Blogs from North, Laos, Asia - page 34


Asia » Laos » North » Luang Namtha February 12th 2007

We left Chang Mai and caught a mini bus to the border so we could cross into Laos at Huang Xai. It all went fine, despite us making the mistake of letting someone else organise our visas for us. Basically they took our passports, drove down to the border, got the visa for us, drove back up, then charged us $12 each for the privilege of them doing something we could easily have done ourselves. How to rip off a tourist in one easy step... Live and learn... We stayed the night in Huang Xai drinking beer with a great German girl called Sandra, the only German teacher in the capital of Mongolia, and responsible for running their German programme! Woken up by roosters crowing, blissfully unaware that it was only 5am, and obviously never having ... read more
River crossing
Cartman by waterfall
Burnt out Akha village

Asia » Laos » North » Luang Namtha February 11th 2007

At first glance Luang Nam Tha isn't much at all, however I did come to really like the little town after spending three days there. On the first afternoon I had a little walk down the main road and found an internet cafe which did the yummiest cakes, I thought that I would be good and not have the really delicious looking chocolate cake and have the banana cake (which was really tasty) but every other day when I returned there was never any chocolate cake left - I was most disappointed! The first morning I had more of a walk around the town and I tried to use the phone to call a place within Laos, I thought that I might need to buy a phone card but it seems that you have to go ... read more
Padi fields on the way to the waterfall
The waterfall

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Sing February 8th 2007

Ah, good morning Mr. Rooster. How I lover you! At the crack of dawn the hill tribes villagers gather from miles around to sell their wares at the local market and then scatter back home all before 9 AM. I checked out the hustle & bustle & grabbed a sweet treats for breakfast & then met the group for our two day trek--4 Israelis, Gary the Canadian, Dieckland the Irishman, Valentin the Italian & Tyler the American. We took the difficult route up to an Akaa village & difficult it was as we had about 7 hours of hiking ahead of us. We passed through two small villages along the way & even those only about 1-2 hours from town functioned completely in the traditional way--no electricity, no running water, sanitation. The only trademark of the ... read more
John Deere?
Village Life
Akaa Girl

Asia » Laos » North » Luang Namtha January 13th 2007

When I last wrote (ok, that was last night) I had been catching up on about 8 days worth of travel, I nearly got there, but there is still more, so I'll quickly try to get some more done now, then I'll make tracks to my next destinaton. I think I might have mentioned that I had travelled a bloody long way to Houy Sai (or any other variation of spelling of it) hoping to get on to the Gibbon Experience, but wasn't successful, so I had to see what I could do to try to change my plans. I was so disappointed and pretty pissed off with the Gibbon Experience people as I had told them the dates I wanted, and although they had responded to my email, they hadn't taken it as a booking ... read more

Asia » Laos » North » Phongsali December 16th 2006

On the first morning of my trek I met my guide, Sook, at my hotel for breakfast. He was a good guy, very earnest, and just passable in English. More importantly, he was trilingual in Lao, Punoi, and Laosang, which would cover most of the areas in which we would be trekking. He also had a most irritating habit of laughing if he didn’t understand me and laughing again whenever I rephrased the question in simpler terms. We got along well though, and I avoided strangling him because he was such a nice guy. After breakfast we walked to the market where I picked up the two necessities of trekking - a flashlight for finding a convenient place for night time ablutions (toilets don’t exist in mountain villages, or any Lao villages for that matter) and ... read more
Akha woman returning from the market
Leaving Phongsaly
Kids and their toys


Asia » Laos » North » Luang Namtha December 3rd 2006

juz jestesmy w Laosie, rozbici jestesmy 5km od miasta niedaleko wodospadu. Jest cieplo, nie pada, jest spokoj, wszystko toczy sie powoli, jest malo ludzi. Spimy, strzelamy z luku , jezdzimy na rowerach, w tym raz dziennie do miasta, strzelamy z procy, bawimy sie z lokalnymi dziecmi. NIE robimy zdjec. Jest super. Zamienilem zreszta z jednym dzieciakiem moj tybetanski kapelusz na proce. Obie strony byly bardzo zadowolone. A Laos juz widac, ze caly jest super. A dzisiaj na wycieczce rowerowo-gorskiej, zaliczylem efektowna glebe przez kierownice, ze caly jestem czerwony od ziemi. Brak obrazen. Zaliczylem tez kilka innych efektownych polgleb, jedna ze zsunieciem. Jeszcze po takich terenach na rowerze nie jezdzilem. O dziwo ludzie mowia niezle po angielsku, ale moze dlatego, ze pelno bialasow w tym miescie. Jest ciemno 13h, wiec palimy sobie wieczorem ogniska. W zasadzie nic ... read more

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Ngoi Neua November 26th 2006

Hello! Oh. My. God. I think we are really starting to realise that the UK public transport system is not worth the hours of complaints that are daily made in its general direction. 1. The buses don't ususally smell of cheese 2. People normally get a fixed seat rather than a wooden chair dropped in between the two rows 3. Your seat is not ordinarily suspiciously wet. 4. A 4 hour bus journey does not often take 7. 5. A bus that seats 16 does not seat 26. 6. Standing on the rear bumper for the entire journey is discouraged. Apart from that it was very good actually. Ahem. Saying that though, Muang Ngoi Neua (yes, we did make it -apparently it is pronounced Moo-ang Nyyyoi Nooooaaa) was stunning. It's set amongst the mountains which gave ... read more

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Sing November 23rd 2006

Hello from Viet Nam - safely in Nha Trang after sitting out Tropical Storm Durian with enough food and supplies (chocolate and beer) to last a lifetime. The last blog ended with me just about to begin the trek through Tiger Leaping Gorge, so fittingly, that's where this one begins! I caught the bus with Janet - travelling from Zhongdian to the starting point of the gorge where we left our packs at a guesthouse and started the long trek that would last 2.5 days. The one thing that stuck in our minds was the "28 bends" - a series of hairpins that we'd tackle the following day - they wind their way up the mountainside and it takes a gruelling 2 hours to complete. So it took us a bit by surprise when we had ... read more
The View From The Infamous Toilet!
View Of The Gorge

Asia » Laos » North » Luang Namtha November 20th 2006

We crossed the border into Laos from Thailand over the Mekong river. We decided to take the 7 hour bus journey to Luang Nam Tha - we had heard that the road was quite bad and that it was being upgraded at the moment, but thought if traffic was still allowed on it then it must be ok. We managed to catch the 9.30 bus (although it was 11 o'clock) and went on our merry way - what we hadn't realised was that 6 out of the 7 hours we were bascially driving on a construction site! Not only where the roads steep and windy, climbing mountains and subsequently back down them, but they were also only made of sand and mud. Our driver also only had one speed, (which I think most of them do) ... read more
Great views
Harvest time

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Ngoi Neua October 28th 2006

Crossing the Thai-Lao border, the difference in travel-style is immediately apparent. Most places I'm used to, you could just jump onto a reasonably comfortable, decent-sized coach, train, plane or boat and be whisked off to your respective destination in relative boredom. Travelling in Laos, though, adds a whole new dimension of interest. Firstly, comfort and travel here don't really go together in the same sentence. Secondly, the country hasn't fully developed a decent travel network at this time - sure, you can get around without too much trouble, but it's a lot more hassle than, say, the UK or Thailand. For us, the whole experience is made a little harder by the fact that our guidebook really isn't suited to our style of travel (we're using the Footprint Guide to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, which is ... read more
Mountains on Nam Ou
More Mountains
Muang Ngoi from the River

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