We just got home from doing the trip from Chiang Khong to Huay Xia, to Pek Bang and on to Luang Prabang by slow boat. As we wanted convenience we payed some one to have our Thai exit visa stamped the night before so that we could just hustle across the border to Huay Xia. That part was fine. As there was a group of us travelling from the same guest house we were trying to stay together somewhat. In Huay Xia a fellow with a tourist guide authorization laminated tag hung around his neck hustled us through the aweful line ups as we already had our visa. To make a long story short as possible, he managed to get small groups of the people we went over with from the guest house together but separately and give us all things to be aware of.(Total brainwashing) At some point after talking to a few people at a time he rallied us at a place/travel office selling food etc. on the top rightside of the road at the last intersection as you head down the hill to the slow boat bound for Pek Bang. This fellow did a great job of ripping off a number of people. My friends gave him $200 US dollars as well as booked a room in Pek Beng at a guest house. They were ripped off $75 from the money exchange as were others that decided to exchange baht to kip. I heard from another traveller in Luang Prabang that the same thing had happened to them on their previous trip. I hate to think of how much money he made that day with his accomplices, from the number of passports that were handed back quickly. We were then asked to leave as the boat was ready to depart. I have a picture of the man I wish I could post it! I was lucky that I did not exchange much money so lost very little. However booking the room ahead I did end up paying more as well but accomodation was very nice and it was nice not to have to start looking for something after we arrived. My friends infortunately got ripped off big time not only with the money but with the room as well. It left a very sour note as Laos and its people are lovely! We had a super time in Luang Prabang.....but anyone travelling into Huay Xia.....BEWARE of rip off artists!