Saturday, October 26, 2013

slow boat up the mekong

At the Laos boarder (after we crossed the border on a long boat across the Mekong from Thailand to Laos) we jumped directly onto a slow boat that would take us down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang. It is supposedly a rite of passage for any South East Asian backpacker - so we had to do it.

Yes mom, they still have Farang Badges in Laos
We decided to take the slow boat rather than the fast boat, even though the slow boat would take two whole days and the fast boat only six hours, because we've heard very very bad things about the fast boat, and we saw what they were talking about right away. They're eight-person boats where you have to wear helmets and hunker down with your knees to your chest and not move for six hours. Apparently quite a few people have died in the frequent crashes. So yeah, slow boat it was.

We'd heard varying things about the condition of the boats, but ours wasn't bad. The first day we actually had a table to set our stuff on which was quite nice.

It's like boat roulette. Which one is ours?
We sat across from a French couple that we befriended and made the trip much more enjoyable. Good conversation has a way of doing that.

Arnaud and Julie. I think Julie is asleep, not just avoiding the picture. (Sorry for the weird pic, Julie!)

The sun was setting over the Mekong as we ended our first day on the river. The village we stayed in the first night seems to exist solely for the river boats to make their stop on the two day trip to Luang Prabang from the Thai boarder.

The hotel we stayed was right on the river and we had quite the view from the restaurant. Though, even while on the river, work still needs to be done.

Elephants taking their morning bath.
The second day had many more locals on the boat as we made our way into Luang Prabang, the second largest city in Laos. This made it a much tighter fit as locals brought aboard all of their goods to bring to the big city.

Laos's version of dick in a box... cock in a basket. (In other words, somebody brought a rooster on the boat. One guy also had a gigantic bag of grub worms all the Lao people were fascinated with--apparently they're a delicacy.)

The river itself is not that beautiful. It's pretty muddy. But the surrounding mountains were dramatic and gorgeous.
It turned out to be a fine trip, but we were pretty ready to get off the boat once we got there.

No comments:

Post a Comment