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“We enjoyed the boat tour”
Review of Nava Mekong

Nava Mekong
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The first dining cruise on the Mekong in Luang Prabang, the Nava Mekong offers passengers a leisurely lunch cruise or sunset dinner cruise. Both feature a delicious set menu of traditional Lao fare. The Lunch cruise travels as far as Pak Ou Caves, with a visit to an ethnic minority village. Guests of the dinner cruise enjoy the sunset and dance performance provided by local villagers in traditional Lao costume.
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“We enjoyed the boat tour”
Reviewed 24 October 2013

We booked the tour through our hotel and were not disappointed. Despite a false start to pick up additional passengers the trip went smoothly. My wife and I appreciated the rural scenery as we motored up the coffee coloured Mekong. Boat was well kept and was able to the strong currents encountered with ease. First stop was to "Whiskey Village". There was a wood fire still that gave the impression that spirits were being distilled. Different sized bottles were on display including many containing snakes. You made your way through stalls selling scarves. One lady was weaving while was spinning yarn. At the top of the village was a vibrant coloured temple.

Salted peanuts were provided on board and the usual drinks in US dollars were available for purchase. It was not long after we landed at Pak Ou caves jetty. It was unstable and some elderly passengers experienced some difficulty disembarking. A short series of steep steps took you to the first and most impressive cave. The upper cave was another 150 plus steps to the left of the lower cave. A torch was needed to see the Buddha sculptures.

Lunch was served on the way back to Luang Prabang. It was tasty Lao food and definitely more than we could eat. Service was good. Arrived back earlier than scheduled. Note there a number of steps to negotiate to reach the boat and the last part is earth and could be slippery when wet.

Visited October 2013
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Thank Lizjak10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“We did diner & lunch and very happy with it”
Reviewed 12 October 2013

Good service, friendly and lovely staff. The boat is clean and well kept, the food is not oh my god delicious but we enjoy it. After dinner cruise we decide to have the lunch cruise the day after, and we are happy with our choice.

Helpful?
Thank AnaBerk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Quito, Ecuador
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Ban Xang Hai doesn't worth the visit.”
Reviewed 10 October 2013

We booked the trip through a travel agency in Thailand that helped us in our trip to SE Asia. They recommended the Nava Mekong boat cruise because of the description of the activity which read as follows (which may be the actual description you will also receive from any local tour agency):

"Board the Nava Mekong, a traditional river boat that will enable you to enjoy a leisurely paced cruise up and down the mystical Mekong River. As you leave the peninsula of LuangPrabang behind you, you witness rural life and peaceful sceneries on the banks of the river as you cruise upstream. After just a bit more than an hour, you reach Pak Ou caves at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Ou River giving its name to the location. In these 2 caves are displayed hundreds of sacred centuries-old Buddha images which are the object of pilgrimages during the Lao New Year festivities around mid April. A selection of typical Lao dishes will be served onboard. Cruise back to Luang Prabang and return in the early afternoon. On the way back visit village of Ban Xang Hai was once a “jar-maker village” and nowadays the community fills the jars (which come from elsewhere) with láo-láo, the local rice whisky".

It may be important to consider that the trip actually takes a little more than two hours each leg (two hours up plus two hours down). You can certainly enjoy a leisure trip and see beautiful rural Lao scenery. However, Ban Xang Hai doesn't worth the visit. There is not any visible jar or people from the community filling them with lao-lao whisky. You only see a collection of old yarn artifacts, a very poor village, and a display of bottles of whisky with animals, inside that you can also find in the night central market in Luang Prabang.

The visit to Pak Ou caves may be interesting. The food was OK but not particularly special. Service onboard was just average, with the young lady having problems serving 10 tourists. The boat has nothing special either.

For us, there are other activities in Luang Prabang that leave a better impression than boarding the Nava Mekong. But this is just our impression.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Fabrizio_ec
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pretoria, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
225 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
“Nice trip, poor food”
Reviewed 9 October 2013 via mobile

We took the lunchtime trip.

The boat is luxurious and clean with very good staff. The pickup is also convenient.

The cruise experience is wonderful as the Mekong is just beautiful and this is a comfy way to do it. Thankfully we didn't stay too long at the attractions (20 mins whisky village and 40mins Pak Ou Caves) as both are underwhelming.

Compared to the wonderful Lao cuisine available in Luang prabang, the food was bland. Chicken soup was watery and tasteless and the pork and veggies decidedly average. Was a little shocked to have to pay $2 for a can of coke.

At $25 for a 4hr trip including lunch and two sites this is quite good value but don't come just for the food because you'll be disappointed.

Helpful?
Thank NandyPengarah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Morrisville, North Carolina
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Beautiful cruise experience”
Reviewed 29 September 2013

A lunch cruise on Mekong river. It was 1.5 hours cruise with a stop into a village on the way.
There was this Whiskey village and a handicraft market where locals sold their handmade goods
That we're real inexpensive.
Then we continued to see the caves. Beautiful views and ride.
Coming back, they served this amazing lunch. It was so fresh and the quantity was a lot.
It was a great experience for the price. The staff was very friendly also. They gave us the recipe
And taught us how to make small baskets from banana leaves to steam cook fish in.
Highly recommended.

Helpful?
1 Thank ATV62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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