Travelers Beware: when taking the slow boat to Luang Prabang -once you cross the border and get shuttled to the last waiting point the man that runs the show there gives a great big speech on how he wants you to love Laos and that at the over night stop on the slow boat their are only 4 guest houses with 11 rooms and that you need to book with him in advance. He is lying. There are plenty of rooms at a third of the price when you get to the stop over. He will also tell everyone there is no ATM at the stop over (which is true) and then that the closest ATM is back at the border he just shuttled you from but he will offer to help you out and exchange your money ( but does it at 1035 Kip per dollar less then the going rate).
I walked half a block and found a western union that doesn’t even charge a fee for exchanging cash (go right and right and stay to the left of the fork) — I waited and got a room at the stop over for 100 baht–but people that booked with him paid 500 baht for the same room. About 75% of the people in our group exchanged money and booked accommodation with him through his scare tactics. So if you are going to Laos via the slow boat from Pai, Chiang Mai, or Chiang Rai (which is a lovely trip) and are doing your homework I hope you find this notice. Please feel free to link or copy and paste it onto other travelers.
Cheers and happy adventures!!