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Tour Highlights


Through dynasties, empires and ages, the dormant giant remains steadfast on the horizon. Beholding a comparatively modern scene below, the immovable ridge watches over the countless souls who come to seek peace in this tranquil locale, in this perfect harmony of man and nature.

  • Morning excursion to the Stone Forest
  • Stroll along the winding paths of Xizhou village, stopping by a local wet market, a specialty noodle-maker's workshop, and the home of a Dali cheesemaker
  • Watch a Naxi Ancient Music show  
  • Visit Jade Dragon Show Mountain with cable car up and down
  • Enjoy Impression Lijiang Show with VIP seats
  • Visit the famous Menglun Botanical Garden
  • Cross the Mekong to Burma and travel by car deep into Kengtung State on the Old Mandalay Road
  • Explore Buddhist sanctuaries of the Pak Ou Caves and enter the Nam Ou River with its spectacular cliff faces
  • Observe the morning alms as a thousand monks go collecting from door to door in Luang Prabang
  • Relax aboard the privately chartered RV Yunnan Pandaw cruising on the Mekong River
Impressions of Lijian Show, China All inclusive luxury tour with Captain's Choice

Impression Lijiang Show

We were looked after very well during all facets of our trip. This made for a very relaxing, hassle free and most enjoyable experience.

J & J Plant - Sights & Sounds of Scandinavia

Where we visit


Please note: the itinerary for this expedition is indicative only and is subject to change. As we travel to remote areas, changes to the itinerary will inevitably occur. A flexible approach is required if you book this cruise.

Tour Map

Full Itinerary


Australia – Bangkok (Thailand)

Day 1: Friday 13 October

Our voyage commences with a Thai Airways flight to Bangkok, the gateway to Southeast Asia, where the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport awaits for an overnight stay.

Bangkok – Kunming (China)

Day 2: Saturday 14 October

After a rejuvenating night’s repose, we fly to Kunming. Also known as Spring City, the capital of the Yunnan Province is renowned for its agreeable climate and ceaselessly blooming flora.

You set the pace this afternoon with no pressing engagements. Perhaps take a stroll around the parks at the doorstep of our well appointed abode for the next two nights, the Kunming Green Lake Hotel.

Acquaint yourself with your fellow travellers tonight at your Welcome Dinner.

Kunming

Day 3: Sunday 15 October

Kunming serves as a gateway to the captivating petroglyphs found in the nearby Stone Forest. Here, we discover why the Ming Dynasty entitled this battalion of jagged soldiers the ‘First Wonder of the World’.

The Geology Museum tells of how these stone giants once slept beneath an ancient ocean, rising over millennia as the neighbouring mountains reached skyward and monsoon rains wore the earth away.

Dine at your hotel or join your Tour Host Team at a local restaurant during tonight’s dine-around evening. 

Kunming Stone Forest, China All inclusive luxury tour with Captain's Choice

Kunming Stone Forest

Kunming – Dali

Day 4: Monday 16 October

Only a short flight away, Dali beckons this morning. Set on the shores of Erhai Lake amidst beautiful mountain scenery, this venerable city evokes the feeling of being transported to a China where great Ming Emperors still reign supreme.

Take a glimpse into antiquity as we stroll along the cobbled paths of Xihou Village, then soak up the atmosphere of the markets.

We’ll savour a tasty selection of locally produced cheese before learning some family secrets during a cooking class. In Zhoucheng, our attention turns from food to fabric as we test our skill at 1,000 year old tie dying techniques.

After a busy day, we arrive for our overnight stay at the Hilton Dali Resort nd Spa, set on the picturesque shores of Fuxian Lake.

A dine-around evening offers a plethora of gourmet options, from modern Chinese to classic Western dishes, as we select from our hotel’s range of fine restaurants. 

Dali – Lijiang

Day 5: Tuesday 17 October

On the narrow winding streets of Dali’s old town, we follow ancient streams along stone paved canals and discover garden squares with bubbling fountains and lotus ponds.

Lunching deep within the walls of this time worn city, we sample Crossing the Bridge Noodles, a local dish that shares a common lineage with pho, from Vietnam.

A journey to Lijiang takes us through a landscape of cultivated valleys set amid snowcapped mountain ranges. Arriving at the Grand Hyatt Lijiang Hotel, our home for the next two nights, we take a moment to enjoy the stunning panorama before setting off for the Naxi Ancient Music Show.

Dali Old Town, China All inclusive luxury tour with Captain's Choice

Kunming Stone Forest

Lijiang

Day 6: Wednesday 18 October

Offering an unrivalled vista of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, a cable car ride whisks us up to the Impressions Lijiang Show where VIP seats await – welcome to the highest stage show on earth! This outdoor amphitheatre features an epic mountain backdrop, against which the story of traditional village life is played out by over 500 actors and 100 horses.

After lunch, learn Naxi dancing from members of Baisha Village then visit an Art Academy at Shaxi Village. The day ends with a horse and carriage ride over cobblestone streets.

