Read Day 1 of the trip here.
At 6 am we were already awake, getting ready for Day 2 of our slow boating adventure. We got some breakfast in one of the guesthouses and tasted Lao coffee for the first time: much better than coffee in Thailand! For starters, it wasn’t over-sweetened with copious amounts of sugar!!
We bought our supplies for the day ahead. In Pakbeng a lot of family businesses cater for travellers needs and they provide sandwiches, drinks and snacks for the slowboat passengers.
We hopped on the boat and were pleased to see that this boat was much smaller due to having already dropped many local passengers at various villages the previous day. Thankfully the rain also stayed away and although it wasn’t sunny it was still a much brighter and warmer day.
We made sure we stayed away from the smokers and had a rather pleasant second day on the boat. It was still a long day, another 7 hours cruising down the Mekong, but again, the scenery made up for it as it took our breath away:
With landscape that never gets old slowly swimming by our boat, we made our way further down the Mekong towards Luang Prabang. We arrived in this beautiful old town after 7 hours on the river at 4pm in the afternoon with stiff arms and legs but lots of everlasting memories of the trip itself that brought us here. It literally is sometimes the journey and not the destination that counts!
We moored by Luang Prabang pier and a slightly chaotic scene ensued as everyone was trying go get their backpacks on the tiny loading platform still floating on the water. Then one by one a big hop to get to dry land while loaded with backpacks and wearing slippery flip flops – fun!! 🙂
The boat that helped us to shore brought a company of animals to greet us: a bit like The Bremen Town Musicians ... 😀 (slightly more depressingly than the original folk tale these animals looked a bit worse for wear…)
Slowly one by one the passengers climbed the steep steps up the hill from the slowboat to the town taxi office where for 20000 kips per person we could get unto a songthew and be transported into town.
Funnily enough all throughout our slowboat trip we kept crossing path with the young All-American couple we had first met as we first embarked on our trip down the Mekong. We took a songthew to the pier, we sat close to each other on the boat on both days, even bumped into each other while having dinner in Pakbeng. As we climbed into the back of our songthew ride, there they already were! We had a laugh about it, how we kept crossing paths as if we had been following each other 🙂 This happens often while taking the well-known popular backpacking routes – meeting the same people as everyone has similar ideas and routes they take. Anyway, we decided to meet up with them on our first night in Luang Prabang and not knowing their names or where they were staying or anything else we arranged to meet in the town centre near the night market, hoping they would turn up. They did! We had a few rounds of Beer Lao sitting by the walkway in one of the few establishments in town that had a bar feel to it. Beer Lao is actually a lovely beer, which even I, a notorious light drinker enjoyed immensely. We introduced ourselves to Zack and Laura and had a great night swapping travel stories and finding out a lot about them.
Luang Prabang is not a town known for its nightlife. In fact almost everywhere closed at 11pm so after two long days on a boat and after a few beers we were all ready to call it a night as the bars closed.
Exploring the town will be a task for another day.