Staying at the Center for Girls offices in Chiang Khong, we are a mere 50 metres from the Mekong River, which separates Thailand and Laos. Hitting the local restaurants for eating in or takeaways is just so easy and hassle free. Ploysai, at 25 years old, can eat and eat and eat but remains as thin as a rake and the food tastes so damn delicious, maybe I could turn back time and do the same. Sharki3 preferring the less spicy foods compared to me who will tend to cover mine with some hot chillies whenever I can. No matter whether its spicy or mild the different foods are just amazing.
My evening run along the riverside takes me past these beautiful views, but my age means I can only run there and back, not stopping to take it all in. Ahh well, maybe a walk during the daytime is the answer anyhow!
Chiang Khong itself is a one horse town, with one high street, a couple of schools and a big Tesco. Yes that’s right Tesco is here! The town is used by travellers who stay for one or two nights either coming in from Laos before moving on into Thailand or for travellers from Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai moving into Laos. Catering for these traveller are a number of hostels and a couple of hotels which are full right now with Lunar New Year celebrations meaning and influx of Chinese holidaymakers are abound.
Staying with Piloy and Ploysai means that we get the inside scoop on all the activities, places to go and and hang out in the area. Our tour guides lack of fluent English just means we all have a great laugh trying to understand each other, as they try like crazy to improve their English and we struggle with the sounds of the Thai vowels. Wonderful ladies doing some fantastic work for women and children in the region.
Every Saturday there is a market by the river about 30kms from Chiang Khong, where Laos people come across into Thailand and set up stalls for the morning, or come and shop then they make their way back across the river into Laos. The border officials watch people in and maybe issue a pass here and there, but it is just so easy for people to stay in Thailand. Nevertheless, for some entrepreneurs they are making some good money and prefer this backward and forward trading between the countries in an altogether peaceful manner. No scanners, no security, no physical body checks, no delays….not at all like an airport terminal.