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Nagi of Mekong to Luang Prabang

  • jBird

    Joined Travelfish
    11th January, 2009
    Posts: 19

    hey all,

    sorry for the repost but i'm having trouble finding clear info on the Nagi slow boat to Luang Prabang... also apologize for this looooong post:

    two of us are planning on going to LP from Thailand late May/early June '09. i've been through just about every post on fish/lonelyP/trip advisor, trying to figure out the best/most economical way down the Mekong.

    the Nagi of Mekong seems to be ideal but there really is a lack of recent reviews an they're website, http://nagiofmekong.com, seems a bit out of date.

    anyone take the Nagi cruise recently and is it worth spending the extra dough, instead of the unpredictable slow boat? seems like they canceled the 1 day trip when the river is too low, though it seems just as likely that interests in Pak Bang forced them to stop over for the night. if they really did cancel the 1 day cause the river is too low, then the river should(?) be up when we're they end of May/June.

    thanks!

    #1 Posted: 11/1/2009 - 22:18

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  • somtam2000

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    Best you contact Nagi directly (via their website) as it's unclear if they are still operating. Please post back with any response you get from them -- would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

    #2 Posted: 12/1/2009 - 08:02

  • jBird

    Joined Travelfish
    11th January, 2009
    Posts: 19

    Got an email back from Nagi... they no longer do the 1 day cruise. there are a couple of options for the 2 day cruise.

    one option include lunch's, cave tours and a stop at a laotian villiage before you stop for the night at Pak Beng, where you stay at "Petch CHokxai hotel or similar." can't find any reviews for Petch Chokxai. dinner is also included that night. total cost is 4,600 THB.

    the other option is everything above plus a night at some place in Chiang Khong called Baan Nai Sra Resort with a free dinner... again, can't find any reviews of this place. a transfer to the border & immigration office is included in the price. total is 5,600 THB.

    if we do the Nagi we'll probably find our own place in Chiang Kohng and also find our own spot in Pak Beng...

    my travel mate wants to splurge for the luang say cruise... doesn't seem too hardcore but might not be a bad place to reward ourselves with a little luxury.

    #3 Posted: 12/1/2009 - 21:32

  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
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    Phetsokxai (Lao spelling) looked like a new decent place back in Dec 2006. More hotel than guesthouse.

    Another decent, smaller place in Pak Beng is Monsavanh GH. Its travelfish review is outdated. Newly rebuilt with ensuite bathrooms (cleanest GH of my 2 weeks in Laos) in Dec 2006, concrete ground floor & wooden second floor. Limited rooms, only 3 on ground floor i think.

    Transfer to border & immigration office in Chiang Khong is just a short tuktuk ride away (fares might have gone up to 30-40 baht range by now). See here: http://www.iantaylor.org/chiangkongphayao0808.html

    #4 Posted: 12/1/2009 - 22:50

  • somtam2000

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    Thanks for the post wanderingcat, the pics on that website should be helpful.

    #5 Posted: 13/1/2009 - 08:11

  • jBird

    Joined Travelfish
    11th January, 2009
    Posts: 19

    Thanks for the inside scoop, Wanderingcat.

    #6 Posted: 13/1/2009 - 23:13

  • jBird

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 19

    Tremendous help. Thanks, Wanderingcat.

    #7 Posted: 15/1/2009 - 04:44

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Hi jBird,

    I too have been trying to sus out Nagi Of Mekong - Adisak Star has been repling to emails BUT I am advised that (by a local english hotel manager) that the boat has not operated for 2 years - which would explian why there is not much up to date info on the net - I have some enquiries in to local Travel Agents but nothing as yet to confirm the situation.

    I will add to this post with what ever I find out - As we will not be travelling until November 09 you will have done your trip by then - Let us know what you find out

    Regards

    Peter

    #8 Posted: 28/4/2009 - 05:16

  • jBird

    Joined Travelfish
    11th January, 2009
    Posts: 19

    Peter,

    We actually booked the boat for May 31, '09 through Adisak. Hearing your news, we're hopping the boat will actually be there!

    Can't see how this would be any kind of scam as we didn't have to leave a deposit. Weird that hotel managers are saying the boat doesn't operate cause I've seen posts on lonely planet where people talk about taking it in 2008.

    Adisak was usually good about responding though occasionally we had to email him 2-3 times before getting a response.

    We'll be sure to let you all know how it works out.

    J

    #9 Posted: 28/4/2009 - 06:34

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Best of luck J

    Where are you travelling from and what are you plans for Laos - we are hoping to be able to arrange a trip from Luang Praang to Plain of Jars and then fly on to Vientiane.

    If I hear any more on Nagi I wll be sure to post

    Peter

    #10 Posted: 28/4/2009 - 06:44

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  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
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    I have also been in email correspondence with Nagi for a trip in early December. We were looking at staying the night before at Baan Nai Sra (as per their website), then next day cruising to Pakbeng, one night hotel and then on to LP.

    The website said this costs 5600THB per person, though I think this may be out of date. When I received an email back from Adisak, I was quoted 5900 THB. I have told them we would like to book, but they have said that Baan Nai Sra is 1000 THB per night.

    Have queried this and will let you know what happens.

    #11 Posted: 28/4/2009 - 19:59

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Hi Nokka,

    Adisak quoted me 5600 for November - I guess that December is more full on tourist season - We have been looking at staying a Viang Yonok Hotel in Chaing Sean www.viangyonok.com - more upmarket - but mayhave to do it mor ethe backpacker way as our budget is blowing out - I emailed Baan Nai Sra but they never replied

    #12 Posted: 29/4/2009 - 05:56

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    Hi, Peter

    What does your quote for 5600 include ? Is that just for the 2 day trip, plus hotel in Pakbeng ? My assumption from Adisak's quote was that my 5900 included the pre-trip night at Baan Nai Sra. I emailed him back to question this, but so far no reply.

    A while ago I also tried to email Baan Nai Sra direct, but got no reply. Also tried to email via the website www.nagiofmekong.com but got no reply there either. The whole thing doesn't exactly instill you with confidence, but will keep trying.

    I am surprised some other enterprising soul doesn't offer the option of putting together people to charter a boat. I'm sure there are many people who would pay a bit more than the standard slow boat for more space and comfort.

    #13 Posted: 29/4/2009 - 18:01

  • jBird

    Joined Travelfish
    11th January, 2009
    Posts: 19

    Peter and Nokka,

    We just booked our own hotel... there are a bunch of decent ones right on the Mekong and some nice looking guesthouses around Chiang Khong. If you go that route, you need to get yourself to and across the border, through customs (which everything I'm reading says its pretty simple)... I'm just waiting to hear from Adisak as to where we meet up.

    I'd say save some baht and book your own room.

    Good luck!
    J

    #14 Posted: 29/4/2009 - 19:03

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    How much are you paying just for the boat trip, jBird ?

    #15 Posted: 29/4/2009 - 20:41

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Guys,

    Thsi is exact response from Adisak ( cut nad pasted from his emails )

    "We run the two days cruise leaving Houi Xai every Sunday and Wednesday at 09.30, price is THB.4,600 per person including 2 lunches / refreshments, a twin sharing room at a standard hotel in Pak Bang and stops at villages along the river each day as well as Pak Ou cave."

    When I queried him on the accomodation in Chaing Khong he replied .

    "No, it does not include accommodation in Chiang Khong , the 3 days / 2 nights including accommoation in Chiang Khong _ dinner _ breakfast is THB.5,600 per person."

    We are still exploring options and have not booked as yet

    #16 Posted: 30/4/2009 - 13:00

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    Adisak has now replied with the following email:

    My apology for late reply, you are right the price including 1 night at Baan Nai Sra and another night in Pak Bang is THB.5,900 per person, the price without accommodation at Baan Nai Sra is THB.4,900 per person. The prices for the package changes end of September 2009, there is an increase of THB.300 per person on both packages.

    #17 Posted: 30/4/2009 - 15:58

  • brucemoon

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    Hi

    I was recently in Chiang Khong & Huay Xai . Yes, the cruise is still 'going' (or it was 3 weeks ago).

    I was heading east for the Gibbon Experience, but took time to check out as the operators of CM BlueHouse in Chiang Mai raved about it.

    There is plenty of good accommodation at Chiang Khong.

    We stayed in Huay Xai and found the GH there to be quite clean, comfortable and amenable (paid about 250 baht for a double room).

    The border crossing is simple. Get your passports 'stamped' on the Thai side, walk down to rivers edge, pay the 30 + 10 baht crossing fee, get into a long boat, do the crossing (3 minutes) walk up the concrete ramp to the Laos Immigration checkpoint. You can pre-purchase a visa, or buy at counter. The 'officials' want an extra US$1 (40 baht) to process a passport. The pre-purchased visa is 'processed' in about 2 minutes (unless there is a huge crowd) and the visa on arrival takes from 5 to 10 minutes (depending on queue).

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers

    #18 Posted: 30/4/2009 - 17:34

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Hi Guys,

    Just and update on how we are progressing with regards to "Nagi of Mekong" for our trip in November.

    1. I have heard nothing more from BTS in Chiang Mai but they did reply and said that they were working on some options for me. In due time I guess

    2. I have had a positive and rapid response from Gabriel at Treasure Travel Laos in Luang Prabang. He advises that he has been in touch with Adisak (Nagi) and confirmed that they are still operating. Gabriel further advises that we can book Nagi through him at a better price than though Nagi website. Gabriel is currently putting together a package for our full time in Laos.

    3. Noi at easy trip discovery laos responded to say that Nagi was not operating at present but could be later in the year (tourist season I guess)

    4. I received a lot of help in getting this far from Ian Smith, manager at Viang Yonok Hotel in Chiang Saen. Worth looking into if you are in the area.

