Boat Trip Into Laos Along The Mekong! Any Tips/links?
14 replies to this topic
Posted 2012-09-21 21:58:50
Did it in the other direction eleven years ago. The choices then were a miserably cramped, loud and dangerous speedboat that would do the trip from Luang Prabang to Thailand in one day, or a slow wooden boat that took two days with an overnight trip in some small village in-between. In my opinion the slow boat is better, but carry something to read and a cushion, those wooden benches get awfully hard after a couple of days.
Posted 2012-09-21 22:00:43
A brilliant experience - still one of my best in SEA. The small, uncomfortable boat is by far the most interesting option (depends on how adventurous you're feeling, though) - take a cushion, a camera and some food and enjoy what may not be around when the (dam_n) dam building starts.
The scenery is wonderful
This is comparative luxury...
This is kind of middle-of-the-road
Then there's the kind I was on....
Interior accommodation is basic but they did have some life jackets. Somewhere.
More pictures here
Posted 2012-09-22 05:19:29
How many hours on that little boat? What did it set you back?
I would for sure take cushions, not sure my back could take it!
But it really does look fascinating!
Posted 2012-09-22 07:05:18
If you take the slow boat from Houie Xai to Luang Prabang you usually have no choice in boats. Some days it's overcrowded, some not. Some days it's a comfortable boat, some not. Your fellow passengers will be mostly young backpackers. There won't be any Lao. They take the buses. The boats are for tourists only.
If you really want to take a riverboat in Laos, take the one that goes down the Nam Ou from Muang Khua to Nong Khai. You may have to change buses in Luang Namtha and Oudom Xai but it's well worth the effort. The boats are equally uncomfortable but rarely overcrowded and the scenery is spectacular. The boat stops on call in local villages and sometimes picks up passengers in the middle of nowhere. The river is the only means of transportation in this part of Laos.
Posted 2012-09-22 11:10:25
The last time I did it (from LP to Chang Khong) was in 2005 and our little boat stopped maybe half a dozen times to pick up locals who flagged it down from the bank. They were fairly short rides of perhaps two hours at the most and my guess is that the places we left them have no road access, at least for buses. You suggestion sounds like a really interesting trip though.
The whole trip was advertised as about US$10 if I recall but with only three of us on the boat I seem to remember shelling out another $4 or $5 each to get us out of the gate.
Edited by Greenside, 2012-09-22 11:13:20.
Posted 2012-09-22 17:45:35
If you have a bottomless wallet, take the luxury Luangsay Cruise option here: http://www.luangsay.com/
Definitely STAY AWAY from the very (possibly) dangerous "fast boat" option, even tho they have helmets and life jackets (usually) for the pax, I'd sure not want to have to use them. Lots of rocks in the Mekong between Ban Houei Sai and Pakbeng, not so much on to LP.
The two-day slow boat is the way to go, if you do go.
Re the RON at Pakbeng, it's been built up a whole bunch now, take a peek at the map at: www.hobomaps.com, an excellent map site.
Do some Googling, there's lots of info on the www.
Posted 2012-09-22 18:07:36
After the first 15 minutes of exhilaration, sitting next to a roaring engine crammed into one one of these for six hours waiting for a rock to rip the bottom out is close to my idea of hell...
This was 2005. The guy with sunglasses can probably still hear it.
Edited by Greenside, 2012-09-22 18:11:53.
Posted 2012-09-22 18:29:45
Some great pics, looked at your album, pictures number 7, 11 & 16 in particular beautiful.
Something I`ll have to do one day.
The fast boat wouldn`t appeal to me either.
Posted 2012-09-24 11:22:43
We did the slow boat last year. although mostly backpackers it was a good journey. Peaceful, good scenery and no hassles. Paxbeng has varied choices in the guesthouses from new to old. Just get off boat and climb up the hill lots to the left or go into town straight. Many touts to "assist" you. If you go left the breakfast in the morning might be on a veranda over looking the River
The backpackers will party all day on the boat and have a good time, but your guesthouse will be quiet at night. Don't exchange money dollars or baht will be exchanged fairly. Luang Prabang same thing, get off boat go up hill, touts, ignore go to left and walk to you find one at your price. We paid 600 baht for first night and 500 baht for additional nights
Returning to our home in Chiang Mai we flew. $150 per person.
You do spend a lot of time sitting but the seats aren't too bad. Sit on the right side of boat first day and the left side the second day for sun protection
Edited by mogoso, 2012-09-24 11:23:51.
Posted 2012-09-25 02:02:14
i did the trip several years ago from luang prabang to chiang khong on the mekong,
first day was on the slow boat which took forever against the river current so the second day changed for the speed boat which i enjoyed more and we got back to chiang mai the same day.
maybe the slower boat is ok going north to south .
a friend of mine warned me about the speed boat can be cramped etc so i asked the boat people if i could sit at the front because i have long legs and they even removed the front seat and i was able to stretch my legs fully.
the slow boat wasn't the same one in the above photo it had better seats than that but against the current took too long.
Posted 2012-09-25 17:19:17
If you are planning this trip it's not a matter of getting from A to B. Taking the slow boat, whichever level of comfort you choose, gives you an unparalleled opportunity to really see a part of SE Asia that may be changed for ever if the Dam construction keeps relentlessly marching on. If two or three days is too much then I guess half and half may be an option but if you simply want to get from LP to CM then fly.
I'd do the trip again tomorrow if I could.
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