“Cruising the Mekong is now possible”

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“Cruising the Mekong is now possible”

“Cruising the Mekong is now possible”

Do you have some questions before booking or after submitting your request? The most frequently asked questions will let you know more about your journey for leaving serenely.

THE BOOKING

Shompoo Cruise is a company with 8 years’ experience in cruises between Luang Prabang and Houay Xay. With a rigorous selection of our boats and our collaboration with well-trained crews and guides according to our requirements, we have already offered a unique experience to more than 44 000 people.

Always with the aim of improving our services, we seek to offer you the best possible trip on the Mekong taking into account current and new requests.

In addition, concerned to offer eco-friendly journey, we work on different solutions to avoid wastages and wastes.

Finally, because we love the country we will show you, some of our profits are dedicated for supporting a primary school.

In conclusion, choosing our company is to ensure a memorable trip with an experienced team on a charming and comfortable boat. All this with a good conscience to travel as ecological and ethical as possible.

Each boat can welcome until 50 passengers. However, for reason of comfort, we have decided to limit booking until 40 passengers on board.

We advise you to book 2 months before. Between October and February (high season), many cruises are quickly fully booked. Between March and September (low season), some cruises may not be ensured due to an insufficient number of passengers.

However, you can always book until the day before your cruise (before 4:00pm, GTM+7 Lao time). But we advise you to book at least 1-2week(s) before (in case of fully booked cruise…).

In any case, the earlier you book, the more chances you will have to go on your cruise.

If you want to cancel your reservation, fees will be :

Between 30 and 20 days prior to departure: 50% of total rate

Between 20 and 10 days prior to departure: 70% of total rate

Less than 10 days prior to departure: 100% of total rate

Whatever tour you want to book, we advise you to read the whole program described on the cruise/boat tour page. During your reading, you can already complete some details (food restriction…). At the end of the description, you would need to complete the entire form (date, names, number of passengers, other services…).

After submission, our team will take care of your request.

If the request is unfeasible or needs to be modified, we will send you an email to take care of it with you.

If the request is well accepted, we book the tour directly, send you a confirmation email and the secured payment link to proceed with the payment,

BEFORE THE CRUISE

From CHIANG MAI, the public bus takes 5hours40. to reach Chiang Khong. There is two bus every day (8am and 1:15pm / do not hesitate to check on the website: http://www.greenbusthailand.com/website/en/ if schedule change or to check the price ticket). So, we would recommend you to spend the night before in Chiang Khong as meeting point start from 8:00am (We can book a hotel in Chiang Khong before your cruise).

From CHIANG RAI, the public bus takes 2hours30. There is one bus every hour from 6am to 4pm (do not hesitate to check on the website: http://www.greenbusthailand.com/website/en/ if schedule change or to check the price ticket). So, we would recommend you to spend the night before in Chiang Khong as meeting point start from 8:00am (We can book a hotel in Chiang Khong before your cruise).

From THAILAND, our team will be waiting for you at Chiang Khong Thai immigration (friendship bridge) at 8:00am.

Private taxi or minivan could be booked, at your request, if you come from Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or Chiang Khong (all prices on our PRICING page).

From HOUAY XAY, our team will pick you up directly at your hotel between 9:00am and 9:30am. We would need the hotel name when booking. Downtown only.

From PAKBENG, our team will be waiting for you at the pier at 7:45am (if DOWNCRUISE) or 6:45am (if UPCRUISE).

From LUANG PRABANG, our team will pick you up directly at your hotel between 6:30am and 7:00am. We would need the hotel name when booking. Downtown only.

Private minivan could be booked, at your request, if your hotel is in outskirt or outside of the city (all prices on our PRICING page).

Of course, you can.

The departure, from HOUAY XAY, is at 9:30am. Therefore, the crew will wait for you at 9:15am. Location (google maps) of the KONEKEO pier: 7CM4+QQ Huay Xai

The departure, from LUANG PRABANG, is at 7:00am. Therefore, the crew will wait for you at 6:45am. Location (google maps) of the CALAO pier: V4WR+VH Luang Prabang

THE CRUISE

In the DOWNCRUISE, are included:

  • - Pick-up from Thai/Lao immigration (friendship bridge) or downtown of Houay Xay.
  • - Lunches, water, coffee, tea and fruits.
  • - Guiding visit of a traditional Kamu village.
  • - Guiding visit of the Pak Ou caves.
  • - Guiding visit of a Lao Lao village (with Lao whiskey tasting).
  • - Drop off to downtown of Luang Prabang.

