Has anyone done this trip and can shed any light as to whether the slower boat with the overnight stay in Pak Beng is a comfortable journey. Would like to know if its a nice chilled out trip to do or is it very uncomfortable and cramped. Am hearing varying stories that the speedboats are pretty dangerous!? Could anyone recommend doing this trip or going back to Chaing Mai and flying to Luang Prabang?
Any advice, greatly appreciated.
I have to admit that I have not done the boat trip myself. Several of my friends have however, and this is what they've told me. They don't recommend that fast boat at all. It is just too uncomfortable and not reasonably safe either. The slow boat is a mixed bag, and really depends on the individual boat you get. Some stick you below deck where you are packed in and suck exhaust fumes for two days, but others give you deck space and fantastic views.
I'm trying to make the decision on which way to go myself this June, either slow boat down the river or fly from Chiang Mai (assuming I can get seats on Lao Airways). I'm leaning towards flying, but largely because I don't want to get stuck on a boat in the rain for two days at that time of year. The Lao Airways flight is apparently only 3 times per week, so that might influence your plans too. Is cost a factor for you? The flight is nearly US$100 per person each way.
If I were to go by boat, I'd definitely take the slow boat, and just do my best if at all possible to pick a boat that looked like it would be comfortable (with shelter in case of rain and room on the deck to enjoy the scenery). There was a recently posting here too to avoid the package ticket deals from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang.
Does any of that help? Regards.
That's a big help. Thank you.
Cost isn't too much of a concern, the problem is time and the rain (we'll be in Laos in early sept!!). Im a travel agent and can only get 3 weeks off work at any one time so we're cramming loads into 3 weeks (pretty much a whistle stop tour of the major towns and cities in N. Thai/Laos/Cam/Vie.
So, i think making sure its a decent boat with shelter or even flying may be the best option.
Suggest alternative options
1) Thru Nongkhai (thailand) - you can take train/bus from Bangkok then take the bus from Nongkhai to Laos. There are quite a numbers of operators avail ie., http://www.geocities.com/nk_tour2000/, http://www.munatours.com/ .. note that i have never tried either of these company.
2) Fly from Bangkok to Luangprabang - it has 2 daily flights www.bangkokairways.com or www.fahthaiholidays.com
I personally would like to try the boat but i'm badly allergic to mosqitos
Good luck hope this helps :D
#4 Kes has been a member since 13/4/2006. Posts: 3