As I look towards leading the March 9, 2023 departure for the Upper Mekong tour/cruise, I recall an earlier journey I took to this part of the world.
I have wonderful memories of my time in Laos and fondly recall the ever-present feeling of serenity there, along with fascinating sights and experiences at every turn. I am thrilled that on our cruise and tour next March we will experience some of these same special places and events. A short one-day cruise excursion along the Mekong River was especially fascinating…primitive villages, beautifully terraced gardens, tiny fishing boats, colourful houseboats (sporting satellite dishes!) and villagers waving a welcome. There was the sacred Pak Ou Buddha Caves set in a steep limestone cliff, at the waters edge, where more than 3,000 wooden Buddahs of every size, description and condition, sat high up on rock shelves. We were able to climb stairs to view them up close. Later, we stopped at a tiny village set on a hill, where a delicious traditional lunch awaited, prepared by the charming locals. Further along, a village visit to view the making of rice whiskey, the local specialty and shops with beautiful handmade scarves and unique handicrafts. Watching elephants playing along the river's edge on our voyage back to town was magical!
Very early one morning in Luang Prabang in Laos, we took part in the tradition of donating rice to solemn young monks clad in saffron coloured robes, as they paraded single file along a quiet street, collecting their only meal of the day. A scenic drive took us through beautiful countryside, passing rice fields and tiny villages on our way to the spectacular Kuang Sli Waterfalls. All of these experiences and much more are part of our exciting Mekong journey next March!
Our March 2023 journey begins in Bangkok, the exciting capital city of Thailand, voted the most popular city in the world for international travellers, for the second consecutive year. We will stay for three exciting nights, getting accustomed to the time change, exploring and discovering what makes this city so special. I have been enchanted by videos of the tiny boats that travel through the city canals; vendors with their tiny boats overflowing with flowers, fruits and vegetables for sale to locals whose wooden shack homes line both sides of the river. I can’t wait to take in the sights and sounds of this daily spectacle, an experience unlike anywhere else. A Thai cooking class is sure to be great fun and we will eat what we make!
Leaving the excitement of Bangkok, we travel to Chiang Rai in northern Thailand for a two-night stay. Here, we will meet the people of the colourful hill tribes and learn about their cultures, lifestyles and their skill for unique handicrafts. It is fascinating to experience cultures that are so different from our own and these are the kinds of things that remain in our memory bank long after we return home. For me, these are incredible experiences.
From Chiang Rai, we travel into the Golden Triangle, arriving at the Golden Buddha of Sop Ruak that watches over the mighty Mekong and welcomes us to our beautiful riverboat, the mv Mekong Pearl.
Here we begin our ten-night expedition along this famous river where each day presents fascinating excursions into tiny villages, past stunning landscapes, tropical vegetation, pristine jungles, dramatic rock formations and the attention-grabbing river traffic. Meanwhile, there are opportunities to relax onboard, be pampered with a massage, enjoy a drink with new friends and simply take in the beauty and tranquility of our surroundings.
This exciting expedition is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure; an opportunity to immerse oneself in cultures and sights that are unique, fascinating and just waiting to be experienced! You do not want to miss this incredible experience. Join me for a journey of a lifetime!