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Chiang Khong & Crossing the Border into Laos - 16th/17th May

LAOS | Monday, 18 May 2009 | Views [1396]

After quite a late night I got up a little bit late, around 9am, had some breakfast and met up with Shona.

Shona had done a bit of investigating and thought that it might be good to go to Chiang Khong that evening so that we would be ready to cross the border first thing in the morning and get the slow boat to Luang Prabang. It takes 2 days with an overnight stop in Pakbeng.

We had to do a few errands, like passport photos for the Visa, check the bus times, pick up Laudry etc. But we also decided we wanted to do something in Chiang Rai so we went to the hilltribe museum. This was actually really interesting. I had no idea there were so many different tribes in such large numbers.

We had some late lunch and caught to the bus at 4 from the old bus station which was easy because we could just walk there. The bus cost 65B and took around 2 hours.

We landed in Chiang Khong and found a hostel. Everywhere is so quite at the moment you wouldn't believe it! We found a hostel directly opposite the border crossing so we wouldn't have far to go in the morning. You can see Laos across the border as the Mekong River isn't really that wide.

Walked back into town, it really is only 1 road, and got some dinner. After which we got surrounded by some angry dogs which we had to shout at loudly to get to go away. It was a little bit scary. Guesthouse room is ok, rooms are getting progressively worse from the Intercontiental HK!! Only 250B for both of us though.

Sunday 17th May

We got up early, had breakfast at the hostel. They also made us a packed lunch as there is no fresh food on the boat and you don't stop on the way. We got stamped out of Thailand and then you catch a little boat across the river to arrive in Laos. This was also pretty straight forward although it was really busy with tour groups!! You have to pay $36 dollars for a 30 day visa from the UK an extra $1 because it was Sunday!!

It took about half an hour to get it all sorted. Then boat pier is about 500m/1Km from the border crossing so we decided just to walk it. Am getting a little bit tired of being harrassed by TukTuk drivers!

Bought the tickets at the pier for 900B.

We basically had to wait for the boat to fill up with all the people crossing the border so we didn't get going until 11.30. This boat was tiny and probably had about 100 people on it. Seriously no leg room or breathing space!

We arrived in Pakbeng in Laos and it was chaos! All of our bags were in the back of the boat. People from the village came on to the boat to get ours bags off so they could get some money and it was so jam packed. Getting off the boat was also difficult as we were basically standing on rocks! Not fun at all.

We went into the first guesthouse we saw which was actually quite nice and only 200B! The Laos currency is Kip but most places accept Thai Baht and US$.

Had dinner early in a restaurant with possibly the most bugs I've ever seen. But had my first BeerLao which is really good. Everything stops here at about 10pm and the electricity goes off shortly afterwards!

Nothing to do but an early night. x

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