A dine-around evening offers you the opportunity to discover the region’s diverse culinary delights. 

Lijiang – Jinghong

Day 7: Thursday 19 October

Join RV Champa Pandaw

A scenic flight to Jinghong this morning provides a new perspective of this impressive landscape. On touching down, we head for a wildlife reserve where wild elephants roam alongside buffalo and rhesus monkeys.

Take an amble around an archetypal Dai village and market, taking in the heady scents and vibrant sounds of life in the foothills of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

Brimming with excitement, we embark our river ship, the RV Champa Pandaw, for our privately chartered on the Mekong River. 

RV Champa Pandaw, China All inclusive luxury tour with Captain's Choice

Your river ship RV Champa Pandaw

Dai Monastery & Tea Plantation

Day 8: Friday 20 October

Awaking to the sounds of the Mekong, we set off for a morning of discovery and contemplation at Mangfeilong Monastery.

Visit a Chinese plantation then head to Manting Park, a forested area that’s home to a number of Dai monuments, along with some 2,000 peacocks.

A traditional dancing show at Mengbalanaxi theatre follows dinner this evening.

Mengzhan

Day 9: Saturday 21 October

Continuing the journey downstream today, we step ashore at Mengzhan for a visit to the 15th century Mange Temple, where the exquisitely carved white elephants on the temple eaves greet us.

Menglun

Day 10: Sunday 22 October

At one of China’s most important botanical research centres, the Menglun Botanical Garden, we’ll encounter a range of floral curiosities. Such as the King Lotus, with flowers that are able to support a child’s weight on water; the Dancing Grass, which seemingly sways to music; and the Clock Flower, which opens and closes along with sunrise and sunset. 

Muang Long (Laos)

Day 11: Monday 23 October

Today the RV Champa Pandaw crosses into Laos en route to the town of Muang Long.

Here, a visit to an Akha tribal village provides us a glimpse into the past and present of this culturally diverse Asian region, where time seems to have stood still for centuries.

Immerse yourself in the traditions and lifestyle of the hill tribes who live in hamlets dotted around this mountainous region.

Cruising

Day 12: Tuesday 24 October

Our cares will drift away with the river breeze as we enjoy almost an entire day soaking up the serenity of the Mekong, with Myanmar drifting by on our right and Laos on our left.

A welcome interruption to our cruising reverie, we’ll stop to explore a remote jungle village in Laos and, time permitting, embark on a trek through the dense tropical jungle.

Upper Mekong River Cruise, China All inclusive luxury tour with Captain's Choice

Local life on the Upper Mekong River

Loi Mwe (Myanmar) – Chiang Saen (Thailand)

Day 13: Wednesday 25 October

It’s time to connect with Myanmar, and off we set along the Old Mandalay Road. Our objective? The old colonial hill station of Loi Mwe, where long abandoned Anglo Indian Dak bungalows lie in contrast to the derelict golf course, polo ground and tennis courts.

In Chiang Saen, we search for relics of the 7th century Thai kingdom that lie scattered throughout this sleepy river town.

Golden Triangle

Day 14: Thursday 26 October

A dynamic area where the Laos, Myanmar and Thailand borders meet, the Golden Triangle was once a hub for opium farming. Today it cultivates the curiosities of intrepid travellers such as ourselves.

We are immersed in the tumultuous history of the region today during a visit to the Chiang Saen Opium Museum.

Pakbeng (Laos)

Day 15: Friday 27 October

Today the RV Champa Pandaw delivers us to the quiet market town of Pakbeng.

Take the opportunity for a walk deep in the jungle. Or perhaps spend time getting a feel for this quintessential backwater Mekong village, complete with hill tribes, hand crafted treasures and lovely vantage points overlooking the river and countryside.

Later, a local long tail boat will take us up the Namtha River, a tributary of the Mekong, to visit a Khmu village.

Pak Ou Caves

Day 16: Saturday 28 October

Nestled into the limestone cliff that oversees the merging of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers, the Pak Ou Caves conceal a brimful of Buddha statuettes and motifs.

We stop to explore these unique sanctuaries before our ship takes us over the mild rapids and deep pools of the Nam Ou. Flanked by a series of spectacular cliff faces, the scenery along this tributary of the Mekong is sure to inspire a sense of awe.

Luang Prabang

Day 17: Sunday 29 October

In keeping with the nature of the countryside we’ve just cruised through, UNESCO listed Luang Prabang boasts a charm and serenity rarely found in a city.

As the colours of dusk begin to light up the sky, hill tribe traders set up stalls along Sisavangvong Road, and it’s here we’ll head to peruse the eclectic wares on display at the city’s famed Evening Market.

Luang Prabang

Day 18: Monday 30 October

It’s a scene you’ve likely seen photos of. This morning, we’re there in person – breathing the fresh morning air and watching as thousands of saffron robed Buddhist monks walk the streets of Luang Prabang giving blessings and collecting alms.

Warmed by this daily ritual of charity and goodwill, we travel inland to explore several Hmong villages and take in the striking turquoise waters of the Kuang Si Falls from up close. 

