Slow Boat Day Two – Pak Beng to Luang Prabang

The town of Pak Beng appears to exist solely as an overnight stop for the slow boat travellers. With a monopoly of the business, it doesn’t seem to try very hard! There may be pleasant hotels there but Ban Mee isn’t one of them – disappointing as it had been recommended. The grotty rooms and noisy dogs were only partly compensated for by the restaurant terrace with it’s views of the Mekong. But a high point was seeing elephants and their mahouts beside the river at breakfast time!
Day 2 progressed much as Day 1. Having been told to be at the port by 8am, after a lot of waiting and inactivity we finally left Pak Beng at 10 am to continue the slow progress down the river.
With more local passengers on board we made more stops along the way dropping off people or goods.
Gradually the banks became more populated until at about 5pm we approached Luang Prabang.
What a disappointment to discover that the boats no longer go right into town, stopping about 10. Kilometres outside! This seems like a job creation scheme for taxi drivers as all passengers had to pay for a ride into town. Worse still the dock is virtually non-existent and we all had to scramble up a very steep slope and steep concrete stairs. Alan was the hero who carried both our bags up!
Despite the hardships of the two days we’re pleased to have experienced life on the huge river and enjoyed the enforced inactivity of being on board.
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By the way I stand corrected that the boats have steel hulls but are lined inside and out with handsome, but fading wood

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