Mekong cruise

Mekong cruise – Travel Photo Mondays

Mekong cruise: Loei region of Thailand

Mekong cruise: Loei region of Thailand

Enjoying a Mekong cruise- Loei region of Thailand for Travel Photo Mondays

 

It is late afternoon in the sleepy city of Chiang Khan along Northeast section of the Mekong river separating Thailand and its neighbor Laos on the other side of the river. It seems like everyone is taking an afternoon siesta and avoiding the late afternoon sun, but I take a solitary walk along the water front area to check out the views and look for something interesting or vista to photograph. The river is slow and fairly straight with the other side of the bank devoid of towns or anything interesting to check out at least from this side of the river. The afternoon sun is getting to me and I duck into a cool coffee shop for a nice cool and tall mocha drink for just a buck and enjoy the dark and cool café and gallery space. The whole street area along the waterfront has been converted into trendy shops, coffee houses and waterfront cafes and catering mostly to a Thai audience since the vast international tourist sector hasn’t really discovered the northeastern regions of Thailand around the Loei district.

Along the river bank at Chiang Khan, Thailand

Along the river bank at Chiang Khan, Thailand

 

I head back to the hotel to join a group of travel bloggers on a late afternoon cruise on the Mekong so we can enjoy sunset on the long tail boats plying the river.  The walk to the boat is an easy downhill trek to the edge except that the haphazard walkways are made of warped planks of wood and wobbly bases making it a little tricky getting on the boat. We all jump on and the captain cranks the engine quickly and sets out directly to the other side of the bank knowing that many from our group have never set foot on Laos soil, so he was teasing us with this almost easy access to the banks of a new country. Of course that isn’t allowable even though there are no borders or walls between both countries from the river. I turn my view away from the riverbank and face at our captain who is concentrating on turning the boat around to the opposite direction. I take a few photos of him while he is focused on his task so I can get a good photograph of him below,  he doesn’t crack a smile or flinch when I focus on him completely to capture a perfect shot.

 

 

The boat captain on the Mekong cruise at Chiang Khan

The boat captain on the Mekong cruise at Chiang Khan

 

Seeing Laos from a long tail boat

 

So close to the country of Laos

So close to the country of Laos

 

 

 

Homes along the river front at Chiang Khan

Homes along the river front at Chiang Khan

Planting along the shoreline at Chiang Khan

The shoreline on the Thai side is filled with small farms planting a sea of green vegetables long the step banks of the Mekong – people live on the water and plant what they can, living a very simple life here. It’s wonderful to see that many still live this agrarian lifestyle, farming and living on the water.

 

 

A small garden along the Mekong River

A small garden along the Mekong River

 

 

 

Fishermen on the Mekong river at Chiang Khan

Fishermen on the Mekong river at Chiang Khan

 

 

Fishing late afternoon on the Mekong

 

Rowing back to a floating home at Chiang Khan

Rowing back to a floating home at Chiang Khan

 

 

We pass by a variety of fishermen, boat workers and farmers taking care of their crops growing on the steep banks of the riverbed where community gardens have sprung up to take advantage of good soil and free water and drainage. It’s a colorful and ever-changing scene with lots of wildlife flying all around us. Just when we start heading back the opposite direction to face the setting sun, clouds suddenly appear out of nowhere and dampen our thoughts of a perfect sunset on the Mekong. Oh well, I’m hoping that we will at least capture some magic light as evening approaches. Even though the cloudy skies are relatively flat, the sun behind them is illuminating warm colors to the sky and creating this golden glow all around the riverbank and creating gorgeous light all around the people fishing late in the afternoon.

 

Sunset approaches the Mekong river at Chiang Khan

Sunset approaches the Mekong river at Chiang Khan

 

Sunset on the Mekong River

 

Sunset on the Mekong River

Sunset on the Mekong River

 

 

Even though the sunset isn’t perfect tonight, it still is special and it was worth the effort to be out on the water and enjoying the landscape and river views. There’s something special about being on boat and floating somewhere late in the day for sunset, it just feels so natural and wonderful enjoying the landscape and nature at twilight.

