Trip Start Aug 22, 2012
63Trip End Jun 16, 2013
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Ever since we were in Cambodia, we had heard so much about people travelling on a multi-day slow boat trip along the Mekong River. We had intended on going up to Huay Xai near the Laos/Thailand border and taking the 2-day trip but others had recommended going to Nong Khiaw and travelling for a day through more beautiful country along the Ou River, which joins up with the Mekong
After hours of this torture, the boat pulled up to a sand bar, we disembarked and were told we had to go up to the road to catch a 'bus’ as this part of the river was too shallow to navigate with so many of us in the boat. We trudged up to the road, thankful to be walking although it was during the worst heat of the day. When our ‘bus’ pulled up, we all stood in disbelief. It was a truck. We climbed into the open back of the truck, herded in like cattle, muckled onto the sides of it as we took off driving 80km/hour for about 20 minutes. Jim said, ‘we are going on a picnic’. If you remember our post of November 10, Billy Brown the sheep farmer in New Zealand used this phrase as his explanation to his lambs when he herded them onto the truck to go to the slaughterhouse!
What a sight we must have been as the locals stared at the truckload of tourists
The post-concussion syndrome I have had since I hit my head on Dec. 30/2010 still plagues me. I noticed an increase in the frequency, duration and intensity of my headaches during this time of rough travel which reminded me of the need to be a bit more careful about pacing our travel and choice of transportation. My niece, who has had this, wisely tells me that it will go away after awhile (years), to be patient and not to let it become your life. I guess I am not allowing it to shape my life too much or I wouldn’t be travelling but I still wish it would go away. Enough already!
We visited some ethnic minority villages north of Luang Num Tha and Muang Sing, learning about the uniqueness of each group. The ragamuffin children were either thrilled, afraid or appeared resentful of our visit. Our lunch, as we gathered on the floor in the home of Pia accompanied by her two sisters-in-law, was delightful. With more sticky rice than one could possibly eat, some rice whiskey and bowls of fish soup, morning glory and other treats, we ate and communicated through a combination of sign language and our guide’s interpreting.
Laos people are kind and very laid back. Although we only saw the northern part of the country, we were taken by the beauty and rawness of this sparsely populated place. We highly recommend it as a destination.