Monday, November 21, 2016
Chiang Khong- Next Stop Laos
*Edited to add, we have now arrived in Laos. I wrote this post last night.*
On Friday morning, after a two and a half hour bumpy ride on a local bus, we arrived in Chiang Khong. On the bus ride, Charlotte was entertained by a friendly older woman, who told us, "you need a place to stay in Chiang Khong? You follow me".
When we arrived, she negotiated with a tuk tuk driver for us to be dropped off at her friend's guesthouse.
Unfortunately, when we arrived the guesthouse was full. We needn't have worried however, as when we were walking back up to the main road, a woman leaned out her window saying, "Do you need a room? Come and stay in my guesthouse!"
We walked around to the entrance and straight away I could see it was a beautiful old teak building, but one that unfortunately had been let go a bit.
Nathan walked upstairs to look at the room, while I stayed downstairs with Charlotte.
When he came back down he told me, "it's like something out of a movie". I said, let's stay here then.
We agreed on a price with the owner, and said we would like to stay for two nights. I still hadn't seen the room yet, but when I saw the view from the huge balcony, I was amazed. It really does look like something out of an old movie. The room itself is quite old and very dark. We could tell that there had not been any guests staying there for quite some time.
On our second day in Chiang Khong, we met a man who is a friend of the lady who owns the hotel. He told us that he was working on a film as a location manager, looking to use the hotel as a filming location. He was talking to the owner, who said that she built the hotel up starting over 50 years ago, and that the wood to build it came from over 300 houses. There is certainly a lot of history in this place, and it feels like it should be a museum, as it is filled with so many photographs and beautiful pieces of wooden furniture.
It seems there are not many tourists in Chiang Khong these days, as most people skip visiting the town, and head straight to the new Thai-Lao friendship bridge, opened in 2013. The friendship bridge is located about 5km south of the town, meaning that you can cross straight over into Laos, arriving from Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai.
It is sad to see so many guesthouses and hotels looking run down and empty here, as it's quite a pretty town, despite there not being much to do. The view across the Mekong river to Laos is just incredible.
Today, after our two night stay in Chiang Khong, we will be crossing the border into Laos, and we are very excited to explore a new country. We still do not have a set itinerary, but we will be taking a slow boat up to Luang Prabang first, and then making our way down to Si Phan Don, the 4000 Islands in the south.
Hope you enjoyed reading our Thailand adventures, next stop- Laos!