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Published: January 15th 2017
Noooo! We arrived at the bus station to see that the clapped out red bus standing there WAS the next departure for Chiang Khong. We squeezed in like sardines onto seats made for two Thais long before fast western food came to town. That meant sitting with just the one cheek supported! Oh well, the monk across the miniscule aisle was sound asleep so perhaps there was a chance we could find the same tranquility. Our bags perched precariously at the back of the bus as we set off on the two hour journey. Mercifully it was a dry day so the roads were starting to recover from the recent downpours.
It turned out to be a reasonably pleasant journey and as a few passengers got off later on it was even, dare we say, comfortable. Nothing to worry about at all. Just before reaching our destination we passed two temples of note. One had a huge reclining Buddha in the garden while the other had an enormous jade seated Buddha. It's a shame there was no opportunity to explore. Just before reaching Chiang Khong the bus made a short diversion down to the Friendship Bridge so that those crossing
straight over to Laos could begin the procedure. The rest of us who opted to stay in Thailand for one last night were then dropped off next to the market. A note for any travellers reading this - there are no toilet stops along the way so go easy on the drinks during the journey then venture into the market to find the less than salubrious facilities!
A tuk tuk took us to our hotel for the night, Day Waterfront. As the name suggests, it is right on the bank of the Mekong with splendid views over to Laos on the other side. Our hosts were very friendly and super helpful although we were too early for our room to be ready. A short spicy lunch later and we were able to relax and watch the world go by from our balcony.
Chiang Khong is just a border town. There's not a great deal of note but it is an interesting town to wander around. We began with a stroll along the riverside. There are some rather posh options on the accommodation front if you want to splurge but we can't imagine it would really be worth it.
The town is clearly proud of its name as there are several photo opportunities next to large decorative signs, some of which can clearly be seen from the neighbouring country.
As you would expect in this part of the world, there are several eye catching temples. You also need to keep a careful eye out for commemorations of the giant Mekong catfish which can be found in the waters here. We saw some topiary by the river and a series of streetlights topped with fish. To be honest, we thought they were sharks at first but then we remembered the catfish!
Many guide books rave about the Hub Pub and say that it is owned by round-the-world cyclist Alan Bate. It isn't any more and it's not a cycling themed pub now either. It is still a backpacker hangout though with a pool table, cheap beer and good music.
Speaking of music, a riverside view is wonderful. That is, until you realise that the loud music blaring out is coming from another country on the opposite bank! Fortunately it stopped at about 11pm giving us a chance to get some reasonable sleep before crossing over to that
Breakfast at the hotel was nice and it gave us an opportunity to chat with some fellow travellers. If you like adventure, have a look at Sally's blog. She is currently cycling around Thailand but her Indian adventure is well worth a read.
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