Another Mekong Cruise was always on my to do list when travelling with a camera. I didn’t want my first experience in Vietnam to be my last, as it was that good. I chose to take the Shompoo Cruise boat north-west from Luang Prabang to Houay Xai. The cruise takes 2 days with an overnight stop in Pak Beng.
The cost was £95 per person for 2 full days on the boat. That includes 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 2 tour stops at Pak Ou Cave (inc entry fee) and a Hill Tribe Village and refreshments & fruit throughout. Maximum 35 people on board. There were 11 guests on my trip. I read it was better to go upstream as the boats are quieter. I was impressed with the standard of the boat, quality of the home cooked food and the exceptional service.
I found it cheaper to book the cruise when I was in Luang Prabang. Also, book your overnight in Pak Beng independently for cheaper rates.
You can take the standard boat for around £25 to the same destinations. However, no extras are included and the boats can carry around 100 people. I saw several boats leave Houay Xai, both crammed to the rafters. I personally wouldn’t have enjoyed the trip anywhere near as much – it depends on your budget. Take warm clothes for the trip – it is very chilly here in the mornings and more so on the water. Afternoons are hot!
The scenery is great and there is activity to look out for on the water and shoreline. Water buffalo, longboats, fishermen, daily life…
My VLOG of day one, 9-hour trip condensed into 5 minutes.