    I have not given links in this post but the info I have given should allow you to reach the people if you are interested

    #19 Posted: 6/5/2009 - 10:05

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Hi Guys,

    Received this email from Adisak - Goes a long way into explaining the confusion

    "Dear Peter,

    Thanks for your precious information and links concerning what people say about the Nagi of Mekong. I have to admit one fact that, the website is very old and needs updating.

    Since we started the operation in 1998, we were the first and only one doing the "one day cruises with guaranteed departure from Houi Xai to Luang Prabang" but when the Chinese built dams across the river way up in Yannan, the river courses changed and water levels started to get less and less. This is one reason why we decided to stopped operating one day cruise and offer only the two days. People could be confused about we suspending the one day and probably thinks that we have stopped the whole business.

    I promise to have my website updates with clear information about what we do today and pricing as well.

    Best regards

    adisak"

    Sounds good enough for me - Will keep and eye posted for a new website - We travel in early November - would like to hear from anybody who doe sthe trip before then

    Regards

    Peter

    #20 Posted: 8/5/2009 - 12:42

  • brucemoon

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    PeterM

    Doesn't sound so good to me...

    First, ask yourself what speed would have to be undertaken to do a one day trip?

    On its own website, the Nagi admit the distance is some 320km.

    Elsewhere, others say that the 320km is typically done in about 12-13 hours of actual 'motoring' (sometimes more). This means the boats are travelling at around 14 knots: not an improbable speed for a 'slow' boat going downstream.

    Also, elsewhere, sites tell us the fast boats take 6 - 7 hours. That means they are travelling at about 27 knots (or 50 km / hour).

    For the nagi to say it used to be one day means it would be fairly flying down the river. Mmmm!!

    Then, the writer says 'due to a dam being built by the Chinese on the Mekong'. Yes, but!!!

    It is true that two dams have been built (the first of a claimed 7!!!). But they are cascade dams. That means that the first dam captures water, which flows to the second, then the third, etc. And, as the dams are for hydro power, the relative amount of water diverted is claimed to be nil (storage dams often hold water to be diverted elsewhere), the length of time the dam holds water is said to be of little consequence as the utilised water is discharged throughout the whole year. Go look at:

    http://www.mekongriver.org/publish/qghydrochdam.htm

    There appears nothing to suggest the Chinese are changing the course of the river!

    This will explain that the material you were sent in the email is dubious at best.

    If you think you can smell a rat, it probably is a rat...

    I smell a rat!!!

    Cheers

    #21 Posted: 8/5/2009 - 13:47

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259

    The Nagi apparently used to do the trip in one day, but now it takes two. There is an overnight stop at Pakbeng , like the slow boat.

    I'm not certain why they do the trip in 2 days now. Maybe Bruce is right, but I'm sure I read somewhere that they came under pressure from the slowboat operators and the guest houses in Pakbeng to toe the line.

    What we need is someone to post who has just done the trip and give us some feedback. jBird's trip is coming up fast, so hopefully they will give us a post-trip analysis.

    #22 Posted: 11/5/2009 - 16:15

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Hi Nokka,

    Bruce has a good point with regards to the speed required to do 320 Klm in one day but I am informed that there is still a 1 day fast boat Option ( as opposed to speed boats ) - I guess must be long day.

    Not sure that I agree with Bruce though on upstream dams not affecting water levels - Here in Australia there is a lot on controversy over upriver dams and irrigators draining the Murray River.

    Will be good to hear from JBird on their experience

    #23 Posted: 11/5/2009 - 16:26

  • brucemoon

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    PeterM is right, in Australia! Here (Oz), dams are built to divert water away from the river. That means that the river is denied the water. At this stage, the Chinese are saying (or is it propoganda-ing) that the water is for hydro-electricity and not denied from the river.

    But, I thought the issue was (a) whether the Nagi actually operates and in relation to that (b) why it no longer is a one day trip.

    The Nagi site - http://nagiofmekong.com/ - says explicitly it does NOT now run a one day trip (and gives the reasons, as PeterM described: to which I responded).

    - - - - -

    For those still interested in an alternate option to the typical (crowded) slow boat option, I found this site...

    http://www.itravelabout.com/travel-guide/asia/laos/huay-xai-to-luang-prabang

    And, there they referenced two other sites that apparently also offer 'luxury' options:

    http://www.asian-oasis.com/Luang.html

    and

    http://www.phoudoitravel.net/main1.htm - BUT..

    This (second) option doesn't appear active for boat cruising, but....

    - - - -

    Over to you, hope this helps.

    Cheers

    #24 Posted: 11/5/2009 - 18:19

  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
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    the mekongriver.org source is dated 2003. during the past 2 dry seasons (2007 & 2008) + 1 wet season (2008), places like Chiang Khong , Vientiane & Ubon Ratchathani along the Mekong saw extremes in terms of river levels - higher than ever with extensive flooding (e.g. last Sept's record floods of Chiang Khong & Vientiane), & also lower than usual at other times (many reports in the Thai news). there have also been claims (mostly from the Thai side) that China 'controls' the water levels of the Mekong in order to facilitate passage of their own ships.

    my understanding is that the ordinary slowboats take 2 days going downriver, but with a rather late start (close to noon) on the first day...& that the Nagi did the journey in one day simply by setting off really early in the morning (earlier than the current 9AM departure time on their website) to make full use of all hours of daylight. back in 2006, one of the nicer boats (could have been the Nagi, or the Asian Oasis boat?) overtook my slowboat while we were heading upriver - was clearly going at a much faster speed.

    #25 Posted: 11/5/2009 - 18:45

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    Here is an update on the Nagi of the mekong "luxury" boat.

    We are currently in LP and have been looking to take the boat up to Houay Xai. Not really keen on the public boat as it seems quite uncomfortable for two days and luckily we've moved from backpacking to flashpacking (as we've moved from our 20's to 30's) so can afford a little more luxury if we choose.

    I contacted Adisak (adisak.star@googlemail.com) last week about the Nagi and was told it left LP every Monday & Thursday and the price was 3500Baht including lunch for two days and standard hotel in Pak Beng. More expensive obviously than the public boats but more comfortable looking from the pictures.

    I wanted to wait until we got to LP to book the boat trip as I preferred to go thru an agent and had read of someone using Treasure Travel Laos to book the Nagi at a better price. I told Adisak I would let him know Thursday about our booking for the following Monday.

    Wednesday night we arrived in LP and went to Treasure Travel Laos (found 2 offices in LP and went to both) and no one had any idea what we were talking about and didn't know anything about the Nagi.

    Thursday morning i emailed Adisak back and said we'd like to book the Nagi for the following Monday (May 25th). I didn't get a response Thursday so sent a followup email Fri morning. We were at the "Mahout for a day" tour at the Elephant Park Project (Highly Recommended!) so I couldn't check emails til about 330 fri afternoon. Adisak had written me back to say he had to get embarkation documentation done for us and wasn't sure if he could at this late stage (2.5 days before we were due to leave).

    He wrote back about 30mins later to say we were set to go Monday but it would be on a different boat. Same standards as the "Nagi" but we might be the only 2 passengers and possibly a few Laotians (I bet they aren't paying $100/pp!)

    At this point everything just seemed to screwy, I don't know what kind of documents he had to get and why it took more than 2.5 days to get them and why it had taken over a day to respond to my email if time was of the essence (I had told him originally i would confirm with him Thurs Morning).

    My wife and I actually walked down to the pier and saw the boat (he had given us the number) that he had booked for us on Monday and it looked pretty much the same as any other boat the only difference was a couple of cushions on the seat definitely not worth the $100.

    This morning we walked into the Luang Say Cruise office thinking this was going to be way over our budget but what the heck (regular price online for low season was $287/pp incl 2break, 2lunch, 1 dinner, Luang Say Lodge in Pak Beng and a couple of small tour stops along the way i.e. Minority Village,Pak Ou Caves), we asked the guy what his best price was and told last minute special was $142/pp! We booked it on the spot!

    Luang Say leaves LP Wed&Sat, obviously more expensive than the public boat but a pretty good price at the moment for some luxury in my opinion.

    So once again the Nagi may or may not exist. It may or may not run when expected and you probably need to book in advance. At this point I think the Luang Say at $142/pp is a much better deal. FYI the Luang Say isn't running the month of June as they do their yearly maintenance then.

    #26 Posted: 23/5/2009 - 12:45

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Hismkuchta,

    Your experience does not instill confidence with either Leisure Travel or with Nagi. Jbird is to travel at end of May so it will be interesting to hear their report. Would be lovely to think that we would get your price for Luang Say in November.

    Keep us posted

    Regards

    Peter

    #27 Posted: 24/5/2009 - 10:39

  • Bennett

    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Hi, I am looking at traveling from Houei Say to Luang Prabang in Jan 2010. We have contacted the Luang Say Cruise and they have quoted $480. We are now looking into Nagi. I am interested in what others experiences are.
    Cheers Kathy

    #28 Posted: 27/5/2009 - 11:44

  • brucemoon

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    Kathy

    Are you wedded to the Huay Xai - Luang prabang river journey?

    I ask because there are some wonderful adventure options when going overland via Luang Nam Tha , etc. And, there are riverboats that travel between Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang .

    I don't know your time schedule, but Huay Xai to Luang Prabang is 2 days.

    Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha is 5 hours. Then there's heaps to do in the Nam Tha area. The trip from Luang Nam Tha to Nong Khiaw is a day (change buses at OudomXay). And the journey from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang is also a day. The Nong Khiaw - LP journey goes down the Nam river, then enters the Mekong river to arrive at Luang Prabang.

    Just an idea.

