KAYAKING Mekong and Nam Ou River: Luang Prabang  –   Pak Ou Cave –  Ban Xang Hai

I booked a tour in the city centre using Green Discovery local agents, which is recommended in the lonely planet guide. This is a full day excursion, which I shared with another two adventure travellers, Natasha from the UK, lovely enthusiastic nature traveller and Ben, a nice Canadian young man, also doing a tour around South East Asia. The cost was 336000 kip (£32, COP120000)

We departed Green Discovery office, which is conveniently located by the main road, Th Sisavangvong.  We then headed off north to a Khmu community where a short introduction to the fundamentals of kayaking was given to us.


Straight after we headed off downstream. I shared a kayak with Natasha, while Ben and the tour guide took individual ones.

2Day Kayaking + Pak Ou Cave (16).JPG

Along the way on the Nam Ou River, we saw the lovely cliffs, elephants and villages. We carried on downstream for another hour.

Along the way, we did a stop for a refreshing swim

2Day Kayaking + Pak Ou Cave (27)

We then stopped at the well-known Pak Ou Cave, this is the point where the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers meet. This is the moment where I lost balance getting off the kayak and fell in the water, drowning my lovely Canon G16. I paid the price of my stubbornness since our guide had warned us not to carry the camera.

2Day Kayaking + Pak Ou Cave (35)

Pak Ou Cave is known for the thousand Buddha’s. Our guide told us that villagers used this cave as a temple as they were poorer than in the city to make big temples.

This cave has two levels, so we visited the upper level first with our guide. For the lower level, our guide directed the way and he stayed behind in a hut nearby to prepare our lunch. Pau Cave remains a popular pilmigrage for Lao people, especially during the Lao new year, which is celebrated in April.


After lunch, the rest of the afternoon paddling in a calmer section of the Nam Ou and on the Mekong River and we ended the kayaking at Ban Xang Hai, a village known for its Lao wine and “Lau Lau” whisky. We had a taste of it, but it was very strong, I did not particularly like it.


We then enjoyed a stroll around the village and after we headed back to Luang Prabang in a local truck.

In total, we kayaked for around three hours, which I found perfect. Truly a fabulous experience.

Once we arrived into Luang Prabang Natasha suggested we chill out at a great place called Utopia! which my friend Jo had also recommended. It turned out to be a superb place to have drinks and chill out.

I super recommend it to anyone passing through Luang Prabang! There is no better place to cool down, grab a drink and snack while chatting stories with fellow travellers! What a nice late afternoon by the river banks! Cheers for that 😊🙏


“….rivers are earth’s renegades, defying gravity, dancing to their own tunes, resisting to the authority of humans, chipping away and eventually winning… Richard Bangs”

Love from




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