Sunday, 5 January 2014

River Cruising

Waiting for our boat to fill up
Our plan was to take a long boat down river to Luang Prabang, but no one was sure if it would run as we needed 10 people, so we enjoyed another leisurely breakfast while we waited to see how many people would show up. Surprisingly by 10.30am we had 11 people, we hadn’t seen that many other tourists in town but they must’ve been hiding somewhere!

The majority of the group were unfortunately the type of backpackers you don’t really want to be stuck on a boat with for 5 hours, but as most of this crowd jumped straight in to claim the comfy seats at the front we at least we didn’t have to hear their conversation from our hard bench seats up the back. Uncomfortable, but preferable! We chatted to a nice, older Aussie couple as we cruised down the river, enjoying the scenery and watching the locals on the banks fish and go about their daily activities. It was a much better means of transport than a bumpy, cramped bus, and a lot more fresh air when the wind wasn’t blowing the engine fumes in our faces. 
Boys fishing on the river

When we docked in Luang Prabang we went straight to see if we could book a seat on the overnight bus to Vientiane, only to discover that both the VIP and sleeper buses were fully booked. This meant that our only option was to take the local bus and since we wanted to get the passport renewal underway ASAP we decided to take it. 

We had a hurried dinner, finding the cost of food much higher compared with Nong Khiaw but the service somewhat quicker, and then went to the bus station to board our local bus. We’ve had worse ones, and even though the seats made sleep impossible it wasn’t too painful a trip. We even arrived in 10 hours instead of the 12 we thought it would take – maybe our bus karma was finally beginning to change…

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