So we are in Luang Probang in Laos. We travelled from Pai on an overnight mini bus to Chang Kong on the border that took 8 hours and got to Chang Kong at 5am, it was soo windy that I didnt get much sleep. So we arrived at a guest house where we booked our crossing to Lao and our slow boat to Luang Probang down the Mekong. There are basically 2 ways to get down the Mekong, the speedboat that takes 6 hours or the slow boat that takes 2 days. We have heard that the speedboat is really dangerous so didnt opt for that one, but had also heard that the slow boats are often over filled and really cramped, but considered this the lesser of the two evils.
So we got a long tail boat accross the border at about 9am, its really wierd crossing into another country that is just about 50m across a river. It have taken us ages to take in that we are no longer in Thailand.
We showed our passports at imigration and decided to get some currency. We decided to changee up just 1000bhat just to keep us going. Now here is the fun part, there are about 17000 Lao kip to 1 pound so the conversion rate is killing our mental maths skills.
Then we headed to the long boat, worrying about how cramped it would be, but we got there and it was fine, and we managed to get some seats at the front so we also had quite a bit of floor space to move around in and play cards etc. After 6 hours of playng Uno we arrived at Pak Beng for our overnight stop. Its a really small town comprising mainly of guesthouses for the slow boat travellers, they aso only have electricity from 7 till 10 at night.
The second day we were on the boat again for 9 hours, but did manage to make friends with some Canadians who we played cards with, expanding on our knowledge for just uno, rummy or trumps which we have been playing for 6 weeks straight.
Finally we arrived in Luang Probang on the 13th at about 5pm, the town was heaving with backpackers and locals enjoying the festival. After walking about 100m from the boat we got soaked by buckets of water from locals. It took us about 2 hours of wandering and searching for a guest house with space, getting very dishartened by the constsant "sorry full" replies. By 7pm it was getting dark, our shoulders were aching from carrying our big backpacks and I was beginning to think we would never find somewhere when Kirsty went to check the next place and actually gave me a nod and went in, I couldnt believe it. Although it is costing us 1100bhat a night (its confusing here they accept bhat, kip and US dollors as currency) we took it, and were very grateful. It is nice and not far from town. We just managed to make it out and find some food before I was realy for bed.
Yesterday we got up and went to an amazing bakery for breakfast and then after walking down the raod and again getting soaked we decided to go back and get our water pistols that we had carried all the way from Pai. It was such a fun day, getting attacked by children and adults with water pistols buckets and hoses, it wasnt long until we were soaked but loving it. We had a couple of Lao beers and then watched the parade, this was when people had moved on from water to flour and some black stuff too, we got covered (ref. Kirstys photos on facebook, I havent got my cable so cant put mine up, doh). We ran into a girl who was on our boat and were chatting for ages and then went for food. We decided to head back and get dry (the water throwing stops at night) and then head to the market to do some, actually alot of shopping. I have bought quite alot of silver jewlery and Kirsty I think now has a ring for every finger. hehe.
Anway we are still working out plans, as do want to stay here for the end of th festival but know our time is limited especially if we want to do Cambodia, so we have to geta bus to Vang Vien either tomorrow or thursday to go tubing on the river before heading to the capital of Vientiane to hopefully fly to Siem Reap in Cambodia.