Huay Xai – Luang Prabang, 4 Days – 3 Nights

A slow voyage along the timeless upper Mekong River revealing captivating landscapes, remote native communities and unique cultural insights.

The displayed program below is a sample of a 3-night downstream cruise between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang. Please find our most updated itineraries in the download section.


Day 1:

Heritage Line welcomes our guests at the Thai immigration office in the morning hours (please see details in our Dis-/embarkation guide). Our team assists you with all immigration procedures on both the Thai and Laotian sides (the process of passing through immigration on both sides can take up to one hour). We take care of your luggage, which you may find later in your room on board. After all formalities, we transfer you to the vessel, which is moored at Huay Xai pier. Upon check-in, get acquainted with the ship and settle in your room as we start our downstream journey.

Our first stop today is Huay Palang village, home of the Khmu minority. The locals’ lifestyle here depends fully on the Mekong as a means of transportation and a primary food source. The village consists of approximately 85 families. Learn about the local art of weaving Bamboo mats, which you can try your hand at it if you like. Local households also produce their own alcohol by distilling rice to make the famous Lao whisky. We are sure you are curious to understand all the steps of the production process.

As the sun sets over the Mekong River, we will hold a Baci Ceremony, held by the village elders in your honour for a traditional Laotian welcome. After dinner, there is a famous Laotian “comedy” movie scheduled in our nightly “on-board cinema”. The movie, called “Chang” (Laotian for “elephant”), was shot not far away from our current location in 1927 and was made by the same producer as the first King Kong movie.

Day 2:

Elephant Sanctuary

Early birds are welcome to join our daily morning exercise on the terrace deck (Tai Chi or Yoga is offered every day around sunrise hours). There is no better backdrop than the stunning Mekong scenery to do some morning exercises to start the day.

As we cruise along in the morning, our local expert hosts a lecture about Asian elephants, particularly the Laotian species, their cultural importance in the past and the current threats which have brought them to the brink of extinction.
After lunchtime, we arrive in the small town of Pakbeng. This riverside settlement is halfway between our embarkation at Huay Xai and Luang Prabang. Many locals also stop here when they travel or transport goods between these two “hubs” on the upper Mekong. We pass by the local market scene and visit a beautiful hill-top temple with amazing views of the gently flowing Mekong below.

We then have the chance to expand on the knowledge from our morning lecture when visiting an elephant preservation sanctuary. The elephants here used to work as logging elephants and can live in peace and safety here as they now lack the ability to survive in the wild. The sanctuary is designed under the aspects of ecotourism, and its management looks strongly after sustainable tourism while supporting this threatened species.

Back on board, the journey continues for a few more hours – lay back and enjoy the scenic views as the Anouvong proceeds towards its next destination. At a secluded sandbank, the local ethnic Lao, Khmu and Hmong residents welcome us to the tiny village of Kop Aek. Dive into centuries-old traditions and practices as you immerse yourself in a unique Laotian experience.

As we remain at the sandbank into early evening, kick back with an aperitif accompanied by a classical dance performance by the local people. After the show we have another highlight in store for our guests – a barbecue dinner on the terrace deck as we take in the sights and soothing sounds of nature.

Day 3:

After breakfast, our morning lecture provides you with interesting insights and facts about Laotian culture of the diverse tribes living along the upper Mekong. In addition to the lecture, you are welcome to join an authentic Laotian cooking class to learn how to prepare some of the delightful and easy-to-make local foods. The rest of the morning is at your disposal as we sail through lush vegetation and gently rolling verdant hills.

In the afternoon, we arrive at another little village named Muang Keo. In this village, you can observe local weavers honouring their timeworn traditional crafts. From Muang Keo, we take a short and easy trek to the famous Pak Ou Caves, located directly on the Mekong’s rocky shore and opposite the mouth of the Ou River. There are two spacious limestone grottoes which house approximately 4,000 sacred Buddhist statues and images ranging from mere centimetres up to 2m (7ft) in height.

Once back to the ship we recharge for a little more adventurous action later in the afternoon (optional activity): Take a kayak and discover the peaceful, flowing river on your own and observe life on the shores from a different perspective. Get refreshed before the evening, where we get to meet Mr Francis Engelmann, a writer and retired consultant to UNESCO on heritage preservation projects since 1994. Born in Paris in 1947, Mr. Engelmann has lived in Laos for over 20 years and knows its many facets like the back of his hand. In his presentation, Mr. Engelmann shares some of his expertise on the country’s rich cultural heritage, the turbulent history and the day-to-day life of Lao people.

Our culinary team is pleased to spoil you on your last evening as our chefs have prepared some delectable dishes for dinner. Have a grand time together with your newly made friends and join our staff to celebrate this wonderful journey and dance the night away. The ship moors this evening near Pak Ou.

Day 4:

The last sunrise aboard paired with a morning activity is the perfect way to commence your final day. After enjoying the sumptuous breakfast buffet, we arrive in central Luang Prabang at 10:00 o’clock. Our team assists with your check-out and is happy to help with your luggage as you disembark.

At the Luang Prabang pier, we bid you farewell and wish you a pleasant journey onward.

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