Due for launch in August 2023, the Anouvong is the first luxury boutique ship to cruise the majestic upper-Mekong river in Laos. This lesser-traveled stretch of one of the world’s most spectacular waterways is home to serene nature, quaint villages and stunning temples. The boat, with a capacity for 20 guests, was fittingly named after a former King of Lao and blends traditional Laotian ambiance and artwork with French-Colonial finesse.
Step aboard Anouvong for an unforgettable voyage as you leisurely cruise past a captivating picture of serene nature, isolated villages and magnificent temples, discovering the most beautiful, remote, riverside areas of Laos in utmost luxury.
Anouvong exudes an aura of exclusivity with just eight Deluxe Staterooms and two sumptuous Signature Suites, occupying both the main and upper decks, with four rooms on each level, all of which are characterized by floor-to-ceiling windows and an attractive French balcony or private terrace overlooking the verdant shores of the Mekong River. The two 30sqm Signature Suites are located at the front of the Main Deck and each has a spacious bathroom with a jacuzzi.
On Board Dining
The exquisite De-Lagrée Dining Hall honors Luang Prabang’s temples and presents five-star cuisine showcasing the rich and flavorful dishes of Laos and Southeast Asia. Your voyage includes à la carte meals and bountiful buffets, alfresco breakfasts and barbecues, sandbank aperitifs and in-suite afternoon teas.
From the dining hall, walk up the classic wooden staircase to find the glass-encased Café-bar & Lounge, offering a laid-back experience in air-conditioned comfort with elegantly designed sofas, cushioned rattan chairs, and massive windows allowing fabulous views of the dramatic scenery. Shaded sunbeds line the Terrace Deck, and it’s here that cultural shows take place, such as the traditional Baci ceremony for good blessings.
Every morning at sunrise, find your inspiration and get ready for the day at the meditative Tai Chi class against a backdrop of rural life, where stilt houses and rice fields look like something straight out of a movie set.
The most peaceful place aboard Anouvong is the Bodhi Spa, filled with the calming aromas and gentle music. This blissful wellness sanctuary with its Laotian spiritual theme and grand tree of life mural offers various treatments for singles and couples at any time of the day. Watch evening cinema screenings or learn about the country’s rich culture through fascinating on-board demonstrations, or lectures conducted in the lounge by local historians. Other activities include local dance & music performances, cooking classes, kayaking and board games.
Laos is Asia in slow motion. Here, vivid nature, voluptuous landscapes, a vibrant culture and hospitable people invite you to discover a country untainted by mass tourism. The Anouvong Cruise leisurely meanders through unchanged local life and captivating riverscapes on different itineraries between the Thai-Lao border, Luang Prabang and Vientiane, and vice versa.
From its colonial and religious heritage to more nature than you can ever imagine, these splendid voyages through fabled Laos possess all of the ingredients for an unforgettable adventure.
Itinerary & Prices
AM: We welcome our guests at the Thai immigration office in the morning hours (please see details in our embarkation guide). Our team assists you with all immigration procedures on both the Thai and Laos sides and we take care of your luggage, which you may find later in your room on board. After all formalities, we transfer you to the ship, which is moored at Huay Xai pier on the Laos riverside. Upon check-in, get acquainted with the ship and settle in your room as we start our journey.
Enjoy your first hours onboard as we sail from the Thai-Lao border southbound. The river in this area is mostly wide, however our captain always has to watch out for rocks and stones or sandbanks in order to navigate safely – making the sailing an interesting one to observe from the open deck. After some hours the landscape and the river starts to change, becoming more mountainous and the river increasingly narrow.
PM: Our first stop in the afternoon is Khon Teun, a relatively modern Laotian village showcasing various wooden sculptures and home to roughly 800 residents belonging to the Tai Lu ethnic minority. For a traditional Laotian greeting and to wish us a safe journey, the village elders welcome us with a time-honoured “Baci ceremony”. The villagers here practice long-held traditions and techniques of weaving handmade garments with distinguishing patterns. Making their living from it, the families here have passed down their weaving knowledge from generation to generation.
The village also has a lovely temple nearby in which we can arrange an optional meditation session (limited availability). Resident monks and novices (boys who typically pledge to adopt a monk’s lifestyle for at least a few months, but often much longer), are always eager to interact and socialize with visitors. After taking in a bit of ‘Zen’ the ship continues cruising to the overnight mooring spot. Our local expert guide hosts a lecture about Laotian elephants and their cultural importance in the past and the current situation which have brought them to the brink of extinction. A nice and interesting preparation, as tomorrow we will meet these fascinating creatures close up in an elephant sanctuary.
Dinner is served in Anouvong’s elegant De-Lagree Dining Hall. Afterwards you may like to while away some time in the bar or join our cinema under the stars on the open terrace deck. The movie named “Chang” (Laos and Thai, for “elephant”), was shot in this region in 1927, by the same producer as the first King Kong movie. Enjoy your first night’s sleep mid-river at a seclude sandbank in the middle of nowhere.
Pak Ngui, Ban Gaeng Hang Ngai
AM: Wake up early to catch your first sunrise in Laos on the Mekong River. Early birds are welcome to join our daily morning exercise on the terrace deck (Tai Chi or Yoga). We think there is no better backdrop than the stunning river scenery to do some revitalizing morning exercise to start the day.
