Eyal hails from Israel  where he works hard half the year, saving to spend the other half of the year using Thailand as a base to travel throughout South East Asia.  Eyal has had a strong interest in submission writing and phtoography and has corresponded with me for years, asking questions, taking notes, and working up to this submission.  Writing in a second language is never easy, and often it's very difficult.  For some of us impossible.  To keep such good records and document the trip so well, and then to put the work in to share with the readers is very much appreciated.  I hope to see more of his work grace future columns.  You can contact Eyal via email at lotfaifa@yahoo.com

Eyal hails from Israel  where he works hard half the year, saving to spend the other half of the year using Thailand as a base to travel throughout South East Asia.  Eyal has had a strong interest in submission writing and phtoography and has corresponded with me for years, asking questions, taking notes, and working up to this submission.  Writing in a second language is never easy, and often it's very difficult.  For some of us impossible.  To keep such good records and document the trip so well, and then to put the work in to share with the readers is very much appreciated.  I hope to see more of his work grace future columns.  You can contact Eyal via email at lotfaifa@yahoo.com

 

One of the border pass between Thailand and Laos located in north Thailand on the Mekong river.  In the last few years this place become more and more important since a road was built from houei xai to louang namta.  

For Thailand it has a lot of economic importance.  As a matter of fact this border is the gate to China.  It means a lot.  A border pass between Thailand and Chines industrial areas.   

During the day hundreds of tourists cross the Makong from both sides. There is an option to takes buses to the Laotian side, or to try the boat trip.  Two kinds of boat trips.  The speed boat and the slow boat.  I took the slow boat in a package deal. It cost baht 1700.  Sailing on the Mekong River to Luang Prebnge the northern city of Laos. 

This  package deal includes transportation in a minivan for 4 hours or so.  Rest in the guesthouse for  few hours.  Breakfast.  Transport to Thai immigration office. Passport stamped at the exit from Thailand and across the boat to the side of Laos.  Laos Visa is made at the border.  After all this procedure.  There is a transportation to the ship.  About 12:00 AM the boat starts its way on the Mekong river 

This is a fascinating  journey in the river Mekong. The Mekong River is the lifeline to many people and villages near the river.  I almost didn’t see cars or roads near the river all the way until Louang Prabang.  It's a complex and difficult mountainous area to traffic.  Therefore, all the traffic is associated with river life.  Traffic in the river only during the day is done.  Due to the fact that throughout all areas of the river there are lots of rocks.  Ship movement requires skill and knowledge of river experience.  

I sailed in the boat slow.  Voyage takes about two days.  There is also the possibility of sailing the boat fast but it seems unbearable to sit next to noisy engine all day.  It looks like one big headache and not a fun experience.  Views are most spectacular.  Wild.  Life balance of humans and nature.  Due to the simple non- Man does not seem to beat nature.  But perhaps this is one last opportunity for us.  The government plan to build ten dams to create electricity on the Mekong River.  It would violate any existing balance. 

All in all this two days was a fascinating experience.  Not easy and convenient.  Memorable with lots of interesting photos.

 

 

Early morning in Chiang Kong. after departure the Thai immigration.  We start to move to the Mekong river to the boat .

 

Early morning in Chiang Kong. after departure the Thai immigration.  We start to move to the Mekong river to the boat .

 

 

Many small boats on the bank of the  Mekong river.  For passengers nearby a bigger boat to move trucks and cars.  This border is the gate to China.

 

Many small boats on the bank of the  Mekong river.  For passengers nearby a bigger boat to move trucks and cars.  This border is the gate to China.

 

 

On the Mekong river.  Soon we land in Laos.  This city name is Houei Xai.

 

On the Mekong river.  Soon we land in Laos.  This city name is Houei Xai.

 

 

That’s it.  Finally in Laos.  Making the lao visa.  Prices between 30-35.  Depends on which nationality.  On the distance its Chiang Kong.  Goodbye Thailand.

 

That’s it.  Finally in Laos.  Making the lao visa.  Prices between 30-35.  Depends on which nationality.  On the distance its Chiang Kong.  Goodbye Thailand.

 

 

The ship.  Cruise on the Mekong began.  Here are some of the passengers.  The background trucks are delivered on the Mekong.

 

The ship.  Cruise on the Mekong began.  Here are some of the passengers.  The background trucks are delivered on the Mekong.

