35. The Mekong and Luang Prabang

It got completely dark as Petter and I rode the last few kilometres into Pak Beng, but we didn’t mind too much. The tarmac felt like pink fluffy cotton in comparison to the last two days rides on gravel and the traffic in Laos is nonexistent.

At the guesthouse we asked about the boat to Luang Prabang but got the dissatisfying answer that the Slow Boat was not going from here either. We went for dinner and talked about how to get to Luang Prabang, maybe we could offer a long-tail driver a month salary ($100 or something like that) to take us. While walking around a couple of guys called out for us from a balcony. They had passed us earlier in their air conditioned minivans and it turns out they are on a package tour, including a Slow Boat ride! We shared some home brew Lao spirits and asked their tour leader if we could tag along. Show up tomorrow morning, he said, and I’ll see what I can do.

We continued to the only bar still open, it was past ten o’clock, just to find they were out of beer! Luckily they had Gin & Tonic although they were also out of ice. A group of British girls was the probable cause of this shortage. We asked them how they got to Pak Beng and they had taken the boat! The day after Petter and I left Houei Xai the boats started to run again!

Sure enough, early in the morning we went to the harbour and there was no problem getting on a Slow Boat. A nice and relaxing ten hour cruise to Luang Prabang, enough time to sleep and to finish the book I was reading.

Food and guesthouses are way more expensive than what we are used to and we kept looking around for something to eat that wouldn’t ruin us when we found a place at the end of the night market serving a buffet for 10.000 Kip. I filled the plate and ate as much as I could.

I should not have done that.

I won’t go into details here, believe me in that you don’t want to know, but the third day I was so starved and dehydrated that I forced myself to go to the hospital. With a bag full of medicine I already felt a little better and walked back towards my guesthouse, when I see two familiar faces. It’s Lelene and Detlef, who I met more than a month ago in Koh Tao!

The medicine did wonders and the next day I rested and hung out with my friends. Not Petter, he did the right thing and left this place two days ago. I stayed for six nights, longer than I had stayed in any other city, and I didn’t even care for the place. Sure, it is a beautiful town and a World Heritage, but it is rather boring when absolutely everything closes at 10 PM. Food poisoning doesn’t add to the fun either.

10 hour cruise from Pak Beng to Luang Prabang.

Pak Beng.

Waiting Slow Boats!

Pretty nice!

Another kind of boat.

Babysitting is expensive.

Pretty scenic at times.

The "dock" in Luang Prabang.

 Main street in Luang Prabang.

 The night market. Full of tourist souvenirs and food poison.

Dinner with a view over the Mekong.

Locals bathing in Khan River.

I have to picture at least one wat from a World Heritage city.


  1. Hej Anders!! Först en förkylning o sen magsjuk!! Usch!! Men vi har väntat på nån magreaktion. Du har bra fysik ,så hoppas du är all right nu.Ta det lugnt på din väg ner till Vientiane. Du längtar inte hem?? Här börjar det våras. Snön är borta.Var rädd om dig!! Kramar mamma o pappa

  2. it was about time that you got food poisoning :)
    How does it feel now that its almost time to come back to work !? /z

  3. Zoltan: Feels pretty good, but there is plenty of time left...


Post a Comment