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Paddle the 4,000 Islands of Laos

Days: 5
Location: Laos
Activities: Kayaking (Class 2), hiking.
Dates: Apr. 16-20 (Wed-Sun), 2008.

BRIEFLY
We paddle through the 4,000 islands created where the Mekong, barred by a fault line, braids to 14 km. wide. The geologic slip has created Southeast Asia’s largest waterfalls (more water than Niagara) an obstruction which blocks navigation. To create a “River Road to China” the French built an 18-km. railway, unique in Asia, to move cargoes and passengers around the falls. We’ll paddle above and below two thundering waterfalls, and walk along the abandoned rail line. We’ll also paddle through the spectacular Flooded Forest (whose trees have been bent by the current) and spend time in the open water near the Cambodian border watching dolphins feed. On our return trip to Thailand, we’ll visit Wat Phou, a brilliant Angkorian temple that has been granted UNESCO Cultural Heritage protection. Along the way, we will spend one night in a village house, two nights in a riverside lodge (with hot showers), and one night in a riverside guesthouse. This is the second half of a 17-day trip Outside Magazine called “one of 48 trips of a lifetime”.

ITINERARY
Day 1 (Apr. 16, Wednesday)
Fly to the border, cross the Mekong into Laos. Drive along the Mekong to the put-in. Paddle your own inflatable kayak among islands to the lodge.

Day 2 (Apr. 17, Thursday)
Paddle from the bottom of Liphii Falls, picnic in the Flooded Forest, and to the Cambodian border to watch the dolphins feed. Overnight in a riverside village.

Day 3 (Apr. 18, Friday)
Cross a monkey bridge to an ancient monastery, walk the French railway line, bicycle to the railway’s upriver terminus, float the Mekong in innertubes. Overnight in a lodge.

Day 4 (Apr. 19, Saturday)
Paddle one hour downstream to the upper edge of Southeast Asia’s biggest waterfalls. If currents permit, put into the whirlpools below the falls and paddle to the take-out. Drive to the funky old ferry that crosses the Mekong to Champasak. Overnight in a riverside guesthouse.

Day 5 (Apr. 20, Sunday)
Explore the beautiful hilltop Wat Phou (where devotees may once have practiced human sacrifice). Re-cross the Mekong on the ferry and drive to the border for the flight to Bangkok.


For more information and prices, e-mail +662 653 9712 and +6681 450 5340 noting your country of departure.
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