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The Champassak Ferry

Last voyage for the Champassak ferry, Laos?

The old fashioned rickety Champassak ferry that carts passengers, motos and trucks across the Mekong between Champassak and Ban Muang don’t run much anymore. The recent completion of the spanking new road to Pakse along the west bank of the Mekong has drastically reduced the need for the car ferry. Time was when ferries would sit at the ‘dock’ (well 2 planks of wood between beach and ferry) until the boat was full before departing. These days 1 car or 3 motorbikes ought to be enough to provoke an instant departure!

The 'port' at Champassak village
The ‘port’ at Champassak village

It was a fascinating way to get across the river – albeit a slightly ramshackle and for the more fainthearted a slightly worrying affair but it worked! (They’re actually just three old boat hulks tied together with wooden planks on top and an engine stuck on top!)

Solitary car ---and Steve Smith, on ferry last month
Solitary car —and Steve, on the ferry last month

Sadly can’t see it lasting much longer – motorbikes and passengers can take smaller, faster boats and cars, trucks and tourist buses to or from the nearby Wat Phu, UNESCO World Heritage site, use the new direct road to Pakse.

Vietnamese vendor on the ferry to Ban Muang
Vietnamese vendor on the ferry to Ban Muang

It was fun while it lasted! The Champassak ferry crossing was part of our Southern Cambodia, Emerald Triangle tour,