Slow Boat - 2 of 2

Monday, November 7, 2011

The second day on the slow boat wasn't nearly as exciting. I was anxious to get to Luang Prabang and eat a good cooked meal rather than snack on packaged food all day on the boat. We got on a different boat that didn't have the cool wooden tables, but rather rows of seats similar to a bus. We made several stops to pick up locals and to check some problems with the boat. Our boat was slow compared to others, maybe because we were so loaded down with people. We were supposed to make it to Luang Prabang in 10 hours, so with each passing hour after 10, I was increasingly restless.

When dusk fell and we hadn't reached our destination yet, the captain of the boat pulled over and started making a fire on the beach. He didn't bother filling us in. We all got the message that we were spending the night on the boat! The river has many rocks that are hard to avoid in the night, so it made sense that we couldn't go on. But at the same time, we were so darn close to Luang Prabang. There were many angry backpackers on the boat. After half an hour of sitting, someone convinced the captain to cross the boat to the other side of the river where there was a road so we could get a ride into town instead of sleeping on the boat. What a relief that was. Instead of waiting with everyone for a bus to come (turns out they all had to pay a lot for that bus), we walked ahead and hitched a free ride with some Thai students into town (they were also on the boat and had a contact in Laos). It always pays to follow the locals.

What an adventure! A slow two-day boat ride down the river through wilderness and past remote villages was the prefect way to prepare for the slow pace of life in Luang Prabang.

- Julia

Here we go again. Boarding the slow boat in the early morning. Goodbye Pakbeng.
Scenes we saw out of our windows...
Made a stop at this village to pick up some locals.
The girls know we are making a stop and are ready to sell scarves to the tourists on board. 
There is competition to get to the tourists.
A boat full of white people stopping in their tiny village is probably pretty exciting. There was quite a crowd (of mostly children).
Locals boarding our already over-capacity boat. Not sure where they sat because there were no more seats.
Boat trouble. We saw it as an opportunity to hop off and stretch.
The air got chilly and the windows don't close, so we're layering t-shirts (forgot to bring warm clothes).
We passed Pak Ou Caves, not far from Luang Prabang. 


  1. so much culture in these photos. I love it!

  2. Amazing and inspiring as always, guys. All the photos of the local children running around are so sweet; i especially love the one of the little girl in the pink shoes crouched down looking straight at you! Precious!

  3. Question: did you guys take malaria pills while in Thailand and Laos?

  4. hi again!

    I want to ask how you upload your pics on blogger. Extra large format? do you play with the s640 value (upgrade to s1600?).

    Cause your picture quality is really amazing!


  5. Some of the most beautiful photos I have ever seen.

  6. My oh my, these photos make me so excited to go to Asia with Mike!!

    Sounds like an agonizingly long boat ride! You two are so travel savvy - getting rides with the locals! ;)

  7. the scenery and people you captured makes me feel like I am right there with you both

  8. These are amazing!!! Isn't Laos beautiful. The people. The culture. The scenery. Everything. I've been begging my husband for us to go back there for our belated honeymoon - hopefully these pictures will help.