general travel

downriver on the mekong

Sleeping lightly, I’m woken by the roosters. They start at 4am – apparently they haven’t heard that they’re supposed to crow at dawn. Later, on the boat, I overhear a couple of English guys: “Were we camped next to a bloody farm or something? The bloody roosters didn’t shut up all night!”

We pile onto the boat at 8am, along with a hoard of others, mainly coming down the river from the Thai border. As we sit for a couple of hours, waiting for all of the idiots with no temporal awareness to finally show up, I am amused by a group of German cyclists – they get their bicycles safely loaded onto our boat, use their bags to reserve lots of spare seats for themselves and get settled. Twenty minutes later, one of them decides to ask us where the boat is going. “Luang Prabang… downriver”. Ah, they want to head up river. Queue another twenty minutes of them getting themselves and their luggage unloaded, and with all parties concerned having only minimal English, trying to use sign language to convey to the Laos boat guys that they want their bicycles off the roof of this boat, and onto the roof of the other boat.

Riverboat on the Mekong, Pak Beng, Laos


The boat finally heads off down river. And the scenery stays the same. Muddy river, rocks, some trees. People fishing. Occasionally people washing and swimming. Crops grown on the sandy shoreline. Meanwhile on the boat, the English, US, and one Scottish guy all band together drinking Beer Laos.

Finally, as the sun has just set, we arrive back in Luang Prabang. Fighting all the touts offering guest houses and tuk tuks and god knows what else, we make our way up to the street, and collapse at the guesthouse.

Sunset over the Mekong from the slow boat, Laos


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.