Main Street & Mekong, Pak Beng, Laos

A journey through South-East Asia

Slow days on slow boats
Pak Beng, November 19

The Dalai Lama gave an advice this year, one that brought a bright smile to my face when I heard it: 'Every year, travel to a place you've never been before.'

After spending a week in Thailand, visiting Bangkok and Chiang Mai, places I've already been to, my journey now turns to those unknown places. Places with names you have to learn first. Like Huay Xai, the border crossing point from Thailand to Laos. Or Pak Beng, the small village where electricity ends at 10.00 o'clock, the place where I write these lines, to mail them later. And there are a lot more to come: Pak Ou. Vang Vieng. Vientiane...

Laos. A country where life seems to be floating upstream and downstream the Mekong River in slow boats. Where people sing 'khawp jai lai lai' instead of saying 'thank you'. Where the stars shine brighter at night and days seem to be longer. Where life seems to be simpler. And richer.

Where I woke up this morning under a rose-coloured mosquito net, listening to the 'kikerikii'-duet of two roosters. Where I started the day with a cup of tea with sugar and milk in a little restaurant at the mainroad - which is also the only road of Pak Beng. Where I now wait for the slow boat to arrive, to take the long and winding way down the mighty Mekong to the next unknown place, one that comes in typical Laos lyrics: Luang Prabang.

Part 4: How to get there

this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
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