    Cheers

    #29 Posted: 27/5/2009 - 12:00

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Kathy,

    First of all Kathy I have never been to this part of the world so Bruce is much more informed. Whatever I know has come from many hours ineternet research (via Google and these forums)and from emails to locals.- We go in November and hopefully the homework pays off.

    Treasure Travel are putting together a tour for us - They are well regarded (despite smkutchs experience in post #26). Do not discount them but get in touch by email (see theire website) and mark it for the attention of Gabriel to get a rapid response.

    With regards to Nagi we have booked them through Gabriel - There is another option - Apparently there is another smaller luxury slow boat available for private hire at US$600 - Depending on your numbers it may be a consideration - Again Gabriel will give you details - Could also be more flexible with departure times etc.

    Also,email direct to Adisak (Nagi) through his website. Sometimes takes a day or two to reply but I suspect he is on the river himself - seems to be a bit of a one man show as most Travel Agents do not know him.

    If you read back through the posts you will see that JBird is travelling by Nagi this week end (post #9)- We are await their report.

    The option put forward by BruceMoon is one we had not considered - His experience and guidance is worth considering - Hopefully he will post some more details about the road trip - road surface, level of comfort etc - I think the Gibbon Experience is along that route - Probably your tolerance to Lao buses and long road trips.

    Regards
    Peter

    #30 Posted: 27/5/2009 - 13:24

  • brucemoon

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    Kathy

    If you are interested in considering that alternative, I'll add more details re: journey (etc) upon you so signalling.

    Yes, the Gibbon Experience is on the road from Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha.

    As an 'out of this world experience', I must say the Gibbon Experience is 'up there' with the best of them. For more on it, go see:

    http://www.travelfish.org/feature/46

    - - - -

    I wrote (elsewhere) on that journey for people interested in doing it during the wet season. Some of the info is perhaps worthwhile. Go to:

    http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/laos/6122_gibbon-experience-in-wet-season----

    then...

    http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/laos/6220_gibbon-experience-in-september-

    - - - - -


    Cheers

    #31 Posted: 27/5/2009 - 13:48

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    Just completed the Luang Say cruise upstream from LP to Huay Xai. It was a great cruise, good food, lodging, a couple of mildly interesting village/cave stops along the way.

    However as I stated previously we only paid $142/pp for the all inclusive 2 day trip and I am not sure it is worth much more than that. We were lucky enough to only have 7 people on board so we had plenty of room. In my mind you couldn't fit more than about 2 dozen people comfortably on the boat.

    So in high season if I had paid $400+ and was stuck on the boat for 2 days with 40 people I would feel supremely ripped off. At $142/pp with only 7 people on board I felt it was a great trip.

    JBird I didn't ask for Gabriel at Treasure Travel Laos when we went into either of their offices, I just asked the first guy I talked to about the Nagi and neither knew what i was referring to so I would have to assume that neither guy was Gabriel.

    Adisak just ticked me off because we talked for 2 weeks about the Nagi and then 3 days before departure he mentions he has another "similiar" boat for us where we'd probably be the only passengers and maybe a "few" laotians as well. The boat wasn't similar it was a regular public boat with a few cushions on the chair. When asked why we couldn't take Nagi as we had planned he said there wasn't time to get all the embarkation documents done for us (this was fri afternoon, Nagi left on Monday).

    Interesting thing was the Luang Say took our names and that was it, didn't even want to see our passports so not sure what was going on there, I just didn't get a good feeling.

    In summary the Luang Say cruise was great but we had a good price and few people on board. We saw the public boat go by each day and it did not look fun. If I was going back I would not do the public boat to LP and would not pay high season prices for the Luang Say, Adisak left me with a bad feeling with the way he handled things with the Nagi so I guess I would either fly or as someone mentioned do the boat trip up to Luang Namtha and go the circuitous route to LP.

    #32 Posted: 30/5/2009 - 08:03

  • Bennett

    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Thanks guys its been great and food for thought. I think we will look into the Nam river trip and the Gibbon Experience looks grest. I will investigate all and I don't think we will go on the Nagi. I am also travelling with a 7 year old so going on the public baot could be a nightmare in waiting.

    #33 Posted: 5/6/2009 - 16:37

  • jBird

    Joined Travelfish
    11th January, 2009
    Posts: 19

    Report on the Nagi:

    Took it on May 31, wife and I paid 4,600 each. The boat was fairly new, comfortable seats (car seats) and the food was very good. The captain's wife was an awesome cook... they were also extremely nice people.

    Our tour guide, Cat, met us in Huay Xia and walked us through the visa process. Real nice guy, spoke great english, very talkative and informative. He told us that a whole group of people canceled so it was just us on the boat, which was actually a bummer because we were looking forward to meeting people. Because the guide already bought food and booked hotel rooms for the folks that canceled he asked if we minded picking up a few people along the way, which we didn't.

    About 3 hours into our first day, the guide said he got a call that the people that canceled now want to take the boat... he was to take a speed boat back to huay xia, scoop them up, then meet up with us later. After he left us, we never saw him again.

    Over the next 2 days, we picked up more and more locals, including a group of novice monks on their way to Luang PraBang. Wife and I were cool with this so we didn't feel too about paying so much money for a boat that turned into a public boat... it was worth it just to pay for the comfy seats. We also arrived in LP at 5pm, where some boats didn't get in until 9pm.

    Our stop at the Pak Ou was kind of weird. It was supposed to be guided and included in the price, which it wasn't and the entire boat of locals were basically waiting for us to finish, so we just kind of sped through the cave.

    It was worth it for us to spend the money, just to be comfortable.

    #34 Posted: 8/6/2009 - 15:57

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Hi jBird,

    Thanks for the posting - Nagi sounds OK evenif not quite as expected. Still, I guess we would not be in that part of the world if we did not have a sense of adventure.- How was the accomodation at Pak Beng ?

    Keep us posted on eth rest of your trip

    Regards

    Peter

    #35 Posted: 10/6/2009 - 13:39

  • eatinginhan-
    oi

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2009
    Posts: 5

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Hi All,

    We're headed to Laos from Vietnam this week and are still firming up our Laos travel plans.

    I noticed that there's lots of discussion on which boat or mode of transportation between Huay Xai/LP are best but any thoughts on scenery? The slow boat might be worth it despite its discomfort if we got to see two days of amazing scenery. We still have time to change our plans and fly instead. Wanted to know your thoughts.

    #36 Posted: 25/10/2009 - 17:24

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1612

    eatinginhanoi: Depending on where you plan to go next, you might consider to do northern Laos "backwards" (S-to-N) ending with the standard slow boat going up river two days from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai (then into Thailand?) Usually a lot less crowded than more popular downstream boats and still about $25 for the two-day ride. A lot cheaper than the roughly $135 Nagi package. Buy the ticket day before at the top of the boat ramp in Luang Prabang.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/captain-bob/3937749771/in/set-72157622416905158/

    #37 Posted: 26/10/2009 - 00:03

  • eatinginhan-
    oi

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2009
    Posts: 5

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Thanks Captain_Bob! Love your pictures.

    We're planning on the upstream from LP to Huay Xai, Gibbon Experience, then into Thailand. Your comments are helpful! I think we'll stick to the plan if it's less crowded going that way. Also, will definitely do the regular $25 boats, can't justify the dreamboat cost.

    #38 Posted: 26/10/2009 - 00:18

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Hi Guys,

    We ahve just returned from our trip to Thailand, Laos & Cambodia which included the 2 day Nagi of Mekong boat trip down to Luang Prabang - We were fairly apprehensive but Nagi turned out to be everything it promised - We were met firstly on the Thai side of the river then again on the Lao side by another guide why assisted with the immigration & visa process - It would appear that Nagi now operate more then 1 boat as we were told it was a private boat (presumably that meant hired) - The boat was comfortable without being luxurious and the food on the trip was good - It was operated by the captain and mate with the captains wife doing the catering - We had 10 people on the trip it was not cramped and the seats can be rearranged to suit - There was a lounge section with deckchairs and a sun room whhich suited the Europeans - Phetsoxai Hotel (spelling ???)at Pak Beng was basic but clean enough - Pak Beng perates on generators from electricity from 6:30pm to 10:30pm but there is new road being built and is expected to have permanent power in December - We were advised to stay in our rooms after dark which was not difficult - The place is like a coal mine with not a single light - The journey itself was relaxing after a hectic time in Thailand and allowed us to catch up on some sleep - I would aree with the postings that recommends doing the trip upriver as most of the traffic is downstream and we passed plenty of empty boats heading back to Houei Xai - Should be able to negotiate a better price - Most of the longboats now seem to have a similar seating arrangement and I think the old wooden seats may be a thing of the past - I would thoroughly recommend Nagi and their service - Regards Peter

    #39 Posted: 25/11/2009 - 08:12

  • drew7068

    Joined Travelfish
    1st August, 2009
    Posts: 1

    Hello All,
    Just wanted to share our experience with Nagi of Mekong We traveled on the 1 day trip in March 2008. Our experience overall was good from the communication with Adisak Star to the seats, to the food. We were keen to do the one day trip as we thought two days of boat travel would not be appreciated by our kids. I would have to say we found the whole process straight forward and Adisak to be trustworthy - we didn't need to pay until the night before once we had crossed the border.

    The only downside to our day (and perhaps the reason they are no longer doing the 1-day trip) was we didn't reach Luang Prabang in daylight hours. We had to stop at a village up river, carry our bags up to the road in complete darkness and after about 30 mins were taken into LP by flat bed truck!! Our kids thought this was a great adventure but I don't think all the other flash-packers did. This outcome wasn't the fault of Adisak or Nagi but other passengers arriving late - we were meant to depart at 8am but didn't depart until after 9am.

