Riding the Slow Boat – a Fast Way to Make Friends

Taking the slow boat from Thailand to Laos certainly didn’t start off on my list of things to do, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow. In fact, Laos hadn’t even been on my travel itinerary at all this time around.

After spending a week in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with an amazing group of people, I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye. I decided to tag along and head to Laos with them, via the slow boat. Despite having spent time in Laos the summer before, I was happy to return.

The Mekong River

This small, landlocked country is one of the poorest in South East Asia. Unbeknownst to many people, it is also the most bombed country in the world. This bombing actually took place during the war in neighbouring Vietnam. Despite the extensive damage that was caused, it is an incredible place to visit.

watching the boat go by

Riding the slow boat

Now when I say slow boat, I mean really, really slow boat. I probably could have walked there just as quickly. Over 100 people were crammed into the narrow, rickety boat that would make its way along the Mekong (one of the world’s longest rivers) to Luang Prabang. Tiny wooden benches and a few car seats were crammed into this not so safe boat. I actually spent plenty of time stretched out on a pile of life jackets on the floor.

The bathroom was nothing more than a porcelain hole in the floor at the back of the boat – delightful, I know.  For anyone considering this journey, we didn’t sleep on the boat, but in a small riverside town.

Two days passed in a blur of beautiful scenery, card games and beer Lao, as we swapped stories with other travellers and friendships were solidified (no Blackberries or iPhones here friends!).  Friendly locals lined the riverbanks as the boat slowly drifted by.

House boat on the Mekong

House boats on the river

We arrived in the picturesque town of Luang Prabang after two days. I was happy to be back on solid ground, yet in a way sad to say goodbye to the boat.

For anyone travelling the South East Asia route and isn’t crunched for time, this is a great way to see a different part of the country. Plus, riding the slow boat is certainly a fast way to make friends!

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About AdventuressAbroad

adventure seeker.traveling fanatic.food lover.occasional blabbermouth.travel-based PR professional.

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