Moving on

Luang Prabang Travel Blog

 › entry 38 of 100 › view all entries
A week after arriving in Muang Ngoi, it was time to move on. Got up on the Monday morning, packed my bag, had a curry for breakfast at the same restaurant I'd patronised almost every day of my stay. Checked out of my guast house and wandered down to the boat pier at about half eleven to enquire about transport back to Nong Khiaw.

"Nong Khiaw?"


"How many?"


"Ooh. One person you pay horrible. You pay horrible. Twenty dollars."

Bugger that. On the way here I'd just turned up at the pier and got straight on a boat, and like an arse I'd assumed it'd be just as easy on the way back. Evidently not. I considered my options for a bit before going back to my guesthouse and checking back in for one more night. To the amusement of the owners.

In the evening I took myself down to the village's massage parlour for a hot shower. Or the local equivalent thereof. Until today the closest I'd come to a shower in Muang Ngoi was sinking in the river while kayaking, and washing my hair and armpits in stone-cold water a few days ago. Here, for fifteen thousand kip, you had a little cubicle with a big tub of water heated over the fire and a saucepan to ladle it over yourself; it felt glorious.

The next morning I managed to get on a boat back to Nong Khiaw in time for the eleven o'clock bus to Luang Prabang. Although "eleven o'clock bus" means something different in Laos from what it means in the West. For a start it was a sawngthaew, not a bus: just a covered pick-up truck with benches down the side. They crammed backpackers on until it was bursting at the seams, assuring everyone that there was no need to buy a ticket: pay later. Okay.

Not too long after eleven o'clock the sawngthaew got moving. It moved about two hundred yards around the corner to the bus stop, where everyone was ordered off the bus to buy a ticket. Lost my relatively comfortable seat and ended up on a plastic stool between the benches. We set off half an hour later and the journey took three and a half hours; my arse felt every minute of it. Not one of the longest, but one of the worst journey I'd had so far in Asia.

Back in LP, I checked into a six dollar a night guesthouse - rip-off! - and immediately got online. Nine days and seven hours without sticking the internet's metaphorical spike in my arm... how I survived I'll never know. The Villa had lost to Newcastle, but Ashley Young had scored - which was nice. My mate had quit his job. The LP message board didn't seem to have missed me too much. Wrote off the day. Didn't do anything with the following day, either, except get in a bad mood about nothing. The next day I took a minibus to Vang Vieng.
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Luang Prabang
photo by: oxangu2