The limestone scenery to the west of Luang Prabang along the Mekong Valley is among the most striking in all of Southeast Asia, and undoubtedly the most comfortable way to experience it is on the Luang Say Company’s wonderful teak pirogue. This 2-day/1-night trip, which may be undertaken in either, or both, directions, is a popular choice for travellers arriving from northern Thailand, as it covers the stretch of the Mekong flowing through the Golden Triangle region of the Thai border to Luang Prabang. The boat itself is a handsome, wood-lined, 34-metre Sampan with a steel hull for extra safety. Passengers sit on padded benches, close to the water level.
The Luang Say makes regular stops at ethnic minority villages along the route, spending a night midway through the cruise at its own dedicated eco-lodge near Pakbeng. Made of beautiful teak and rosewood, the lodge’s 17 spacious stilted bungalows enjoy wide-ranging river views. Each has its own bathroom with hot water on tap, mosquito nets and electric paddle fans. Meals are served in an open-sided restaurant on the waterfront. The beauty of sleeping in this remote spot is that you get to experience dawn over a pristine portion of Mekong, as the sun rises over shreds of mist clinging to the forest canopy.