February 9-10, 2016: The Slow Boat Journey down to Luang Prabang

Like many others, we chose to journey down to Luang Prabang via the slow boat from Huay Xai, the Laotian town bordering Thailand’s unexpectedly marvelous Chiang Khong. Together with Lauren and Yoav – Israeli passports now in hand! – and our new friends, Cody and Mitch (the Australian brothers we had met the night before in Chiang Khong), we crossed the Fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge and boarded the slow boat, ready for our two day journey down the Mekong River! Read on to learn more.

Miles walked:                      3
Miles transported:            ~15
Miles slow-boated:        No idea, but it took two days, so you do the math.

Slow Boat, Day 1


Slow Boat, Day 1 - 1

All aboard!

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 2

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 3

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 4

Luckily, we got on board early and got to pick out prime seating. Wait till you see how this baby fills up…

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 5

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 6

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 7

You’re looking at two happy campers who successfully made it across the border! Can you guys believe that if it hadn’t been for Kea, this picture would not even exist?!? Or maybe it would have existed, but it wouldn’t have been taken by us!

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 8

And off we go, enjoying some beautiful scenery right off the bat:

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 9

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 10

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 11

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 12

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 13

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 14

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 15

Water buffalo!

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 16

Passed by quite a few villages:

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 17

Where people were going about their daily routines, bathing and splashing around in the river:

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 18

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 19

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 20

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 21

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 22

We even stopped a few times to drop off some goods:

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 23

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 24

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 25

Yoav and Lauren managed to squeeze in some blogging and Mitch some journaling (boys – apologies for the unexplained blurriness of your side of the photo…):

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 26

We managed to squeeze in a nap:

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 27

Ugh, fine. I guess I’ll be productive too. But I’m not gonna be happy about it!

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 28

The sun setting over the mountains… we’re close!

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 29

Which was good, as people were starting to get pretty antsy (and drunk) at this point. Our boat was graced by the presence of a particularly antsy and drunk Scottish girl, who stood out not only in her level of drunkness, but also in the fantastic layer of make-up that was caking her face and the giant fuchsia suitcase that accompanied her on to the boat. Anyway, I can’t really blame people for getting antsy. I mean, WE were living a life of luxury up in the front, but the rest spent the seven hour journey crammed back there like sardines!

Slow Boat, Day 1 - 30

Overnight in Pakbeng

Successfully arrived in Pakbeng, the mid-point village where we were to spend the night:

Slow Boat, Pakbeng - 1

Lauren and I ran up to find a guest house for the lot of us, while the boys patiently waited for all the bags to be taken off the boat. Given that Lauren and I were pretty winded coming up this hill, I don’t envy Francy and Yoav carrying our bags up along with their own. And I especially don’t envy the Scottish girl and her giant pink suitcase…

Slow Boat, Pakbeng - 2

Slow Boat, Pakbeng - 3

The lively streets of Pakbeng:

Slow Boat, Pakbeng - 4

As there wasn’t much to do, the six of us grabbed some dinner and went for a drink at “Happy Bar”, which certainly lived up to its name. Woke up the next morning to a beautiful misty view of the Mekong from our guest house:

Slow Boat, Pakbeng - 5

Slow Boat, Pakbeng - 6

Where we got to play with the tiniest, most adorable kittens:

Slow Boat, Pakbeng - 7

And then an elephant just came strolling on by:

Slow Boat, Pakbeng - 8

Slow Boat, Day 2

Headed down to the boat early to secure another badass spot. We succeeded! Except half-way through the journey, the boat crew got sick of the Scottish girl’s giant pink suitcase constantly being in the way and shoved it right between our two tables, leaving it in our way anytime we tried to get up and move about. In fact, she had actually been booted off our boat and moved onto another one before the journey even began, yet we still got stuck with that stupid pink bag. But it’s OK, we made good use of it as a 5th seat for card games.  

Slow Boat, Day 2 - 1

Took off for another beautifully scenic day down the Mekong:

Slow Boat, Day 2 - 2

Slow Boat, Day 2 - 3

Slow Boat, Day 2 - 4

Slow Boat, Day 2 - 5

Slow Boat, Day 2 - 6

Slow Boat, Day 2 - 7

Though we immensely enjoyed these two slow days on the river, we were excited to arrive in Luang Prabang and continue our adventures in Laos. Look out for the next posts to read more about it!

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