It takes time two days to travel on a slow boat from Houay Xay to Luang Prabang. I went with a first-class cruise that stopped at a number of villages, all very simple affairs made from woven bamboo and wood on stilts, with children and animals running around on the dusty paths. The river is winding its way between green hills, making it more scenic than the delta. The Mekong is also much narrow here and flows faster. There is almost no sign of human activity; just an occasional boat at the shore, and fishing rods perched on the rocks in the water. The few villages have no road access, their life focuses on the river. It’s all very tranquil and simple. The delta, in comparison, is buzzing with small and large boats.