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River No Longer Navigable

Decreasing water levels in Mekong River force companies to cancel trips

Reinhardt Hohler, eTN  Feb 18, 2010

According to a most surprised announcement on February 13, 2010, Maekhong Cruise Services (Thailand) Company suspended its services with the popular Luang Say boat until further notice. The Luang Say cruise ship operated on a regular basis on the Mekong River between Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai Province (Thailand) and Luang Prabang (Laos). On its regular scheduled trip at the end of last week, the Luang Say had hit a rock in the river and passengers on the boat had to be evacuated. Luckily, there were no fatal casualties.

A letter from Maekhong Cruise Services (Thailand) Company explained that the Mekong River’s unexpected drop of water levels does not allow the navigation at acceptable safety measures for the normal public boats, tourist boats, and Luang Say boats. The company assessed the situation and decided to suspend its services starting on Sunday, February 14.

In another development, the German-based Mekong River Cruises Company had already cancelled its ambitious plan in early January 2010 to introduce a 7-day overnight cruise package on the Mekong River through Northeastern Thailand (I-San) with the cruise vessel RV Mekong Sun, which is operating in Luang Prabang. Mekong River Cruises is also operating in the southern part of Laos, where the new cruise vessel RV Mekong Islands offers a 4-day overnight cruise package between Pakse and Siphandon with its 4,000 small river islands and southeast Asia's largest waterfalls. After a successful first business year 2009/10 for cruises in southern Laos, the company recently announced that tours in the area will go on during the coming low season between 11.03.2010 and 10.09.2010.

Source: Reinhardt Hohler, GMS Consultant

Decreasing water levels in Mekong River force companies to cancel trips
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