    #40 Posted: 1/12/2009 - 15:28

  • Xuanargi

    Joined Travelfish
    20th March, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Hi all,

    I have just chanced upon this forum while googling the Nagi of Mekong after the terrible experience we have gone through with the company during our trip to Laos. We would just like to share the nightmare we have gone through with them in this forum and discourage anyone who wishes to travel with them from Luang Prahbang to Huoi Xay. We note that the positive feedback on them came only from those who have travelled with them from Thailand to Luang Prahbang. We are happy these people did not have to go through what we did with this terrible company, which is not known by many in Laos. Take the Luang Say Cruise instead - at least you get what you pay for!

    You can read all about our experience in our blog under the Entry called June 2008 : Slowed Down by Laos. Here's our link : http://www.travelpod.com/members/xuanargi

    We hope this will help other would be travllers to make better decision in this aspect.

    #41 Posted: 20/3/2010 - 15:59

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1612

    Xuanargi
    I just read your blog about the really messed-up boat ride. You never set foot on the real Nagi boat of course. Things didn't work and there was little accountability after you had paid up five times the standard slow boat price. Unfortunately these boats do break down from time to time and the solution is usually to phone in a replacement boat from whatever is available. Even the Luang Say luxury boat can have trouble - it crashed on rocks and sank last month!

    It's also not uncommon for boats to arrive late and in some cases you just have to sleep on the river bank or in the nearest village. Pakbeng is the little oasis in the middle but the electricity shuts down at night (well at least it did in 2008). At least when you stopped at Pak Tha there was the driver guy waiting, even if he thought you were Chinese or whatever.

    In retrospect though it's fairly common for things to go adverse in Laos and your "bor pen nyang" mantra no doubt helped. Also you re-confirmed the notion that things are best arranged face-to-face rather than pre-booked on a website. Thanks for the interesting read ;-)

    #42 Posted: 21/3/2010 - 16:12

  • adisak

    Joined Travelfish
    24th August, 2009
    Posts: 4

    # 41 this is not fair for the operator of the Nagi of Mekong. I have asked you for the pictures of the boat and their staff so that I could report to the Lao authorities but you never did send me anything.

    #43 Posted: 21/4/2010 - 21:28

  • trung277

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2010
    Posts: 3

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Hi! i am new member!i would help ! thanks everyone !

    #44 Posted: 22/4/2010 - 09:04

  • trung277

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2010
    Posts: 3

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Hi! i am new member!i would help ! thanks everyone !

    #45 Posted: 22/4/2010 - 09:08

  • Wettis

    Joined Travelfish
    1st June, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Hi,
    Will travel with Nagi of Mekong in June, the 2 day Nagi of Mekong boat trip down to Luang Prabang. I will send in my review after the trip.
    So far the communication with Adisak has been great. Quick replies and been very helpful trying to meet our needs (so far :).

    #46 Posted: 1/6/2010 - 18:13

  • applecool

    Joined Travelfish
    12th June, 2010
    Posts: 3

    Am planning also to travel with Nagi of Mekong on Sunday 20 June & Monday 21 June to LP. So far I think it seems OK. No paperwork or payment yet required, etc. So here's hoping...

    #47 Posted: 12/6/2010 - 20:09

  • applecool

    Joined Travelfish
    12th June, 2010
    Posts: 3

    Have just done the two day boat trip, not quite as expected. In Chiang Khong the night before, all seemed OK on a phonecall to my hotel from Adisak, other than I was the only person, but we would go ahead. Next morning, passed through customs and got to the boat I was told, only to find it was not going. Then an agent of Nagi appeared and said the boat could not go so I would need to go on public slow boat. I was somewhat annoyed, but then Adisak rang his agent and then spoke to me and said he would pay for my slow boat, etc, though I had not paid him anything to that point. All a bit frustrating and chaotic in a way, but I guess it was less of a loss for him to pay for my trip than to pay for the whole boat.

    Though the administration left a lot to be desired and the change of plans so sudden on the morning, I am convinced Adisak is genuine and no scam and would not discourage others from booking with Nagi. I guess in a busier season it is more likely to go ahead as scheduled.

    The public boat was quite full, 60+ people, and didn't leave until almost 11am, but it was a good trip and pleasant experience. If you go on public boat, get your hotel to give you some take away fried rice, bananas and water to take on the boat.

    Bon voyage

    #48 Posted: 23/6/2010 - 09:49

  • Wettis

    Joined Travelfish
    1st June, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Here is a follow up of our earlier announced trip with Nagi of Mekong.
    Our trip took place the 18th of June. Due to that they did not have any scheduled trip on the day we wanted to go we rented the boat for a private trip. This was not so much more expensive for us (8 people).
    We where staying in Chiang Rai and we asked Adisak if he could arrange a van to pick us up and take us to the border. He could do so at a reasonable cost. It turned out to be the nicest van I have ever traveled with in Asia and for us worth the money compared to go by public bus.
    Two days before the trip Adisak called me at the hotel and confirmed the plans.
    He met us at the border (in Thailand) together with a guide and they helped us with immigration and the visa process. After that they took us to the boat and the guide traveled with us to LP. The guide and the boat crew secured that we had a pleasant boat trip. It was basically everything we had hoped for, a clean and well maintained boat, comfortable seats, nice food and a relaxing and interesting trip.
    We were 6 adults and two kids (8 and 10 years old) and we all agreed that the boat trip was one of the highlights during our trip (Laos, Cambodja and Vietnam). Nothing really happens but it is a nice scenery, very relaxing and we made some stops (a small village, Pak Beng of course and Pak Ou caves).
    We also -as others above- thoroughly recommend Nagi and their service. /Daniel

    #49 Posted: 13/7/2010 - 21:45

  • adisakstar

    Joined Travelfish
    18th May, 2009
    Posts: 1

    After having gone through this link about how bad the Nagi of Mekong was and discouraging people from using it in this link:

    http://www.travelpod.com/members/xuanargi

    I have come across a few interesting points and would like to conclude the following:

    1 )They could have been paid by whoever thought that the Nagi of Mekong was their competitor. Xaunargi kept repeating name of the other company and encouraging people to use their services.

    2 )They could have been sold to the regular slow boat by the hotel manager and his staff because they were the only ones who knew of Xaunargi's intention to travel up the Mekong to Houi Xai.

    3) If they really want to help us to prevent such incident to happen in future, I am asking Xaunargi to send me pictures of the 3 men or the captain of the boat and their staff, I will see to that they get punished for their deed and am sure that the tourism authority of Laos would be happy to see this happens.

    adisak

    #50 Posted: 7/9/2010 - 19:10

  • Captain_Cou-
    rageous

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Courageous
    Joined Travelfish
    20th June, 2010
    Location Australia
    Posts: 16

    What I find strange - I have been unable to find any photos of the Nagi. Other than those on adisak's website, there is nothing, absolutely nothing. This I find peculiar - every body takes photos of their holidays and trips, so why are there none taken by tourists/passengers who have travelled on this Nagi? Does the boat actually exist or is it a phantom? A mythical boat of an over-active imagination or just a scam?

    I am not saying it is a scam nor am I making accusations ~ but I have an enquiring mind and I for one would like to get to the bottom of this. Where are the reviews? Where are the photos? Where are the happy snaps?

    #51 Posted: 15/10/2010 - 07:20

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Captain Couageous,

    If you look back to post #39 you will find my review of the trip we did with Nagi of Mekong almost a year ago.- I do have plenty of photos of the trip, the boat & the people but am not sure how I would get them to you - If you could advise me how to do so I would gladly send you a copy

    Regards
    Peter

    #52 Posted: 15/10/2010 - 08:11

  • Captain_Cou-
    rageous

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Courageous
    Joined Travelfish
    20th June, 2010
    Location Australia
    Posts: 16

    Yes Peter, I did read your review which is dated November 2009. I still stand by my words. One positive review does not for reasssurance make, I have read more negative reviews.
    Questions relating to the Nagi have been asked several times on a number of travel forums, yet the answers seem to be lacking. One would have thought that the number of people who have heard of it (Nagi) would have made for far greater knowledge and results.

    Re photos, have you thought of posting them on Google? Or Picasa?

    #53 Posted: 15/10/2010 - 10:41

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    It does seem like a bit of a Black Ops mission trying to book or find out information about the Nagi. You can read our experience with them in Post 26 and our subsequent trip with the Luang Say in Post 32.

    I would highly recommend the Luang Say if you are travelling in low season, not sure it would be worth the cost in high season however.

    #54 Posted: 16/10/2010 - 00:21

  • Xuanargi

    Joined Travelfish
    20th March, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Reply to #50 :
    Adisak, do not even think of using this forum to justify your wrongdoing.

    (1) We are genuine travellers and have not been paid by anyone to write bad comments about Nagi. Our travel blogs all over the world will prove that we only write about our good and bad experiences to share and assist other travellers like us.

    (2) The hotel manager has nothing to do with our journey with the supposed 'Nagi'. Your assistant who met us have way through our journey and who transferred us by land and who also gave us your mobile number will prove your connection to our unfortunate journey! You have also not denied your involvement when we spoke to you on your mobile from Chiang Mai. Don't try to make a U-turn now, pleae!

    (3) Whether we give you the photos of the captain and his wife etc will not make any difference. They are all innocent people who have carried out your instructions.

    We do not wish to dwell any further in this discussion about Nagi. We have stated our bad experience with you and alerted other travellers and that is all we had wanted to do. We will be very happy if what we have written will in turn deter you from misleading any future travellers like us.

    Again, we wish to reiterate that we have not been paid by anyone to write about Nagi like you have allegedly accused us (on our blogs and here). The travellers in #54 have almost gone through the same experience as us in LP. They escaped because they are more savvy than us. We learned our lesson well. We shall not be commenting any further on this thread because we would much rather forget about this unfortunate incident! We have made our point.