Kuang Si Falls, Laos All inclusive luxury tour with Captain's Choice

Stunning Kuang Si Falls

Pak Lai

Day 19: Tuesday 31 October

Once an administrative centre during the time of French rule, Pak Lai awaits today.

During our time ashore in this pretty port town, we’ll see a variety of French colonial architecture and also enjoy an insight into modern times during a trip to the bustling local market. 

Vientiane

Day 20: Wednesday 1 November

Our final day on board is sure to deliver the finale such an inspiring adventure deserves. We pass through a dramatic landscape in which mountains spill down from the heavens to be met by wild jungles, and the river flows fast between spectacular rock formations.

Soon we’re entering the cultivated plains of Vientiane province, arriving into the city of the same name early this evening.

Depart Vientiane Disembark Rv Yunnan Pandaw

Day 21: Thursday 2 November

Bidding farewell to the crew of our river ship in Vientiane, we disembark for the final time and set out to discover the small and delightfully walkable capital of Laos.

Passing glittering temples and wandering monks, the tree lined boulevards of the city’s historic old quarter beckon, before we board an early afternoon flight back to Bangkok. From here, we meet our Thai Airways flight back to Australia.

Arrive Australia

Day 22: Friday 3 November

Our minds freshly enlivened with a rich array of unforgettable memories, we’ll arrive home today, having experienced a stretch of the Mekong few can lay claim to having ever seen.

All Inclusive Tours

Imagine a trip where you won’t have to lift a finger, or worry about bringing your wallet.

Sightseeing

Sightseeing

Sightseeing in each destination is included. Select Options even allow you to tailor aspects of the touring to your individual tastes when there are multiple touring options.

Wine

Meals and Drinks

All meals are included with your tour price along with beer, wine and soft drinks. Dining experiences can range from Michelin-starred restaurants to intimate local eateries.

Flights Included

Flights

We have included different flight options for your convenience. Should you wish to fly with a different airline to the group we can help you with those arrangements if you wish.

Captain's Choice Documents

Those little details

Tipping, Taxes, Transfers and Travel Insurance (subject to terms & conditions) are included. We even look after your luggage for the entire trip so you don't have to.

Tour Host Team

Tour Host Team & Doctor

Wherever you are in the world, you will always have a friendly and knowledgeable Tour Host Team on hand. Not to mention a Doctor on every tour for your peace of mind.

Accommodation Hotel Bell

Accommodation

We believe a superior standard of service is just as important as five star facilities. We select our hotels with location and accessibility in mind as well as luxury.

Accommodation highlights


Green Lake Hotel, Kunming All inclusive luxury tour with Captain's Choice
Kunming

Green Lake Hotel

Just a minute's walk to Green Lake Park, Green Lake Hotel Kunming is situated in the heart of Kunming, offering convenient access to the city’s financial and cultural districts.

Hilton Dali, China All inclusive luxury tour with Captain's Choice
Dali

Hilton Dali Resort and Spa

Uncover the sheer natural magnificence of the Cangshan Mountains, Erhai Lake and the ancient city of Dali from the comfort and sophistication of Hilton Dali Resort and Spa.

Grand Hyatt Lijiang China All inclusive luxury tour with Captain's Choice
Lijiang

Grand Hyatt

Set against the dramatic backdrop of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Grand Hyatt Lijiang Hotel combines traditional ethnic architecture with a grand contemporary design.

Solo Traveller

Solo Travellers

Many Captain’s Choice guests travel solo, and almost all of them find that making friends on holiday is easy, thanks to the welcoming and like minded nature of our travellers. At the start of the tour, all solo travellers are invited to a Welcome Reception, enabling you to get to know other guests travelling on their own.

Members of our Tour Host Team are always available for a friendly chat and a meal, but if you prefer time for private reflection then that is always respected too – you can choose to be as involved as much or as little as you please. Either way, it’s a fun and rewarding way to see the world.

Upper Mekong and Golden Triangle

Aboard RV Champa Pandaw
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Have A Question?


Contact us for more information, including full pricing and availability of individual tours.

Enquire Now

Based on per person, twin share in a Main Deck Stateroom aboard the aboard the RV Yunnan Pandaw – from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane flying with Thai Airways.

Brisbane and Sydney passengers will need to overnight in Bangkok on departure. All regional flights will be in Economy Class.

Cruise & Land Only guests join in Kunming for dinner on Day 2 and depart Vientiane after disembarking on Day 21.

Supplements (add to base tour cost, per person, twin share)
Upper Deck Stateroom $840

Single Suite Supplement including hotels (add to base tour cost)
Main Deck Stateroom $5,420

For details of other single cabin upgrades, please contact one of our Tour Sales Consultants.

Please note: the itinerary for this expedition is indicative only and is subject to change. As we travel to remote areas, changes to the itinerary will inevitably occur. A flexible approach is required if you book this cruise.


Request more information about this tour

Mail Me a Brochure Download Itinerary