Slow Boat

I took the "slow boat" from Houaxay to Luang Prabang a couple days ago.  I wok up at 5m in Chiang Rai and took the local bus up to...

I took the "slow boat" from Houaxay to Luang Prabang a couple days ago.  I wok up at 5m in Chiang Rai and took the local bus up to Chiang Khong, which is the town on the Thai side of the Thai Laos border.  I got on a tuktuk from there to immigration, stamped out of Thailand and stamped into Laos.  From immigration we took a bus to cross the river and then a tuktuk to the boat landing, I arrived around 9:30am so you have plenty of time to make if from Chiang Rai if you want to.  I bought a ticket there for the boat and loaded up and snacks and drinks, although they do offer beer and snacks on the boat.  Although the boat is supposed to leave at 11am we did not leave until 12:30; we arrived in Pakbeng about 6pm.  I hand't booked a guest house yet so I found one that was actually pretty nice for 80,000kip, which is a little pricey but there isn't much you can do in a town that only caters to people staying off the boat.  I'd definitely recommend doing the slow boat if the weather is nice.  The scenery is breathtaking and it is a very relaxing ride.  I seen quite a few water buffalo and lots of small villages where people are living off the grid by means of the river.  It was really cool to see people still living traditionally. Had it been the middle of summer or raining then it probably wouldn't be so enjoyable.

Also don't expect to actually get dropped off at the dock in Luang Prabang, they will stop about 7km out of town so that you have to take a tuktuk into town, its a scam to make more money but there isn't anything you can do about it.  Luang Prabang has been very nice and relaxing, a much slower pace than Thailand.  I do like some things about it, but unfortunately this is a poor country that thrives off tourism so you have to be smart about you stuff. People will try to take advantage of you as much as possible.  You would think they would be nicer to tourists because their economy depends on us, but that is not the case.  I am staying at Joy Guesthouse while here, but this time I would not recommend it.  It is acceptable, but if I came back I would look for somewhere else.

When you stay in Pakbeng I actually recommend this restaurant.  The food was really good, the waiter was cool, and they gave free local banana whiskey out.

Leaving from Pakbeng the 2nd morning.

Riding the tuktuk into town from the boat dock.  Laos is very behind the times when it comes to development,  but that is what makes it interesting.

View from my guest house the first night I arrived.

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