Reluctantly Leaving Laos

Luang Prabang Travel Blog

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View of Luang Prabang International from the plane
For the first time on my trip, it was really hard to leave place. I loved the peacefulness of Laos and Luang Prabang had definitely grown on me. I was definitely going to miss all of the interesting travelers I met in Laos and I was even sad to part with the guesthouse staff. They were among my favorite of guest house staffs we encountered on the trip (other favorites were in Sihanoukville, Chau Doc and Paksan).

I had breakfast in town and said good bye to the to the people in the Swedish and Japanese group who were around. My group had already left earlier in the morning. Our guide had help me arranged to fly down to Chiang Mai rather than do the the two day slow boat trip.
Flying over Laos
I think with a lot of time and the right group of people, the slow boat could have been a good experience. But with the boat trip, there would only be half a day in Chiang Mai. And if it was the first group we had on the tour, or if I was going with some of the new backpacker crowd I met, it would have been more fun. After a lot of thought, I decided to go with Lao Airlines.

When I was walking back from town to my hotel, I hailed a tuk tuk. I told the driver I wanted to go back to the hotel, grab my things and then go to the hotel. I hoped in and we were ready to go, but the tuk tuk would start. He smiled a lot and said it was no problem. He stopped another tuk tuk driver who got out and helped push the tuk tuk. They pushed it right into a parked van. Lots of smiles.
Lao Airlines lunch
No problem.

Back at the guesthouse, I grabbed all my things, looked under my bed (I always do this when I leave a hotel) and said goodbye to the front desk attendant. During the drive to the airport, the tuk tuk driver filled me in on his life story. He pointed out the area where he grew up and told me about his family. I'm guessing while he was waiting for me at the guest house, he must have had a conversation with the front desk clerk about me, because he asked me a lot of specific questions about my travels and my time in Luang Prabang. We found out were about the same age and he showed me pictures of his babies on his cell phone.

When we pulled up to the Luang Prabang International Airport, I thought, "This is it?" It's maybe the size of a large house. Getting checked in, and going through security and customs was really quick. There is only one gate and there I saw a couple that I had seen at Kuang Si falls the day before. I chatted with them until they had to leave for Bangkok. I saw my plane arrive, and the nice thing about this small, ground level airport is that you can see them loading the plane and you can make sure your luggage makes it on.

The flight was pretty empty so I had a whole row to myself. I chatted with a couple behind me. They lived in Thailand, the wife was Thai and the guy was originally from California. They told me they visited Laos pretty frequently and always had trouble leaving it. I can definitely see why. As we took off, Laos looked beautiful from above with it's verdant mountains and golden temples. Considering the short length of the flight, I was really surprised when they served us a tasty and adequate lunch. On some of the United States based airlines, you are lucky if they even give you a peanut when you fly six hours across the country.

Overall, the flight was pretty smooth except for the bumpy landing which was actually quite terrifying in the small plane. Rather than descending horizontally, it was more like a staircase. We landed safely in Chiang Mai. We stepped off the plane and took a shuttle to the airport building. The airport felt empty compared to the one in Bangkok, but strangely modern compared to the one in Luang Prabang. I sensed that after the simplicity and tranquility of Laos, Chiang Mai would be a good place to begin to ease back into a modern world.
kathski says:
Haha I can NEVER leave somewhere without looking under the bed... and to this day I am yet to have found anything under there... The day i dont look is the day i'll leave a treasured posession!
Excellent blogs!!!
Posted on: Sep 06, 2008
worldcitizen says:
Just making sure nothing rolled under like a flip flop or something. On a trip I was on a while back, we called this a "dummy check"
Posted on: Jun 22, 2008
sybil says:
is it a superstition/habit thing to look under the bed ... or are you just making sure nothing you own rolled under the bed?
Posted on: Jun 22, 2008
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View of Luang Prabang Internationa…
View of Luang Prabang Internation…
Flying over Laos
Flying over Laos
Lao Airlines lunch
Lao Airlines lunch
Luang Prabang
photo by: oxangu2