Having had a wonderful stay in Nan, Thailand we were excited about crossing the border to Laos – a country that we have both wanted to visit for a very long time.
We gave ourselves a day to travel a reasonably short distance thinking that we would arrive in Pak beng just after midday. This, as it turns out, was VERY optimistic!
Our day started by arriving to catch a bus to the border, which had left early because it was full… the only other option was to catch local buses (which seemed to have a top speed of about 12 mph) as far as we could go…
We got pretty close to the border but the bus terminated about 35km away…. with no buses or taxis or any form of shared transport it was time to get creative.
We started by getting a lift with a local family through the mountainous terrain to the border where we departed Thailand and walked for about 20 minutes through ‘no mans land’.
The Laos border was virtually deserted and we knew we had already missed the only (once a day) bus to our destination.
After officially entering Laos we began walking out into the countryside… no buses, taxis, tuk tuks, or many other vehicles of any description at all!
Our only choice was to start walking…
Once we reached the nearest town it was clear that onward travel options were scarce, despite finding a couple of guest houses the concept of getting a taxi in the absence of public transport seemed impossible.
So we decided to hitch hike…surely some vehicles would come past eventually?!
After about an hour of trying (and almost at the point of giving up) we found a pickup truck that was going our way. For a small fee us and another local couple (who spoke no english but were also trying to hitch hike home) jumped on.
We wove our way through the mountains until finally we reached the Mekong…. not far now!
The small village was beautiful with stunning beaches (who knew!) where children were playing football on the banks of the Mekong.
We had made it!! Certainly an adventure and well off the beaten tracks… however, although we hadn’t quite hoisted it in we were firmly back on the tourist trail. The 9 hour boat journey to Luang Prabang the following morning would make this painstakingly evident!