Open Ico

Laos Waters

Cruising up the Mekong towards the Golden Triangle

Training On The Travel  
From 02/09
 to 15/09/2023

Curated by Gabriele Orlini

Luang Prabang, Laos - ©Gabriele Orlini, 2022

"From the Thai bank, I could see the Lao shore.
At night the drums drew the rhythms of a feast
and the silence of the forest in the morning.

...the time had come to cross the river...' (GO)

Laos Waters

Cruising up the Mekong towards the Golden Triangle

Training On The Travel  
From 2 September 2023
 to 15 September 2023

Like any good story – the kind worth telling – you must prepare your spirit and eyes to discover, recognise, and understand it. Also, LAOS WATERS will start the first night in Bangkok, Thailand.
Just enough time to adapt your breathing to the rhythm of South-East Asia. Just a breath.
In the morning, after the hymn to Rama X that punctuates the beginning and end of each day, the eyes and heart will go north in a folk train full of the things that the villagers carry. Destination Nong Khai, where the Mekong draws the natural border with Laos.

Having crossed the border via the first Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, heading towards the capital Vientiane, we will keep our eyes – and feet – pointed toward Luang Prabang, the cultural centre of Laos, already a Unesco heritage site.
In Luang Prabang, a town nestled between forest and river, rich in history, elephants, monks, hidden markets and stories to discover, we learn about the Mother of Waters: the Mekong.

We rent a slow boat to sail upstream up the big river and head towards the Golden Triangle. Navigation of almost 300km, two days of travel, from morning to night. Two nights in Pakbeng, a halfway destination, will allow us to immerse ourselves in deep Laos, the one made of trees, mud and river, of monks and prayers, of people and smiles.

In the morning, the slow boat will take us to Xuahai Xai, a stopover point in the Golden Triangle and the border with Thailand. The discovery will continue northwards into a land of traffickers, history and stories.

Luang Prabang, Laos – ©Gabriele Orlini, 2022
Pakbeng, Laos – ©Gabriele Orlini, 2022


  • Enhance experience and expertise in documentary photography, reportage, photojournalism, narrative
  • Managing the work rhythm of the photographer/photojournalist in real-life situations
  • Enhancing photographic technique for reportage purposes
  • Producing works on the road
  • Living a deep experience
  • Understanding if this job is for you


    • Bangkok | Rendezvous and start of work
    • Bangkok – Nong Khai | By 3rd class train and overnight stay in Nong Khai
    • Nong Khai – Ventiane (Laos) | Lao border crossing
  • LAOS
    • Ventiane – Luang Prabang
    • Staying in Luang Prabang
    • Luang Prabang – Pakbeng | Slow boat cruise
    • Overnight stay in Pakbeng
    • Pakbeng – Xuahai Xai | Slow boat cruise
    • Staying at Xuahai Xai
    • Xuahai Xai – Chiang Khong | Thai border crossing
  • Chiang Khong – Bangkok
300km on the river, from Luang Prabang to Xuahai Xai


LAOS WATERS is a Training on Travel. It means working in the field in an immersive, sometimes tiring way, getting your hands and feet dirty, and letting your head stay active even at night. It is designed and built for those photographers or reporters who wish to enhance their experience, training and expertise in documentary photography, reportage, photojournalism, and storytelling.

Each participant will be assigned a topic to develop: an actual assignment to take home without excuses. He will thus come into direct contact with local communities and experience first-hand the situations that he will then go on to document.

There will be no working hours: you will work during the day, at night, when needed.
Daily, individual sessions will alternate with discussion sessions: the material produced will be examined together to understand its critical points and, from time to time, identify what steps may be necessary to develop one’s storytelling method.
The permanent guidance of Gabriele Orlini will ensure the right direction in the development of the projects and will be continuous support for each participant during the fieldwork.

An opportunity to put yourself to the test, as a photographer or photojournalist, with all the difficulties and necessities that a job requires: from on-the-spot contacts to travelling to solving unforeseen problems to producing material with often very tight deadlines. This a real opportunity to experience this ‘life‘ with the security of having at one’s disposal a photojournalist who has not only experienced these situations but can also master them and provide valuable tips for dealing with them even when out in the field alone.

Luang Prabang, Laos – ©Gabriele Orlini, 2022

“It is only when we see the earth as a community
to belong to that we treat it with love and respect.”

Xuahai Xai
Xuahai Xai, Laos – ©Gabriele Orlini, 2022


LAOS WATERS is an immersive Training based on learning by doing for a team of up to 4 people. It is designed for those photographers and reporters who wish to enhance their experience, training and expertise in documentary photography, reportage, photojournalism and storytelling. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to experience working in the field, with all the difficulties and necessities that an assignment requires: from pre-departure preparation to managing on-site contacts, from resolving unforeseen issues to producing the final material.

LAOS WATERS is NOT for those seeking an all-inclusive photography trip or a relaxing workshop. Qui ognuno è responsabile di se stesso e il lavoro sarà molto: Gabriele Orlini pretende il massimo da ogni partecipante – e dà il duecento per cento come mentore – e ci piace per questo.

The ideal attendee is that person – photographer, videomaker, writer, reporter – who does not stop at the surface of things but puts himself out there to touch and understand the facts and stories he will tell with his head. We like to work with excellent and determined people.


  • Would you like to participate, but time is an issue? Let’s talk about it!
  • Information on the eVisa for Laos (50€) will be provided during the preparation phase
  • Submission of the form IS NOT MANDATORY and counts as a proposal of participation
  • Candidates will be contacted within 24 hours to schedule a video call
Mekong Riverside
DooG's Founder
Documentary Photoreporter

Ready to apply?

Length: 14 days (13 nights)
Start Date: 2 September 2023
End Date: 15 September 2023
Availability: Max 4 registrations
Difficulties: Medium
Cost* € 1100,00 (VAT comp.)
Closing Reg.: 30 July 2023 (or sold out)
Deposit: 300€ at confirmation
  • Online pre-departure work preparation brief
  • Training on Travel of 14 days by Gabriele Orlini
  • Transport
    • Bangkok – Nong Khai
    • Vientiane – Luang Prabang (incl. transfer)
    • Chiang Khong – Bangkok
  • Slow Boat up the Mekong
    • Luang Prabang – Pakbeng
    • Pakbeng – Huay Xai
  • Accommodation for 13 nights in Thailand and Laos
  • Basic medical insurance
  • Edit the work done
  • Flight to/from Italy – Bangkok
  • eVisa Laos (50€)
  • Meals, drinks, tips
  • Transfers and internal mobility include taxis, motorbikes, bicycles, tuk tuk, and anything not specified in “The fee includes“.
  • What is not specified in ‘The fee includes‘.

$10/15 per day is the estimated average for meals

Subject: Proposal for Laos Waters

Stories from inside

The story of Ploy, a little girl who has been a guest for more than a year at the Take Care Kids Shelder in Pattaya, Thailand.
Kaoh Trong: a 10 km island resting on a sandbank in the middle of the Mekong. Two ancient pagodas, rice fields, banana trees, and pomelos.
They are the commuters of Buenos Aires, those who move every day within a pattern predefined by the necessities of modern life.
Without names, without documents, without nationality, timeless. Free. This is the life of the Moken, the last nomads of the sea.

DooG Reporter | Stories to share

All rights reserved ©2023

DooG Reporter | Stories to share

All rights reserved ©2023