After breakfast, we arrive in the small town of Pakbeng. This riverside settlement is halfway between our embarkation at Huay Xai and Luang Prabang. Many locals also stop here when they travel or transport goods between these two “hubs” on the river.
Opposite of the town – so to say on the starboard side of cruising direction– is the country’s most sustainably managed elephant sanctuary. If we arrive early enough, we may still see elephants freely walking along the shoreline and taking a morning bath. To expand your knowledge from our lecture the day before about these majestic animals, we then visit the conservation sanctuary. All the elephants here used to work as logging elephants, after their time as working animals, they lack the ability to live and survive in the wild (there still exists very few wild elephants). The sanctuary is fully committed to the tenets of ecotourism and sustainability.
PM: During lunchtime we continue our journey with stunning views of the shores from the comfort of the dining room. At a sandbank further down the river, the local ethnic Lao, Khmu and Hmong live in the tiny village of Kok Aek. At the riverside they have set up a little parcel of land as an organic garden, caringly maintained and enclosed by bamboo fences and growing organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Though these plots are unusable at certain times of the year due to flooding, the nutrient-rich Mekong irrigation promises bountiful annual harvests. As we get to know the villagers, be sure to sample a local specialty, kai paen, which is made of dried freshwater “seaweed” topped with sesame and vegetables.
Back on board, as we cruise for some more hours, lay back and take in the absolutely amazing scenery or enjoy some pampering time in our tucked away spa. We drop anchor to overnight near another small and secluded village. Subject to our arrival time and daylight availability, we may explore this tiny village of just around 300 inhabitants which is bereft of electricity or any semblance of modernity, but for sure not of abounding charm and warm-heartedness of the villagers.
As we remain here at the sandbank overnight, kick back with an aperitif while being serenaded by some local villagers who have come onboard to perform on their ‘Khene’ – a handheld, ancient instrument made of bamboo and originating here in Laos. We end the day with a culinary highlight, as we dine tonight on the terrace deck, with the sights and soothing sounds of nature all around us.
AM: Today – on your last day of your cruise through the Golden Triangle of Laos – some final highlights await. After enjoying a sumptuous breakfast, we offer a unique activity to experience the calmly flowing lower Mekong from a different perspective.
Hop in a kayak and paddle along on your own in total symbioses with the peacefully flowing stream. Feel the waters of Mekong carrying you downstream with almost no effort, relax and enjoy the passing natural beauty and immerse yourself in this very special trip. You may like to paddle all the way to the famous caves of Pak Ou, which is our next stop and highlight to come (or return back on board). We stop close to Pak Ou, and go ashore where we will meet the local “medicine man” who takes us on a jungle trek explaining various interesting facts and astonishing things about the flora and the nature in this area. In the village we may one more time be able to observe local weaving, and find here as well ‘the art of local whisky distilling’. (Kindly note a basic fitness level is required for the approx. 45-minute trek which is relatively easy walking but does involve some uphill terrain; guests may opt to stay on the ship to reach our next stop, the Pak Ou caves).
The trekking group reaches the caves via the “backdoor”. The famous Pak Ou Caves are located directly on the Mekong’s rocky shore and opposite the mouth of the Ou River. There are two limestone grottoes which house approximately 4,000 sacred Buddhist statues and images ranging in size from mere centimeters up to 2m (7ft) in height. We arrive first at the upper cave and then take steps down (approx. 200 steps) to the lower, most impressive grotto.
PM: Once back on board you can refresh yourself and lunch is served afterwards. From Pak Ou we have about three more hours to sail. During this time, meet Mr Francis Engelmann, who used to work for UNESCO on heritage preservation projects. Born in Paris in 1947, he has lived in Laos for over 20 years and knows Luang Prabang like the back of his hand. Join his fantastic presentation, in which he shares some of his expertise of the country’s and Luang Prabang’s rich cultural heritage and fascinating history.
We finally arrive at the enchanting town of Luang Prabang in the afternoon (approx. 15:00 o’clock). Our team assists with your check-out and helps with your luggage. We thank you very much for cruising with Heritage Line on the upper Mekong in Laos and bid you farewell, wishing you a pleasant onward journey.
CRUISES & LODGES
|2||20 m² / 215 ft²||Double / Twin|
These gorgeous air-conditioned suites feature panoramic sliding doors that open up to a french style balcony, offering guests breathtaking views. The spacious bathroom is fully equipped with a walk-in shower and a vanity holding luxurious toiletries.
|2||20 m² / 215 ft²||Double / Twin|
These staterooms are decorated with handpicked Laotian artwork giving them an exquisite look. They also feature large windows with amazing views allowing maximum natural light to flow in the room. The gorgeous bathrooms are equipped with luxurious amenities to ensure guests enjoy their showers.
|2 – 3||33 m² / 355 ft²||Double|
These spacious rooms come with a private balcony featuring a coffee table and chair for guests to enjoy the fantastic scenery. The vast floor-to-ceiling windows light up the room naturally, and the luxurious bathrooms feature a walk-in shower and a jacuzzi overlooking the amazing landscape.