The Mekong River Slowboat

February 2, 2013, In: Asia, Laos, Thailand, Travel

Taking the slowboat down the Mekong River from Chiang Khong, Thailand, to Luang Prabang, Laos, is probably one of the most discussed modes of transportation in Southeast Asia, but we had heard mixed reviews. The boat trip takes two full days, stopping in Pakbeng, a little village in Laos for the night, where you arrange your own accommodation before embarking again at 8 a.m. The views are incredible, the pace is relaxing, and you spend two days getting to know other travelers. The only downside is that the boats comfortably sit about 70 people, but are known for selling about 100 tickets during the high season, leaving many people without seats. It’s a crapshoot. It could be a perfect two-day commute if we got lucky… but if not, we might end up sitting on the floor of a wooden boat for two days. I told Brian to make the call. He made the right one.

The slowboat was one of the highlights of my time in Southeast Asia. In fact, every time I hear someone say “it’s not the destination it’s the journey” I think about our time rolling down the Mekong.

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The Mekong River Slowboat in all her glory. We are pretty sure that every time one boat sinks, they take the wood they can salvage and use it to build the next one- so you end up with these colorful, patchwork boats.

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The views were breathtaking from every angle

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Sunset on the Mekong

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We have learned that everything can be transported by boat:  livestock, trucks, houses, even other boats.

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If the slow boat won’t come to you… you take your speed boat to meet the slow boat.

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I loved this woman and her two boys. Who says you have to be able to speak in order to communicate?

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My last shot of this family, when the father picked them up alongside the slow boat.

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Playing in the river

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Setting traps and casting nets.

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The leisurely pace of the boat left us lots of time to read, write and nap. Unfortunately, with a dead computer, it didn’t leave me nearly enough time to get caught up with pictures or blogging.

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Some of the friends we met on the slow boat. So far we have run into several of them in a few of the cities we have visited since disembarking.



  1. Pingback: A Day in Luang Prabang « Walking Through Wonderland

  2. Reply

    Looks amazing!!!

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