With AYA Service from Pai to Luang Prabang on the Slow Boat

2015-03-25 at 13:12

Last time I went to Laos I organized everything myself and did only one day on the slow boat. Than I took a bus up North. This time I did want to spend as much time as possible in Pai. So I booked a ticket with AYA Service. The mini bus at 18:30 to Chiang Khong for one night. Breakfast the next morning. Than transportation to the border and to the boat. Two days of boating down to Luang Prabang. The only thing you have to pay for is your hotel in Pakbeng.
The ticket is 1750 Thai Bath and that price did not change for a long time now.
If you want to do that trip check out the pictures so you know what you get!

AYA Mini Bus in Pai
The usual AYA Service mini bus. Quite new, clean and comfortable. I have no clue why we leave at 18:30 in the evening. There is not that much traffic anyhow so that does not make sense? We arrived at the guesthouse at 1:50 and the transportation to the breakfast place is at 7:00 in the morning. That means less than 5 hours of sleep!

Baanchomkhong Guesthouse
We stopped at the Baanchomkhong guesthouse. It was much better than everybody in the bus had expected! You will have to share your room – there are no single rooms. Guess if you pay extra on the spot you can have one. Very comfortable mattress, clean towels and a bottle of water. A glass bottle that was!

Baanchomkhong Guesthouse
Private bathroom with hot shower and toilet. The only downside was the super thin walls so you will hear everything that happens in the next room. Everybody was super tired and after a quick wifi session the whole hotel was quite.

Morning at the Mekong
Woke up at 6:30, took a quick shower and waited for the others to get ready. The view from the guesthouse balcony. The Mekong and Laos on the other side. A bit after 7 the owner of the guesthouse took us to another hotel. We had a basic breakfast and she offered to change US $ for the border. Than another small taxi drove us to the border. The good old times when you walked down the river to get to the immigration and crossed to Houay Xai are over since they build the Friendship Bride 4.

Lao Border
You walk to the immigration and get your departure stamp. Than a big bus (for 20 Bath) ships you to the Lao immigration. You fill out the immigration form and hand it together with your passport to one of the guys working there.

Lao Border
After a while a guy on the left window calls your name and gives you the passport in exchange for US $. If you do not have US $ you can pay in Thai Bath but the rate is very poor. There is also a little exchange where you could get US $. You have to find out what you have to pay since it depends on the passport you travel with. For me it was 35 $.

Boat Ticket Counter
Next it is waiting for everyone that has a ticket for the slow boat. If you make your way over the border on your own and arrive early you can get a ticket here and it includes the bus transport to the boat.
Much later you will board another bus that brings you to Houay Xai. Your passport goes again to a little office for more paperwork. This is the time to go shopping for food, water and beer. You should go up the road a bit away from the water since everything gets much cheaper even after less than a minute walking. The beer and baguette were only 10.000 Kip each where I got it. The last few shops next to the water sell it for 15.000 each.

On the Slow Boat
As soon as you have your passport again you should go to the boat to get a seat in the front if possible. In the back the noise of the engine is really loud and if you really unlucky there is no seat for you at all. The bag goes in the lower compartment so you have to get everything that you might need out of the big bag!

The Guitar Man
Than the fun starts! A lot of drinking and laughing. Music and everybody talks to everybody!

My seat neighbors
My seat neighbors – a family that is from Thailand but left for Hollywood in California.

Sleeping Local
There where even a few locals on the boat.

Talking foreigners
Mia and Tim

The consultant
This guy is a consultant for a big company that tries to have big boats transport goods from the North to the South when the river has high water. He told me that the water level changes between 9 and 11 meters in the rainy season.

Speedboat
From time to time a speedboat passes

Passing time with games
Passing time with games

A drink?
Passing time with drinks

More guitar action
More guitar action

Another Speedboat
Another Speedboat

Smoke on the water...
Smoke on the water…
Burning Season in the North – it looked like that all the time. Not really nice.
We did reach Packbeng before sunset and i found a guesthouse for 150 Bath. A very simple room with a big bed, towel and a fan.

Morning view from the balcony
You should get up early to get a good seat again. Had the alarm at 7 and that is the view from my balcony towards the left.

Donevilasak Guesthouse View
Donevilasak Guesthouse view from the balcony down the road towards the river.

The harbour
On the way to the boat docking you should get food and water again. They do sell a few snacks on the boat but everything is kind of expensive.

