Vat Phou Cruise, Pakse Laos, Pakse and Southern Laos
The Vat Phou Cruise is a mythical journey down the Mekong River in southern Laos visiting the Vat Phou temple and the '4000 Islands'
Starting from Pakse, you will be transferred by long-tail boat to the beautifully restored Vat Phou rice barge, your luxury live-aboard floating home for the next two nights. Cruising gently down the Mekong the trip combines lazy hours soaking up the fascinating environment and interesting stops to historical sites and ethnic minority villages.
The program is well paced and overseen by extremely knowledgeable guides and the ever-helpful staff. Day one sees a morning departure from Pakse and a slow journey downstream soaking up the views. Following lunch on board the boat stops at the majestic Vat Phou Temple, a pre-Angkorian Khmer temple which is still in very good condition. Shaped to express the Hindu vision of the relationship between nature and humanity, the complex is over 1000 years old and is has been declared as a World Heritage site. Following the exploration of the temple grounds you re-board the boat for a sunset cruise and drinks before dinner. Day two takes in a selection of local villages and temples in the morning. The afternoon sees the boat cruise further downstream towards the 4000 Islands. Before mooring on the banks of the river the boat stops again at some villages to wander round at leisure and observe the wonderfully peaceful and laid-back way of life. Following breakfast on day three you swap back to a long-tail boat and venture through the 4000 Islands, stopping on Si Phun Don for a walk to explore the colonial architecture. Lunch is taken at a riverside restaurant and followed by a visit to the Pha Pheng waterfalls before transferring back to Pakse by minivan.
The boat itself is exceptionally comfortable. The top deck is furnished with chairs, sofas, and daybeds from which to enjoy the meander downstream. A well stocked bar serves drinks and snacks throughout the day. Panoramic views are available from almost any perch. All meals are included in the price and served either on the top deck or the dining room below. A variety of delicious Lao dishes are prepared freshly three times a day in the on-board kitchen. The lower deck is where the wood-panelled cabins are located. Cosy and comfortable, each is fitted with two single beds, a small desk, fan and a/c and en-suite bathroom with hot water shower.
The leisurely cruise along the fascinating Mekong is as relaxing as it is historic and gives extraordinary insight into the ancient civilisation that once shared your path down this mighty waterway. Highly recommended.
Luxury - Luxury hotels would have a superb level of service, very comfortable and usually spacious bedrooms, excellent food, great design and character. For us, when we visited, these places all had the 'wow factor'. A luxury hotel should satisfy the criteria of the most discerning clients.
The guides and drivers couldn't have been better, 10 out of 10. Dao was outstanding. He made the trip extra special for us. His knowledge of the area and the whole country, history etc. was fantastic. He was brilliant with the children too, he made the trip fun, exciting and safe. If ever he was talking to a local in Lao, he would always involve us in the conversation and explain what was happening. At the end of our 9 days with him we didn't want him to go.