Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Mighty Mekong

After spending five days in Thailand, we drove to the small northern town of Chiang Khong to begin our two day cruise down the Mekong River. We had to catch a small shuttle boat across the river to get our Visas into Laos then boarded a long boat to take us down the river about 300 km to our final destination of Luang Pra Bang, Laos.
The journey is a journey through time, taking us past remote villages and spectacular wilderness areas where few outsiders venture. The geography seems to change endlessly as we wind our way down this mighty river. The river is low this time of year but our boat man said it was even lower than normal. The Chinese have put numerous dams higher up stream, causing the Mekong to reduce to not much more than a trickle in many areas we pass through.

We pull in for the night in the small village named Pak Tha and have a great meal and some cold beer at the guesthouse we have reserved for the night. The air is cool early the next morning when we head out for our final leg of the trip, causing us to wrap ourselves in blankets as we watch the local people in their morning routines of fishing and washing clothing along the river banks. We even saw some 'working' elephants being led to the river for their morning bath and drink before beginning their day of hauling huge timbers from the surrounding rain forest