This Mouhot Explorer – 2 day kayaking adventure on the Mekong with village home-stay tour is our most challenging explorer adventure. It’s the Garnier Tour lite, the same as the Garnier Tour (3D/2N) but omits the overnight beach camp and is a full day’s kayaking trip down the river to Luang Prabang after leaving Ban Lad Khammune. A reasonable level of fitness is required as ~60kms needs to be kayaked in a single day. However, the fast current certainly helps and will whip you along without too much effort. We’ll also make regular stops for snacks and water.
Whether you’re arriving from Chiang Khong/Huay Xai or Luang Prabang you’ll arrive at Ban Lad Khammune about midday where you’ll meet your guide and host family. You can then spend some time exploring the village, have a swim, trek up to the Tadtom waterfall, play Pétanque, talk and play with the children at the school, visit the temple, or just chill out on the beach with a beer in the sun.
After dinner you will be welcomed with a traditional, warm Laos Baci (bicee) ceremony, a national custom, complete with the local village “band”.
Baci is a spiritual ritual to celebrate important events and occasions, like births and marriages, and welcoming strangers. This ancient ceremony is a very humbling and authentic experience, as the village elders line up to tie a cotton thread around your wrist to welcome you and also wish you good luck and safe travels.
You may then be entertained by the school dance troupe with graceful, traditional Laos dances, who may ask you to join them.
They have initiated this cultural entertainment themselves and resurrected Laos classical dance tuition at the school.
As a general rule should they ever ask, do not give money to villagers. Ask your guide if in doubt, he’s there to help.
If you’re lucky enough to have Xangnoi (pronounced Sarngnoy) as your guide he’ll probably have his guitar with him and if you want can spend the night on the beach swapping travel stories, singing and listening to the music.
On the second day following breakfast you’ll be briefed by your guide on the day’s plan along with how to use the kayaking equipment and safety procedures, and your bags will be loaded aboard the support boat. After about 20 clicks we’ll take a drink break on a river beach, then a few rapids later we’ll arrive at the famous Pak Ou Caves, home of over 1,000 Buddha images nestled deep inside a limestone cave, where we’ll stop for 45 minutes for you to take a look. (Your entry fee is included in the tour price).
Off downstream again we’ll stop for a picnic lunch at a Buddhist temple called Wat Don Koun on an island, before arriving at Ban Don Mai port late afternoon, where a tuk-tuk will whisk you back to Luang Prabang and drop you off outside the central Post Office at the crossroads in Chao Fa Ngum Road opposite the new Azerai Hotel.
This fabulous 60 km trip from Ban Lad Khammune to Luang Prabang is a trip of a lifetime, don’t miss it. It won’t last long, as many dams are planned and this magnificent river wilderness will soon be inundated.
Whether you’re coming downriver by slow boat from Chiang Khong (in Thailand) and/or Huay Xai in Laos (across the Mekong River from Chiang Khong); or upriver from Luang Prabang, our kayaking tours all start from Ban Lad Khammune, a remote riverside village 60kms upriver from Luang Prabang. The only way there is by boat. See Getting There for detailed directions.