Louang Phabang, 28 Dec 2005 at 5:31pmBeyond the main gate was inscribed “Gate to the Indochina” I felt ready set my foot on it. Visa for Laos could be done in 1 hour cost 1,500BHT for all citizenship. Huoay Xai (Laos side) only five minutes on boat from Chiang Khong (Thai side). The imimigration office no more than 3x5m that was full a fflock of traveller from various countries. We found a counter to exchange our 20US dollars into kip. It turned out to be a whole bunch of kip notes.
This is what we were waiting for, a speedboat down Mekong river. The small long tailed boat with only 6 passengers was propelled with the Toyota 16valve engine. The speedboat is only for those hooked on adrenalin. You don’t only need to contend with the speed and the manoeuvrability over shallow river but the exhilarating wind in your face as you were sat squashed up in to a patch of floor less than 2ft Square, all meant the trip could be classified as an endurance test. Oh we also had ear-plug as well to reduce noise from the Toyota beast as there was no silencer on the exhaust.
But scenery was really amazing as we passed by at 50MPH. The Mekong was unlike the river I had imagined. The hills and mountains in the background were awesome ! It took seven hours in the boat, certainly exhausting trip. We stopped several times by the villages or local food stall stretched along the river. When the sun down we reached Ban Don village about 7km from Louang Phabang.
Nine of us bargained tuk-tuk to carry into main city. $2 each seemed outrages for chinese people that got off same time with us. We tried to bargain based the price of a vehicle rather than per person. The driver agreed with $10 delivered as far as Old City. We stayed in Sokdhee Guesthouse, and enjoyed Louang Phabang- one of the old kingdoms that was crowned as World Heritage. It was so peaceful and calm just like river Mekong that flowed by the city.