Luang Prabang, Laos 10th Mar - 14th Mar
Trip Start Dec 13, 2012
100Trip End Apr 02, 2014
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From Thailand we had a few options for how to get over the border to Laos.
1. Bus – 14 hours of windy roads
2. Public Slow boat – Takes 2 days with a stop over. Boat fits 70 people on it but often they cram on 100. The seats are wooden and uncomfortable…if you get one that is
3. Fast Boat – 6 hours, they recommend you wear a crash helmet as "deaths aren't uncommen"
Things were not looking good….but after a lot of googling we finally found something that suited us. It was a slow boat tour. It still took two days, however it included pick up from hotel, food, water, accommodation, various stops along the way and drop off to hotel at Luang Prabang.
The boat trip!
We got picked up from our hotel and drove for 1.5 hours to the border. The guide helped us fill in all our paperwork for customs & guided us through the process. To get from Thai border to the Laos border its just a 5 minute boat ride from one side of the river to the next! You then pay for your visa and you are officially in Laos.
The boat very well kept & fitted out with comfy car seats and tables. Even better, there were only six people on the tour including us… the boat capacity was for around 40.
We spent 7 hours on the boat for the first day cruising along the Mekong river. There was a buffet lunch provided with lots of different dishes for us to taste plus dessert – delicious. We stopped at a riverside village and walked around observing how they live, growing their own food, getting water from a pump and making their own clothes
At night we stopped a village called Pak Beng where our guide took us for a walk around and took us to the top of a hill to watch the sunset. We then had dinner & drinks together before retiring to our riverside bungalows with a spectacular view.
The next day after an early breakfast we set off again for a 10 hour journey on the boat. We stopped at another village along the way where they were selling “lao lao” (rice whisky) and we watched it being made. They were also selling scarves and we were watching them make them at their looms. We stopped at Pak Ou cave where there were thousands of Buddah statues inside.
All the way along the river was the most beautiful scenery of mountains and greenery and much to see…peanut plantations, buffalos, locals panning for gold & collecting river weed, elephants – it was also funny watching the fast boats go by with the passengers with their helmets on too!
The group of people we were with were all lovely and we got to know eachother well after two days together
We used our christmas money from Neils family for this trip so thanks very much to you all!!
Exploring Luang Prabang
As soon as we arrived there was definitely a French feel to the place with many colonial buildings which set it apart from Thailand. Walking around the streets there were people selling fruit and flowers and then we arrived at the night markets where all kinds of crafts were on offer -lots of hand-made silver jewellery and hand-made scarves etc.
We spent a day at Kuang Si Falls, half an hour from town. It’s the best waterfall we have seen so far. The water was a bright turquoise, almost fake looking. There were many tiers where you could swim and at one of the tiers where was a rope where you could swing yourself from a tree and jump in. We climbed up to the top of the waterfall and admired the view from the top. Fae had a swim in the icy cold water at the bottom – it didn’t take long to warm back up though in the 28 degree heat.
Back in Luang Prabang town we walked to the top of a hill called Mount Phousi to watch the sunset. You could buy little birds in cages to set free at the top for good luck. The sunset was a great end to our stay in Luang Prabang
Food & Drink
Favourite Local Dish: Chicken Lab
New Tastes: Chicken Lab – Minced chicken spicy salad
International McDonalds Meal: No McDonalds
Local Beer: Beer Laos
Mekong Riverside Lodge –This was the hotel we stayed in at the stop on the boat tour. It was wooden with shutters all around the room to open and view the sights of the Mekong & the mountains. It was all included in the price of the tour, however its $80 a night to stay if you organise yourself.
Sakura Guesthouse – $20 a night. This was right in the middle of Luang Prabang. Average hotel – it was decorated nicely but quite a small room and the shower decided when it wanted to be hot or cold.
Meals: $2 - $4
Water: $0.60 for 1.5 litres
Alcohol: $1.20 for a large beer
Moped: $20 for the day (the most expensive we have paid yet!)
Waterfall Entry: $2.50 per person
Average Daily Spend per person: $20
Transport there for both of us: $345 - This was the 2 day boat trip inc 1 night stay, 2 lunches & a brekkie – The company was called Nagi of Mekong.
Total Spend for both of us inc. Transport: $500