Thursday, January 4, 2018

Slow Boat Down The Mekong River

We crossed the border into the People's Democratic Republic of Laos yesterday morning and boarded boat 999 headed for the UNESCO Heritage Site of Luang Prabang.  We travelled 330 kilometres over two days.

Xay, our guide, was excellent; knowledgeable, friendly and quick to laugh.  The passengers were from all over the world; Canada, America, France, England, Lithuania and Russia.  We had so many lovely conversations with everyone.

Boat 999.  Our mode of transportation for two days.

The Mekong River is a busy place.  Goods and people are moved by boat up and down the river all day long.

Settling in.

I hung my head out this window and watched the jungle go by for two solid days.

Life on the river.

On the first day of our voyage, we stopped and visited an ethnic Lao Kamu village.  Our guide was from this tribe.

These villages are incredibly remote.  This one had no electricity and their water supply was from a single pipe in the ground.

Fishing rods and boats.

We were told there was a primary school further up into the hills.  But families have to pay, even for public school.  I wondered how many children actually attended school.  

Our first day on the boat ended in Pak Beng.  The passengers were shuttled to a lovely guest house overlooking the river.

Before dinner, a group of us wandered around the local market.  This little entrepreneur tried her hardest to sell me a barbecued wiener.  Every time I declined, she'd take a bite.

My first time sleeping inside a mosquito net!

The boat was very comfortable with cushioned seats, daybeds, hot lunches, snacks and bottled water.

Life on the river.

On the second day, we visited an ethnic Lao Loum village.  This was a village of weavers.  Gorgeous textiles of every hue were for sale.  They just got electricity one month ago!

Our final stop was to the famous Pak Ou cave.  

This cave was full of thousands of Buddhas placed there by worshippers.

Relaxing is so exhausting!

We are in Luang Prabang for the next several days.

Tomorrow we are visiting an elephant sanctuary and spending the night there.

A pachyderm sleepover!

I am super excited for that.

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