Pak Beng Chris's Section
View from our guesthouse
Chiang Rai was a bit of a disappointment. I think we'd had enough of Northern Thailand by this point - plus we were itching to get into Laos. Literally as it happens - I think we encountered bed bugs for the first time. I was covered in bites and they really itch.
So off we went to Chiang Kong, which is the border town on the Mekong river. We didn't stop - straight to Thai immigration and over the river to Laos. We changed our money into Laos kip and instantly became millionaires! It's about 12,000 kip to the pound. We had 1.5 million kip on us the first day (about £125) - so many notes.
We plan to stay in Laos for about a month, which is cool. The bad news is that I'll miss pretty much all of the World Cup. With the time difference, lack of TV, and things closing early here (there's an 11pm curfew in most places) it looks like I won't see any footy. Balls. Oh well, I'm only missing out on unrealistic expectations, stress, followed shortly by disappointment.
Found a decent enough guesthouse for about 100k kip
(£8.30), which is pricey but they know the town is a tourist trap. The next day we got on the slow boat, which goes down the Mekong towards our destination - Luang Prabang. The boat is aptly named - as it takes two days. You overnight at a town called Pak Beng, which seems to exist purely for the slow boat tourists. The boat cost 1000 baht each (£20). The first day took about 6 hours, the second day just over 7 hours. I really enjoyed it. The scenery is beautiful and I really enjoyed the pace, which really surprised me. It's wasn't that busy so we could stretch out a bit. The floor is much more comfortable than the wooden benches they have. It was definitely a good idea to buy the cushions as so many people had advised us to do.
We're now in Luang Prabang, which is a Unesco World Heritage city. Haven't had a chance to really look around yet, but it looks really nice so far. We might stay here for a good few days. The internet is harder to find in Laos, so we might be off the tintyweb radar for a few
weeks. Louise's Section
I am currently sat scratching my bites again, badly need mittens but hopefully the Vit B1 will help soon.
So we are now in Luang Prabang and is by far the oddest capital I think we will visit, still very small town like but still expensive compared to the past 2 nights in Laos. Have found another hostel for the rest of the week costing £1 more and has air con, whoohoo!! Probably the only time we'll get that in Laos.
Chiang Rai (Northern Thailand) was ok but very small, met a mental lady running a bar with her hubby who we reckoned opened it just so he can play his guitar every night. Cheap beer and many long games of connect four had by us here and yes Chris won most games, damn him!!
Scratch, Scratch again...
Took the ferry boat into Laos and then got the slow boat to Luang Prabang down the Mekong River, very very beautiful. First day, sat on nice back seats from a renault I think, then came today... different boat, only handmade wooden benches, not so comfortable so took my cushion and me
View from our guesthouse
to onto the floor and napped. I had lost a nights sleep earlier after my ant incident which Chris nearly wet himself at. Thought 'oh I know, i'll get comfy to read my book and place my pillow up against the window', numeous ickle ants later, thinking hmmm I have a lot of these appearing, then felt a nip at me head, got up to look at my pillow and had a migrating ant colony on expedition to my pillow, hundreds I tell you!! Never moved so fast in my life and into the very cold shower scrubbing so hard, used most of my shampoo and spent the next 12 hours on ant paranoia watch!!
So tomorrow is the nicer hostel with air con I shall be at peace for a few days and hopefully regenerated.
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