Thursday, October 20, 2016

Slow boat crossing to Laos

 A popular way to cross into Laos border is via a two day slow boat trip. Everything was arranged so I liked that I just had to get picked up by the mini van.

 First day you drive near the crossing with a very quick stop near Chiang rai to visit the White Temple. This is a private artists' concept, he's been working on in since 1996. There's a LT of symbolism here and I can't capture it in a nutshell. More info at

The hotel our group was organized with was overbooked and we got a sweet upgrade to nice place with a garden and pool. I roommated with Elisabeth a Spanish chick who just completed a 10 day meditation at a monestary north west of Thai. 

Our dinner was included at some bar that had a foosball table (score!)  Dinner was white rice with some veggies. Next day woke up early for our egg /toast breakfast that was included and tuk tuk to the border. 

Not too far I realized I forgot my phone was charging in the reception area so went back to get it. Also my roomie lost her departure card that u get when u first arrived to Thai. The guy at the boarder scolded us a bit and then gave it to her. We screwed up a bit of other smaller details. Day was done for us. 

You take a short bus for less than a dollar to the loas boarder. And pay $35, fill out some forms and give them one passport photo. Then another short bus to the boat dock. 
I bought some beers for the boat and the hotel packed us pad Thai for lunch to go. It's a 5 hrs boat day and I was happy they had toilets. Not the best but it's something. 

Boat was overbooked so it was tight and crazy. Seats were stiff so I stayed at the back with a breeze, views and a big dirty ash stray that stained my dress. 

We stopped in a tiny village called pak beng. And we had to get our own lodging. Everyone waits for you at the dock to show you photos of their place. We all were overwhelmed and went in to smaller groups. 

Our place had very slow wifi and the hardest bed I ever felt. We were so close to the only bar called happy bar. They give u a free shot of local whiskey. Some people refused it so I had their shots. 

A computer is there for you to YouTube any music you want. I ended up staying there for a while sucked in by foreign music videos)I haven't watched a show in two weeks) and cueing up everyone's request. A fellow traveler offered me free rice wine that smelled like gasoline he got for free at an Indian resturant. I took more than I should. 

Early morning again and I was still feeling the booze. We ordered breaky and a lunch to take with us and saw two elephants across the river from us. We got on late and there were no more seats. 

Sitting on the hardwood floor, playing drinking card games. I lost a few times and ended up having a beer by 9am. 

We we're not sure when we would get to Luang Prabang. At 3 we stopped and at first there was a big confusion of this was our stop. We were about 10k from the city and sometimes they stop closer in the city center. Not today though. So we then each had to pay almost $3 for a tuk tuk to the city center. 

Most of us pre booked so we were all staying at different places. I just wasn't sure how to find my place as I have no data plan in Laos. A girl had a free map app that didn't need data and told me roughly where to go.
 Found my place, shortly have discovered my bed was hard and shower is pretty leaky but it works. I hen fell pretty ill. Probably the drinks didn't help and then taking a long hot boat ride. I said I wouldn't get I. This situation and learned the hard way not to let it happen again. I'm just happy my body waited till I got to a place with my own bathroom and bed etc. 

Pix. Chiang rai to Chiang Kong -

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