Relive the 19th century and step into the shoes of the French Mekong expedition of Ernest Doudart de Lagrée and Francis Garnier. Skilled sailors and explorers, they ended their travels in the province of Yunnan in China, as they judged the rapids of the river un-navigable. This singular itinerary, filled with history and breathtaking landscapes, will take you hiking or sailing to meet the people of the Mekong until the regions of the Laotian border. Spot the remaining Irrawaddy dolphins while sleeping in homestays or camping along the banks of this sacred river, sourced for millennia from the high peaks of the Himalayas.
An exploration and a trip through time.
Early in the morning, visit the Cham community’s island. Riding/hiking/driving through villages on dirt and sand tracks within a picturesque landscape. Visit a floating village specializing in the construction of local wooden boats. Embark on a public ferry for Kratie and join your waiting vehicle. On board a fishing boat, we reach the Kampi rapids. Cruise on the river to observe the critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. Upstream is the village of Sambor, with its magnificent pagoda and the Mekong turtles Conservation Centre. With our guide, we get acquainted with these small freshwater turtles and the project which is led by the village’s monks. Night at a hotel.
This first day exploring the Mekong introduces us to the life of this river the Tonle Thom (Great Waters), which links six countries. (2h by car, 1h by boat).
At dawn, drive along the Mekong. A road passing through the province gradually leads us to traditional fishermen’s houses on stilts. Driving towards Stung Treng, the town is reached in the afternoon. This town located along the Mekong, is the ultimate stop before Laos. Whilst sampling the relaxed atmosphere of the city, our guide takes us to visit the market and the town. Visit an NGO specialised in silk weaving, especially of beautiful Khmer scarves of surprising quality. As the day comes to an end, it is time for us to reach our bungalows along the Mekong river. Beautiful sunset over these majestic waters where migrating birds meet.
Enjoy the place, walk along the river banks and swim in the Mekong river (seasonal).
Dinner on a terrace facing the Tonle Thom.
Night in a bungalow along the Mekong river. (4h drive).
Today, it is time to discover another side of this ‘Kingdom of Water’, where nature has taken over humans, and the river, sometimes strong, inspires dreams. First on the road, reach the Laotian border where our captain is waiting for us. He leads our cruise on the waters of this area of the Mekong river. Our boat takes us to Laotian territory, and hiking through the forest, we discover remote canyon-like waterfalls. This is the border between Cambodia and Laos. Living in remote areas, fishermen use very specific fishing techniques. Rounded traps (bamboo walls) are fixed on the river’s stream. They catch fish which jump into timeless nets.
Time to journey back to a small island to observe Irrawaddy dolphins.
Our camp is set on a fine sand beach on the banks of the Mekong. (Seasonal changes and water levels may require a night at a homestay).
Enjoy this free time to stroll and swim. (1hr drive, 3hr cruise, 2hr hike).
DAY 1 – PHNOM PENH – KRATIE
DAY 2 – KRATIE / MEKONG ISLAND – KRATIE (HOMESTAY)
DAY 3 – KRATIE – STUNG TRENG (BUNGALOW)
DAY 4 – STUNG TRENG / MEKONG (HOMESTAY)
DAY 5 – STUNG TRENG (BUNGALOW)
DAY 6 – STUNG TRENG – KOH KER (GUESTHOUSE)
DAY 7 – BENG MELEA – TONLE SAP – SIEM REAP / DEPARTURE
* Based on 4 people
Khmer meals, as mentioned in the program; refer to (B,L.D)
Transportation and transfers as mentioned in the program
An official English speaking guide
Entrances to the sites and museums (excluding the Angkor pass: US$37/person/day)
International and/or domestic flights (extra)
Meals, not mentioned in the program; refer to (B,L,D)
The visa (US$35 + 1 picture)