Luang Prabang is well known for its numerous Buddhist temples, including the gilded Wat Mai Xieng Thong, Wat Phousi, Royal Palace, … If the beauty of Laos is mentioned as a highland girl, Luang Prabang which was formerly the ancient capital of a kingdom of the same name will be the heart of a beautiful girl. An interesting journey from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang by boat will be an attractive experience in this summer.
Luang Prabang can be reached by road or boat, but visitors are advised to move by slow boat to enjoy absolutely sceneries around. The slow boats depart at 11.30 am and there is only a boat every day up to 100 passengers. The ticket price is 240,000 Kip per turn or approximately 1,760,000 Kip (~$200) for a luxury trip. The tourist should back by 11 am to make sure do not delay the schedule. The boat can travel with the speeds about 2 days to Luang Prabang and it’s a bit chilly for the first couple of hours, so visitors need something warmer like a long-sleeved top or light jacket.
Day 1: Huay Xai- Pakbeng
The boat leaves daily from the pier in Huay Xai and the lunch and snacks aren’t included in the ticket price for so travelers should bring one along or buy it before departing from the port. Sitting at the chair and watching the background two sides, the spectacular forest scenery closely appears in front of with the craggy rock islands beside mountains and vegetation. Moreover, there are a lot of temples along the way, especially when going through the local community and witnessing the hearty welcome of families. It is cool to see local people farming or fishing and seeing kids play in the river. Overall, the scenery is pretty consistent for most of the trip and visitors will have arrived at Pakpeng around 5-6 pm before sundown.
After checking- in and having the dinner, visitors can experience the nightlife. Happy Bar is a special destination located on the hill side, which actually lives up to its name when the locals running it are very happy to get some custom and gave travelers some free whiskey shots to start things off. After a sightseeing first day on the Mekong river by the slow boat, a happy beer night with new friends will the wonderful choice.
Day 2: Pekbang to Luang Prabang
Wake early to explore the market where locals from surrounding villages come to sell fruit, vegetables and trade goods. Visitors go to the boat dock around 7.30 am and instantly relax back into the pace of the river for the next few hours before boat leaving at 9.00 am.
The second day is mostly the same as the first and its highlight is Ban Xang Hai also known as “the whiskey village” where sticky rice is turned into Lao-Lao whiskey and distributed nationwide. Here visitors can see the process of making Lao-Lao, the country’s beloved rice whiskey second only to BeerLao in popularity. Besides, Lao-Lao is an internal part of Lao culture and it’s used to important blessing ceremonies.
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Nextly, visitors will also stop off at the Pak Ou Caves at the mouth of the Nam Ou River before closing in on the end destination of Luang Prabang. Pak Ou Caves are home to famous caves in the limestone cliff are crammed with myriad Buddha images. The journey comes to the end about 5 pm at the Port of Luang Prabang and visitors will catch the tuk tuk to go into the city.