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Contiki Big Indochina Adventure – Days 7 & 8: Mekong River Slow Boat and Luang Prabang, Laos

Updated: May 6

We had a relatively early start from Pakbeng, but all boarded the boat on time. It was a bit nippy once the boat got moving, but the staff handed out blankets to everyone and pulled plastic windows down to minimize the breeze. I wasn’t all that cold, but other people were freezing!

The family that owns the boat and runs the boat actually lives on the boat. While we were sleeping in our guest house, they slept on the boat. I believe there was a whole house behind the bathrooms of the boat near the engine room. It was a very cool setup!

As our boat rode down the Mekong River, the early morning fog burned up which enables us to get the same gorgeous views we enjoyed the day before.

After a while, everyone began to wake up from their naps so we played a few games of cards as we sailed down the river and enjoyed the view.

The captain of the boat let us take turns driving the boat which was a lot harder to steer than I would have thought!

After about four hours on the boat, we docked at the Pak Ou Caves. We climbed very steep steps to visit a Buddhist temple and get our fortune.

We got our fortune by gently shaking a canister with about 25 sticks in it until one of the sticks fell out. The stick that falls out has a number on it which corresponds with a fortune. My fortune was a very good one in that it said I will have a daughter, I will be happily married and very successful. Other people found out that they will have bastard children or their partners will cheat on them!

The Temple also had awesome views of the Mekong River.

We then boarded our boat, had lunch and rode down the river for another hour or so. Upon arriving in Luang Prabang where we had a makeshift luggage chain with people from our group to get our bags from the boat to the main road. Once our bags were loaded, we boarded Tuk Tuks to our hotel. The river was about a 10 minute ride and I immediately fell in love with the simple aspects of the city. Dogs roamed free, children play in the streets and families gather outside their houses on the sidewalk for conversations.

We arrived at our hotel and dropped our bags off before meeting up with our tour guide, Khammy, for a bike tour of the city. As some people don’t ride bikes, Contiki hired a Tuk Tuk to take me and two other people to the various stops along the way.

The first stop was Wat Xieng Thong Temple