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Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

England
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235 posts
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Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

I am interested in going on the Luang Say cruise either upriver or downriver (depending on our final itinerary) in July 2013. I have a couple of question I'd love some help with: firstly, is one direction better than the other or are they the same; secondly, should I book in advance or try to get a cheaper price when I am there? The website quotes £250 per person but as it will be low season, I got the impression from other posts that I will probably get a better price by buying tickets when I am there. Any thoughts are welcome.

London
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1. Re: Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

I can't speak from experience, since I won't be taking this trip until November, but FWIW my tentative thoughts are:

a) travelling downstream is, obviously, a bit quicker. Not a major deal in itself, perhaps, but the cruise necessarily involves long days and it probably makes for a marginally more enjoyable trip not to depart too early or to arrive too late. I think that travelling upstream can mean a particularly early day 2 departure from Pakbeng, which might be a pity (especially if you have only arrived quite late the previous day). Travelling downstream is also probably a little quieter/more relaxing, since the engine won't be working so hard and since the stops along the way could be less rushed.

b) since we're travelling in high season, and have a complicated itinerary, we didn't dare risk not booking several months in advance. In the context of the total cost of our 3-week trip, we decided that the list-price was worth paying for guaranteed tickets. I too have read that, in low season, you can hope to get a better last-minute price. But I think there must also be the risk that a sailing could be cancelled altogether if there wasn't enough demand. Presumably, you'll want consider whether your overall travel plan would be flexible enough to cope with that - or with the possibility that your preferred cruise-date turned out to be fully-booked after all?

England
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2. Re: Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

Thanks for your reply - totally understand about you booking in advance. I'm not normally one to leave things till I get there, as I like to be guaranteed that I can do exactly what I want to do, particularly given the overall cost of holidays to far-away places. I think this time, though, I'll force myself to wait as it seems like we'll get a better deal in low season by doing that.

Laos
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3. Re: Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

The trip downstream is more popular than the upstream route I think. You can sometimes get last minute discount if they have space available still, but they can often be fully booked as well.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

We went downstream on the nagi of Mekong which was excellent. Accom in pakbeng was ok but think there are a few other options.

The boat was extremely comfortable and there was only 7 guests. Lovely food and the guide phet was very informative.

About half the price of the boat you are on. We booked a few weeks before we left australia.

Bristol, United...
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5. Re: Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

We thought the Luangsay boat was very overrated, although their lodge in Pakbeng was really lovely. You can still stay at the lodge even if taking another boat, so it would pay to shop around.

England
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6. Re: Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

I'm glad to hear that as I gave up on it in the end as I just couldn't make my itinerary fit the days the boat operates. I'm in Luang Prabang for 4 nights though so I'll do a river trip and may even manage a night at the lodge.

Bristol, United...
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7. Re: Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

There wasn't as much to see along the riverside as I imagined there to be - most was between Luang Prabang and Pakbeng, such as the Pak Ou caves - which although very touristy, are worth a visit. Luang Prabang is lovely and you could easily spend four days there.

England
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8. Re: Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

Excellent, thanks for the tip. It's unusual on this forum to get advice from just down the road - I see you're in Bristol and I'm in Swindon!

Montclair, New...
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9. Re: Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

We took the cruise luang say down the river. It was a wonderful experience all around. Though the river is quiet, there are stops planned along the way which are wonderful. We stopped in 2 villages and were able to spend some time with the local people. Our guide was top notch and the food was fantastic. We also loved their lodge. We booked after arriving in thailand and got a very deep discount. If you are traveling in low season it makes sense to book everything after you arrive as it is much cheaper. We had no reservations for a 3 week trip and we were never shut out of anything we wanted to do or anywhere we wanted to stay.

10. Re: Luang Say Mekong Cruise - which direction and when to book?

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