Why would you take a two day slow boat journey from Northern Thailand to Laos?
Why wouldn’t you just book an air ticket to get you there in a couple of hours?
Why didn’t we bloody plan this ahead so we didn’t have to have this conversation???
I’d like to be able to say that we chose the slow boat for the adventure….for the open seas and the wind in our hair….
For the chance to……….err….
It’s no good.
Let’s face it……we are just cheap!!!
Airline tickets were $440 each with Air Asia at about the time we decided we should investigate Laos. That left the bus or the 2 day slow boat. We hadn’t
yet been on a boat to get somewhere so we thought we would give it a shot. And at just $56 each, it really was hard to resist!
For our $56 we got a 7 hour bus ride to the Thai border town of Chiang Khong, overnight accommodation, dinner and breakfast, boat across the river to the Laos border, then a 2 day slow boat journey to reach Luang Prabang. (Thrown in for free were about 20 mozzie bites for Jono – they don’t include that bonus in the brochure!)
We told the kids that it would be fun…..there were dubious looks passing between them!!
The day arrived for our big adventure and our mini bus picked us up from our guesthouse. Lucky us, we were almost the last to be picked up and Jono and I ended up on the very back seat snuggled in with the luggage. NOT AMUSED!!!
As always, seatbelts were optional. Probably a lucky thing as there was no way I could get mine done up, even if I were inclined to be bothered after so long in SE Asia!
The bus was extremely hot and uncomfortable and I quickly handed out motion sickness tablets to all the family that wanted them. Then I promptly went to sleep as best I could in the little space I had. Never have I been so thankful to have lost weight!!
I should explain here that Jono loves to talk to me on buses, about the time I’m feeling sick and have fallen asleep. He gets my attention by poking me in the leg or tapping me on the head if he is sitting behind….this behaviour will eventually get him a punch in the face but so far I have resisted the urge….you’ve been warned kid!
The bus stopped about 6 times in 7 hours.
Now, all our friends know if we are on a roadtrip we very rarely stop. So feeling sick and jammed into the back windscreen with the occasional bag falling on my head I just wanted to get there!! But no, the first stop was for fuel – about 24 seconds after picking everyone up. Then, after less than an hour we stopped for the toilet! At least this allowed us to bully the driver into fixing the aircon.
After this, the trip was a little easier to bear and I settled off to sleep again (I have an amazing knack for sleeping in vehicles of any description).
We stopped again around 11.30am. The place we stopped had meals already prepared so we grabbed a quick fried rice with some chicken, a coke and a chocolate bar. This is where the pic on facebook with my poor short Twix finger was taken!
After this quick chow down it was back onto the bus. Another nap and then another bloody stop! By now it was about 2pm and I was getting snaky thinking we could just about be there by now!! I refused to get off the bus initially but after thinking it through (and the driver turning the aircon off!) I decided I would go to the toilet. As I get off the bus (we’ve been here for 5 minutes already) the driver says innocently “aren’t you going to see the white temple?”
“WHAT??” I nearly shout at him. “This is a sightseeing stop?” “Are you kidding me you little XXX rated word!!” I think to myself.
I plonk myself in a chair and think about sulking. No wonder 1/2 the bus passengers are missing! Then I realise Gert has toddled off to the white temple without us!! I was pissed off!!
But at least someone saw the damn thing! It’s the only white temple in Thailand apparently and it’s really cool!! Here’s the evidence that at least Gert was there…
And a SPOTTO! for good measure….
Really, not taking your family for photos, just so you can score some SPOTTO points unchallenged is not cool!!
Then we pile back onto the bus. But an hour in one of the boys needs to go to the toilet. He tells the driver and we go on for a bit longer. My teeth are gritted by this stage.
Turns out he REALLY NEEDS TO GO!! Something has upset his tummy and it’s getting urgent!!
There’s nothing like someone else’s pain to cheer you up and I feel immensely better knowing a catastrophe could be imminent. Doing my best Kim Littee impersonation I delve into my trusty bag and hand the poor fool a big wad of tissues and he races off to the toilet!! Then Jono decides that he too needs to go and off he toddles.
It’s really getting ridiculous by now. We are on our 5th stop and we’ve been travelling for only 6 hours or so! I’m wondering how many more stops we will need to make for the poor fellow with the upset tummy.
Turns out there’s only one more stop for the toilet and then we mercifully arrive at Chiang Khong.
We are taken to our hostel which is an interesting affair. Four of us are in together and Brittney gets her own room this time. There is a colony of mosquitos living in our room and in the bathroom – luckily we are pathetic and are by now carrying fly spray since our crap hotel in Bangkok. The room is sprayed and we toddle off to explore before dinner. (I use the term loosely – after we ate we then snuck up to the road to find a restaurant for seconds!!)
During our exploring we discover this is a one street town. But they do have SPOTTOS!!
We stumble across a market where we buy some bananas. They are so cheap it is criminal. We wander up and down and discover meat for sale. Uncovered meat. Covered in flies. With people handling each piece before deciding which one to buy!!! OHMIGOD!! I’ll bet our dinner is coming from this place!!!
We have a huge giggle over this until we find the rat.
Yes, I said rat!!
Spread out in all it’s glory, it could be sunning itself at the markets. Except for the fact that the seller has cut it open and removed some of its insides. It’s not even on the meat stall. Just plonked up here next to the greens to help with a good balanced meal!!
Anyone still hungry?
And that was the end of our market visit.
I bought some spring rolls and we scurried away from that rat (the spring rolls were great – a bit worried what meat was in them though!!)
This post has got out of hand as usual so I’ll continue with the shenanigans involved in two day slow boat rides tomorrow. Stay tuned for two hours in Laos immigration, boat breakdowns and general hilarity!!
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