Day 37 - into Laos and cruising the mighty Mekong
Trip Start Nov 29, 2011
41Trip End Jan 28, 2012
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Where I stayed
Pak Beng Guesthouse
We were on Laos soil now and there was a small building just up from the river where we had to put in forms to apply for Laos visas. Each of us Contiki group members filled out the forms and our tour guide took them all to the counter, calling us when necessary. While this was happening we changed our Thai baht into Laos kip at the exchange booth.
When we were all done we headed up the hill with our bags where we then caught tuk tuks to the dock kind of place nearby. I got put in the front seat of the tuk tuk and the whole time the driver kept looking at me and swerving about which was scary. When we stopped he tried to lean over and show me how to open the door but he didn't put any breaks on and do I quickly yelled to him, saving us all from going into the river as we were only a couple meters up the ramp lol.
At the dock we boarded a pretty nice boat which we would be sailing on for the next two days. The boat was all made of varnished hardwood and there was an area with deck chairs where the roof slid across above. On the boat we were fed a huge buffet style lunch which the family who lived on the boat cooked for us.
After sailing for quite some time and admiring the impressive views around us along the Mekong river, we arrived in the small village of Pak Beng. When we cruised to shore the tour guide warned us to be careful of the 'piranhas' which we soon worked out were the children. The kids all came to the visitors to offer to carry their bags up the hill for tips.
Not too far up the hill was the guest stay place which was a very simplistic place where they only just got electricity last year. The rooms were pretty small and all made with varnished hardwood.
We wandered down as a group to the only bar in town which was a tiny place which we all together ended up packing out. We all tried the Laos whiskey which our tour guide bought and passed around and then the boys had beers and girls cocktails. I had a cocktail called a "smile lao" which was quite strong with alcohol but just tasted like the yummy South East Asian orange juice, so it was pretty good :).
After a few drinks we all headed back to the hotel where they had set up a huge line of tables along the front balcony. We were served about 5 courses of different foods which were all quite nice.
After this Ryan and I headed to bed where we had some fun fiddling with the shower to get hot water and then laid in our firm bed :p.