Blogs from North, Laos, Asia

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Asia » Laos » North April 9th 2014

SOK DI PI MAI !! (Happy New Year!) It’s coming up to Buddhist New Year and it’s an exciting & happy time to be in SE Asia. Most Buddhist festivals are set according to the the moon cycles. But for some reason, Buddhist New Year is set into the Gregorian calendar at April 13th – 15th. It sometimes falls around Easter. Though most Buddhists have never heard of Easter or seen a chocolate easter egg! The major Buddhist countries & their New Year festivals in SE Asia are Thailand (Songkran), Laos (Sok do pi mai), Cambodia (Chaul Chnam Thmey) & Myanmar (Thingyan). For anyone considering the experience of a traditional festival in Asia, Buddhist New Year would undoubtedly & absolutely be the best fun! It is a 3 day festival consisting of water 'splashings' which is ... read more
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Asia » Laos » North March 2nd 2014

We woke up early to get a tuk tuk to the bus station where we would get our 'VIP' bus from. The 'VIP' bus was okay, wouldn't call it VIP though half the seats were broken and reclined fully backwards when any weight was put on them, the roof would suddenly start having water pour down and the air conditioning was a little breath of air. But we got to Vang Viang safely which is the main thing and there were some lovely views on the way. The route was up and down some mountains so was very winding, we passed through a lot of remote villages so saw how local people live away from all the backpacking areas which I enjoyed seeing. We arrived late afternoon and walked to the centre of the town where ... read more
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Asia » Laos » North February 27th 2014

We woke up quite early so we would have a good full day to look around the town. We spent the day walking around, the views were so nice everywhere you looked, my favourite place so far! There are a lot of French bakeries and restaurants around. We passed by a few temples, and a food market. On our way walking up to a temple we passed by a few people selling these really little birds in round cages which they sell and the Lao people BBQ them. The weather seemed to be even hotter today! That evening we went to a Lao BBQ. Each table is given their own BBQ, a plate of meat and a basket of vegetables, an egg and glass noodles. ( see photo) you get given a round metal thing that ... read more
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Asia » Laos » North February 25th 2014

We had a busy morning as we moved to a different guest house, and then booked our bus journey for the next day to Vang Viang. We went to the Kuang Si waterfalls for the afternoon which were around a 40 minute ride out of Luang Prabang. I saw my first elephant being ridden down the road on the way there!! On the walk up to the waterfalls we passed by a bear rescue centre where they look after black aslatic bears then release them back in to the wild. The waterfalls are so clear and blue and it was very nice to be able to swim in them especially as it has been so hot! They had the little fish in which clean the dead skin off your feet, it made me jump at first. ... read more
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Asia » Laos » North February 23rd 2014

We woke up quite early to get to the long boat early for a good seat (the back is pretty noisy and bumpy). On the way down we stopped off at the street shops to get food for the journey. They all sell baguettes and croissants, I read in the lonely planet there is quite a big French influence on the food in Laos so there will be bakeries and a lot of street stalls selling baguettes. We left Pak Ben at half 9 for a 9 hour long boat journey to Luang Prabang. The boat journey was just as beautiful as the day before, we stopped off at a few villages to drop the local people off this time. We finally arrived in Luang Prabang around 5 ish, from there we got a tuk tuk ... read more
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Asia » Laos » North February 22nd 2014

Day 2 of our journey, we woke up early that morning to go to the border. There was a Thai breakfast for us, it was cabbage and egg and a chicken soup I think. We left for the border mid morning then had to go through passport control and get our visas which took a while but eventually crossed the border into Laos. We got a taxi to the long boats where we began our 7 hour long boat journey down the river Mekong to Pak Ben, where we would stop for the night. The boat was very good, we passed by a lot of villages along the river on the way down and local people fishing or transporting their goods down the river. There was some wildlife too, cows and water buffalo I think. We ... read more
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Asia » Laos » North » Louang Namtha January 4th 2014

So when I saw Laos on my tour itinerary I did know what to expect. I thought it would be completely non built up and not habitated. I was surprised by the beauty, the early curfew (people by law need to be home by midnight) as well as the impact the modern world has had with many of our current technology on view everywhere. Do: If you are also going to Vietnam I would do Vietnam first and then Laos. Its a nice calm after the storm. In the capital enjoy wandering as it feels like a small town instead of a temple. In Vang Vieng go tubing or kayaking. Take time to people watch all the multi ethnic backpackers as this is often a stop over between cities. In Luang Prabang, bathe, ride and feed ... read more
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Asia » Laos » North December 25th 2013

Last time when we tried to leave Thailand we found no any train running. The government had decided to skip all trains, because every now and then a train was derailing somewhere in the country. Moreover we expected big anti government demonstrations in Bangkok. So we left Hua Hin, the city where we live, early this morning with a minivan. Once in Bangkok everything turned out to be quiet. No crowds in the streets, no whistles, no flags, no yellow shirts, no angry faces and even no traffic jams (which is quite unusual). We never ended up so quickly at our destination. The other side of the coin was that we had to face six hours waiting at the Hua Lamphong trainstation for our train bound to Chiang Mai. Yes, there were trains indeed. After three ... read more
Wat Mahawan (Chiang Mai)
Highest point of Thailand (Doi Inthanon NP)
Hotel Sabaydee in Houay Xai (Laos)

Asia » Laos » North November 30th 2013

We are loving Luang Prabang. It is rural and full of wonderful places to see. The hotel is small and very sweet full of teal furniture and woodwork. I still can't transfer pictures from my camera so those will wait until I get home! Today was very special because we went to a small village and visited a school. The children are so beautiful and welcoming. We all sang songs and each child gave us a flower lei and took our hand to take us to there classroom. After that we visited the Hmong community and had lunch at the elders home. Very early in the morning we sat on the street side and gave the monks sticky rice. I have learned so much about the monks and the process most boys go through to be ... read more
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Asia » Laos » North November 28th 2013

Good news on many fronts. I can upload pictures. A woman in the group had the right devise. Apple is amazing. So....this entry will come with some pictures from Bangkok. We flew today from Bangkok to Luang Prabang Laos. This is so very different than Bangkok! All is very rural and lush. We are surrounded by high mountains. The highest at 10,000 feet. Out hotel is small and very charming. We hiked up to the tallest peak and over looked the Mekong River. We wandered through the night market and I could only think of my friend Diane who would have been thrilled at all the local crafts and cloth. Maybe I can post today's pictures tomorrow. The time is flying by too quickly.... read more
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