I spent a little under 2 weeks in Laos, crossing in from Chiang Khong, Thailand to Huay Xai, Laos. This trip had its highs and lows... it was hectic at times, and very relaxing at times... One of the cooler things was the variety of transportation I got to use... I went from Huay Xai to Laung Prabaung by boat (2 days... 8 hours each day), from there to Vang Vieng by mini-bus, from there to Vientiene by kayaking and tuk tuk and from there to Don Det (Si Phon Don) by a VIP bus and a boat. The main highlights were the 2 days in the boat, tubing/kayaking in Vang Vieng and doing nothing in Don Det!
Huay Xai -> Laung Prabaung
This was an awesome boat ride... well, I think that's putting it a bit strongly... but the views were breathtaking... and I got to talk to a lot of nice/different people (we were stuck on a boat for 2 days... maybe you just had to be nice or you would get thrown overboard :). Okay, now the not so nice things... First, we had to get to the boat at 8 am to get good seats. Second, the good seat was a 6 inch wide wooden bench. The boat left at 11, and reached port in Pak Beng at 6. So that was really 10 hours on the boat. Day 2 was better, we only had to wait 2 hours before the boat left. Overall, I'm glad I did it and would recommend it (maybe just cause I'm mean) but I wouldn't do it a second time.
In case you are wondering, did I have a choice, yes.. I could have taken the speed boat.. but.. and I quote the lonely planet on this one "Life jackets and crash helmets should be provided (and are sometimes needed)... Fatalities are not uncommon"
Tubing / Kayaking