Pakbeng - Day 83

Trip Start Jan 31, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Pakbeng,
Friday, May 16, 2008

Bring on the mighty Mekong! The Mekong river is one of the longest in the world, its over 4000km long. I'm going to be travelling on 280km of the river in the next 2 days on a diesel slow boat. The slow boats are converted cargo vessels which now carry passengers uncomfortably on tiny wooden benches down the river. I'm travelling from the Thailand-Laos border to Luang Prabang which is the second largest city in Laos and a world heritage site. When the boat finally left the dock after a long wait, I measured our speed on the GPS and we were travelling at over 16mph which I thought was pretty quick for a slowboat.

Travelling down the Mekong is a truly mesmerising experience. It's one of those thinks you must do before you die. Even though the boats are horribly uncomfortable when you're sat down, there is enough space to walk around so it's not so bad.

Today we are heading for a little town called Pakbeng which is on the banks of the Mekong. Really small traditional Laos town, stayed in a really nice guesthouse. Probably one of the best places I've stayed in Asia so far. In Chiang Mai I bought a package which included transport to the Laos border, tonight's accommodation, 3 meals and two days on the slowboat. Pretty happy with everything so far.

Unfortunately I've developed an eye infection, really uncomfortable. Never had anything like this before. Think I picked something up in the jungle, probably while bamboo rafting. I got some sun cream in my eye and then went into the river. More than likely I scratched my eye and something nasty in the river has caused the infection. Fingers crossed it goes away soon because Laos isn't the best place in the world if you need medical attention.
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