261206 route in grey, today's route in blue:
Up the Nam Khong from Luang Prabang to Pak Beng, with stops at Ban Hat Teu & Tha Souang. View for the rest of the daylight hours:
The overwhelming majority of foreigners travel downriver from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang, with reports of up to 100 or so packed onto a single boat. This leaves boats doing the return journey upriver rather empty. There were less than 20 people on board this morning's boat, including the boat captain + his family, 3 Koreans, a falang teacher from Manivanh College + his student + his student's novice monk brother, & a Kiwi.
How to tell that the boat is travelling upriver...
...at least until Joma sets up branches in Huay Xai &/or Pak Beng.
Pulling away from Tha Heua Luang:
Wat Xieng Thong boat landing, where tourists are shunted from tour buses into slowboats for a quick trip to Tham Ting cave at Pak Ou:
Where the Nam Khan meets the Nam Khong:
Bank of Mekong long-term fixed deposit - teak trees to be harvested at maturity (30++ years):
Let's just say this two-day slowboat journey made the cat really glad that it had travelled the Nam Ou, & gave it plenty of time to catch up on writing its journal.
Beautiful Mekong version of 枯山水 kare sansui:
Transient just like their Japanese counterparts, to be resculpted by the currents as water levels rise & ebb with the wet & dry seasons, & in time to come, the opening & closure of gates of Chinese dams upriver.