Few travelers in Thailand will undertake this magical journey and follow the winding Mekong River deep into the northeastern borderlands amongst rugged mountains, past rice fields and villages shaped by age old Thai-Lao Buddhist culture.
Settled since the Bronze Age, even the name Isaan, as the region is popularly called, refers to Isana, the ancient Sanskrit name of a pre-Khmer kingdom, that once flourished here. Pristine National Parks full of wildlife, some of Thailand’s most significant temples, breathtaking Nakhon Phanom and a sweet-natured people – northeastern Thailand is in many ways the kingdom’s heartland and the old Thai customs and strong cultural bonds to Laos and Cambodia remain intact.
We follow the Mekong over hundreds of Kilometers from the charming French-Lao style riverside town of Chiang Khan all the way to Khong Chiam, where the Mekong leaves the borderlands and flows into Laos and adapt to the rhythm of life along the great river. Selected hikes, rarely visited places and spectacular temples bring us close to the land, its nature and its people.
Departures all year-round on request!
Prices: On Request.
Day 1 - 2
Bangkok’s Highlights Arrive in Bangkok and transfer to hotel. Explore Bangkoks highlights including the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Keow, Wat Arun and the Klongs of Thonburi.
Day 3 - 4
Phu Wiang Domestic flight to Khon Kaen and continue to idyllic countryside of Phu Wiang. Reside in a small garden resort near the local temple and evening food market and hike in the Phu Wiang National Park through dry deciduous Dipterocarp forest to dinosaur excavation sites and forest view points.
Day 5 - 6
Phu Kradueng National Park and pre-historic cave paintings Famous amongst Thais, seldom visited by foreigners, Phu Kradueng Mountain (950m) is well worth the hike up to the vast summit Plateau and hike to Suan Hin Pha Ngam’s rugged rock formations, its protected forests and bronze-age mural paintings.
Loei Drive to the pleasant town of Loei. The afternoon is free to explore the picturesque town, its local markets at the Loei river, all within a short walking distance from your hotel.
Day 8 - 9
Chiang Khan and the great Mekong Drive to the charming riverside town of Chiang Khan at the great Mekong River. This remarkably beautiful town is perfect to rest a day and to adapt to the slow pace of life along the great river. Beautiful temples, old French-Lao style wooden houses, friendly, open people and small restaurants along the riverfront invite to stroll around explore this truly magical place. For those more active, optional bicycle and canoe tours can be arranged.
Day 10 - 11
Follow the Mekong to Nong Khai and Nakhon Phanom Drive the wonderful route along the Mekong through pretty villages with unforgettable river vistas to the most remote province of the kingdom. Join a river dinner sunset cruise in Nong Khai and hike in the forests of the Phu Wua Wildlife Sanctuary and continue to Nakhon Phanom, simply the most beautiful town at the Mekong River.
Ho Chi Minh, a Lao Buddhist style Chedi and the Mukdahan Indochina market Visit the wooden 1920′s home of Ho Chi Minh, from where he organized the struggle for independence from France. Visit the highly revered Lao style chedi in Renu Nakhon and the 57 m high Wat Phra That Phanom in That Phanom, most important Lao Buddhist style chedi of all of Isaan, visible from several kilometers away. Continue to Mukdahan and stroll around the riverfront Indochina market.
Day 13 - 14
Mukdahan National Park, pre-historic murals and the two-colored river Hike the Phu Pha Toep nature trail at Mukdahan National Park and drive to Pha Thaem, hike to the kingdoms most important prehistoric murals of animals, human figures and hunting scenes, thought to be at least 3000 to 4000 years old. Continue to Khong Chiam, where the Mekong flows into Laos to spend the last evening.
Departure Transfer to the airport of Ubon Ratchathani, domestic flight to BKK.