Laos is one of my favourite places in South East Asia. I absolutely fell in love with it when I visited, and it’s one of the big reasons I came back to Asia to work. This small sparsely populated country has a chilled laid back atmosphere that sets it apart from the rest of the region.
One of the best parts of the journey through Laos is the slow boat from Luang Prabang to the Thai border. The scenery along the mighty Mekong River is stunning, and you can get a glimpse of the side of Laos that is sometimes hidden from tourists. Children bathe in the water, wild pigs and goats scramble along the rocks and occasionally elephants will descend from the forest to get a drink. It’s also a great time to catch up on a good book, watch some movies or play games with the other people in the group. On my last trip my passengers played a few rounds of a guessing game called Heads Up (download the app for your smartphone, it’s a blast!), played some card games, and we even had a sing-along to a few Queen songs. On our second day on the boat one of our very talented passengers who is an actress from Iceland put on an hour-long show about life in her home country.
The other highlight of the journey was the Laos family that operated our boat. Although they didn’t speak much English, they were kind and welcoming. The group really enjoyed playing with their cheerful toddler, and the wife made a delicious lunch featuring some classic Lao recipes.
I think I can speak for the group in saying that we all really enjoyed the journey. One of my passengers even wished that he could sleep overnight on the boat in a hammock!