I will stop there in just a little over a month. The boat to cross the Mekong River from Chiang Khong in Tai, to Houei Xai in Laos, costs 20 baht (in May '09). The visa for Lao, can be extended to a month-long visa, $ 35 USA. You need to be sure you have a passport valid for 6 months from the date of issue of the visa, and two photographs (even if you have two with it, in my case). I spent one night in Houxei, I never expected to get to Laos that day and so I had to come up with something. The next day I took the boat down the Mekong to Luang Phrabang. PS: I can not re-edit, but the photos belong to Houei Xai in Laos.