 

In the UPCRUISE, are included:

  • - Pick-up from downtown of Luang Prabang.
  • - Breakfast (1st day only).
  • - Lunches, water, coffee, tea and fruits.
  • - Guiding visit of the Pak Ou caves.
  • - Guiding visit of a traditional Kamu village.
  • - Drop off to downtown of Houay Xay or Lao immigration (friendship bridge).

In the DOWNCRUISE, are NOT included:

  • - Pick-up from Chiang Mai/Rai/Khong (optional).
  • - Visa and immigration fees.
  • - Breakfasts and dinners.
  • - Accommodation (optional in Chiang Khong, Pakbeng and Luang Prabang).
  • - Drop off outskirt/outside of Luang Prabang (optional).

 

In the UPCRUISE, are NOT included:

  • - Pick-up from Chiang Mai/Rai/Khong (optional).
  • - Breakfasts and dinners.
  • - Accommodation (optional in Luang Prabang, Pakbeng and Chiang Khong).
  • - Visa and immigration fees.
  • - Drop off to Chiang Khong/Rai/Mai (optional).

Villages are not often time easy to access. It could be difficult to walk on steep paths for some people. Mainly during the rainy season. That is why, your guide will advise you to avoid sandals. Better wear sneakers, hiking shoes or closed shoes. If you have so physical problems or encounter difficulties during the visit, please, do not hesitate to let your guide know.

At last, if you do not want to visit the place or go back to the boat before the end, you can of course. Just let your guide know.

The arrival time may change depending on the weather and the flow of the river. However, the boats arrive around 4-4:30pm (5pm maximum in Upcruise).

This will give you the time to easily reach your hotel or the Thai border before night.

Since 2011, Shompoo Cruise supports the Ban Houay Hao Primary School by automatically dedicating 2 percent of its profits for purchases of school supplies, for example.

Furthermore, all clients are informed about the possibility for further assistance through donations. Thankfully, every month, some guests ask what the school needs to donate. In fact, the school still needs basic supplies school like pens, books…

At last, thanks to our cruises, each visit is a moment of sharing and exchange between children/villagers and guests. Between different people and cultures. And this point is also very important for both sides.

Depend to the period of your trip, the weather it is not the same:

November to February it is the cold season. This means that morning temperatures could go down to 10 degrees and turn around 20 degrees during the day. Therefore, a jacket and pants are recommended. Of course, the crew will offer you a blanket if you desire one.

March to May (October as well) is the hot season. This means that temperatures are high with an average of 30 degrees (can rise up to 48 degrees) and air is dry. We recommend you to not over expose yourself to the sun to avoid sunburn and hydrate as much as possible.

June to September is the rainy season. This means that it rains a lot throughout these months and average temperatures are around 28 degrees. We advise to bring waterproof jackets and clothing. Your guide will suggest you to wear basket and to avoid slippers for the visits.

Throughout the year, the water level of the river changes. During the rainy season, between June and September, the level is very high. It is never a problem to navigate. However, before the rainy season, more precisely between March and May, the level may not be high enough to allow our boats to navigate. Captains keep us inform in case of insufficient water level which allows us to cancel the cruise(s), inform the passengers and refund all if modification of the date is impossible.

Nevertheless, this case is very rare and we never needed to cancel or amend any cruise.

Even if, all of our boats and Shompoo Cruise ourselves are insured for incident or accident, we advise you to have your own insurance.

Even if the risk is not very high, it is always better to take preventative measures. We advise you (especially when you often get bitten by mosquitoes) to use repellent spray (on skin and/or on clothes) and wear long clothe which covers your arms and legs. During the evening, mosquitos are more actives. Therefore, you would need to be more vigilant.

At last, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist for any advice.

THE BOAT

Our cruises are exceptional because of our boats as well. Indeed, after a rigorous selection according to our criteria, we collaborate with the crew to offer you the best experience.

With 40 meters long, 5meters wide and 50 seats (approximately), you can move as you wish. However, concerned about your comfort, we stop booking to 40 passengers. With more than 45 seats and few sofas, you could rest wherever you want, even take a nap.

Also, for your comfort, electrical outlets are available on demand.

Yes. You could leave your luggage on board even for the night in Pakbeng. The crew lives on the boat. Therefore, your luggage will be under supervision.

