I commented in one of the posts in this series about Laos, that I went to the country without doing much research about what to visit and what to see. That was the intention, to let the country surprise me and it was walking along the sidewalk on the banks of the Mekong River that I saw some people interested in the boat ride to see the sunset on the Mekong River.
There I met Marc, a 23 year old German who moved to Laos and works on one of the boats that offer this tour. It was he who convinced me, he said that unlike some other tours, that this one was relaxing, more peaceful and that I would not regret it. As a bonus, there was still a complimentary mojito. Marc is that guy who does everything, who sells the tour, helps people down the ravine, takes care of the boarding, chooses the playlist and even makes the drinks.
We leave from an improvised bamboo pier at 5 pm, the tour lasts 2 hours. We first climb a kilometer up the Mekong River to just beyond where it joins the Nam Khan River. A calm path and in the sound of the boat played Nora Jones, Jack Johnson and… Adriana Calcanhoto. Yes, herself. I asked Marc where he had met her and he told me that she was introduced to him days before by a Brazilian couple and he loved it.
For a moment, I felt like I was sailing along the mighty rivers of the Amazon listening to Brazilian music. On the shores dozens of Laotians fishing, washing clothes, bathing or – just like me – watching life go by. A boat with a lively local karaoke caught my attention and was already behind me.
After going up, it’s time to go down the river for two kilometers in search of the sunset, we passed Luang Prabang again and as the sun went down, the waters of the river became more golden.
The boat is rustic, typical of Laos. Long and narrow, but comfortable and intimate. There were few people and that’s really the intention. A couple of Americans were so delighted with the moment that they turned to me all the time and said “you deserve a picture here” and offered to take a photo with their cell phone.
I confess I didn’t keep their name, but she was a teacher in Chicago and they’ve been traveling the world since they retired. It’s that kind of excited couple who, as I say, are reading the book and not just flipping through the pages. They are living the experience of being in a magical place like this and watching the sunset on the Mekong River, the most beautiful in Laos.
The boat stops in the middle of the river, between two huge mountains and there we watch the sun, golden as ever, disappear behind a green and untouched peak, like all nature in Luang Prabang.
After a few minutes, we head upriver towards Luang. The more nightfall, the more golden the river became and the more extraordinary the experience became.
Seeing the sunset on the Mekong River was for me a unique and remarkable moment, like seeing the awakening of the monks through the city streets at 5 am. That kind of unique moment that only Asia can provide.
How to see the sunset on the Mekong River
The Sa Sa Cruise stall is on Khem Khong Street, it’s not hard to find. The tour costs 65,000 KIPs (R$26.00) and includes a mojito, but they also serve several other drinks, Beerlao beer, water and juices. After 45 minutes of walking, they offer an Asian BBQ, which is a grilled skewer with vegetables and chicken, beef or pork.
The boat leaves punctually at 5 pm and returns to the same place at 7 pm, every day, but of course, depending on weather conditions.
Here on the blog there is a super complete post with tips on where to stay and where not to stay in Luang Prabang: Read here. But I will leave some tips below.
Luang Prabang sits on the bank of the Mekong River and is also crossed by the Nam Khan River, the area of the city that is surrounded by these two rivers is the best part to stay.
I stayed at the Mekong Charm Riverside hotel, a super simple hotel with everything you need to relax. It had a spacious and comfortable room, a good bed, air conditioning, television, internet and breakfast included. My room also had a balcony overlooking the Mekong River.
On my second trip I stayed at The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel. The place is charming, it works in a huge house with typical Indochina architecture on the banks of the Mekong River. The most charming and comfortable hotel I stayed at in Laos and the staff are extremely friendly.
If you can invest a little more, I recommend 3 Nagas Luang Prabang. A spectacular hotel located on the street where the Awakening of the Monks takes place. The hotel is comfortable and very charming, you can’t go wrong.
But if you want to take a look at other hotels and hostels to stay in Luang Prabang, take a look at our hotel list: click here.
How to get a visa for Laos online
What is it like to go through immigration in Laos
Laos tips to organize your trip
Internet in Laos: which operator to use
Where to stay in Luang Prabang
Things to do in Luang Prabang
How to visit Kuang Si Waterfalls
Sunset tour on the Mekong River
The Awakening of the Monks in Luang Prabang
What to do in Vientiane, capital of Laos
Laos, beyond my expectations
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