"On the Mekong for slowboat to Luang Prabang" Ban Houayxai by Willettsworld
Ban Houayxai Travel Guide: 35 reviews and 111 photos
The small, sleepy town of Huay Xai lies on the bank of the Mekong River which marks the border with Thailand. It lies opposite the Thai town of Chiang Khong and can be accessed by taking a long narrow boat from the Thai side. There's not much to see here except for the towns temple which sits on top of a small hill which you climb up to via a series of Naga (snake) flanked steps. The main reason for coming here is to take the slowboat to Lao's main cultural centre of Luang Prabang. The trip takes 2 days with an overnight stay at the small village of Pak Beng and passes by some picturesque stilt villages and gives you a chance to mingle with the locals as they also travel on the boat.
I came to Huay Xai from the Thai town of Chiang Rai via a bus to Chiang Khong. I then went through Thai immigration with a breeze and passed under the "Gate to Indo-China" before crossing the river and having to wait a while at the Laos immigration office as the staff were having lunch! I killed the rest of the day by wandering around the town and booking my slowboat ticket, which I did from the office above where the boats dock. Facilities are a little basic but there's a few OK restaurants plus a bank with an ATM, although Thai Baht is accepted, and a post office.
The slowboat to Luang Prabang passes by many bamboo stilt villages which you can see perched on the slopes that lead up... more travel advice
The ruins of a small French fort known as Fort Carnot can be found if you continue along the main road following the... more travel advice
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