Packin’ to Pakbeng

After a pretty long ang boring bus ride we collected our passport stamps and jumped on a Laotian tuk-tuk to get on our boat to Pakbeng. Before we left Jono and I took out the maximum amount the ATM would let us at $200. This will be important later.
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Now Pakbeng is an endearing little village, but it is very much a stop over town. There isn’t a whole lot to do. It is very remote, very traditional. Cute little market stores and a cafe that served waterbuffalo dimsums. The village uses generated power and gets rolling blackouts. There is also an 11pm curfew.
In Pakbeng we found a pretty cool little bar with some friends for the evening to drink some questionable alcohol, smoke and play games with until about three minutes to 11 where we then raced back to our guesthouse! In the early hours of the morning we jumped back on the slow boat on the Mekong river to Luang Prabang.
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The boat was great, although Jono and I had to sit on opposite sides for balance we still managed to play cards, read a few chapters of our books, drink 20c Beer Laos and generally enjoy the scenery that is the Mekong River
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FACTS ABOUT MEKONG RIVER

  • 12th longest river in the world and 7th longest in Asia
  • It starts in China from a spring and flows through Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam,
  • Mae Nam Kong is the name of the river in Thai and Laotian which means Mother Water
  • Its the main economy for many of the villages and cities on its shores. They use the river for obviously town water and farm irrigation, but the water is also used in many industrial uses, it’s the main form of transportation for many villages and they also use the water for power generation, and of course fishing for food.
  • There are also some pretty big fish in it. In fact, the Mekong River has more large fish species than any other river in the world, including the giant river carp, the Giant Pangasius, the Siamese Giant Carp, the Mekong Giant Catfish, and the Mekong Freshwater Stingray!
  • Mekong Sub-region is home to 430 mammal species, 1,200 bird species, 800 reptile species, 20,000 plant species, and at least 850 fish species. It’s considered the second most diverse in the word (only coming short to the Amazon).

This blog post is a part of a series I wrote while on the Contiki Asian Adventure Tour.

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