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Laos slow boat updates?

Posted by Captain_Bob on 2/6/2022 at 04:26

Hi people, it's been a while, but finally it looks like international travel is slowly reopening and that includes Thai/Lao borders. Looking for updated info on slow boats (Huay Xai - Luang Prabang). Are they still running? Daily? Cost? Once upon a time it was possible to just rock up at the boat ramp and buy a seat for around 190,000 Kip. I'm already checking with the soft options (Luang Say, Shompoo, Nagi, etc.) Just throwing out a net for anyone with recent experience with the basic cheapo option. Cheers. 

#1 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,958

Posted by davelliot on 3/6/2022 at 09:25

When were you thinking of going ?

#2 davelliot has been a member since 6/9/2017. Posts: 61

Posted by somtam2000 on 19/6/2022 at 03:58 admin

I saw a post a few days ago, I can’t remember where sorry, noting the high-end cruises had canned it for another season and the poster suggested the slow boats were not currently running due to low tourist numbers, but more importantly due to the high cost of fuel. Low on details I know, but that’s all I’ve seen floating around on this.

#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,099

Posted by telmi on 23/6/2022 at 13:01

Tourism office in Luang Prabang told us in early June 2022 that the slow boat is not running and they have no idea when it may restart. Too bad since the Pak Beng Mekong Dam construction may start soon and who knows if that will block boat traffic.

#4 telmi has been a member since 1/1/2013. Posts: 38

Posted by Captain_Bob on 24/6/2022 at 11:28

Thanks for the replies, so we won't hold our breath for slow boat business to return anytime soon. Will try again in November when we hope to have a group private charter which we did several years ago for 25,000 baht, but with hiked fuel prices and devalued Kip can expect it to be considerably more expensive if/when it comes back. Cheers. 

#5 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,958

Posted by Captain_Bob on 21/8/2022 at 08:14

Just an update, we did manage to charter a medium-sized 2-day slow boat from Huay Xai via contacts at the Namkhong Hotel in Chiang Khong. Cost was THB49,000 for boat only, not including accommodation, food, guide, transfers, divided by 9 passengers. So it's way more expensive after the temporary death of tourism, inflation, weakened Kip, fuel prices, etc. But at least it's doable again and the boat guys and folks at Pakbeng were thrilled, saying it was the first slow boat tourist arrival since covid. Hopefully it gets better with more tourists and hopefully prices settle down, but Laos (and Thai) Economics 101 says when demand is way down you jack up prices to recover the loss. Go figure. 

#6 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,958

Posted by telmi on 22/8/2022 at 13:48

Slow boats running again according to Luang Prabang tourism Office on Aug. 19 but not going every day. They said boats were scheduled to leave LP on Aug. 19, 21 & 22. Guess we just have to ask around in LP & Houay Xay for future departure days. Would be great if travelers would give us a heads up on this forum whenever they have reliable info.

#7 telmi has been a member since 1/1/2013. Posts: 38

Posted by somtam2000 on 3/10/2022 at 05:27 admin

Saw this the other day, Shompoo Cruises have released departure dates on Facebook, though not sure of the prices. The post is here.

#8 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,099


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