Anyone travelling in Lurang Prabang heading north will have the dilemma of either taking the slow boat or bus to Huay Xai. For us it was a no brainer. Even though the boat takes twice as long, we have done our fair share of bus journeys, but not once have we sailed down the Mekong.
An 18hr/2 day boat journey sounds a bit daunting, bit it’s actually alright and we would recommend you do it over ‘another’ bus journey. We were blessed with a half empty boat, so there was plenty of room which definitely helped. We heard that we chose the route less travelled by tourists. Most take the trip from North to South, raster than South to North that we took. Seems because of that st we enjoyed our trip more than others.
The journey is smooth (after your ears acclimatise to the sound of the engine), it has an endless supply of picture perfect landscapes, wildlife and the everyday life for some. It’s a calming journey, you can read ( Katie read a book in the journey), write postcards, listen to music and sleep. The seats are old mini bus seats not bolted to the floor but are comfy enough.
After 9hrs of scrolling landscape we hit Pak Beng, a harbour village which caters for the weary boat travellers. Guesthouses are cheap and there’s plenty of restaurants, bars and food stalls to keep you satisfied.
The morning we set off at 8.30am and it was literally repeat of day one. The two day river boat ride is a great chance to relax, recharge and watch the world go by. 9hrs later and we arrived in Huay Xai where we are booked in for the Gibbon Experience.
Some more photos