After living in Thailand for three years, we finally left and crossed the border into Laos at the Chiang Khong – Huay Xai crossing. The next leg of our journey was one that we expected to be one of the highlights of our travels – the slow boat to Luang Prabang. And it certainly lived up to its expectations. Click here to book a hotel in Luang Prabang.
Public slow boats are available for this journey, but we’ve heard from many people that they are often overcrowded and uncomfortable, with some people even having to sit on the floor. As we wanted the two-day journey to be a relaxing time, we booked a chartered boat with Nagi of Mekong. Their boats hold a maximum of 24 passengers, and there’s never any overcrowding or sitting on the floor. Unlike the public boats, that mostly have wooden seats, our boat had very comfortable seating.
In contrast to using a public boat, the Nagi of Mekong had free tea, coffee, fruit and a hot lunch each day. The cook made us delicious and fresh food, including a great selection of vegetarian food. The Nagi cruise also includes a stay at a hotel in Pakbeng, which is the half-way point.
On the first day the boat traveled from Huay Xai to Pakbeng, where we spent the night. The scenery along the Mekong was really stunning. Just miles and miles of hills, mountains and river.
Along with the passengers on the boat was our guide Kae and his boss, the captain, his wife (the cook) and their son.
There are lots of hill tribe people that live along the Mekong, and before lunch we stopped at one of the villages. The people there were incredibly poor, but also seemed very happy, especially the children. Electricity only arrived at the village a few years ago, and many people now had satellite dishes. Most people at the village didn’t have any money at all, so they used a barter system for swapping goods with other families.
Many of the children in the village were keen to have their photos taken, and were very excited to see a photo of themselves on the camera. Below is a photo of us with a group of children that were playing near the river, swimming, and catching fish.
It was quite a surprise to us to find that much of the river had sandy beaches along it. Here is our boat waiting for us at the hill tribe village we visited. The children were all having great fun playing in the river here.
As well as stretches of sandy beach along the river, there were also many large rocks. The rock below resembles the head of a dog, and the nearby village is known as Dog Village.
Along the length of the river we must have seen at least 50 fishing nets set up by the local hill tribe people. We’d usually see a net every few kilometers. As well as eating fish, many of the hill tribe people also eat snakes and monkeys.
We set off from Huay Xai at 9 am, and arrived at Pakbeng at around 4 pm. Our accommodation for the night was in the lodge in the picture below – The Mekong Riverside Lodge.
If you’d like to book this tour, you can so via the Nagi of Mekong website.
Laos was this week named the World’s Best Tourism Destination For 2013 by the European Council on Tourism and Trade.
Also see – Slow Boat To Luang Prabang – Day 2
Hotels In Pakbeng
|Pakbeng Lodge||Mekong Riverside Lodge||Villa Sarika|
Hotels In Luang Prabang
|Xiengthong Palace||Lotus Villa Hotel||Vongprachan Guest House|