Luang Prabang Travel Blog› entry 21 of 69 › view all entries
Ok, have been in Laos for about a week and would universally recommend it. It is absolutely beautiful. I left Nongkhai last saturday with Connie and Maaike and we crossed the border into Laos and went to the capital Viene Tiene (probably spelt wrong). We spent just a couple of hours there as not so much to do and got straight in a pick up truck to Vien Vieng. The truck was less than comfortable. There was a live pig wrapped in a sack on the back steps with just its nose showing, it started to squeal as we set off but luckily stopped as I think 4 hours of numb bum AND squealing pig would have been too much.
When we arrived in Vien Vieng we found a nice guesthouse and then went for dinner. There were loads of bars where you lay down on cushions and watched friends, we spent a while there and later met up with 2 boys we taught with in Nongkhai, Honzik and Lewis, who were there too.
The second day we hired mountain bikes and cycled to a cave, picked the hottest day to do it but made it there and was well worth it as big cave (again no luck with the headtorch as the battery broke and started leaking) and a blue lagoon with rope swing, beautiful clear water.
Got the bus to Phonsavanh to visit the plain of jars. The bus was a local bus and the roads were terrible but the scenery was amazing! We went up all these windy mountain paths and there were villages and towns perched on the ridges, such basic wooden houses but some had tellys inside, a funny mix. Huge valleys, quite a dusty brown landscape but sometimes really green, absolutely stunning!
The next day we visited the Plain of Jars. Saw 3 main sites where there are huge jars (funny that) which they think were used as a kind of funeral urn, they decayed the bodies in them and later cremated them. Really interesting to see them as they've been there since before the start of budhism which is rougly 550 years BC. Also interesting to see remnants from the war. Laos is the most heavily bombed country per capita in the world and there is still a lot of unexploded ordanance around, you had to be careful to walk between certain lines as there have been lots of accidents. Also saw the food market in the town, if anyone's interested in buying something that looks very like a flying fox with the fur still on, this is the place to go, lovely!
The next day saw an even longer bus ride to Luang Prabang where I am now. Amazing scenery again but a relief to get there as pretty hot. The first day in Luang Prabang we spent wondering around, saw some beautiful Wats (budhist temples) and a view of the town from up the hill across the river. Today we went to a waterfall, was so beautiful. Really in the jungle and blue water everywhere. We swam a lot in the pools and went behind the waterfall. Also treked up to the top and round and down again. Luang Prabang has a wonderful night market- bring lots of money!
Would recommmend Laos to anyone, it is beautiful and like going back in time.
Ok, yestreday we got off the slow boat. Was beautiful scenery but when it says slow boat it means slow boat. It was pretty uncomfortable and was 10 hours on first day and 8 the second. The night in between we spent in a lovely (?) town called Pakbang. Here we stayed in a wonderful guesthouse where we had to share one bed with 3 of us. Someone had written Rat House Horrors on the wall and they weren't wrong! After we had paid, been for dinner and come back we saw the rat poo everywhere, including on top of the mosquito net. When we tried to explain to the owners they just laughed and made rat impressions- not so helpful! Eventually managed to get them to block up the large hole in our floor. The lights in the whole town went out at 9.45 and we did manage some sleep. In the morning discovered that the girl in the room opposite had actually had rats under her bed all night, so blocking the hole had been a good idea!
When we arrived at the end of the boat trip was a mad run to exit laos before the border shut then a James Bond esc, boat across the river to make the border to enter thailand. We then got a truck driver to take us to Chang Rai, seemed so fast when your sat in the open air in the back. Made it though and found nice (rat free) guest house and went for dinner and another night market! When we got back there was a cockroach in our room (i guess nowhere's perfect) but nothing compared to 'Rat House Horrors".