On leaving Chiang Mai we made for Chiang Khong with Terminal Green so we could cross into Laos at the Huay Xai border where we then stayed the night. Beginning the following day we would be traveling downriver from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang on this two day trip on the Nagi of Mekong River Cruise.
We were picked up at 9am by a local tuk tuk driver who transferred us the the boat pier. Once we boarded the boat we met the crew running this trip along with four other passengers, with it being low season in Laos it was a quiet voyage.
Soon we were underway sailing down river, taking in the stunning views of mountains and riverbanks. It didn’t take long for small rain storm to appear overhead which meant the scheduled village stop was rescheduled for the following day. Instead, we passed the time by reading, playing cards and discussing our plans for The Big Trip.
Lunch was served around midday, then it was more relaxing on board in the afternoon before docking in Pak Beng around 4pm which is where we’d lay our heads for the night. Our stay at BKC Villa was included in our package with Nagi of Mekong, and once we’d checked in the evening was all ours to enjoy how we’d wish. For us that meant a wander into the village for a bite to eat where we surprisingly found an Indian restaurant which we decided to try out before calling it a day.
We were up bright and early at 7am for breakfast at BKC Villa before being transferred back to the boat for an 8am start. The day began with fresh fruit and coffee as we set sail. Due to missing the village visit the day previous, this had been re-arranged with another local village further down river, this was therefore our first stop just before lunch. Village life is basic and they make a living from making scarfs that end up at the Luang Prabang night market, and by producing Laos whiskey.
Lunch was taken on the boat, followed by a few more hours gently sailing along before about 45 minutes outside of Luang Prabang we stopped at the Pak Ou Caves to look at the approx. 2,500 Buddha images that are on display in two caves. What amazed me the most was learning that once a year local monks come to the caves, and remove the statues to be cleaned in the Mekong River before placing them all back again…quite the task!
Before we knew it we were in Luang Prabang where a van was waiting to take us to our respective accommodation, for us that would be Frangipani Guesthouse near the centre of town.
These days were two of the most relaxing I think either CLB or I have ever encountered and I couldn’t recommend doing this trip more. There are several other companies that do this journey, and the prices are at both ends of the scale so if you are going to do this voyage do shop around depending on what your budget is. For us, we wanted to splash out a little on this experience and therefore chose Nagi of Mekong River cruise who offer an all inclusive package and are a reputable higher-end vendor.