This Pavie mountain biking and kayaking 3 Day Mekong River Adventure is a mountain biker and kayaker’s dream. Our guide will meet you at 0800 outside the Luang Prabang Post Office where you’ll collect your mountain bike and helmet and ride down to the Mekong River where we’ll cross the river on the car ferry to Ban Xiengmaen village on the other side.
We then cycle north on scenic dirt tracks over jungle clad mountains along the Pathet Lao Trail for about 25kms, stopping off at Hmong and Khamu hill tribe villages on the way before arriving at a small village on the banks of the Mekong River called Ban Keng Kaen.
The views are absolutely spectacular along this 3 hour ride, but the terrain can be quite steep in places so a reasonable level of fitness is required.
On arrival at Ban Keng Kaen you’ll be picked up by our 45m river boat and cruise upstream for an hour to remote Ban Lad Khammune village. You’ll arrive about lunch time and can explore the magnificent Mekong River by kayak over the next 2 days at a leisurely pace.
On the first night you’ll stay at Ban Lad Khammune village where you’ll see how these self sustaining villagers without any means of land transport or communication happily exist living off the rainforest and the river. The second night you’ll camp on a beach between the river and the rain forest, under the stars.
On arrival at Ban Lad Khammune you’ll be introduced to your host family. They won’t speak English but you’ll soon learn to interact with them. You can then spend some time exploring the village, have a swim, trek up to the Tadtom waterfall, play Pétanque, learn how to throw a fishing net, visit the temple, talk and play with the children at the school, or just chill out with a beer in the sun.
After dinner you will be welcomed with a traditional 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 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 and are not paid to perform. If they pass the tip box, a 100 Bt or US$3 donation is sufficient.
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.
Following the entertainment it’s time to hit the beach for a few drinks around the fire under a clear night sky, that is just a carpet of brilliant stars.
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 yarns, 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.
A few more clicks downstream you’ll arrive at our beach camp-site between the river and the rainforest. Before dinner you’ll be able to clean-up in a clear mountain stream, that runs down out of the mountains into the Mekong, then chill-out with a beer. That night dinner will be served under the stars on a river beach.
The next morning is an early departure for Luang Prabang. We’ll stop off at Pak Ou Caves home of over 1,000 Buddha images (entry fee is included in the tour price).
Off downstream again we’ll stop for lunch at a temple on an island called Wat Don Koun, before arriving at Ban Donmai 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 ~ 100 km cycling and kayaking trip from Luang Prabang to Ban Lad Khammune and back 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.