Published: June 24th 2006February 19th 2006
friends from luang prabang
Hong and his friend by the waterfalls
Hey everybody!So finally I have the time to write a longer blog and even put up some pictures :D yay!
Ok so where have I been...
I left Vang Vieng last sunday, after getting up 1 hour late and the bus was waiting ONLY for me! Got a seat next to the busdriver and go to see the whole road all the way! IT IS JUST STUNNING!! I have never seen more beautiful nature in my life! Laos is so beautiful, the road to Luang Prabang was high up in the mountains on really small roads. I got nervous every time the busdriver was driving close to the edge (yeah it was a long way down...)Arrived to Luang Prabang after 6 long hours, found a tuktuk with Marita and her man. The guesthouse was really nice, a BIG room to myself with my own hot shower (luxury:p) for $10 per night - the name is Kinnaly guesthouse by the way,just opened up..
Was alone for one day(Marthe came the next day) so I met this french dude, went out drinking beer with him. Came back to the guesthouse drunk,talking shit with the security guy there. (His name
Waterfall in Luang Prabang
nature around the small waterfall
was Hong) Marthe arrived next day and before she arrived Hong took me on a motorcycle tour to see waterfalls. Gorgeous nature and a path you could hike around to see the nature.We absolutely LOVE the city! It is a small town,easy to get around and with tons of curious monks! Luang Prabang is not all commercial and used to tourists yet so everybody is really nice and friendly. Most of them have little but they are so genereous and share what they have.. so totally different from Norway. You just felt like smiling all the time! The food was great, we tried Lao food with marita and her man, which you can cook for yourself on the table! We met some strange dudes from africa, shady people.. you meet alot of different types around! I will recommend Luang Prabang to anyone going somewhere near the place! The last days Hong showed us around the city (aka drove us on the motorbike) and took us out drinking beer :P (see pictures)
We flew from Luang Prabang to Vientiane thursday ( ..i think,hard to keep track of days here..) took the bus from there to Savannahket and Pakse, not going
to write about those places, just small town places which we stayed at,waiting to move on. Flew again from Pakse Sunday and into Siem Reap,Cambodia!
Siem Reap was much much more hotter that Laos,even though it was still cool season. The temperatures is around 33 or more, it kinda reminded me of the heat in Langkawi: hot and very humid! Found a taxidriver and a place to stay, it is high season here so it wasnt all easy to find something! The room has it's own shower,toilet and even a big balcony! (yay!!) from our room you can see aligators in a pool in the next house! lazy animals... they are just sleeping and hanging around all day.
Siem Reap is not what I imagined, people here are more used to backpackers and they are friendly. Every thing in the day is so beautiful, all the places to eat... but the thing is the kids! I have never met more kids fighting over money..it's really sad. They will tell you everything to get you to buy postcards, and start fighting over who saw you first. If you buy from one kid you are sold! "lady laaadyyy buy
some please my littlebrother is starving laaaady" . hard to say no..
alot of their parents are sending them out on the streets to beg so they (the parents) can get free food. There are many people here that has been affected by the mines around, missing arms and legs - sometimes both of them. It is horrible to look at, specially when you know you cannot save the people..
Siem Reap at night is like a shadowside, where everything crawls out. They will hold you back to get some money, you see starving mothers carrying babies,begging for mild and food. Children begging for some water. People selling drugs. But I guess it's like that everywhere in the world.. It is just heartbreaking to watch! I tried to help some of them with water, have donated some money and so on but like I said, there is only so much you can do.
Yesterday we took the trip to Angkor Wat,which is a must to see in Siem Reap! Left at 5am to get the sunrise by the temples! Watch out for the huge crowds with japanese tourists :P Now,there is alot of temples nearby but Angkor Wat is
eating lao food with marita and Leo :D
the biggest and most known one. It is huge, I don't think we got to see everything in just one day! The garden around is beautiful and you can just imagine the monks wandering around and talking about important stuff long time ago! The walls have alot of stories and history carwed in stone. The steps up to the highest points are horrible, I cannot understand how people could walk in them everyday!! It is so steep that there is no way to walk up,you almost need to climb.
There are still monks in the temple but maybe they are there for the turists, lighting incents and asking you to donate money for Buddha. I was stupid enough to get too close to a Buddha statue and got called down! "Buddha sleeping now". I felt kinda ashamed, I have much respect for Buddhism and monks and don't wanna irritate them!
I really don't know how to explain Angkor Wat, it is something you should see for yourself. It is just huge, it is not in such a bad shape but the steps are starting to vanish and stones are falling out. So I recommend everyone to see it now
Marthe and hong's friend on the bike
before it is too late. Almost all of the statues have missing heads, there are holes in the wall and you can see the vandalism and robbery inside.. Even turists have written on the wall and are using the temple as a ashtray heh. Why people would have so little respect is beyond my imagination..
After Angkor Wat we drove further to other and small temples around, there is a whole bunch of them! The last temple we went to is the same temple used in Tomb Raider (you know angelina jolie..) The stunning part of the temple are the trees! They are so high that you cannot see the end of them. The roots on the tree was even bigger then me!
But the decay is so dreadful to watch.. almost half of the temple is ruined, there are HUGE stones everywhere and some parts are dangerous to walk in. It is just a matter of time before everything is gone. They are renovating but I don't know how much, we walked into alot of dead ends because there was 10meters with rocks stopping us. I loved Angkor Wat and impressed by the size but I think the
hanging out with backpackers
last temple was more beautiful and stunning. Gonna put out some pictures from Vang Vieng to now so you can see for yourself under here!
Puh that was alot of writing! Other than that im doing fine, I have alot of bites on my body and had to buy strong spray to get all of the insects away. There are nasty flies everywhere so it is difficult to eat outside sometimes. The place is almost too hot, you cannot walk long in the sun before you need to sit down for a while. I LOVE this place and I will definately go back to see it again! Tomorrow we are off to Phnom Pehn to see the killing fields and museums and see some of the tragic history behind Cambodia. I kinda look forward to that,even though I don't wanna leave this place :P It is not so far either,just 7 hours or so with a bus (i think?) I can't wait to get to the coast and the beaches in a couple of days!!!!
As always,I'm hoping you are all doing good and not freezing too much!Hey guys,it is almost spring :D what are you doing? you
are allowed to call me you know (hinthinthint) See you all in Phnom Pehn the next time :)
- Try to get to the bus early so you don't end up in the front seat by the busdriver like I did. It is not comfortable with a small chair and locals sitting around you (they will jump on the bus and sit all over the floor after a while)
-A VIP bus is not a VIP bus so just forget about it!You see the pictures of the buses but mostly it is a localbus or ''aircon bus" that doesn't stop everywhere, but it doesn't mean that it is comfortable. Foreigners will usually get the worst seats and pay more!If you are going from Vientiane to Luang Prabang or Vang Vieng, try to catch the bus early! Trust me,you don't wanna take the ride in the dark (it is a loooong way down and the drivers drive like they are inspired by the movie "fast&furious")
-You also have to pay more for lots of stuff in the stores so keep ur eyes open! A pack of local cigarettes does NOT cost 9000kip in Laos!!!
-Careful with the tuktuk drivers, 90% of them will drive you to other places, pretending they don't know the way or doesn't understand what you are saying. Don't be mad,just smile :) just refuse to get out of the tuktuk.they will drive like hell after because they are mad but atleast you are not falling for the commision tricks!
-Most of the times you will save alot of money buying tickets from airports and busstations than in guesthouses!
There are more photos below