I've heard some people say they hate the slow boat, and some people say they love it. I'm with the latter on that one, it was a great way to get around, better than any bus I've taken. Although running into my Pai crew, a case a beer and a bottle of scotch we're definite bonuses to the ride. The slow boat trip is a two day affair, about eight hours a day, with a stopover for the night in the riverside town of Pak Beng. The first day was definitely a highlight, with a lot of socializing and fun times had by all. Also present were some friends I met on the Gibbon Experience. The boat trip itself is a social experience, and everyone is heading to the same destination so random future encounters are guaranteed.
The scenery of the Mekong River is amazing. Because of the dry season the river is low, revealing the huge rock formations it normally hides and creating a ton of cool looking currents and whirlpools that make the river surface look pretty gnarly. The boats themselves are pretty comfy, the first one was half car seats and half wooden benches, but nothing a 10,000 Kip cushion can't fix. The boat the next day was a little more posh, completely made up of seats from cars. Very little food is available on the boat, so you stock up with fruit, banana bread (not as good as mom's) and sandwiches from the riverside towns you start in. Pak Beng itself is a pretty shitty place, I found the people there to be overly rude and pushy, it almost felt like being back in India.
So far Luang Prabang is great. We had a hard time finding accommodation last night after we arrived, but changed it up for a cheaper option this morning. I ended up running into the Pai crew again and chilled out with them on the riverbank with some beers, a campfire and some guitar and singing. Today we checked out the museum and a couple Wat's, which was pretty cool. The museum had some pretty neat Buddhist and royal artifacts, and generally made for a good afternoon. Tomorrow will be spent at the supposedly awesome waterfall near town, post to follow.