Serene at Chiangrai Hotel
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- Free parking
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... views (and air conditioning... the last time we would see that for at least 6 nights as I write this).
The next morning we crossed the border into Laos very easily, no bag checks, just a nice new border post and an air conditioned bus to ferry us from the Thai border point, across the new Friendship Bridge opened at the end of last year to the Laos side. All easy and painless.
The next 2 days would be a boat trip down the Mekong River.
Sabaai-Dii!! Now we're in Laos we are learning a new language as well as new currency and new culture! So if you hadn't worked it out already, Sabaai-Dii means "hello" in Laos... Yep, every days a school day reading this blog! Huay Xai border crossing was our first stop in Laos and is where most travellers pass through on the way to Luang Prabang. We stayed in this quiet town in a hotel called Kaupjai (also means "thank-you" in Laos) for one night before we did the gibbon ...
... a pump from the Red Cross, who also helped build a new school building at the top of the village. We give all the children pens, much to their delight and they wait patiently for us to take their pictures before running back up to the school. I appreciated the glimpse of rural Laotian life and it's good to know that some of what I am spending here is helping people who need it. We also stop at the Pak Ou Caves, which are set in the limestone hills by the river. Pilgrims are ...
... asked him about the transport to Huay Xai on the other side. He told me that a tuktuk or minivan should cost me about 20,000 kip (2 Euros) and even offered to change some USD into kips for me so I wouldn't have to that at the border. I happily took him up on his offer. Eventually, the bus showed up and I was taken to the Lao immigration office, where I could buy my visa for 35 USD plus an extra dollar because it was Sunday. Right. After that, I thought ...
... minutes later, we were at what appeared to be an embarkation point along the Mekong River where a traditional slow boat was waiting for us. The man standing at the end of it appeared to be the owner along with a young woman standing next to him and man.
I just couldn’t wait for the next leg of my journey to start. For the next two days, ...