 

Looking up at the long tail on the Mekong river

Looking up at the long tail on Looking up at the long tail on the Mekong river

Night market and street foods

After the cruise we go back  to the hotel for a quick change and then walk down the main river front area of Chiang Khan. Now that it is cool and past sunset, it seems like everyone is suddenly on the street with all these street vendors on the road, selling trinkets, barbeques and strange snack foods like fried insects for sale.

Evening time at Chiang Khan is lively

Evening time at Chiang Khan is lively

 

 

 

A sampling of delicacies and sweets for sale in the evening when the streets of Chiang Khan come alive with many vendors selling a variety of exotic snacks and unusual offerings. All the shops along the street are also open for the festive night market and tourist trade.

 

Snack foods for sell at Chiang Khan

Snack foods for sell at Chiang Khan

 

 

 

 

Grilled larvae from a street vendor in Chiang Khan

Grilled larvae from a street vendor in Chiang Khan

 

Excited about trying some grilled insects and larvae

Tasting grilled insects and larvae at Chiang Khan

Tasting grilled insects and larvae at Chiang Khan

 

 

 

More fried and grilled delicacies

Grilled specialties at Chiang Khan evening market

Grilled specialties at Chiang Khan evening market

 

 Music on the streets of Chiang Khan

 

Street music at the evening market in Chiang Khan

Street music at the evening market in Chiang Khan

 

If you would like to discover more interesting landmarks and attractions to the Northern regions of Thailand, check out my recent post here of untapped Loei in Northern Thailand here. I hope that you enjoyed this Mekong cruise for Travel Photo Mondays, if you did, please do share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post. Thanks so much. Also, please do visit all the bloggers participating below for today’s linkup on Travel Photo Mondays.

The visit and tour of the Mekong and Loei region of Thailand was sponsored by the Tourism authority of Thailand in collaboration with Tbex Thailand 2015, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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9 Responses to Mekong cruise – Travel Photo Mondays

  1. David Stock May 26, 2015 at 9:46 am #

    Great Photos! We have also traveled the river and had a great time. The people are so friendly!

  2. Andy Higgs May 20, 2015 at 3:05 am #

    As always, great photos Neil. Asia is a bit of an unknown for me, apart from Bangkok and Krabi in Thailand. But you capture the atmosphere so well and it really makes me want to explore more of this part of the world. Think I’ll pass on the “exotic” snacks though…

  3. Jackie May 19, 2015 at 11:45 pm #

    Lovely photos as always Noel. I like the way they take us through the story of your time there. The shot of the captain is especially good, with a delicate balance of his character and the colours. It’s so interesting to see how some of these people live.

  4. alison abbott May 19, 2015 at 5:06 am #

    I’ve never traveled to this part of Asia, and have been dying to go. Wow on your photos. The shot of the captain is the one I like best. He is completely preoccupied by his job and you’ve captured his concentration beautifully.

  5. anna parker May 18, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    The picture of the boat and boat captain is fantastic – i love that you have him totally focussed at what he’s doing, completely ignoring the camera! The colours in the evening light make it really look as humid as it must be – hot hot!

  6. Corinne April 27, 2015 at 12:48 am #

    I love this part of Asia. I’ve traveled down the river as well, and life along side it is always so fascinating and unchanged. Great photos Noel!

  7. Rhonda Albom April 26, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    You are so good at telling a story with your photos. Just beautiful and interesting. In that first boat photo, is everyone on your boat wearing life jackets? As for eating grubs, had my chance in China, and I passed. I think I will brave it next time. You inspired me.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Untapped Loei in Northern Thailand - Travel Photo Mondays - May 8, 2015

    […] One of the most popular attractions in this area is to take a river cruise on the Mekong. You can practically hop on a long tail boat in many areas and you can easily take a cruise from Chiang Khan and see both sides of the Thai and Laos riverfront communities and landscape. It is an easy  and panoramic cruise which typically run an average of two hours or more in length. Late afternoon is the perfect time for beautiful light for photography and a magnificent sunset if the skies are clear.  The day I took this cruise, it was completely socked in with clouds and fog, but fortunately things took a better turn and we had cloudy but some open skies breaking up the landscape. I just did a post with more images on the cruise, you can take a look at this post here. […]

  2. The Cathedral of Milan | Travel with Intent - April 26, 2015

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