank / Creative Commons
Flowing from the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea, the Mekong River runs through several countries including Laos. And from the river, visitors get to see one of Southeast Asia’s more enchanting countries from its small rural villages, jungle-covered peaks, unspoiled sand banks, and deep gorges.
North of Luang Prabang, the upper part of the Mekong is where many river cruises begin their adventure. Depending on your budget and travel style, vessels plying the Mekong range from replicas of colonial river steamers and restored ferries with comfortable cabins to passenger boats that dock in riverside villages where you can stay the night.
While most trips start or end in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, they also make stops at riverside villages that can include Nong Khiew, Muang Ngoi, and Pak Ou, among others. Aside from seeing an ample amount of the Laos countryside and stunning stretches of the outdoors, some river cruises that start and finish in the southern city of Pakse can include visiting historic and cultural attractions such as the Vat Phou and the Oum Muong ruins.
Wherever you may begin or end or go to in between during your Mekong River Cruise, don’t forget to catch the beautiful sunset view.
Mekong River fishermen. chrissusieking / Creative Commons.
Melissa on the Mekong River, Laos. Matthew Klein / Creative Commons.
Similar Southeast Asia Experiences
The rivers of Southeast Asia provide ample opportunity for adventure! Neighboring Cambodia also goes to town with river-based experiences like meeting Mekong River dolphins, exploring water-based towns at Tonle Sap, and cruising from the Mekong at Phnom Penh. Elsewhere in the region, Melaka in Malaysia, Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei, and Ayutthaya in Thailand also offer river-based cruises.