Laos

Spectacular Journey down the Mekong by slow boat 

After crossing the Thai boarder from Chiang Khong. This was a straight forward proceedure. Catching a tuk tuk for 100baht to take us to the passport control, we got our passports stamped and got onto a bus for (30baht) which took us across the 4th Friendship bridge.

To enter Laos you have to pay a fee between 30-35 dollars for the visa, depending on which country you are from.

After taking a tuk tuk to the boat pier in Huay Xai where we boarded a slow boat around 1130am which takes two days to Luang Prabang. The price at the pier is 210000kip per person.

Known for being the 12th biggest river in the world, approx. 4350km in length and stretching across 6 countries the Mekong boat journey was breathtaking.

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We were unfortunately quite late getting to the boat at 1130am,  for a departure at 12pm. Definitely recommend getting to the boat atleast 60-90 minutes before to guarantee a good seat. Sitting at the back next to the engine for 6 hours is not pleasant.

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Markus protecting his ears from the noise of the engine.

Cruising along the river, the sights are stunning. Passing a landscape of mountains and forest. Occasionally seeing fishermen, villages along with buffalos chilling in the water and cute families of pigs beside the river.

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A few locals use the slow boats for transport to get to tucked away villages. Often we pulled up along the shoreline to be welcomed by small groups of children selling bracelets and other craftwork they had done. It was quite sad to witness as these children do not get an education but are forced to start working at a very young age.

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After 6-7 hours we arrived in Pakbeng for the night. After getting off the boat we were approached by many locals trying to sell a room for the night.

Hopping onto the back of a truck with a few others we decided to check out one guest house to spend the night.  40,000 kip (another currency to get our heads around) it’s around 5USD per night. We couldn’t moan: a bed, bathroom and a decent restaurant connected to it.

The following morning it was our mission to board the boat early to guarantee a good seat. At around 745 am many people were already down by the boat waiting to board. We slowly departed at 9am to continue our journey down the river.

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The scenery was so beautiful, with a back drop of mountains it really was scenic. They provide some refreshments on board, cans of drinks, noodles, hot drinks and snacks but they are a little pricy. I found myself eating some noodles for 15,000kip and some tasty food offered by a nice french guy we had become acquainted too.

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Arriving into the boat pier which is 6 km outside of Luang Prabang, we walked this distance due to not having enough cash for a tuk tuk.

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For the first time we found ourselves wandering around just to find accommodation for the night.

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With little battery and limited wifi we stood in a hotels reception using there wifi, whilst we researched to find a nice guesthouse. We managed to book Phanthasone Guesthouse  for 13USD a night off the main streets.

 

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