Slowwwwww Boat Down the Mekong River in Laos....

Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
Trip End Feb 15, 2010

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

I have been hearing about this journey long before I decided to go to Laos. Ive heard all sorts of stories and tips on how to enjoy and survive this two day trip, so I went in with an open mind, and hoping that it would live up to all that was said, knowing that the good and bad of things is always part of the adventure. I booked the boat ride from the guest house, which cost a few more baht, but they would take you to the border, get you across , and to the boat, so it was worth it. There where some great tips given to me about this boat ride to help it be a more comfortable and enjoyable journey...

1. Buy some cushions..the benches are wood, and very hard, I bought two.

2. Get there early for a good seat. The best ones are actually a spot on the floor up front of the boat, so you can sit and stretch your legs out. They were already taken. Try to get ones away from the engine, its very load, and it vibrates the floor.

3. Bring food and water. They sell sandwiches by the boat and in town. They do sell Beer Lao on the boat if you are really bored.

4. Have a open mind and don't expect comfort. When traveling in foreign countries its rare at times, and a treat when you get it, all part of the journey.

The boat ride was about 7 hours the first day. The scenery was beautiful and the best part, only passing by small villages, stopping by to pick up and drop off locals, probably their only means of transportation since this is there is only one boat a day. At one stop we were greeted by local children trying to sell us beer , cigarettes and bananas...pretty funny actually since most of them were only about 5 or 6 in age.

We stopped at the only "town" along the way for the night. Another tip was to get off the boat quickly to find a guest house to get a room for the night. The town is small, and rooms are limited and go quickly. There is only electricity from 6-10 pm, so take your shower at night, and eat before 10, since the lights go out. I heard about a "flash packer" place up the hill to the left, so I bargained down for a room, and avoided the rush for the places right off the boat since I heard some had rats...Ehhhh.
I had the BEST Indian dinner there in town, seriously, there in the middle of nowhere, and Maureen I had the most delicious garlic Naan bread, and thought of you :)
The next day was 9 hours, and passed thru the most gorgeous scenery. Passing locals fishing in the river, and nothing but trees and mountains as far as I could see. I don't think there are many parts of the world left that have this much remoteness. After a long day trying to get comfortable on my wooden bench, even trying doubling up the cushions, Luang Prabang my next stop for the next couple days looked even more beautiful as we reached the town around sunset.
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Iris on

I also have heard all kinds of stories about that boat ride but you made it and you will certainly be rewarded for all the discomfort when you are in Luang Prabang. If you get a chance you may want to go and see the Cave of a Thousand Buddhas, I think you will enjoy it. I found it a very special place. Try to go at an off time so it's not so crowded because the cave is quite small. Have fun!

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