The final leg of the cruise was spent traversing more rapids and venturing upstream until the low water level caused by those Chinese dams was as far as we could go. Thailand on the left bank and Laos on the right. A few km upstream of the Friendship Bridge we moored up and went through a somewhat tedious process of exiting Laos and entering Thailand. A minibus back to the Friendship Bridge to depart from Laos, A bus across the bridge and Thai immigration before another minibus ride back to the Laos Pandaw which has now moored on the Thai side of the river after a 100m repositioning.
A last night on board with a farewell from the staff and crew, some Thai dancing and a final, somewhat subdued “last supper” on board.
Disembarked early the next morning for a final excursion to the Golden Triangle and an Opium Museum. The Golden “Triangle” is a pretty murky part of the world where Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Thailand meet, and with a couple of “disputed” territories, is where the majority of the worlds Heroin and more recently Methamphetamine is produced. The Myanmar military seems be be the major benefactor here but the UK. and US both have a lot to answer for! The UK for having started the Opium trade in the 19th century, and indeed fought wars over it. The US for supporting and enabling it during the Vietnam war etc.
A final Thai Lunch, a group photo and then lots of farewells as we all headed off to either Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai and either home or to continue travelling to a variety of destinations. I headed for Chang Mai – a 5 hr ride in a minibus to start the long haul back to Blighty.