    #55 Posted: 16/10/2010 - 00:47

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    I would say we were more fortunate than savvy Xuanargi. My gut feel is that the Nagi of the Mekong does not actually exist.

    We saw several boats on our trip up the Mekong that were nicer than the average tourist boat, i.e. Airplane seats, more room etc.

    My hunch is that the Nagi is simply a brokered boat and therefore not always the same boat. This would explain why some people have great trips and others terrible. Some people get lucky and get chartered one of the nicer boats with only a few customers, some get chartered less nice boats and/or the captain decides to pack the boat with non-Nagi customers making the trip more like the typical 2day/1n trip.

    Those in the former thinks its totally worth the extra cost, those in the latter group feel ripped off.

    #56 Posted: 16/10/2010 - 01:10

  • adisak

    Joined Travelfish
    24th August, 2009
    Posts: 4

    xuanargi, i still insist that you send me the pictures of thoses people who imposed as the operator of the Nagi of Mekong . I am sure that you have them, if I remember correctly, you mentioned that one of the boat man was among those who went to pick you up at the hotel and took you to the boat, below is what you wrote in your travel blog..

    thought maybe there was some improvisations to Nagi on that particular day. Nobody spoke a word of English - nobody could explain to us anything. Amidst all the confusion and in the chaotic rush and shouts of Laotian language from the boatmen and the people on the boat, we surrendered the agreed sum of THB 8,000 to one of the men who had picked us up from the hotel. He took the money and left us whereas the 2 other men remained on the boat with us, one of them being the boatmen himself. thumbnail.large.11.1213872540.people-on-boat.jpg
    People on our boat

    Why are you protecting the people who committed the crime ?

    Please help us crack down these touts and crooks by sending me the pictures of those 4 men.

    #57 Posted: 2/11/2010 - 20:06

  • Nwilco

    Joined Travelfish
    29th October, 2010
    Posts: 3

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    We took the 2 daycruise and can really recommend it. There were only 6 of us on theboat and we saw parts of Laos that many on the Luang Prabang touristtrail don't see. We set off at about 9am on the first day and spentthe day admiring the scenery. We visited a small village that feltlike you have stepped back 500 years. It was confronting at first asthe people are incredibly poor. But then the children got a bit moregregarious and cheeky. We finished the day by docking at Pak Beng andstaying at a guesthouse chose by the Nagi team. The guesthouse wasclean, but basic. The bathroom was all-in-one. The Nagi team had madean effort to find a decent safe place for us. On the second day weset off around 8.30 and arrived at Luang Prabang at around 1600. Enroute, we visited the Pak Ou caves or the caves of a thousandBuddhas. The caves were interesting as an aside to the boat trip, butI'm not sure I'd make the trip from Luang Prabang to see themseparately.


    Pros:


    [ulist] [li]Our guide Kae was helpful and tried to answer our difficult questions
    [/li][li]The food on-board (lunch) was great. Very local and delicious.
    [/li][li]We had loads of space to chill-out on the boat and our travelling companions were very pleasant!
    [/li][li]Reasonable price at around £100 per person.
    [/li][/ulist]

    We'd really recommendthis trip down the Mekong as it was thoroughly relaxing andenjoyable.

    #58 Posted: 15/11/2010 - 08:41

  • wayan_bob

    Joined Travelfish
    1st December, 2010
    Posts: 2
    Total reviews: 3

    We have recently undertaken a trip on the Nagi of the Mekong and it was fantastic, on 3rd Nov.
    Initial research (several months before hand) found it hard to find adequate information about this vessel/company. The top of the range of boats at $1000 a day was out of our league, and while do-able, we really didn’t fancy the hard wooden seats and “get as many as possible on the boat mentality” of the cheap options.
    When we were in Chiang Mai, we emailed the company, got an immediate reply that a vessel was leaving on Wednesday - in four days time. We headed for Chiang Rai from where we caught the local ‘red’ bus to Chiang Khong on the Laos border, then a Tuk Tuk to the immigration post and ferry across to Huay Xai in Laos. We hadn’t managed to book a hotel by phone or email so just walked up to the Sabaydee Guest House where we were lucky to get a room as we had arrived quite early in the day (it was fully booked by late afternoon). It was clean quiet and comfortable, and had beautiful views of the Mekong from the large verandah and front rooms. One advantage of making the crossing to Laos the day before was that we could get local currency (Lao Kip) before the boat trip.
    We found Mr Adisak to be very helpful and good at communicating with us, especially as we had arranged it at the last minute. He picked us up next morning and took us to the boat where we met our other co-travelers. There were a total of 8 passengers; four friends from Britain and another Australian couple and we couldn’t have asked for better company. Our ‘guide’ on the boat was just great, full of information and so vigilant as to our needs, if you got up to make a cup of coffee he was there before you! (Tea, coffee and water were available any time). One of the other passengers was celebrating his 65 birthday and was greeted with a birthday cake at lunch time.
    The boat was great; a typical wooden ‘longboat’ which had some ‘airline’ type seats and tables in rows, as well as some comfortable seats facing each other further forward for those who wanted to chat or improve their sun tans. Also a clean western toilet. We were served delicious hot lunches both days; soup followed by steam rice, fish or chicken & vegetables. Our night stopover at Pak Beng in a very nice guesthouse was included in the price.
    The two days were just magical, so tranquil just watching the river which is a constant mixture of fast water, whirlpools, eddies and many hidden rocks (why anyone would want to take the speed boat down this section of the Mekong river was beyond us, but they do!) Passing the odd village perched high up on the hillsides, a few fishermen and stunning mountain scenery. On the first day we visited one Ethnic minority village.
    Next morning a “picture post card” view greeted us, reminded one of an old Chinese painting, layers of mountains receding into the distance, mist cloaking them and steam coming off the river. Silver glints on the river as the sunlight broke through here and there with glimpses of blue sky and white clouds above (and it was freezing cold, but the boat was equipped with blankets for the early morning start!).
    Later that morning we spotted three working elephants hauling and loading logs onto a barge, we dropped anchor and got out for a closer look, also visited the Ethnic minority village higher up the hill. And in the afternoon we pulled up at the Pak Ou Buddhist caves.
    And on to Luang Prabang and the end of the river trip. We would have been happy to keep going for a few more days! Definitely one of the top highlights of our whole trip.

    #59 Posted: 1/12/2010 - 20:37

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2088
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Awesome post, Wayan-Bob! A couple of questions:
    - did the trip take two full days?
    - cost?
    - do you have contact details for them boat crowd and/or the guesthouse?
    I may wish to consider this for my trip next year, but I know the details will also be useful to many others!

    Also - would love to see some pics if you have any online. (You can send a link via Private Message if you don't want to post publicly.... But no worries if you would rather not.)

    #60 Posted: 2/12/2010 - 06:47

  • Captain_Cou-
    rageous

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Courageous
    Joined Travelfish
    20th June, 2010
    Location Australia
    Posts: 16

    I'm always wary of new posters who make 1 (or 2) posts raving on about how good something is and am reminded of something dad used to say, "There's something rotten in Denmark."

    #61 Posted: 2/12/2010 - 07:34

  • Captain_Cou-
    rageous

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Courageous
    Joined Travelfish
    20th June, 2010
    Location Australia
    Posts: 16

    Have just looked at the Nagi webpage - price given is 4600 Baht and single occupancy surcharge of 600 baht which equates to 5.200 baht, or $179.72 AUD.

    When I clicked on "Baan Nai Sra and the Nagi of Mekong cruise", price states THB.5,300 per person in twin sharing. THB.1,000 per person for single supplement. Which is 6,300 baht for one person, which is $217.79 AUD.

    #62 Posted: 2/12/2010 - 07:42

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2088
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Yeah, captain, I'm normally very aware of being wary of new posters. However, I'm giving Wayan the benefit of the doubt at this point.

    I have to confess, it's been a very long time since I read through this thread, and I really only read the last post before posting. Having just now spent a bit more time scrolling through previous posts, I now understand your concerns.

    Let's wait and see what kind of response I get, if any, from Wayan Bob.

    #63 Posted: 2/12/2010 - 08:14

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    Well Lizzy, you can scroll through and find our experience with Nagi in June 09, I'll quote one of my last posts:
    "My hunch is that the Nagi is simply a brokered boat and therefore not always the same boat. This would explain why some people have great trips and others terrible. Some people get lucky and get chartered one of the nicer boats with only a few customers, some get chartered less nice boats and/or the captain decides to pack the boat with non-Nagi customers making the trip more like the typical 2day/1n trip."


    Depending on what time of year you are going the Luang Say could be an option it is truly a luxury boat and while it is outrageously expensive in high season we showed up at their door in LP one afternoon four days before the last upstream cruise of the season and got two tickets for $280 total incl all meals and a night at the Luang Say Lodge just outside Pak Beng.