No. Our boats are not designed for that. However, you will have enough space while the cruise to lie down, to take a nap right after lunch for example.

About accommodation, you will have to sleep in one of the Pakbeng hotels. For this, we have selected the best buildings in the city for any type of comfort and budget. (all details about hotels on our BOATS AND HOTELS page).

Safety is a priority for us! This is why, all boats are equipped of safety jackets and lifelines. In addition to that, we maintain a rigorous maintenance of the ship.

At last, our guides and crews are regularly trained in first aid.

THE FOOD

Traditional Lao dishes will be freshly prepared on board right before the lunch. On the menu, various typical dishes composed of chicken, pork, Mekong fish and vegetables. For example, you could taste Mekong smoked fish, a mix of vegetables in their sweet sauce, pork with lemongrass…

And, of course, the menus will be different on both days.

For both cases, you can inform us about your food restriction(s) during your booking (via the Food Restriction or Complementary Information space at the end of your request form).

THE ACCOMODATION

About accommodation, you will have to sleep in one of the Pakbeng hotels. For this, we have selected the best buildings in the city for any type of comfort and budget (all details about hotels on our BOATS AND HOTELS page).

CROSSING THE BORDER

Our team will pick you up at the main entrance of the Chiang Khong Immigration Office at 8:00am (for information, the office is open from 7:00am to 7:00pm).

After completing an immigration form (our team could help you to complete it), you would need to buy a shuttle ticket to cross the Mekong with Thai Baht, Lao KIP or US dollars (25THB, 7000LAK or 1USD per person). There is one bus about every 25 minutes.

After a 7-minutes ride, you should complete an Arrival Card to get your Lao visa (more information at How to get the LAO visa?).

At last, once you arrive in Lao side, you will meet your guide. From now on, our team will take care of your luggage and drop you off at the boat.

Even if, most citizens can get a visa at the immigration office, we advise you, if you can, to get it before your trip in Laos.

However, some nationalities, no need to get one visa. This is why, you can take a look on Laos visas website (http://www.laosvisas.com) to inform you more about it.

At last, we advise you to bring with you, around 40USD (according to your nationality) and bring an ID photo.

Our team will help you with administrative procedures if needed.

Our team will drop you off at the main entrance of the Houay Xay Immigration Office around 4:30pm (for information, the office is open from 7:00am to 7:00pm).

To leave Laos, you should return the departure card (you can ask one at the office / our team could help you to complete it). During week-end (Saturday and Sunday) an overtime fee is asking to cross the border (1USD) after 4:00pm.

Then, you would need to buy a shuttle ticket to cross the Mekong with Lao KIP Thai Baht, or US dollars (7000LAK, 25THB or 1USD per person). There is one bus about every 25 minutes.

After a 7-minutes ride, you should get your Thai visa (more information at How to get the THAI visa?).

At last, once you arrive in Thai side, if you have booked a sharing or private transport with us, your vehicle will wait for you in front of the main entrance.

If you stay less than 30 days and come from one the 55 countries mentioned in this list ( https://www.thaiembassy.com/thailand/changes-visa-exempt.php ) you do not need visa.

If you must to obtain a visa, because of your nationality, we advise you, to take care of it with the nearest embassy before your trip in Thailand.

Our team will help you with administrative procedures if needed.

During your crossing you could pay everything with THB, LAK or USD.

You could exchange currency in specific shops or with the shuttle ticket booths.

Also, you could withdraw THB or LAK via an ATM in either side of the boundary (close to the immigration booths).

AFTER THE CRUISE

Yes, once the boat is arriving in Houay Xay, the guide will ask you where to drop you off. You will have choice between a hotel in Houay Xay or the Lao Border.

It will be too late to take the public bus.

Indeed, the boat arrives at the pier of Houay Xay around 4:00pm. The time to reach the border and to cross it (our team can help you during the crossing if you need it), you will be at the Thai side around 5:00pm.

However, we can arrange you a sharing minivan or private taxi/minivan to reach Chiang Khong downtown (20 minutes drive), Chiang Rai (2 hours 30 drive) or Chiang Mai (5 hours drive). All rates are available on our page PRICING.

If your hotel is in downtown, we offer this service. Once the boat is arriving at the pier, the guide will ask you the hotel name to drop you off. Then, you will take a sharing minivan to reach it.

If your hotel is in outskirt or outside from the city, we can arrange a private transportation on demand. All rates are available on our page PRICING.

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