AsiaLaosPakbeng

Slowboat to Luang Prabang

Pakbeng Travel Blog

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Crossing the Mekong for the Lao borderpost
It's 7.30. We want to be at the Thai border early. With some fresh stamps in our passports, we are directed to a small boat which takes us in about 5 minutes to the other side of the Mekong. To the Lao borderpost in Huay Xai to be precise. Formalities take quite a long time here. Reminds me of good old China back in the 80's.

From Customs to the harbour it's only a 10 minute tuktuk ride. The slowboat takes two days including an overnight stay in Pak Beng. Another option is a 6 hours speedboat race. Well, it is not an option really. You need to wear helmets, it's utterly exhausting and accidents seem to happen quite often. No, we are not in a hurry, nor suicidal: we take the slowboat.
Slowboat interior


The boat seems to be overcrowded. Could this be the reason why this boat is called a slowboat? too much weight...? some passengers refuse to come aboard and demand an extra boat (which ofcourse is ignored with a polite smile). Despite the crowd,  I must say, this boattrip turns out to be a relaxed experience. Wheather is bad, but the scenery is stunning. Around 17.00 we disembark at Pak Beng. No shortage of guesthouses, restaurants and bars in this small village. Our guesthouse (200 B.) is quite nice although it lacks an airco and electricity stops after 23.00. When you are here you certainly must walk further down the road beyond the bars and guesthouses. That's where the real Pak Beng actually starts. Most tourists don't, so be an adventurer for once and leave the beaten track!

What time the boat will leave next mornng? Nobody knows. Some say 9.00, others say 8.30... Result: we almost miss it. Still half asleep gazing at my breakfast in one of the many restaurants, one of my German friends runs in and yells that the boat is about to leave. It took us just a few minutes to finish breakfast, pay my bill, pack our things and embark the boat. Right in time for the final part. Around 16.00 we arrive in Luang Prabang. Our first destination in Laos. I'm curious about the differences compared to the surrounding countries.


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Crossing the Mekong for the Lao bo…
Crossing the Mekong for the Lao b…
Slowboat interior
Slowboat interior
Locals leaving the slowboat and ge…
Locals leaving the slowboat and g…
Stunning Mekong
Stunning Mekong
Having a nap
Having a nap
Pakbeng
photo by: borneonikieta