Our first meeting with Laos was on a boat – a slow boat. And it is called a slow boat for a reason. We spent 2 days drifting down the Mekong River, observing rolling hills, cliffs, dense forests and small villages.
Yes, It is a long journey, a bit repetitive at times, it can get quite chilly, the engine is really loud and so our some of the other passengers (day 1: drunk backpackers with a guitar, day 2: a bunch of teenage girls on a school trip). But it’s cool to watch the beautiful landscape and life by the river, and there is a bar on board selling plenty of BeerLao. Besides, after having later traveled by bus in Laos I can only say: give me the slow boat any day.
The boats have been upgraded in recent years and wooden benches have been replaced with much more comfortable old car seats. Try to get forward-facing seats near the front of the boat – the engine noise in the back is unbearable.
The river is flanked by lush green hills and distinctive peaks.
In the morning of day 2 everybody was running to the boats to get a good place…
…the boats were waiting…
On the second day the sun was shining into the boat, Mekong was flowing quietly with water the color of coffee with cream, and it was easy to love slowly drifting down the river with a good book in hand.Sometimes the only way to tell we were passing a village was a golden temple roof reflecting the sun between the tree tops.
Sometimes it is good to slow down. Welcome to Laos!