We left Chiang Khong at 8am to cross the Laos/Thailand boarder on the river. When we got to the otherside we got our visas - a long, disorganized process where we were charged 1 dollar more as it was a Sunday and one member of our group was not allowed in the country as he had a Turkish passport!
We then boarded the boat along with 80 others and drifted for 7 hours down the Mekong to a village called Pakbeng. We were more than ready to leave our dingy guesthouse the next day to get back on the boat, this time with a packed lunch of baguettes, crisps and local rum. The next 8 hour journey was great! We thoroughly enjoyed our time on the boat - talking to fellow passengers and enjoying exquisite fews of the country surrounding the Mekong and the people that lived there.
When we got to Luang Prabang, we immediately headed for the 'budget' hostel area and managed to find a great room for as little as £7 a night - it has beautiful dark teak floor boards, a large comfy bed and even a bedside table with a lamp - luxury! We found some dinner and an early night as we were knackered!
Luang Prabang is an incredibly beautiful town with French architecture and beautiful Buddhist temples on nearly every street. There are cute cafes, restaurants and the best night market I have seen.
Our first day in Luang Prabang was spent exploring some of the many temples, drinking ice coffee, reading and exploring the local market which was just lovely. On day two, we rented a moped (which was a lot more expensive than Thailand!) and drove an hour or so to Huang Si Waterfalls - the pools were a stunning bright turquoise blue which made the falls the most beautiful we had seen. There was also a bear conservation project at the falls and you could see a variety of bears sleeping in the trees.
On day three and four, we rented bicycles and spent our time cycling around the town and hanging out at a local pool to cool down. We also ate from an incredible street food buffet where you could fill your plate for under a quid with a selection of different noodle and rice dishes, veggie stir fries, spring rolls and tofu.
On our fifth day, Saturday, it was the start of Laos New Year where the locals celebrated with a 4 day long waterfight fuelled with booze and awful music. We bought water pistols and joined in for the afternoons. The locals were far too generous giving away their whiskey which meant we were in bed by 8pm!!!
The next morning we were up early to catch a minibus for 7 hours to Vang Vieng.