Published: September 8th 2012September 8th 2012
So after our very long 3 day 2 night journey from Thailand to Laos we were both in need of a shower and a good feed. We had met lots of people on the boat and so we all checked into the same hostel Xayana and we arranged to meet for dinner.
On the way to dinner Ian stopped at an ATM to get some cash and the machine swallowed his card, nightmare when your seriously dehydrated and STARVING!! Because we had to head straight to an internet cafe and call the bank to cancel the card etc which seemed to take forever lol but we got it sorted and met up with the rest for food.
The next day myself, Ian, Marie, Ria, Gill and Hugh rented bicycles and decided to cycle to the only public pool here, we were only on the bikes five mins when the heavens opened by the time we got to the pool we were soaked! Funny thing we've come to realize is its NOT high season, we got to the pool to find most of the cool parts like the swim up bar and jacuzzi were all under construction
so we had no choice but to hop into the kids pool and have a water fight with some local kids haha
That night we headed to Lao Lao garden for drinks and Luke and conor joined us there too. Surprisingly Laos is so different to Thailand, in Laos there are signs everywhere saying no holding hands, no kissing in public etc where as in Thailand you have ladyboys all around you inviting you to ping pong shows. Also everything here closes at 11 and all the locals must be indoors before midnight. But as you leave the bars all the tuk tuk drivers are shouting bowling bowling you go bowling so as we left Lao Lao garden the 8 of us decided we would see what all this was about. The tuk tuk drove for 30 mins into the middle of no where until we arrived at the most modern bowling alley we had seen in ages haha basically they drive all the tourists out here to the middle of no where and serve drink til 2 am and your not disturbing any locals. We had a brill night but yet again we were one of only 4
groups there coz its NOT high season lol
The following day we arranged to meet at 11.30 to get a tuk tuk to the waterfall, pretty sure after buckets, shots and Laos beers most of the gang were still drunk or severely hungover the journey in the tuk tuk which is a trailer with two benches winding around the mountains for an hour was rough...there may have been a stop or two for some sick passengers lol
But the waterfall was fantastic, not only was it beautiful there was also swimming areas and we all plucked up the courage to swing of ropes from trees into the water and also jump of the top of the waterfall it was such a fun day. There was also a bear sanctuary there but it looked a bit cruel lots of beautiful black bears stuffed into cages. We managed to get through the day with only 2 minor injuries, Laura's grazed arm and conors black eye after his collision with gill lol!! The tuk tuk journey home was just as bad.
That night we took it easy with dinner and drinks in this cool bar called Utopia, its situated overlooking
the river and it has giant jenga, a volleyball court and really comfy chairs and cushions. The following day we decided to charter a boat and head to the Pak Ou caves and the Whiskey village. We headed down to the river and agreed on a price of 50,000 kip each for the day even though he wanted 60,000 from us and hopped on a beautiful slow boat and we all kicked back ready to relax on the river for an hour. But about 15 mins in the boat pulls over and the guy switches off the engine he walks down to have a look then comes back saying uh oh!! Broke down! He phones a friend and then tells us his friend will come take us on a speedboat we were all worried as we had heard the horror stories about these speed boats and we had seen them zip past us at crazy speeds. We agreed as we had no choice but then the guy turns the engine back on and drove us to the other side of the river....we thought the boat was broken? He then said friend want 60,000 kip each for trip now haha we
knew we had been scammed but what could we do we were stuck. Next thing this tiny boat with a motor on the back pulled up with only 7 helmets so one of us would have to go without (Connor lol) then we all squeezed on and held on for dear life as he ripped along the Mekong for 30 mins when we finally reached the caves (which were a huge let down) we had dead legs and white knuckles. After 10 mins of exploring The tiny whole in the wall which took like 300 steep steps to get to we climbed back into our speed boat to go to the whisky village. This was a tiny village on the side of the Mekong where they make lethal whiskeys an the lads got to try a few we think Laura's dad and her uncle Paul would have loved this! There was also lots of stalls selling beautiful handmade scarfs and bags so Laura and the other girls picked up a few things! After another trip on the speedboat we were finally back on land and happy to be alive!! That night we had a few quiet drinks as we said
goodbye to the gang as they headed to Vang vieng for tubing.
We decide to take it easy for the last few days here as we were both wrecked and we had checked into a lovely new guesthouse Hoxieng 1 as the other one had booked up. We were enjoying chilling in the local cafes eating bagels and scones etc. Then yesterday we decided to rent the bicycles again and go for a ride around the town. Ian had heard you could get your visa card back from the bank so we went there and got his card back even though its no use to us we found out you cannot uncancel a card oh well!
On the way back to our guesthouse I noticed 2 men pass me a couple of times on a motorbike and they kept looking back at me but I didn't cop what was about to happen. We have both been so careful only carrying backpacks with locks on the zips but today I had decided to wear my new flimsy handmade Laos bag and it was swinging at my side as we cycled around. Next thing I felt a hand at my
back and the motorbike was right beside me I screamed but the bag was ripped off me in seconds. Ian who was cycling just in front of me guiding me through the traffic on the road heard me scream but it happend so fast he took off after them but it was no use. We made a statement with the police and we were both in shock but we're both fine. All they got was my phone and camera there was no money or cards or passports so it could of been a lot worse. We were just raging. The family in our guesthouse have been so nice to us too making sure we're OK. We're not going to let it upset us though these things happen everyday and I made myself a prime suspect its back to backpacks and locked zips now lol
Today we are just having a lazy day catching up on he blog and packing the bags again as we fly to Hanoi in Vietnam tomorrow to meet up with our bestest friend Orlagh :-)
Bye for now!!
Ian & Laura xx
There are more photos below