A Travellerspoint blog

The Mekong [s]low down

Chiang Khong and the slow boat to Laos

sunny 32 °C

Riding on a motorbikes scares the hell out me. Bray’s not a fan either, especially after he badly injured his arm falling off one in Honduras last year. So, as our scooter zoomed through the Thai countryside, me holding onto Bray’s waist for dear life, I thought, ‘how’d the hell did this happen?’

We were in the town of Chiang Khong, just before the border with Laos. We were only meant to stay there a night but the owner of our guesthouse had us convinced there was more than enough in this border town to warrant an extra day. The problem was, most of the sites required a scooter to reach them. The owner also convinced us (he’s good at convincing) a scooter would be easy peasy for us. The roads were sealed, almost empty and traffic’s on the left. After deciding on a maximum speed of 40 km/hr, off we went like world’s wussiest bikies. Soon enough we were surrounded by gloriously green countryside.

— Here’s Bray infront of a temple (the pink helmet says it all).

— Here’s Bray in front of a giant Buddha head.

— Here’s Bray after losing control of his bike…!

Our main objective was to visit at least one of the local hill tribe villages but we ran into a bit of trouble, first getting lost and then on the steep dirt roads. While it would have been great to visit a H'mong or Lahu village, we had the best day. Once Bray built up his confidence and I relaxed a bit, we were unstoppable. Sometimes even reaching speeds of 45 km/hr! Rev heads!


Also during our stay we caught a children’s parade, relaxed at a bar or two and visited an ethnic market. Chiang Khong is an important trading centre for hill tribes and the little market was full of traditional clothing... with a bit of a disco twist. What the?


Finally it came time to cross into Laos and board the slow boat up the Mekong River to the heritage city of Luang Prabang. The trip lasts two days and takes in some stunning scenery. We glided past villages of bamboo huts complete with Dads fishing, Mums washing and kids splashing around. We’d come at the right time of year as everything was lush and green.

— This little boy was impressed with my Vogue.
— The slow boats are super long and skinny.

— This is how Brayden spent most of the two day journey.


After two 7-hour days on the Mekong we arrived in Luang Prabang. I’d heard a lot about the city and was busting to check it out.

Next up, the Luang Prabang top ten.

Stay posted.

Posted by elyshahickey 05:48 Archived in Thailand Tagged laos mekong motorbike parade Comments (1)

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