Our day started at 7:30am after a not so comfy nights sleep. The room didn't have air con, just a noisy fan and the mattress was so thin I could feel the springs in my back.
After breakfast of an omelette sandwich(?) and a cup of tea we headed to the Thai/Laos border. Talking of tea, I have only had one decent cup in 2 weeks! Milk isn't in high demand here so gets substituted with coffee creamer - not nice. I can't wait for a good cuppa! How British does that sound.
We crossed through the border relatively easy. I've never crossed a border by land before so was a new experience. We went through Thai immigration into what seemed like no mans land. A coach then took us to the Laos immigration building.
If we thought Thai people were chilled and did things slowly, Laos was a whole other level of slow. It took a while to get our visas, not helped by a powercut (apparently the norm). The form asked our occupation and race which seems strange, what difference does it make?
Throughout our travels so far I've realised that your gender makes a difference over here. A couple of times I have asked someone something, they didn't know what I'd said so asked Mark!! Like hello, I could have repeated myself? And then in Bangkok I asked the receptionist to make us a reservation at the Hard Rock Cafe so she did and then said it was put in Mark's name. Not a big deal but a little rude. That seems to be the way over here though.
Anyway, back to the trip.. We got picked up from the immigration and taken to the riverside where we planned to get a slowboat down to Pakbeng. We got some sandwiches before we boarded and they cost us 15,000 Kip. It's strange to hear someone say 15,000 for a sandwich!! In GBP, it's a little over £1.
The slowboat journey down the Mekong river took 6 hours but the scenery was amazing. Just hills and jungle either side the whole way down.
We arrived in Pakbeng around 5:30pm and found a hotel for the night. It was nice arriving somewhere with no accomodation booked, true backpacker style. The next morning we would need to get another slowboat to Luang Prabang, another 6 hour cruise down the river.
We had a lovely Indian meal, chicken tikka massala and then an early night but more importantly a hot powerful shower! Our first since leaving the UK!