The slowboat not only takes westerners from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang but is also used by local people who travel between small villages that the boat calls at. As well as people, the boat also delivers goods, food and livestock - we had some chickens clucking away in cages on the roof of our boat!
The slowboat trip between Pak Beng and Luang Prabang on the second day is better than the first day as you'll see far more life both along and on the river. We stopped at one village and there were a few families with young children in longtail boats leaving and setting off upstream. The Mekong is a mighty river and serves as a main highway for transportation in this part of Laos.
The second day is better than the first as you see more life on the river. We stopped at one place and saw some working elephants drag tree trunks down a hill to a waiting boat. Practically everybody on the boat rushed to the front in order to get some photos as this is a rare sight to see.
The slowboat to Luang Prabang passes by many bamboo stilt villages which you can see perched on the slopes that lead up from the river. The boat stops at a few of these villages along the way to drop off goods and food plus people and even live chickens in cages which were on the roof of the boat. At one stop several 50kg bags of rice were delivered.
DAMN! Some of our Laos pics were "lost" when we had our cards loaded onto disc in Chiang Rai!
While we were wandering around in the morning, we were stopped in our tracks at the market, to see a couple of kids proudly displaying their wares - a few pieces of frest fruit and a freshly killed rat! Clearly proud as punch of their hunt! In understand that rats are a common food in Pak Beng! Good enough reason for just the overnighter!