Safety is our prime objective so we only use top spec equipment, as these adventure trips have been structured to minimise risk, yet still keep the adrenalin pumping and having fun. The Mekong River over this section is a Grade 1 to 2 river with only a few rapids and is passable by powered river boats with a shallow draft, but in the rainy season (June to October) the sheer volume of flood water increases the current and skims you along at an impressive 8 km/hour, so not a lot of strenuous paddling required, but it can present some unique challenges.
You’ll be accompanied by a professional, Government certified and licensed guide, who speaks English and has a minimum of 5 years of experience. (Many of our top guides have more than 13 years of experience and have featured in Discovery Channel wild white water kayaking documentaries).
They’ve been trained in outdoor first aid and we carry a comprehensive NZ Mountain Safety Council outdoor adventurer first-aid kit along with other meds and supplies that are necessary for tropical Laos.
You’re in experienced hands.
If you have any medical training please tell your guide before you depart.
All equipment is new, including sit on top, Feel Free Gemini kayaks. Feel Free are designed in New Zealand and was originally established by Ferg or Ian Ferguson. He is New Zealand’s most awarded Olympic sportsman, who has won 4 gold and 1 silver medals for kayaking at the Olympic Games.
The Gemini model is a self draining, tandem kayak (3.8m x 32kg) with comfortable foam seats and backrests, along with drink holder, lightweight paddle, paddle tether, a small, sealed storage compartment for personal items and a wheel in the keel, which makes it easier to manoeuvre once on the beach.
Each kayak also has a GoPro camera base, mounted on the bow, into which you can clip your GoPro camera for shooting either front or rear.
Every seat includes a 10 litre dry-bag for valuables, and any items of value, (phone, wallet, camera, passport, etc) you should secure in Ziploc bags first and then place inside the dry bag, which is snap clipped to the boat in the unlikely event of a spill.
We use hi-viz Reactor kayaking life jackets (manufactured to AS/NZ4758 standard) and are rated at 60N (sizes M to XXL) with zip locked pockets, along with cycling safety helmets (fully adjustable, meets EN 1078 standard), in place of normal kayaking helmets, as they are much cooler to wear in the heat of the tropics.
Each kayak also has an emergency throw rope, which your guide will demonstrate how to use before you set off.
A small ferry boat or long-tail dugout, skippered by a skilled Mekong fisherman who knows every eddy and rapid along this stretch of the river, will also accompany you to haul your packs and provide backup (they don’t speak English). That way your kayak will be more stable and your gear will remain dry should you ever capsize.
For much of the trip you’ll be unplugged, with no mobile coverage or electricity, so give yourself a digital detox and turn your phone off and save the battery. There are USB battery charging facilities on the larger cruise river boat, and some homes in the villages generate their own electricity from small turbines in the river, which can charge your camera or phone via your mains charger.