What to know before getting on slow boat in Laos

The Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Halong Bay in Vietnam and recently popular down the Mekong River in Laos with the 2 day slow boat trip are particular “can’t miss” activities you can have known along the backpacker’s trail in Southeast Asia. To discover a place less traveled, many travelers have moved past the border of familiar Thailand as the country has become more of a tourist destination. Indochina tours Laos

What to know before getting on slow boat in Laos
What to know before getting on slow boat in Laos- source: internet

The border town of Chiang Khong in Thailand is the typical starting point of the slow boat path. Here before walking down to the bank of the Mekong River to catch a short wooden boat, trekkers stamp out at Thai passport control. To cross over to Huay Xai in Laos, the trip takes 2 minutes.

Before taking off early the next day on their journey, these slow-boaters are catered by the main commerce in Huay Xai revolves around. Although there are a few decent guesthouses and restaurants, nothing is noteworthy. Otherwise, Huay Xai is considered as such very much a classic “border town.”

Quick Tips

Slow boat to Lao
Slow boat to Lao- source: internet

It is wise to arrive over an hour early before the boat leaves. There are fewer seats than the tickets the company sells. There are many unlucky people ending up standing on the back of the boat breathing the engine fumes or riding on the floor. The good seats are for the early birds.

Lunch is not served on the boats. You can find cookies, ramen noodles, soda and beer in a small snack bar. The slowboaters can get packaged lunches at most guesthouses in both Packbeng and Houay Xai. Do not forget to have your important items in your carry on pack as your backpacks are loaded under the boat.

Empty boat
Empty boat-source: Internet

Some of the older boats provide wood benches while most boats have cushioned seats. Inquire if the seats are cushioned or wooden and prepare accordingly when you purchase your tickets.

For the first night’s stay, the slow boat should get into the half way point of Pakbeng at around 6 p.m. You can see several swarms of Lao people with laminated brochures showcasing their guesthouses once getting off the boat in Pakbeng. Be sure to ask a lot of questions although sometimes these can be ok. For example: Is a brownbag lunch offered for tomorrow? How far away is it? Is transportation to and from the dock provided? Is breakfast served before I get on the boat?

Meal on the 2-day slow boat trip
Meal on the 2-day slow boat trip- source: internet

On the second day, as you head south, the views off the Mekong are greener and the journey is pretty smooth. Luang Prabang, which is rightfully the most Laos’ touristic city, is the ending point of the boat journey. Around the very quaint and walkable downtown area, there is a plentiful supply of lovely guesthouses. Luang Prabang also offers some of most mouthwatering dishes in Southeast Asia. Cruise on mekong river

From Huay Xai to Luang Prabang
From Huay Xai to Luang Prabang -source: internet

You can also find great food at a few different places in the downtown area. The Saffron is an ideal place for those who are searching for an easy lunch spot specializing in European coffee drinks and healthy food. Not only suitable for reasonable budget, Tamarind is also famously the best Lao food in town. L’Elephant, which delivers farm-to-table French inspired food with unique plays on typical European flavors, is the best choice for a higher end option.

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IV Blogging Team

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