Having had a long and eventful border crossing the previous day into Laos we were hoping that the 9 hour slow boat to Luang Prabang would be a relaxing, rejuvenating and beautiful experience…. we couldn’t have been more wrong.
Well – that’s a little unfair, the journey was certainly beautiful and if we had a) a little more room on the boat and, most importantly, b) had not been sat opposite a large group of backpackers who were intent on drinking their way through a large cardboard box of local whiskey and beer whilst listening to music on loud speakers that deteriorated with each hour as they became drunker…..then we may have had a better experience!
Safe to say that after 9 hours we both felt the need to sit in a darkened room for a couple of days…
Interestingly, this experience set us up for what Laos (on the tourist trail at least) is like. There definitely seemed to be a split between the older, more sedate and respectful tourist crowd and the hedonistic and sadly, quite disrespectful young backpacker crowd. There are obviously shades of grey in-between and exceptions to the rule but this sadly seemed to be a theme.
Anyway, back to the slow boat! We arrived at the jetty just before 8am to reserve our seats before the 9.30am departure. It turns out we were lucky to get the last few seats together…
We then chugged slowly down the Mekong, observing beautiful scenes along the way and trying to block out our fellow passengers as best we could!
We finally arrived at Luang Prabang just as the sun was setting, looking forward to a good nights rest and the next few days exploring the small city.