Arranged in partnership with local meditation company Your Mind Retreat, this one-of-a-kind tour takes guests on a cruise along the mighty Mekong River aboard the hotel’s private boat, stopping to meditate in a series of small temples along the way. The intimate experience is the only one of its kind in Laos, bringing Buddhism to life and offering a fresh perspective on temple sightseeing.
Guests are accompanied on their spiritual journey by former Buddhist monk Ajanh Souk, who introduces Lao Buddhism and describes a monk’s life and practice; and a certified instructor who leads one 45-minute and one 75-minute seated meditation. The instructor also demonstrates ‘walking meditation’, which is believed to build concentration, invigorate, relax and boost strength and stamina, as well as deepening guests’ understanding by explaining Buddhist practice and symbolism from a western perspective. Back on the boat, both experts are available for private tutoring and discussions.
The cruise includes visits to the Pak Ou Caves, a revered holy site filled with thousands of Buddha statues, as well as Muang Kham Monastery and the temples of Kok Pha and Hatshiew. Guests enjoy a picnic lunch on board the boat and receive meditation and Buddhism guides after the tour to continue their study of these ancient philosophies.
Positioned atop a hill gazing across the sacred mountains, Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao is an unforgettable place to stay. Its calm, tranquil ambience echoes that of the sleepy World Heritage town of Luang Prabang spread out below. Designed in a traditional style, the intimate hotel is gemmed with teak, silk and fresh cotton accents and famed for its wonderful French-influenced local cuisine and an open-air spa beside a water lily pool.
‘Meditation on the Mekong’ is priced from £306 for two people and £60 for each additional person (maximum four people). Price includes soft drinks, tea and coffee; entry to the Pak Ou Caves; a picnic lunch; visits to Muang Kham Monastery and the temples of Kok Pha and Hatshiew; meditation instruction; a self-meditation audio guide via email; a written guide to Lao Buddhism; and a special keepsake gift. The full-day tour is available daily by advance booking.