Slowly But Surely

Pakbeng Travel Blog

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Vicky, Piotr and I waiting at the Guesthouse's Cafeteria before crossing the Thai-Lao border.

While in Chiang Mai, two days before we cross the Thai-Lao border in Chiang Khong, Northern Thailand, we already booked our tickets for the slow boat to Luang Prabang, Laos. We took the slow boat package plus overnight stay in a CK guesthouse.  The boats leave at around 9am so we had no choice but to spend the night in one of the guesthouses in Chiang Khong over-looking the Mekong River. 

It was quite a nice place.  The rooms are located on the lower level of the gueshouse.  They have a huge restaurant/internet cafe/bar on the second level.  That place like the usual beach resorts that I see in the Philippines so I was quite comfortable with it.

Two-day boat ride from Chiang Khong, Thailand to Luang Prabang, Laos through the Mekong River. In this video are also the people that I met during my trip. Most of them I still get in touch with and have visited me here in Singapore and Philippines.
We had a buffet dinner so everybody who's staying in that guesthouse had the chance to mingle with the other travellers.  Most of them also came from Chiang Mai and they are going to the same route that we're doing.  There were four groups of travellers mostly Europeans and Israelis, two couples from Netherlands who are on their honeymoon and us.  Well, I consider myself, Piotr, Vicky and Ivan as a group since we've practically became friends inside the mini-van on our way to CK.  Those guys are like the coolest people you'll ever meet.

We spent the entire night playing Mafia (a game Ivan taught us). Yup! It's always good to have playing cards while travelling. A lot of nice things can  happen from playing card games with your fellow travellers (winks).  We decided to call it a night after three huge bottles of Beer Chang and headed off to bed to get some rest.

At 830am all the guests were gathered at the cafeteria and were waiting for the truck that would bring us to the Thai Immigration.  It took us more than half an hour to reach the other side of the Mekong River and had our passports checked and stamped on by the Lao Immigration.  A small Lao guy then guided us to a truck that would bring us to the slow boat station. At the boat station, there's a small store that sells cold Beerlao and local chips, which I found very interesting since they somehow resemble some of the Philippines' dried products.  I kinda felt like at home in Lao, seriously.  Almost all the Lao people that I met are nice and friendly, except for those guys on the boat station who told us that we couldn't use our USD or Thai Baht to buy something while on the boat, which made us change most of our USD and TB to Kip, and I must say that it was a very bad decision.

  I found out afterwards that Thai Baht is widely accepted in all shops/stores in Laos!

At first I thought that the two-day boat ride would be the most boring thing ever but I was surprised to find out that I could actually just stay on the boat the whole day admiring the magnificent view of the Mekong River.  Along the way, you would see some locals getting on and off the boat.  It was really amazing to see how they manage to live on those remote areas along the banks of Mekong. 

Around 6pm, the boat stopped in the town of Pakbeng.  It was a very quiet town with lots of gueshouses and restaurants that serve local and western dishes.  The town is quite small and most of the establishements are powered by generators, which they turn off after 10pm.

  So it is a good idea to always bring a flashlight with you! And take a shower before 10pm if you want to have a hot one! =).  We all went to bed a bit early since there's practically nothing much to do in that town but to watch the replay of EPL games at the cafeteria beneath our guesthouse. 

The next morning we boarded a new boat that would bring us to the town of Luang Prabang.  It was the boat with benches so we were so happy to finally have our own seats.  After few hours of cruising the Mekong, we finally arrived in Luang Prabang.  Vicky, Piotr, Carlos (the New Yorker we met on the second boat) and I went together to find the cheapest guesthouse listed on LP guidebook.  Unfortunately the guesthouse was full so we ended up walking few blocks more to find another cheap but decent guesthouse.  We checked in and paid for two nights only because we were not planning to stay there for more than two days.  That was our plan.  However, Luang Prabang is such a nice place that we didn't mind spending two more days in that city.

abubu says:
hehehe. yup! days.
Posted on: Feb 18, 2008
planisphere says:
ako na rin sasagot sa tanong ko.. 2 days.. hahaa
Posted on: Feb 18, 2008
planisphere says:
ilang araw from chaing mai to luang prabang? :)
Posted on: Feb 18, 2008
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photo by: borneonikieta