We went back to Huay Xai just as a stopover before boarding a slow boat going down the Mekong river southeast to Luang Prabang. We got into the barge with many other foreigners and a couple of local people. There we found Kip and his wife again, a Dutch couple that we met in Thaton and again in Chiang Rai and who are travelling around Southeast Asia riding their bicycles (it’s not the first time that we keep on finding again and again people that we have met along the way).
Navigating this part of the Mekong river it’s been such a scenic boat trip. The boat moves forward slowly through the Mekong’s brown waters, one of the biggest rivers in the world. The first span of the trip goes between Thailand and Laos riversides, both covered of dense vegetation and sprinkled with little villages. A sand beach in one of the shores, kids playing on the riverbank, few rocks in the middle of the river or some rapids make the journey different and exciting as we continue downstream. After seven hours we arrive to Pak Beng, a small riverside town half way of the trip and where we will spend the night.
The next morning we hop on the boat again and navigate along the river getting inside Laos territory. Sometimes the boat stops in one of the villages to pick up more passengers or goods, is on that moments when we can observe closer the life along Mekong’s shore: children splashing in the water, a fisherman repairing the fishing nets, women in their bath time… After eight hours we arrive to Luang Prabang, a beautiful city encircled by lush emerald mountains and set at the confluence of the Khan and the Mekong rivers.