Dec 26, 2006

The Seeds of Another Trip

Tah Huah Gowleeow

This morning I began looking into going for another little trip up north.
I’ve heard that it’s possible to take a local boat up through Xayaboury Province to Luang Prabang, from there I was thinking of heading up towards the Vietnamese Chinese border.

To find the boat office I started riding my motorcycle along the Mekong headed upstream. Well the Mekong in Vientiane is a sandbar now on the Lao side and the road quickly turned to a very slow bumpy dirt alley. So I stopped and asked a couple of Tuk Tuk drivers.

They said past the airport then bear left. I said at that turn by Si Kai Market? This is turning out to be an easier explanation than they thought it was going to be. The name of the town is Gowleeow, which I happily mispronounced by asking them “Oh you mean Ban Gahlee?” Oh no they made sure I didn’t mispronounce it like that.
The place is called Tah Huah Gowleeow, and that translates to the boat landing at Gowleeow I guess. They even had a sign out on the main drag saying “Harbour”, couldn’t get much more obvious than that. Three different windows for immigration, a lot of bamboo shacks selling food and a big 3 story 35 room hotel.

A thousand Baht for the fast boat, and 180 thousand kip for the slow, that’s double priced for foreigners of course, the concept of racial discrimination doesn’t seem to have hit Laos yet. I wonder what Thai people pay, or the Lao from America. I wonder if this is the unique pathway of a socialist republic on it’s route to a capitalist market economy? Two tiered pricing.

Slow boat are Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday They leave at around 7:30 in the morning. Fast boats go all the time. Twenty of them were under cover at the landing. I’m intent on taking the slow boat Friday. I‘ve heard Phongsali province has little spoken English and a lot of bad roads, sounds good to me..


SAMS exec said...

Hi Lao Bumpkin,

Thanks so much for the info. I was wondering if you could give me a little more. I am planning on heading down from Luang Prabang via boat to Vientiane and I noticed that this post is from a while back. Do you know if anything has majorly changed since 06?

All the Best.

Somchai said...

I don't think there are regularly scheduled boats on the Luang Prabang to Paklai stretch of river. Maybe post an inquiry on Lonely Planet Message Board.