BootsnAll Travel Network

slow boat to luang prabang

yesterday morning we woke up early and drove about an hour on bumpy, unpaved mountain roads again until we finally arrived at the banks of the mekong. the slow boat coming from the huay xai border crossing was due to arrive in an hour so we killed time playing with the stray dogs, tasting beef jerky and snacks from the vendors set up at the landing, and talking with our tour guides and other locals waiting for the boat to luang prabang. i had fun trying this REALLY sour fruit (i think it might be a type of cherry?) that you dip in a plate of salt and sugar then pop in your mouth.

these tasted like REALLY sour cherries

the boat ride wasn’t quite as uncomfortable as i thought it would be. we were warned that the wooden seats are pretty uncomfortable (especially after six hours!) and so we used little cushions to sit on to try to make it more bearable. i contorted myself into a little fetal position to try to take a nap, but that was pretty rough on the rock hard benches, so i ended up doing sudoku puzzles and taking pictures of the scenery to pass the time.

life along the mekong is so beautiful… as we floated downstream we saw farmers tending riverside gardens, fishermen with their fishing nets, local women panning for gold (!!), kids splashing around in the water or bathing, and cows roaming the banks. everything just flows at a happy, languid pace, and the warm sunlight on my face made it hard not to keep up a smile. as we neared luang prabang, the famous limestone cliffs came into view. they looked so beautiful with the setting sun shining on them, and we knew that it meant that luang prabang was near!

limestone cliffs near luang prabang

we arrived just as the sun was setting, greeted by tuk tuk drivers anxious to take us to such-and-such guest house. we caught one (expensive!) tuke tuk ride to a guesthouse way outside of the center of town and realized that we were being ripped off, so claus and i got out and walked nearer the mekong, stopping at each little guesthouse til we found something that fit our price range.

once we dropped off our bags, we walked around town and checked out all the adorable little shops and cafes that line the two main roads in luang prabang. the town itself reminds me of a cross between front street on maui and a tiny little french village in the countryside. luang prabang is a UNESCO world heritage site, so the french colonial architecture and the quaint little streets will remain preserved for the future generations. it’s a wonderful little town.

luang prabang @ night

after strolling the night market and stopping for a nice french dinner on the water, we came across a bar selling belgian beers. the owner is from belgium and served me up a bottle of my absolute favorite beer, chimay. even though i immediately took a liking to luang prabang, having a chimay made me miss bar 35 and first fridays back home! =) the bar actually looks really similar to bar 35 in honolulu because the interior has bottled beers lining the exposed brick walls. it was a nice little place to stumble into.

my favorite belgian beer - in laos!

i hadn’t realized that there would be quite so much french/european influence here in luang prabang, but i guess it makes sense.  it was only in 1953 that laos gained full sovereignty from the french. it’s interesting to see the mix of asian and european cultures that play here. in thailand, it was very hard to find a bottle of wine or good cheese, but here you’ll find wine bars, perfect baguettes, and charcuterie platters galore. today i indulged a little in some wine and cheese, but starting tomorrow i’m going to try out some real laotian cuisine! =)

Tags: ,

2 responses to “slow boat to luang prabang”

  1. Mom says:

    Laos looks interesting…… I had an email from a Maui crafter who is coming home after several years in Thailand, most recently at a place called Ko Kood and she also speaks of South Andaman Sea Island on the Gulf of Thailand….will be interesting to hear what her experiences have been and I gave her the link to your travel blog too:)….take care…love you. Mom

  2. kim says:

    sound beautiful!!! =) so happy that you are experiencing all these new and exciting things…xoxo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *