My trip ticket included a hotel room, so I thankfully didn't have to deal with the crowd of guys trying to corral tourists into trucks to go to their guesthouse.
As I was lugging my stuff up to my room, a random guy whispered 'want some opium'. Umm no thanks. 'Welcome to Laos'. Inneresting.
I went for a stroll down the one street that makes up Pengbak with someone I met on the boat.
It's a bit of a weird little town, seems like it was created solely to house tourists along their two day journey along the Mekong.
We went as far as we could go, and decided to turn back since it was getting dark and we didn't really feel the most inviting vibes from the villagers.
We met some other people for dinner and tried our first Beer Lao, a surprisingly good and light beer. I have been pleasantly surprised by Asian beers so far, although the local whiskey brews are brutal.
We had buffalo lab - a typical Laos dish. So delish!
It was a funny experience - one I the older guys in our group requested for the waiter to 'turn down this racket' (western pop music). The waiter asked if he had any suggestions, and he jokingly said Mozart.
To our surprise, it actually started playing. And then the power went out. So there we were, on the Mekong River, in the candlelight with Mozart playing as we looked out on the dark rolling hills. Pretty romantic ;)
The next morning I accidentally slept in, so I was one of the last people on the boat. My hotel room was supposed to have breakfast and lunch included, but I had to put up a bit of a fight for it.
I was given two baguettes with a huge slab of butter and jam for both meals. Probs the nastiest meal I've had in South East Asia to date. They were promptly thrown in the trash and replaced by ham croissants.
There are amazing bakeries in Laos, with real French pastries and coffee. Loves it!
Anywho, they amalgamated the three boats from the day before into one, so I sat three people in from the window. It was pretty cramped, but my seat-mates were a couple of really nice German girls.
Bonus: I figured out that there was a window opening at the back of the boat that I could go sit in and watch the scenery go by, like the random whirlpools that we had to maneuver through.
There are also speed boats that you can take, but they are super dangerous - people don't wear full motorcycle helmets for nothing! They seem super unenjoyable and loud.
We also dropped a couple of Laos people off along the way. Kind of like a big, slow taxi boat ;)
I also saw a few slow boats going the opposite way from us. They would be nice since there are so many less people who make the opposite trek, but the motor is hella loud - the current is super strong!
After another 8 hours on the boat, we were all a bit antsy to get off. The boat used to dock right in town at Luang Prabang, but they have recently started docking about 10km out of town, which is juuuust long enough to convince everyone to bite the bullet and pay for a tuktuk ride. Just spreading the wealth, I guess.
I wandered around town a bit with some people and ended up at Spicy Laos Backpackers, which seems like a big party hostel with tons of people traveling from all over the place.
I'm excited to explore a new place!