    #64 Posted: 3/12/2010 - 05:53

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1612

    Me too, always a bit suspicious of rave reviews like that, especially as lengthy and superlative as that and from a one-time poster. It's more realistic if there are a couple "coulda been better" comments thrown in. And the Luang Say boat is not $1000/day. It's more like $465-573 for the 3 day cruise including accommodation in Pakbeng and the "Kamu Lodge". http://www.asian-oasis.com/cruises/mekong-expedition

    High season is arriving, time to drum up some business ;-)

    #65 Posted: 3/12/2010 - 19:14

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Captain Courageous - Have you ever traveled the Mekhong or have any personal experience with Adisak - There is nothing in this forum which would suggest that you know what you are talking about

    Personally, I freely admit that have only made the trip once and was quite happy with the quality and value for money presented by Nagi

    Do not knock new contributors - It is the only way to keep information up to date for new travellers and we all start somewhere - I am planing a return trip and would appreciate up to date reviews from actual travellers - Keep the reviews coming and less of the criticism please

    It seems to me that there are a couple of repeat contributors who are out to sink Adisak & Nagi - pehaps they work for the rivals - who knows

    #66 Posted: 4/12/2010 - 04:44

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    To all would be travellers

    If you are thinking of making the trip dowm the Mekhong do not be put off by things in this forum - The trip is an experience of a lifetime for westerners - Nobody, it appears has had a really bad experience - we all do it with a sense of adventure and know that we are in basic Asia and expect the basics - If they get too many up market boats it will destroy the experience and force prices up

    There are several options to suit your budget - When we did it there appeard to be an oversupply of comfortable long tail boats doing the trip - Go backpacker boat, Nagi or Laung Say whatever your budget or style allows - BUT DO THE TRIP it is a relaxing couple of days after the hustle & bustle that is Asia

    #67 Posted: 4/12/2010 - 05:01

  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2006
    Posts: 730
    Total reviews: 4
    Places visited:
    At least 67

    another operator joining the fray?

    http://www.bangkokpost.com/travel/localtrips/206155/traversing-borders-sailing-the-mekong

    article says that the Mekong Delta will ply the Chiang Saen-Xishuangbanna route & also the Chiang Khong-Luang Prabang route when full commerical service starts 'later this year'.

    #68 Posted: 9/12/2010 - 17:46

  • Nwilco

    Joined Travelfish
    29th October, 2010
    Posts: 3

    I'm a new poster and can absolutely guarantee that I have no connection to the Nagi of Mekong - other than having been a customer as per my post. It's fair enough that other posters are cynical, but everyone has to make a first post!

    #69 Posted: 12/12/2010 - 16:28

  • GillesFromF-
    rance

    Joined Travelfish
    13th December, 2010
    Posts: 6

    I was thinking of doing this trip on the Nagi next week (northwards). As far as I understand things on their website, there is a little flaw in their system : the Nagi is supposed to ride southwards on Wednestdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, and northwards on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thurdsays and Fridays.

    This is quite a lot for a single ship :-). As I see on this forum and others that a number of customers have been transferred on the regular passenger boat under various pretences, paying more than one million kip for two cushions, I shall expect to receive a few explanations about this ubiquitous ship before thinking of booking.

    #70 Posted: 14/12/2010 - 09:16

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Hi GillesFromFrance,

    My guess is that their business has now grown to the point where they have more than one boat doing the trip - In Nov 09 there was a whole lot of boats going back upstream empty - It is now full on tourist season and most people travel downstream - You might even negotiate a better deal upstream

    I suggest that you email or call Adisak directly - there are contact details on his website - He responded to my emails quickly (back in 09) and has a good grip on English.

    Have a good trip an let us know how you fare

    Regards
    Peter

    #71 Posted: 14/12/2010 - 10:04

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    Well Peter, just as you don't want people to discount your opinions on the Nagi because of your small number of postings you shouldn't throw out the accusation that those that did have a bad experience with the Nagi are simply shills for his competitors.

    I did have dealings with Adisak and simply reiterated what my experience was, people can draw their own conclusions from that. My signature links to my travel blog so you are welcome to visit and decide if I "work for a competitor out to sink poor Adisak".

    I don't think anyone is bashing new posts however most people are going put more faith in a post from someone with hundreds of posts than someone with only a few.

    I'll tend to pay more attention to a post by Captain Bob, Wandering Cat or BusyLizzy simply because of the volume of their posts than someone who has one post with a glowing recommendation for a particular service, restaurant, hotel or tour.

    Now the exception to that would be when somebody like Xuanargi posts but also links to an external website. Xuanargi might only have a couple of posts but I've seen his website and it seems he has traveled pretty extensively. There is plenty of detail of where they've been, good times and bad, so when they have a bad experience I tend to believe them that they had a bad experience even if it was their first post on travelfish.

    #72 Posted: 15/12/2010 - 06:14

  • Captain_Cou-
    rageous

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Courageous
    Joined Travelfish
    20th June, 2010
    Location Australia
    Posts: 16

    .
    .


    GillesfromFrance
    "the Nagi is supposed to ride southwards on Wednestdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, and northwards on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thurdsays and Fridays."

    If you have another look at the Nagi website, it states the boat departs Houay Xai on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. It stops overnight at Pakbeng . It departs Pakbeng on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays. It is a two day trip.

    Heading upstream the boat departs Luang Prabang on Mondays and Thursdays, overnights at Pakbeng then departs from there (Pakbeng) on Tuesdays and Fridays.

    #73 Posted: 15/12/2010 - 08:56

  • Captain_Cou-
    rageous

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Courageous
    Joined Travelfish
    20th June, 2010
    Location Australia
    Posts: 16

    .

    "Captain Courageous - Have you ever traveled the Mekhong or have any personal experience with Adisak - There is nothing in this forum which would suggest that you know what you are talking about"

    Really? In that case, one must then ignore all the previous posts other than yours at #39? You yourself were apprehensive before you took the boat trip, so don't knock others with the same feeling. Just because your trip was good, doesn't mean that other people's reports are lies.

    "Do not knock new contributors"

    One time posters who extol the virtues at great length and sing high praises of a tour/hostel etc and then disappear does have an air of dodginess about it. The same applies with one time posters who rant about (for example) an accommodation place saying warning do not stay here and then give all the ins and outs of their displeasure.

    And hey, guess what Peter? I'm a new contributor and you've knocked me...

    " I am planing a return trip and would appreciate up to date reviews from actual travellers - Keep the reviews coming and less of the criticism please"

    So, this forum is only for someone who has actually travelled to a place? Not someone who is seeking information about a place they are going to? Seems I've been under a cloud then, I thought a travel forum was for people to discuss travel, try and help other travellers/tourists, give their opinion of a place/hotel/tour/transport etc and ask questions.

    "It seems to me that there are a couple of repeat contributors who are out to sink Adisak & Nagi - pehaps they work for the rivals"

    Which contributors Peter? All "repeat" contributors, or merely those who opinion disagrees with yours?

    Oh, and btw, when I come back from my trip, I will post of my experience here - I'll even post a link to my blogs.

    #74 Posted: 15/12/2010 - 10:01

  • adisak

    Joined Travelfish
    24th August, 2009
    Posts: 4

    Hi all,

    This is Adisak from the Nagi of Mekong cruise:

    The only question I would like to ask is, have the following posters been on the Nagi of Mekong cruises ?

    Captain Bob,
    Wandering Cat
    BusyLizzy,
    smkuchta
    Xaunargi

    I welcome all comments no matter they are positive or negative but only from people who have been on our cruises. Criticism from people who have not seen / been on our boats are a bit unfair. We all have business to run, for example Bob is selling Laos maps and engage in the motor bike rentals, bike and boats are not rivals at all.

    #75 Posted: 21/12/2010 - 11:05

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    I didn't take your cruise Adisak but I had multiple correspondence with you regarding booking your cruise and have simply posted what my experience was.

    According to you I am not entitled to post about the Nagi since I didn't actually take the cruise. It's an awfully convenient excuse to say that anyone that has a negative opinion of the Nagi is a "working for a competitor". I live in California and have no connection to the travel or tourism industry anywhere let alone in SE Asia.

    But since you insist on dredging up this thread I will do you the favor of reposting what I posted earlier.

    The following was my post from May 2009:
    "Here is an update on the Nagi of the mekong "luxury" boat.

    We are currently in LP and have been looking to take the boat up to Houay Xai. Not really keen on the public boat as it seems quite uncomfortable for two days and luckily we've moved from backpacking to flashpacking (as we've moved from our 20's to 30's) so can afford a little more luxury if we choose.

    I contacted Adisak (adisak.star@googlemail.com) last week about the Nagi and was told it left LP every Monday & Thursday and the price was 3500Baht including lunch for two days and standard hotel in Pak Beng. More expensive obviously than the public boats but more comfortable looking from the pictures.

    I wanted to wait until we got to LP to book the boat trip as I preferred to go thru an agent and had read of someone using Treasure Travel Laos to book the Nagi at a better price. I told Adisak I would let him know Thursday about our booking for the following Monday.

    Wednesday night we arrived in LP and went to Treasure Travel Laos (found 2 offices in LP and went to both) and no one had any idea what we were talking about and didn't know anything about the Nagi.

    Thursday morning i emailed Adisak back and said we'd like to book the Nagi for the following Monday (May 25th). I didn't get a response Thursday so sent a followup email Fri morning. We were at the "Mahout for a day" tour at the Elephant Park Project (Highly Recommended!) so I couldn't check emails til about 330 fri afternoon. Adisak had written me back to say he had to get embarkation documentation done for us and wasn't sure if he could at this late stage (2.5 days before we were due to leave).

    He wrote back about 30mins later to say we were set to go Monday but it would be on a different boat. Same standards as the "Nagi" but we might be the only 2 passengers and possibly a few Laotians (I bet they aren't paying $100/pp!)

    At this point everything just seemed to screwy, I don't know what kind of documents he had to get and why it took more than 2.5 days to get them and why it had taken over a day to respond to my email if time was of the essence (I had told him originally i would confirm with him Thurs Morning).

    My wife and I actually walked down to the pier and saw the boat (he had given us the number) that he had booked for us on Monday and it looked pretty much the same as any other boat the only difference was a couple of cushions on the seat definitely not worth the $100.

    This morning we walked into the Luang Say Cruise office thinking this was going to be way over our budget but what the heck (regular price online for low season was $287/pp incl 2break, 2lunch, 1 dinner, Luang Say Lodge in Pak Beng and a couple of small tour stops along the way i.e. Minority Village,Pak Ou Caves), we asked the guy what his best price was and told last minute special was $142/pp! We booked it on the spot!

