|Getting a bus from Chiang Mai to the Lao border proved a bit trickier than we'd expected - looong queues for tickets, and then an even longer wait for a bus with space - it was 1pm before we left, and a 7 hour journey, so we didn't make it to the border before it closed that day. We stopped overnight in a lovely hostel overlooking the Mekong river (our first sight of it), and the hostel owner kindly took us to the border the next morning (but wouldn't let us take her 5 month old kittens with us!). Border procedures were pretty painless, and after a boat across the Mekong we were in Laos. From there, we hopped on a 2 day slow boat down the Mekong to Luang Prabang, stopping overnight in Pak Beng (a village made up entirely of sleeping and eating places for the slow boat tourists). It was a very relaxing way to spend 2 days, and the river scenery was lovely.