Saturday, March 15, 2008

Day 1011 – Chiang Kong - Pakbeng, Laos

Day 1011 – 14th March 2008 +7:00 GMT

Another early morning up before 6am and checked out, the guest house owner drove us to the pier where visited Immigration and departed Thailand.

Sunrise Over The Mekong river

Jill On Balcony

Me At Breakfast

The Cute Kitten

Our Guest House Baanrimtaling

We met our guide and they took our bags and boated across the Mekong into Laos. We then waited around for the rest of the tour group and we were checked into Laos through customs and Immigration. We thought we would change up some money into Laos Kip so changed about £80 and was give 1395000 Kip in 10K notes so we had a huge wad of cash which would not fit in our wallets.

Me with 1.4 Million Kip

Then we were packed into the back of trucks and driven a couple of kilometres through the town of Houy Say and to the boat. The board we had choosen was a VIP cruise run by Loung Say We paid around $330 each for he trip or we could have gone on the normal boat and pais $30 each but would have too share with 200 people and sit, sleep and eat on the same spot on hard wooden seats and on a boat with one toilet if your lucky and 2 days like that did not really appeal to Jill and I so we opted for the posh boat. We boarded the slow boat and sat around while we were given an introduction.

Laos Customs and Immigration

The Slow Boats

Jill And I On The Slow Boat

The boat had 34 people which was made up of 1 dutch, 2 germans, 2 scottish, 4 americans, 24 french and me a lonely Englishman. Everyone who spoke English were lovely, we got on very well with the 3 Americans (The Tennyson Family, they wanted a mention in my blog so here it is ). I am sure the French were lovely too but we did not really speak to any of them. On the boast we had large seats and cushioned benches and 2 sets of toilets and a nicely stocked bar. We were given drinks and snacks when we boarded and we set sail down the Mekong. The Mekong River is full of life with locals all along the shore either fishing, farming or panning for gold. We made a stop as the boat has to purchase a pass and then the boat got swamped by children trying to sell us crisps.

The Children Trying To Sell Crisps

At 12pm a full lunch was served which was really good and then at around 1:30pm we made a stop to visit a local village.

A Hmong Village

Hmong Children

Hmong Children Looking After The babies

The village had running water and lots of animals running around, mostly chickens, turkeys, pigs and dogs they had a few vegetables growing and the houses were made from bamboo. The baby pigs were adorable and all the animals seemed so tame.



Baby Piglets


A Cockerel

The village seemed quite poor but we were told that this was a moderate village as it had houses and running water. The children in the village were great and loved to pose for photo’s. The children usual get married around the age of 15 and all the work is shared out so children were caring for the young and also preparing rice and other food. The village used to produce opium for heroin production but this was outlawed by the Laos government in the 90’s. It was a fascinating experience and a true insight to how they live.

The Hmong Village

Beating Rice

Producing Rice

Hmong Children

We then got back on the boat and carried on down river until we reached Pakbeng just after 5pm. The hotel is about 1km out of Pakbeng owned and run by Luang Say tours. We checked into our room and had a hut to ourselves with a large bed and a small en-suite bathroom.
The Mekong River

Our Room In Pekbeng

View From Our Room
We had an hour to freshen up before dinner and then headed to the restaurant. The food was fantastic and we had a couple of bottles of wine. After dinner everyone turned in for the night.

Friday, March 14, 2008



Thailand had been quite an experience so far, a bottle of water cost 10p a can of coke 24p and a beer (just over a pint) for around 95p. It is not an unusual sight to see a family of four on a single motorbike with all their shopping and the pet dog. Also you see children as young as nine riding 1000cc bikes along the streets with no crash helmets. Every pavement is uneven and there are pot holes galore. Street signs are ignored and when the green man shows at crossings the cars don’t stop. If the bikes are made to stop they find an alternative route usually along the pavement. Loose wires that are live seem to be sticking out of every lamppost or hanging down from overhead power cables. No one uses any safety gear or ropes and harness’s and all the signs say Safety First. Every street is full of carts selling fried food or thai noodles and rice. You can’t walk more than 50 metres without being asked if you want a Tuk Tuk ride or a suit made, but that’s what you have to love about the place.

Day 1010 – Chiang Mai – Chiang Kong, Thailand

Day 1010 – 13th March 2008 +7:00 GMT

Early to rise and breakfast at the hotel then taxi to bus station. We boarded the Chaing Kong bus at 8:30am and everyone was given water and some biscuits, the bus was supposed to have air conditioning but it did not work to well and everyone on the bus was roasted. The journey took just under 7 hours and a few stops were made on the way. We arrived in Chaing Kong just after 3pm and then walked to our Guest House which was Baan Rimta Ling. When we arrived there was no one around just a cat, a kitten and a dog.
Kitten At The Guest House
So we sat down and waited the view from the place was amazing with a view across the Mekong River and into Laos.
View Of Mekong River And Laos
A Slow Boat On The Mekong River
An American guy staying at the hostel appeared after an hour or so and sat with us chatting. At around 6pm the owners daughter appeared and checked us in to our room. We had a bungalow room with a balcony overlooking the river which was fantastic.
The View Of The Mekong River And Laos From Our Room
Our Balcony

A Spider Outside Our Room
We walked into the town in search of a restaurant and after about 20 minutes the very last building was a restaurant so we had a lovely Thai curry each and then headed back to the guest house where we promptly passed out.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Day 1009 – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Day 1009 – 12th March 2008 +7:00 GMT

After breakfast Jill and I walked down the road and handed in our laundry to a lady who agreed to wash and dry everything for 200 baht (around £3.30). We then haggled and got a tuk tuk to take us to the bus station so we could buy a ticket for tomorrow to Chiang Kong, the ticket was 284 baht. We then got the tuk tuk to take us to Chaimongkon Wat (which is a temple) and we had a look around and took some photos.
Elephant Bones

Chaimongkon Wat

Me At Chaimongkon Wat

Chaimongkon Wat
We then got a cruise down the River Ping the cruise lasted and hour and was a pleasant trip but since the guide did not speak English we did not know what anything was.
Noi Ping River Cruise
Me On The Noi Ping River
Turtles On The Noi Ping River
The Noi Ping River

When then walked back to the hotel via Hagn-Dazs and treated ourselves to an ice cream extravaganza and then I uploaded blog photos for the last few days and had a little rest. In the evening we walked to the riverside restaurant and had a fantastic meal, then we walked back through the city looking at the night market stalls on route.

Chiang Mai

Me Having A Beer At The Riverside Restaurant

View Of The River Noi Ping

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Day 1008 –Chiang Mai, Thailand

Day 1008 – 11th March 2008 +7:00 GMT

Had breakfast at the hotel as it was free and then had a wander around the streets of Chiang Mai. We headed in no particular direction and just visited a few temples that we passed and had a walked around the moat and through Chiang Mai gate.

Chiang Mai Streets

Chiang Mai

Market in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai
A Chiang Mai Taxi
Chiang Mai is a lot nicer than Bangkok as it is not such much in your face everything seems a lot more laid back and everyone is very friendly. The old city is surrounded by a moat and has more than 300 temples.
Chiang Mai Temple
Chiang Mai Temple
Chiang Mai Temple
Big Buddha
We stopped for a beer and then headed back to the hotel had a swim and a siesta.
Me Having A Swim In The Hotel Pool
In the early evening we headed to back to the Chiang Mai Saloon for some food and more beer. Then had a wander around a few of the local pubs stopping for the occasional drink.
Jill With A Cocktail
DSL Service Provider