For a short cruise, the best time to go is before sunset when the fishermen begin to reel in their catch and schoolchildren, home for the day, splash in the shallow water.
Standard price seems to be 100,000 kip for a one-hour ride, but longer trips to the caves or Whiskey Village are 300,000 kip after a little bargaining.
For something a little more upscale, Nava Mekong does daily lunch and dinner cruises with traditional Lao cuisine and a cultural show. The day cruise stops at the Pak Ou Caves and the sunset one visits Xiang Men village. Reviews about the lunch and dinner cruise have been mixed.
For a more comfortable boat tour, book a Banana Boat full day trip. Recommended is the guided trip to Pak Ou, or an unguided visit to Kuang Si Waterfall, which includes a stop at Chomphet Temple on the other side of the river.
By Cindy Fan.