Published: January 17th 2010November 12th 2009
Well we've arrived in Laos! We ended spending a night in Huay Xai and then headed North the next morning to Luang Namtha to do some trekking. We ended up arrivng at the booking office just as the last spot on their tour was filled but in a turn of events we met a nice French couple who were also looking to trek so we joined up and formed our own group. The funniest part is that the day before Tyne makes me agree on not doing a super hard trek and only doing a 2 day easy to moderate one. Well the french couple suggest the difficult/ advanced 3 day trek and before Tyne can say WTF I've signed us up. I swear sometimes it's like we're so in sync I can read her mind hahahahaha. So I caught a little shit for signing us up for the hard trek but we're confident we're up for the challenge, besides it's the Northern Jungle Mountains of Laos, how hard can it be?
They next morning we're set to leave and are happy to see our group has added 3 more people which not only makes the trek
cheaper for everyone also adds to the mix of new friends to be made. Our group was Tyne and I, Julien & Canelle (French couple), Niko (French guy), Ash (Australian guy), Casha (Polish girl) and our guide Booney who was freakin hilarious. Our group was great as we were all relatively the same age and all of us have done a lot of traveling so we could share lots of stories.
The first day of our trek was good with over 20 stream/river crossings and a lot of up and down sections. Tyne and I are amazed that we can still walk since we've both sweated out every ounce of fluid we had in us! The walk is beautiful, taking us through Bamboo forests and then out into mountainside clearings that overlook huge rice fields. The village we stopped at was on top of the hill we climbed and the town was only inhabited by children as we arrived since all the adults were in the fields working the harvest. We walked around the village playing with the kids and all the animals. The tribe of this village is the Akha people, who migrated to Laos from Nepal over
60 years ago. The village experience was good as it was a real village a not a staged/canned one like a lot of treks run in Northern Thailand. The locals actually paid us very little attention and after a long hard day in the field who can blame them. The teenagers and kids on the other hand couldn't get enough of us as we were their favorite reality show. That night we got a couple of surprises:
1.) We got treated to a nice massage from some of the local girls, it was really appreciated after a long day hiking.
2.) Despite a stern warning from Diane to not drink the Lao Lao, we did shots of Lao Lao which is a rice whiskey(moonshine) that is freakin strong! 2 shots and we're all feeling good.
3.) I awoke in the middle of the night to what I thought was puppy beside my bed, so I decide to pet him a little. Yeah turns out that was a huge rat!!! Well I can now honestly say Laos rats are soft and cuddly;)
Day 2 was a lot like day one with more uphill hiking and sweating, geez
who picked the hard trek? Although today's trekking included more adventourous fun as Booney and I did some Tarazan swinging from some vines, I ended up breaking the vine! Luckily I jumped off in time or I would still be in some Jungle hospital in a banana leaf body cast!
In the afternoon we got to swim in a river which was great to cool off. We swam up the river to check out some waterfalls which ended up being really hard since we were swimming against the current which was really strong but worth it in the end! We also got a taste of the awesome jungle leeches which are relentless little bloodsucking bastards! We had them all over our feet and ankles and were constantly stopping to rip them off. Tyne was pretty happy by this point as her feet had exploded in blisters and the leeches (like mosquitos) prefer her sweet skin instead of mine. I'm never going to pick the trek again! When we finally arrived in the next Akha village, again we were left to play with the kids as all the adults were working the fields. We ended playing some games, Tyne introduced
the High Five to a new generation of children and we also watched some awesome go-kart races, check out the video, these kids knew how to do it, they even grease the axels every time they go down!
Our last day was a very short hike and then another river swim where I got to show some local kids the Canadian Canon Ball, they were impressed! Afterwards we went to hike through a cave, which was pretty cool, although we were wearing flip flops which was probably not the best choice but we survived. All in all the trek was very good, we were a little sore but the experience was great. The countryside of Laos is very beautiful and it's hard to imagine that this area was the most heavily bombed area in the world, the US dropped more bombs on Laos during "The Secret War" then were dropped in total during WWII!
After the trek we headed back to Huay Xai the border town to catch our slow boat to Luang Prabang.
So until the next one.....
Matt & Tyne
There are more photos below