Published: January 2nd 2008January 2nd 2008
One of the many temples...
I think this is Ta Prohm, one of the temples around Angkor Wat. This was done on our temple bonanza day around Siem Reap.
So it's been a while since my last updates, but here I go. Since Dalat me and Matt went to Saigon to catch a bus to Cambodia. We pretty much popped in to see Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. Some of the temples are stunning and some are just a tourist attraction. We got up to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat and began a day of mass temple hopping. We had a tuk tuk take us around all the temples for a day, which was quite convenient since it was muggy and hot the whole time we were there. The best temples were definitely Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, and Phnom Kulen. The sites were stunning, but the children trying to sell you ridiculous things (like flutes, book, and violins) got annoying after the first 2 temples. The next day was spent figuring out how to get back into Laos, and then we finally met up with Katie and Mark! Yes, that's right... we finally met up!
Our meeting point was Vang Vieng, one of the most fun, crazy, and social towns I've ever been to. Picture a wide, lazy river with bamboo bars along the edges. At each
Another stop on temple hopping day at Phnom Kulen. There were a bunch these river carvings about 50 km out of town, which meant less tourists. yay!
bar there are swings, trapezes, platforms and zip lines all going into the water. My inner child was definitely out to play the whole time we were there. To get to all these bars you rent an inner tube and float down the river. Every time you find a place you want to get out, people from the shore throw you a bamboo stick and pull you out of the water. The day is spent hanging out with everyone on the docks and floating whenever the crowd get moving. I went tubing three times (it was that good!) and the last 2 times were by far the best, but the first was the funniest. We went tubing on Christmas day, so everywhere you look you see people floating in swimsuits while wearing santa hats. It was the funnies sight ever and most people agreed it was the most non- Christmasy Christmas ever. On the last 2 days we got a group of 20 or so backpackers and did a massive float trip together. We had an Israeli guy named Roni as the ringleader and pretty much took over the river. I got my far share of battle wounds from climbing
Time to fuel up!
One of the high class gas stations in Cambodia (but they have these in Laos too). Yes those are bottles of booze filles with gas. You pull up and they dump in however much you need. Go third world!
around the rocks, landing off the swing horribly (they are pretty high up, anywhere from 20 to 35 feet), and being attacked by my inner tube nozzle. But I was nothing compared to the guys doing flips off the trapezes, hanging by their knees or feet, and trying to fit 2 people on a swing at once. Most of the time we'd float all the way to town on our little tubes, but on the last 2 days day we stayed out until 5 and it got so cold that we got out half way and took motorbikes and tuk tuks back. I have never seen a place like this and wish you could all go play around the river for a day.
Because the town is so small (1 main road a few branching off that) you meet a ton of people and do your activities with them. The area also had a ton of caves that you can go explore on your own. One of these way a water cave, so me Katie, Matt, Mark and an Israeli couple decided to try it out. You get a ghetto headlamp, tube and float along the cave by a
We found this little tractor on the side of the road and felt the need to take a picture. These types of tractor are all that is used in Laos. They drive on the highways and anywhere they want and top out at about 15 miles per hour.
rope. At some point you need to get out and crawl with your tube and at other times the cave gets so wide you can paddle through it. Another cave we went to with this same group stretched back so far that on the way back to sunlight we almost got lost. Thank god we found some other people who hired a guide and followed them out. There are so many mountains around this town that the caving is endless, but there are only so many caves you can see in 2 days.
Me and Katie left for Luang Prabang before new years (Matt and mark and now in Thailand) with a few people we met in Vang Vieng. There's not much to do around here and since it's Christmas/New Years travel season, there are a TON of families, old people and couples around here. It's definitely not a backpackers city. But it is very relaxing and has great food. Me and Katie got massages and went to a really beautiful waterfall. Now we are going to take a slow boat to the Thai/Laos border to go visit the Gibbon Experience. More details (and pictures) will definitely follow. I
Beer Lao Boat!
One of the bars needed to get some more cases of beer on Christmas day, so they came across on a little boat with a crazy Dutch man driving it.
hope everyone had a great New Year and is back in full force!
There are more photos below