Yesterday was our final day in Thailand, which means today we are heading into Laos!! I love that after you leave Thailand, a bus takes you across The Friendship Bridge and into Laos. It only costs thirty five US dollars to obtain a visa upon entry. From there, we loaded into a bus and headed to the Mekong River to board our slow boat! The boat family was so welcoming – a trend I soon found to be the cultural norm in this country. While the father steered the boat, the mother made us a lovely lunch, and in return, we had the best time keeping watch over their 7 month old baby girl.
We had about a six hour journey down the Mekong to get to our rest stop for the evening in Pak Beng. It was so nice after the last few days of traveling to have just a chilled and relaxing day. I spent a majority of the time just staring out the side of the open air boat observing the stunning country. The sound of all the buzzing bugs and chirping birds was almost overwhelming. I had no idea Laos was such a mountainous jungle. Floating down the river, I found it so interesting to see life persisting both on land and on the river. We passed fishermen and cows and water buffalos!
By the end of the six hours, I was so relaxed I didn’t want to leave the boat!! I packed an overnight bag, and it was time to make the trek up to our lovely bungalows in Pak Beng for the evening. At first I was a bit nervous, but after seeing our room, I was so excited to sleep under mosquito nets for the first time! It was so sweet because the people working at the rest stop welcomed us with cold towels and a glass of what tasted like cold lime-aid.
Before dinner, we took a brief walk around the tiny little town. It was neat to see how these local people adapted their lives due to the travelers that pass through on their way down the river. We passed through the local market and ended up watching the sunset over the mountains and the local temple.
If this first day in Laos was any indication of what the country had to offer, I was so excited!! I had no expectations for Laos because I really did not have much previous knowledge of the country. At this point though, I was really looking forward to the next lazy day on the river!