So the sun has set on my time in Pai. Which may have been for the best as the sun was getting a little pesky. It was lovely in the evenings along the river as it was cool but by midday it was 36°C. Managed to hop on the bus and arrived at the motel at the Thai-Laos border by midnight so got a good night sleep in before early morning immigration. There was a strange point on the river taxi after departing Thailand before reaching the laosian bank where we were in no mans land.
The immigration process was fairly painless and I managed to pay on the third attempt due to Laos’ refusal to accept a 3mm tear in a $20 bill.
The slow boat was worth waiting the extra day for. The views along the Mekong were incredible. I was also surrounded by a great group of people which made for a fun meal once we reached Pak Beng. The restaurant owners were luring us in with the usual ‘same same but better’ routines with promises of cheap beerlao and free moonshine. I had a laosian dish of buffalo lap. The liquor was like rocket fuel. I’m a certified $2 date.
The following morning was an early start for day 2 on the river. The exposed roots of trees on the river banks working their way down 10m to a water source were enough to keep me entertained. As was the guitar playing and fishing from dug out canoes. We reached Luang Prabang by 5pm and found a guesthouse.
Perused the night market in search of food. I was ravenous by then as the instant noodles on the boat weren’t the least bit tempting. Found a great vegetarian buffet for 10,000 kip a plate and ate enough sustenance for 4. The quaint colonial Portuguese influence is still evident and its clear to see marked differences between the two nations already. I’m looking forward to discovering more by daylight.