Day 7: Pakbeng – Pak Ou – Luang Prabang

This morning Pati and BeeBee packed and left their cabin early, so that they could access the internet from the main reception area of Luang Say Lodge. After breakfast, they walked down to the boat for the second day of travel. As before, their larger luggage was carried to the boat by two strong young women.

Before 8:30 am, everyone was on board and the boat set off down the Mekong River again. Several hours later, they had a buffet lunch, and soon after that,  the boat stopped for a short  visit to a hill tribe village. Every woman in the village, it seemed, had laid out their handmade scarfs for sale on either side of the path that the tour group had to follow.  Since they all used the same type of equipment and thread, their products were remarkably similar (identical, even). A man of the village had a primative still set up, and the group watched the traditional process of Lao whiskey production. While the women sold a good number of scarves, the man also did a brisk business selling small bottles of Lao rice whiskey.

This day was colder than the day before, and everyone on the boat was soon cold from the wind and from the spray of water coming over the sides of the boad. The guide handed out colorful ponchos, and everyone huddled inside them. One of the ladies at Pati and BeeBee’s table had brought her Bananagram game, and she taught Pati, BeeBee, and another lady at the table how to play. This provided entertainment for the players and onlookers and diverted their attention a little from the cold. Everyone also consumed many cups of hot Laotian coffee .

cave of a thousand Buddhas

The boat continued on to Pak Ou village at the mouth of the Nam Ou River. Here they climbed hundreds of irregular steps to visit the Tam Thing Caves of a Thousand Buddhas.

After this stop, the boat continued for several hours, arriving at Luang Prabang pier before sunset. Here again, there were steep steps from the river to the higher street level, and male porters carried the heavier bags  BeeBee noticed that these men seemed to find their job harder than the young women at Luang Say Lodge, who walked much farther on a more difficult surface. Perhaps they were just showing off for tips.

Pati and BeeBee’s new guide was waiting for them at the top of the steps. After stowing their luggage in the new van, the driver took them all to their new hotel, where the guide assisted in the check in process.

Since it was still daylight, Pati and BeeBee walked to the large Night Market, where they looked at the merchandise for sale (again, many duplicate offerings) and had dinner at a restaurant nearby. Walking back to the hotel after dark, they took advantage of the free wifi in their room and spent some quality internet time before sleep.