How to get from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai by Slow Boat

Without a doubt, the slow boat represents the best way to travel the distance that separates Luang Prabang from the town on the Thai border. Let’s see how to get from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai by Slow Boat.

This vehicle allows you to live an immersive experience during which you can admire pristine river landscapes, and at the same time see up close how the life of many people who depend on the watercourse takes place daily.
Furthermore, we do not know why, but the route taken in this direction is much less busy and popular than the opposite direction from Huaixay to Luang Prabang.

slow boat in Luan Prabang
how to get from Laos to Thailand

How To Book

It is not necessary to research from home before leaving.
We also tend to book everything that can be booked, but it will be sufficient to go to the center of Luang Prabang one or two nights before at one of the numerous companies that offer this service.

In the end the boat to get from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai are always the same, leaving at 8.30 (with a little delay) every morning from the same place. Of course you could get by, and take a Tuk Tuk that takes you to the city pier, which is located in 5km from the center, and then buy tickets.

However, If you are wondering how to get from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai by slow boat with no risks, we recommend that you entrust yourself to an agency, because, paying something extra (about 10 euros per person), you will not have to worry about some variables potentially inconvenient, such as the unavailability of tuk tuks, timetables, and interfacing with ticket offices and people who may not speak English well. You just have to be found outside the hotel at the indicated time and let yourself be led to the right place.

from luang prabang to thailand

How long does it take?

Get from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai by Slow Boat takes Two days. It starts at 8.30 am from Luang Prabang and reaches Pakbeng by 17.30
In Pakbeng the night is spent, and the next day we leave again.

The second day also starts at 8.30 and takes 8-9 hours depending on the boat and the current of the river. Upon arrival you will find a couple of Tuk Tuks which for a rather expensive collective price (depending on how you treat) there they will take you to downtown Huay Xai in about 10-15 minutes.

How does the routes work?

The boat form Luang Prabang to Huay Xai by Slow Boat does not take breaks or stops that last longer than a couple of minutes, and does it only to allow some local inhabitants to load or unload goods. In fact, you will not have the opportunity to buy food during the journey, and the only way to not end up ravaged by hunger will be to bring food on board.

Advice: The evening before each route, look for one of the numerous banquets present both in Luang Pr. And in Pakbeng where, in the early morning, they will make (by reservation) a large sandwich ready to take away for about 5000/10000 Kip. Same goes for drinks.

tipical lao village on the mekong river

What to do in Pak Peng in the evening

There is not much to do. The village does not have a market, nor attractions to visit, except for the small temple that overlooks it, but this too is worth the visit more for the view than for the temple itself. But don’t worry, you will be tired enough after the first day on the boat.. in case you want to have an evening you should go to the HAPPY BAR. This noisy place in fact has a beer-pong table, a pool table and a good choice of cocktails! (.. at decidedly above average prices ..)
Here you will have the opportunity to socialize and get to know a little young people!

Advice: Book your hotel for the night in Pakbeng from home… After nine hours on the boat you won’t want to go around looking for accommodation, and you won’t be able to make your price.
From the PC you can choose the one that seems most suitable to your needs.

Pros and cons

Having said these things we want to draw up a list of pros and cons to help you decide whether to try your hand at this adventure to get from Luang Prabang to Huai Xay by Slow Boat:


  • it’s a simple move to organize
  • it’s a unique experience, which you probably won’t have the chance to relive
  • you know new people
  • it’s relaxing
  • opportunity to admire unspoiled landscapes and authentic scenarios
  • it is an introspective experience


  • it’s really long
  • not suitable for those who demand high hygiene standards
  • the bus costs less and takes half
  • the Laotians are made to sit in front of the wooden benches, and this, in addition to making it difficult to have contact, made us feel a little uneasy and in awe
  • it is not possible to buy food on the boat
  • if the boat is full it is not possible to lie down to rest

We hope this short guide will help and support you. If you have any questions, you can bring them back below. Discover our travel resources.

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