 

 

Another Look at the ship and passengers. This is a pretty long trip not comfortable conditions.  Bit crowded and exhausting to sit there on the small wooden benches.

 

Another Look at the ship and passengers. This is a pretty long trip not comfortable conditions.  Bit crowded and exhausting to sit there on the small wooden benches.

 

 

Two days of sailing along the Mekong.  Where are rocks in the water.  The captain needs great skill and knowledge of river to navigate between all the rocky areas.

 

Two days of sailing along the Mekong.  Where are rocks in the water.  The captain needs great skill and knowledge of river to navigate between all the rocky areas.

 

 

On the Mekong River.  And the wild scenery around the river.

 

On the Mekong River.  And the wild scenery around the river.

 

 

Hands up.  Who wants to drink lao beer?  In one of the river stations we stopped at a place.   Quickly young vendors were all over the boat selling beer and snacks. This Lao girl is one of them .  She is a beauty.

 

Hands up.  Who wants to drink lao beer?  In one of the river stations we stopped at a place.   Quickly young vendors were all over the boat selling beer and snacks. This Lao girl is one of them .  She is a beauty.

 

 

This is how the small station on the river look like.

 

This is how the small station on the river look like.

 

 

Throughout the voyage many local passengers join up the ship and left on villages along the Mekong. That's a lot of people.

 

Throughout the voyage many local passengers join up the ship and left on villages along the Mekong. That's a lot of people.

 

 

After quite a long journey suddenly see Motor vehicle come out of nowhere and collect some of the passengers on the ship.

 

After quite a long journey suddenly see Motor vehicle come out of nowhere and collect some of the passengers on the ship.

 

 

Mekong's wild landscapes

 

Mekong's wild landscapes.

 

 

A lot of places that look revealed.  Sand dunes on the banks of the Mekong River.  This indicates that the original water level.  Perhaps it was the rainy period water level.  It is also possible that the dams were built in China so that the water level has changed significantly.

 

A lot of places that look revealed.  Sand dunes on the banks of the Mekong River.  This indicates that the original water level.  Perhaps it was the rainy period water level.  It is also possible that the dams were built in China so that the water level has changed significantly.

 

 

What to do such a long voyage?  All in one image appears.  Reading books.  Card Games and smoking.

 

What to do such a long voyage?  All in one image appears.  Reading books.  Card Games and smoking.

 

 

The beauty of simple life.  Live in a bamboo hut on a sand dune.  Boat near.  It looks like a dream.

 

The beauty of simple life.  Live in a bamboo hut on a sand dune.  Boat near.  It looks like a dream.

 

 

At the end of the first day we got a tiny town called Pak Bang.  Here we stop for the night.  It's a major stopping point for all ships in both directions.

 

At the end of the first day we got a tiny town called Pak Bang.  Here we stop for the night.  It's a major stopping point for all ships in both directions.

 

 

The next morning.  Fog in the morning on the Mekong River.

 

The next morning.  Fog in the morning on the Mekong River.

 

 

Early morning.  Monks walk around the town of Pak Bang and accept donations from residents.

 

Early morning.  Monks walk around the town of Pak Bang and accept donations from residents.

 

 

Back to the ship.  Leave town Pak Bang.  Residents are watching the movement of people into boats.

 

Back to the ship.  Leave town Pak Bang.  Residents are watching the movement of people into boats.

 

 

Are closer to the target to the end of the journey.

 

Are closer to the target to the end of the journey.

 

 

Pass one of the attractions for tourists who come Louang Prabang.  It's about an hour from the city.  A cave with lots of Buddha statues.

 

Pass one of the attractions for tourists who come Louang Prabang.  It's about an hour from the city.  A cave with lots of Buddha statues.

 

 

After two long days come to the docking of river ships.  End of the journey on the Mekong River.  It was worth it.

 

After two long days come to the docking of river ships.  End of the journey on the Mekong River.  It was worth it.

 

Eyal -  I can't imagine how difficult it is to do this in a second language, but I'm sure the readers really appreciate your efforts.  I know I do.  You gave a good look at this boat trip and what to expect if we make the trip ourselves.   I wish the pictures were just a bit larger, but otherwise the photography is adequate to get the feeling of the voyuage.  Thank you!  Steve