Saturday, April 3, 2010

Travels: Thailand to Laos

After 2 amazing days at Elephant Nature Park we boarded a night bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong, a town on the Thailand-Laos border.

We arrived at 2am, slept for a few hours, and were up again before 7 to eat breakfast, check out of the guesthouse and take a boat across the border into Laos.

After obtaining our Laos visa and changing some currency we were off on a series of very confusing stops, at a travel agency and a restaurant to be offered advice and services before boarding the boat.

Around 10 am we finally boarded the boat in Huay Xai and scored some amazing seats at the front of the boat (basically the folding back seats of a van!) and found that we had sat down with a really great group of people. The hours passed quickly and without too much discomfort we arrived in Pakbeng. The travel time was from about 10:40am - 5:30pm. After dinner and a few Beer Lao it was an early night, in hopes to be up early enough to score good seats once again.

Unfortunately we chose wrong - opting for a large open area of floor at the front of the boat instead of tiny wooden benches, because many people got on as the boat stopped at small villages along the river. For a few hours I had a woman sitting almost on top of me. The combination of the hard floor, cramped conditions, lack of sleep and the sweltering heat made today's journey (9:30am-6pm) a lot less enjoyable!

Upon arriving in Luang Prabang we set out to find accommodations with another couple, only to walk across town with heavy bags and get caught in a downpour. For the first few minutes it was a welcome relief from the heat, but we grew a bit frustrated as we found ourselves crossing a sketchy bridge (twice), waking through mud, and searching in vain for the place we had been told about. After a few team meetings we settled on the next place we found which turned out to be quite nice.

More on Luang Prabang soon!!!


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