Our favourite, and by far the most comfortable, way of exploring the Wat Phou and 4000 Islands area is on a fabulous two night journey along the Mekong onboard the elegant Wat Phou Rice Barge. This boutique river-borne hotel is the setting for this journey through the timeless landscapes of Southern Laos. Here, the serenity of this vast and smooth expanse of water is accentuated by the stunning Si Phan Don the “4,000 Islands” and further south, the regions largest waterfalls at Pha Pheng.
The leisurely cruise along the Mekong is as relaxing as it is historic and gives extraordinary insight into the ancient civilization that once shared the path down this mighty waterway. As well as these natural wonders you will explore two man made wonders, namely the awe-inspiring one thousand year old pre-Angkorian temple of Vat Phou and Oun Moung, a city lost in the jungle for centuries.
The boat itself is a 34-metre steel hulled craft converted into a floating luxury hotel. Each of the 12 comfortable and elegant air-conditioned cabins offers two single berths and a private western style bathroom. It has a large front deck with a wide open area for relaxation and a lower deck with an air-conditioned dining room which serves set menus of both western and Lao cuisine, for which the majority of produce is sourced locally, and complemented by a fully stocked bar. All leftover food from the cruises is given to local villagers to help feed their livestock, while all cans, bottles and plastic are recycled.
En route the cruises stop in local villages where guests are cordially invited to contribute money for the construction of schools, the purchase of school books and pencils and also the purchase of sporting equipment for the children of the villages. You will also participate, along with the management and staff, in donating food to the monks which has a two fold purpose of ‘making merit’ and also providing the monastery with food for the day.
Day 1: Pakse - Vat Phou: Set off in the morning south in a long-tail boat. Lunch onboard, then dock at Champassak for a tour of the Vat Phou temple. Later, enjoy a beautiful river sunset, before dinner onboard.
Day 2: Oun Muong – Khong Island: After breakfast onboard, tour through a scenic riverside village to Oum Muong Temple in the forest. Enjoy an afternoon cruising in the 4,000 Islands region. Towards evening, stretch your legs at Ban Duata village, before a dinner onboard.
Day 3: 4,000 Islands - Pakse: Enjoy breakfast onboard and then set off on longtail boat to explore Si Phan Don and its French colonial relics. Lunch at a riverside restaurant is followed by a land transfer to Pha Pheng waterfalls before transferring by road back to Pakse.
On-board facilities include
- Modern safety equipment and lifejackets
- A large front deck with a wide open area for relaxation
- A lower deck with an air-conditioned dining room
- A set menu combining both Laotian and Continental cuisine
- French, English and Thai speaking staff
- A fully-stocked bar