    Luang Say leaves LP Wed&Sat, obviously more expensive than the public boat but a pretty good price at the moment for some luxury in my opinion.

    So once again the Nagi may or may not exist. It may or may not run when expected and you probably need to book in advance. At this point I think the Luang Say at $142/pp is a much better deal. FYI the Luang Say isn't running the month of June as they do their yearly maintenance then."

    #76 Posted: 27/12/2010 - 00:10

  • EricQC

    Joined Travelfish
    9th January, 2011
    Posts: 9

    I'm a new poster but have used Travelfish as a resource for some time. My wife and I used a Nagi-arranged boat trip down the Mekong twice in 2010: once in the record low water in February, and again in more regular water in November.

    Adisak of Nagi arranged both trips and we have nothing but positives to report. He certainly exists, and we have no hesitation in recommending him to other travelers. He was prompt and thorough in his email responses; arranged hotels in Chiang Khong for us; met us at the hotel and facilitated the crazy border crossing ritual... The boats were as advertised too: comfy seats, excellent Laotian guides with good English; great food on board; spotless Western toilet.

    We booked 5 weeks ahead in February, but only 2 weeks ahead in November. If you want to just show up and board, by all means choose the crowded public boats -- but if you want a relaxed pleasant journey with the ability to wander around on the boat to see things on both sides and avoid the blazing sun, consider paying the little bit extra with Nagi or similar.

    Because there were fewer people -- in our case, both trips ran with just one other couple -- we got away earlier than the public boats, so arrived in Pak Beng well before dark. We only saw the public boats on the 2nd morning when we had to cross over a couple of them to get to our boat: the wooden benches looked unappealing, and we wondered about how well the toilet would hold up with so many people.

    I'm a bit puzzled by comments critical of Adisak for not owning his own boat. Most boats are Laotian, and we gathered that the pool of boat owners take turns being the "luxury" boat (the wood benches are swapped for the comfortable bus seats). As a public boat, the operators make more money because they have more paying customers buying the extras. Adisak almost certainly arranges for the boat, guide and hotel in Pak Beng but why is that a negative?

    My advice is to do the math and factor in the extra costs (and hassles) associated with the public boats. You can certainly do it for less money, but hey, this is an amazing trip to experience so why risk it to save a few bhat?

    But whatever way you go, do it soon: the new 4-lane highway being built from China to Bangkok will irrevocably change this region.

    #77 Posted: 9/1/2011 - 10:55

  • rama2875

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd November, 2010
    Posts: 1

    Hi all,
    we made the trip with Nagi of Mekong at the second half of December 2010. And I just want to confirm all positive experiences for this trip which were already stated above. Communication and booking via mail, arrangement and pick up at GH in Houai Xai, comfy boat trip during these two days, good hotel in Pakbeng etc. Crew on the boat was very friendly, the served food was great and the our guide during these 2 days was a real good one. He was helpful and friendly, gave us a good introduction into his country and could explain a lot during the (usual?) stops at 2 villages and the Pak Ou caves.
    You might get the trip itself cheaper but if you need a little bit of comfort, don't want to arrange everything by yourself and like to have a 'personnel' guide during these two days, then Nagi might be the best option.
    Enjoy the Mekong!

    #78 Posted: 26/1/2011 - 04:09

  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2006
    Posts: 730
    Total reviews: 4
    Places visited:
    At least 67

    to those who've travelled on the Nagi before in 2010, do you have any photos to share?

    till now, have only been able to find a few blog posts from 2009 that have at least one photo of the boat:
    http://sniamh.travellerspoint.com/11/
    http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Thailand/North-West-Thailand/Chiang-Rai/blog-462755.html
    http://www.nomoretraveling.com/countries-visited/laos/mekong-river/ (not sure if this one was in 2008 or 2009)

    if anyone can find more recent trip reports from 2010, feel free to add.
    think this would help make things clearer.

    #79 Posted: 26/1/2011 - 08:48

  • EricQC

    Joined Travelfish
    9th January, 2011
    Posts: 9

    Okay wanderingcat, I have two Flickr sets up: this one for a trip in February 2010; and this one for a repeat in November 2010. All have captions and most are geotagged.

    Some pictures show the interiors of the boats in both sets, and this picture shows our February boat (albeit in background). The sets have photos of other similar boats on the river, but the large boxy affairs at the end of the November set are not the type used on the downriver run. In the November trip, our captain allowed us to sit on the front with our feet hanging over the bow -- an awesome feeling!

    Note that Nagi does not own a specific boat: the operator contracts with one of the boat captains, and the comfortable seats are brought in to replace the wooden benches. Just as well: in the February low water, we had to leave the original boat after 3-4 hours and hike around the rapids to catch a second one because the water was far too low to safely pass.

    Incidentally, in this picture, the man with the tan cap in the back of the "ferry" boat taking us over to Laos is Adisak. He had picked us up at our hotel in Chiang Khong, and came across to facilitate the border formalities (a huge help!) and get us on board the boat. So as you can see, he is real -- and for us, provided excellent service both times.

    #80 Posted: 26/1/2011 - 10:22

  • EricQC

    Joined Travelfish
    9th January, 2011
    Posts: 9

    Oops, I had intended to include two of my own blog entries for our February trip: "What happens when the water stops?" and "Slow boat down the Mekong: pay a bit more". Both include links to some of the Flickr pictures included in my previous post.

    #81 Posted: 26/1/2011 - 10:32

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2088
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Eric - thank you much for sharing your awesome pics and links to yor blog! They have both given me taster of what I have to look forward to later this year. :-)

    #82 Posted: 26/1/2011 - 14:55

  • wanderingcat

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2006
    Posts: 730
    Total reviews: 4
    Places visited:
    At least 67

    good, hopefully more to come from others.
    thank you EricQC!

    #83 Posted: 26/1/2011 - 15:29

  • oleaa

    Joined Travelfish
    20th September, 2011
    Posts: 2

    Suggestions?

    We are three adult Norwegians who want to make the trip from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang. When searcing for information I came across these posts about "Nagi of Mekong". I choose to believe they're running a serious business and that Adisak Star is making an effort to make us all happy, so I think we will go for this river cruise. My question to you guys are:

    What else should we do along the way from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang?
    How should we travel to the Mekong and what highlights are worth seeing?

    Every tip about this leg of our route is very welcome. We're thinking about leaving Chiang Mai on Sunday November 6th for the Monday boat downstream.

    In advance, thanks for all contributions! :-)

    #84 Posted: 20/9/2011 - 17:55

  • EricQC

    Joined Travelfish
    9th January, 2011
    Posts: 9

    If you have the time, plan to spend time in Chaing Rai. Visit the very different White and Black temples to see how two different men have expressed their vision in fascinating architecture and manage to employ a large number of people to maintain and grow the attractions. The CR Saturday night market has food stalls along its 2km length and is a great place to sample northern Thai street food. Rent a bike and ride the flat not-very-busy roads west along the river to the interesting temple in caves within a Karst hill. The city centre area is relatively small, with lots of good and inexpensive places to stay and eat.

    A regular (and cheap) local bus runs from CR to Chaing Khong where you catch the river boat. CK doesn't have a lot to offer as it is mainly a terminus for the river trips -- and is bustling as the new bridge across the Mekong is being prepared to bring Chinese tourists by road to Bangkok.

    I'd recommend going across to Laos the day before to avoid the rush and confusion at the border crossing in the morning. The CK rooms are not memorable and tend to be overpriced; the otehr side has some dodgy places, but also some quite nice inexpensive places. Adisak Star can help with arrangements on either side. Another couple in our Nov 2010 trip did this, and their start was much more relaxing than our somewhat frantic experience at customs. The exchange rates are also better (and less stressful) if you are not trying to get some Kip before boarding.

    Pak Se (the overnight stop) is also bustling due to the impending Chinese road. Catch the sunset from the temple on the hill -- and unless you are sqeamish about butchering, plan to get up very early to see the morning market, with the less frequently seen local foods.

    On board? Enjoy the view -- but take full advantage of the guides. On both trips we did in 2010 the guides were well-informed and spoke excellent English. Typically, a riverboat captain's family makes up the crew, and we found in both cases they were keen to share their years of experience. Watch for the concrete water level markers along the way: in low water thay are alarmingly high above you; in high water, they cap places you really would not want to hit...

    If the captain allows it (and you really should ask first), go out onto the front platform where you can sit with your feet dangling over the water. With nothing in front of you, the view is amazing as you skim along over this iconic waterway. (See my 26/1/2011 post above)

    At the Luang Prabang end, do not let the young men waiting eagerly at the bottom of the stairs carry your bags: it isn't much of a climb, and they charge an outrageous fee for the "service" (i.e. even after arguing, we ended up paying more than the taxi ride to our hotel!)

    #85 Posted: 21/9/2011 - 00:11

  • oleaa

    Joined Travelfish
    20th September, 2011
    Posts: 2

    Thank you EricQC for putting together such an extensive guide!
    I'm bringing it along and hope to have time for a stop in Chiang Rai as well.

    Seems like we have to travel upstream in order to be in Chiang Mai for "THE NORTHERN LANTERN FESTIVAL & YI-PENG LOI KRATHONG". It seems to be a spectacular sight!

    During your visit to Laos, did you ever go to Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi? It's supposed to be a nice boat ride between those places. Just wondering if it's easily acessable from Luang Prabang.

    #86 Posted: 25/9/2011 - 23:38

  • EricQC

    Joined Travelfish
    9th January, 2011
    Posts: 9

    No, both times we were in Laos we stayed pretty much to within cycling distance of Luang Prabang. Bikes are cheap and the riding is easy. Go west along the Nam Khan river to the Wat Phoi Phao temple (great views) and further along the good road to the silk weaving place. The other highlight was a cooking class from Tamarind (an excellent restaurant in L-P; they were about to move when we were there in Nov 2010). They take you to their organic farm SW of the city to cook -- and then eat. Best food we had in Laos! Be sure to visit the Ethnology Museum (near the Dara Market) for a great orientation to Laotian tribal cultures.