Sunrise with more smoke on the water
Sunrise with more smoke on the water

Waiting for the last passengers
Waiting for the last passengers. And yes that ship is smaller than the one from last day. Since I got there early I got a seat in the front again. Sweet!

The harbor from the water
The village from the water

Boat
This looks quite similar to our boat. In fact they all do.

The second day is boooring
The second day is boooring. Everybody is still slow from the party day before.

Some Henna tattoo action
Some Henna tattoo action

Boat stop outside of Luang Prabang
Another scam: The Boat stop outside of Luang Prabang. Not to long ago the boat took you all the way downtown. And they still park there but they stop far from town now. And you have to get a bus to get downtown now for 20.000 Kip. And to walk it is really far. And it was too hot as well. Welcome in Luang Prabang!

Walking up and down Venice Beach

2015-03-24 at 15:22

Since my place was only a 5 minute walk away from the beach I went there almost every day. And since I have some time on my hands here in Viang Vieng, Laos I have some more pictures from Venice Beach for you.

Venice Beach Basketball
Venice Beach Basketball

Venice Beach Basketball

Venice Beach Basketball

Venice Beach Basketball

Venice Beach Dr. THC
Looks like the Doctor is in!

Venice Beach
Frozen Lemonade for 1,99 – than there is tax on top and then it is very sweat – but cold! Since it is frozen…

Venice Beach

Venice Beach
Why is there a pyramid on the dollar bill??

Venice Beach
Matching hair and shirt – how cool is that?

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Venice Beach DogPoor dog – it was hot!

Boardwalk Venice Beach

Boardwalk Venice Beach

Boardwalk Venice Beach
Pupuseria???

Boardwalk Venice Beach
And sometimes you are at the right place at the right time…

Boardwalk Venice Beach

Boardwalk Venice Beach
Dream Big!

Boardwalk Venice Beach
Kind of hard to transport and where to put a poster. But there are still a few shops selling

Boardwalk Venice Beach
I need cash for beer!

Boardwalk Venice Beach
Why like this? Looks like that is not funny!

Boardwalk Venice Beach
What a nice day – it was…

Boardwalk Venice Beach
Looking out – me looking up!

Boardwalk Venice Beach
Sure – I take a picture of you. Than she was laughing. And yes – this is Muscle Beach….

The last Day in Pai

2015-03-23 at 12:34

I am in Viang Vieng now and it is really humid and hot. Not sure if that is only haze or it is misty on top of it. Guess it is the smoke. Since I have to stay at last 6 more days here in Laos I will stay a few more here. After it is down to Vientiane and back to Thailand for the last 4 weeks. Here are the pictures from the last 2-3 days. Pai – I miss you already :-)

Fire back Home
Nothing better than grab two cold beer and head home for a nice quite fire under the stars.

Junk Label
Junk Label??

Gerben at Sapah Muang
Gerben at Sapah Muang

Khao Soi at Sapah Muang
Khao Soi at Sapah Muang – what else??

Girls did like my shirt
The girls did like my shirt – I think…

And yes it was the red one...
And yes it was the red one…

Dee & Gerben
Dee & Gerben after their last lunch in Pai. Ready to hit the road towards Chiang Mai

Restaurant cat
Restaurant cat – stay out of trouble – see you next year!

The last Days in Pai

2015-03-21 at 16:10

Here is the almost last set of pictures from Pai. I am in Laos since the 18th of March

Khao Soy
Once again at Sapha Muang – Khao Soy – my favorite dish of the North

Afternoon back home
An afternoon back home in the garden. It does look so much better when everything is green.

Bebop Bar
Great evening at the Bebop Bar with Gerben and Mitsos

Beer o clock back home
Beer o clock back home

Food back home
Since there is a kitchen I might as well use it

Double the cat trouble
Double the cat trouble

Rachel and her boyfriend
Rachel and her boyfriend Randy

Khao Soy
And guess what I had for dinner?

Morning back home
The view in the morning from my window. The sun is coming over the mountains

Rivana and Mike
Rivana and Mike

Foteini and her boyfriend
Foteini and her boyfriend

Smoking sunset back home
Smoking sunset back home

The newest member of the Twin Hut family
The newest member of the Twin Hut family

Cooking fire at the Twin Hut family
Cooking fire at the Twin Hut

Sweets from Brazil
Sweets from Brazil

Fisher in the Pai River
Fisher in the Pai River

Refined Shooting
Refined mini shooting

Refined mini shooting

Refined mini fotoshooting

Big tree
Bungalow with hot pool

Big tree
Look at that tree

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