    We missed the festival in Chiang Mai, but they were just preparing lanterns as we left. If you like coffee, find Akha Ahma coffee shop and get Lee to make you a cup from coffee grown in his Akha hill tribe village. His coffee is delicious & the story about what he is trying to do is fascinating. Although coffee from his village ranked in the top ten in a European coffee competition, they can't afford the 3,000 euro fee to be certified organic. No certification; no European sales!

    #87 Posted: 26/9/2011 - 06:05

  • johnharring-
    ton

    Joined Travelfish
    24th January, 2012
    Posts: 1

    We took the Nagi boat to Luang Prabang this week, having booked it online from the UK, and found the service to be excellent. Every time I contacted Adisak by e-mail he responded immediately and efficiently. He promised to leave Laos immigration forms at our hotel in Chiang Khong (the Baanrimtaling) and did, he promised to pick us up at 8am on the day of travel and did and the price and condition of the boat was as promised. I know some people have had problems with this company but we had none at all and would recommend them.

    #88 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 02:19

  • linden51

    Joined Travelfish
    8th January, 2009
    Posts: 13
    Total reviews: 2

    I can't agree more with previous reviewers. My wife and I traveled on the Nagi from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang on the 16th/17th of March 2012 and it is indeed a very professional operation. Our pre-trip email enquiries to Adisak were promptly and intelligently handled. Our cross border transfer fromThailand to Laos was seamless from the prompt comfortable transport from our Chiang Kong guesthouse through to our guided transit through Thai and Lao Immigration to our eventual delivery to the boat itself. All provided as part of our tour price and presided over efficiently by our young English-speaking Lao guide, Phet, who was to be our companion and mentor for the duration of the trip. The lunches on board were nothing short of marvelous with our vegetarian diet being more than adequately catered for. Two blissful days followed, interspersed with tours to two ethnic villages along the way and to the Pak Ou Buddha caves just prior to our disembarkartion at Luang Prabang. Phet was a fount of information all along the way and one can only hope he is well recompensed for the service he provides. The Nagi definitely fills a gap in the market between the slum-like conditions of the backpacker slow boat and the over-priced pretentiousness of the post-colonial fantasy peddled by the operators of the exceedingly over-priced cruise boats. It's worth paying the extra money for the Nagi to do one of the world's last remaining great river boat journeys. I can't recommend the Nagi more highly.

    #89 Posted: 14/4/2012 - 04:52

  • Captain_Cou-
    rageous

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Courageous
    Joined Travelfish
    20th June, 2010
    Location Australia
    Posts: 16

    Trip report for Nagi of Mekong slowboat cruise Huay Xai to Luang Prabang , February 16th 2011.
    (I actually posted this as a separate thread but realised it might be better here instead)

    There have been a number of posts about the Nagi of Mekong and finding current information. I went on the Nagi of Mekong in February this year (2011) from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang and it was wonderful, in fact it was the highlight of my trip. This is a video I made of the Nagi trip -
    Nagi of Mekong:.
    There were around 17 passengers with a French family (mum dad and son) joining us at Pakbeng, making a total of 20 passengers altogether.

    Adisak had been in contact with me via email. He offered to pre-book my bus ticket for me from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong which I accepted. The ticket was for the Green Bus departing Chiang Mai at 8.30am and I had window seat 5A. The cost was 272 baht and he said to make payment when I paid for the cruise. He booked me a room at Chiang Khong Teak Garden Hotel (the rate was lower than if I'd booked it myself online). Although it was a little higher than I'd wanted to spend, it was well worth it and I had a wonderful view across the river. Adisak met me at the hotel and said he'd pick me up tomorrow around 8.00am or so. I watched the sunrise the next morning. Beautiful.

    The next day, true to his word, Adiask came, took care of my luggage and we picked up some other people on the way. Our luggage was taken care of so that was one thing out of the way,as was the details of exiting Thailand and entering Laos. We went across to Huay Xai in the little ferry, Adisak met us on the other side. At the Immigration window it was a nightmare- people shouting, people pushing waving passports. Adisak took our passports and necessary papers, told us he would take care of things and to go across the road to the little cafe/restaurant overlooking the river and wait for him there. This we did and spent a very relaxing half hour or so drinking tea and getting to know each other. Had I been going on the cheap, public slowboat, it would have been a very different story. Adisak came back, herded us all into the mini bus and off we went, down the streets to the pier. This is our boat
    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-C0YdfXFCPbE/ToRA8jVP7nI/AAAAAAABsQE/rRz91r85Z7I/s640/DSCN1787.JPG

    Our boat had very comfortable seats, and Phet was our tour guide on the boat. Hot lunches,tea, coffee, and drinking water are included, as is overnight accommodation at Pakbeng including breakfast. Alcohol is extra. We stopped at two villages along the way. The first day we were unable to pull in at a village and so had lunch first. A most delicious meal - fresh river fish, a meat (water buffalo) and potato dish, another dish with green vegetables and a soup.

    After lunch, we stopped at Houay Hao - it was a steep climb up all that sand and pretty hot I can tell you. Boy was it hot! But worth every minute of it. We walked through the village and Phet gave us information about the village. He answered my many questions. The people were very shy. I crouched down on the ground and spoke with the children (in my broken Lao and English) I asked could I take photos but the adults shook their heads meaning no. I just chatted away, smiling and when I asked again if I could take a photo, they nodded yes. Each photo I took, I would show them and zoom the picture so they could see. They seemed pleased with the result and were very friendly. I was very grateful for this. This is a Khmu village, the people here are middle Lao people, they are animists. There are 37 families and around 200 people.

    Soon it was time to leave and head back to the boat.We arrived at Pakbeng and settled into our accommodation Phetsokxai Hotel. The rooms were very clean with lovely polished timber. With a huge outdoor area overlooking the Mekong it was a lovely place. Most of us decided to go into town for dinner. A group of us had tea at Phakdee Bakery cafe, some went for a curry place - there were several of places to choose from.

    The next morning was cool, we had breakfast at Phetsokxai's restaurant and made our way down to the boat. Phet had put out a number of blankets and quilts - it was very chilly and foggy. The mist surrounding us was a magical morning - still, the water rippling and the mountains around us had a purple hue. Our second village stop was at Ban Khok Ek - which is84.7 kms from Luang Prabang - this was a wealthier village than the one we visited the day before and the ladies make beautiful handicrafts which they sell. There is a school, a local still (I tried the Lao Lao - strong whisky moonshine), a small shop, a wat and a village project was underway. Ban Khok Ek has 80 families with about 400 people. They are Buddhists and are Lao Loom people. (Lowland Lao). The handcrafts they make include scarfs and bags.Scarfs are 200 baht. We all bought something. The children came down to the river and waved us goodbye.

    Lunch was just as delicious as the first day's. We had fried chicken wings, a dish which consisted of meat rolled in paper with a sauce, a vegetable dish and a curry with chicken and vegetables. Plus there was fresh fruit on both days. There were several large urns filled with boiling water for tea and coffee. I took quite a liking to the Lao green tea. Phet showed me how to make it. That was the best tea I've ever tasted. The captain's name was Mr. Hoomphan and his wife (the cook) was Ms. Vanna. Their son Mr Loan helped out.We stopped at Pak Ou Caves. Tham Ting (lower cave) is what most people see, but a few more adventurous types, myself included, slogged it up the very many steps to the upper cave,Tham Theung, which I thought was rather disappointing, although the sweaty climb more than made up for the wonderful view across the Mekong.

    Soon we were once more on the boat and when we eventually pulled into Luang Prabang, we had the choice of lugging our luggage up the steep hill ourselves, or for a small fee, have the young lads do it for us. I willingly paid for this and we then caught a tuk-tuk to our respective accommodation houses.I can recommend cruising down the Mekong on the Nagi - going down the Mekong is a wonderful experience, the river is ever changing and it's very relaxing. It was an awesome trip and we saw many things - peanut crops, water buffalo, fishing boats, jagged rocks showing the water levels but best of all was visiting the villages and meeting the people. If I get the chance to go back to Laos again, I will gladly do the river cruise again. It was well worth the price - 4,600 baht - $150 AUD.

    I will be writing about this in my blog
    Thailand And Laos Journey with videos and photos included.

    #90 Posted: 24/4/2012 - 10:24

  • PeterM

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 17

    Hi Captain Couageous,

    Glad to see that you have finally been able to make the trip with Nagi of Mekong and see that all your earlier fears and reservations were unfounded - The 2 days on the Mekong is definately a trip not to be missed

    Regards
    Peter

    #91 Posted: 24/4/2012 - 17:29

  • ashitaka2405

    Joined Travelfish
    7th July, 2012
    Posts: 3

    There is other alternative: shompoocruise.
    They have their office in Luang Prabang . They own 2 boats and run during high season, 3times/week from Houay Xay to Luang Prabang and vice-versa.
    Affordable price/ very good service.

    #92 Posted: 7/7/2012 - 04:23

  • linden51

    Joined Travelfish
    8th January, 2009
    Posts: 13
    Total reviews: 2

    Shompoo's downstream price is $125 not including on-board meals and B&B in Pak Beng. Nagi's price is slightly less and includes meals and overnight accommodation. Obviously Nagi is better value for the downstream journey. Can't comment on Nagi's upstream price as I find their pricing for this as listed on the website somewhat confusing. For clarification contact adisak.star@gmail.com

    #93 Posted: 7/7/2012 - 06:45

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