Published: July 26th 2012July 23rd 2012
Will post pics later! Most are on other camera...
We hadn't originally planned to come to Laos but we were persuaded by the many tales from backpackers about how good the Tubing was (on a tube down a river stopping at river bars!) so we thought we would give it a go and besides, it meant another cool stamp in our passports!
We got the overnight train from Bangkok and this time we were in the much better lower bunks, so slept very well indeed! We arrived a couple of hours late into the border of Thailand and Laos. We sorted our visas out and got a shuttle train over the friendship bridge into Laos which was cool because it ran actually onto tracks in the middle of the main road whilst the traffic was stopped!
We arrived in Laos and got to Vietienne late afternoon. After some grub we found our hotel and headed to the mighty Mekong river for sunset.... Amazing!!!! We then sat in a bar and got talked at by the emotional bar manager who just split from girlfriend... Then we chatted for ages to a lovely Ozzie dad on holiday with his kids.
Next morning, Tash wasn't feeling great and had the runs and also was very sick (not a hangover surprisingly enough!!) We got in our minibus for the 6 hour journey to Vang Vien - tubing town! Tash really wasn't feeling well which made the journey hellish for her as the driver was a lunatic. We eventually arrived after trace had some randoms wanting their picture with her, and found our hostel - Central Backpackers! It was fab and a lovely huge room! Tash then slept for the rest of the day with severe stomach cramps and she took the antibiotics we had brought to try and help as it seemed like she had a bad travel bug or some dodgy water. Next day Tash was still in pain and laid up so we just chilled in the hostel, drugging her up.
Finally on the 3rd day, Tash was back in the room!!! Thank god for the drugs and Tracy's patient nursing. Not bad that after 3 months traveling, this was only the 2nd time one of us got sick.
So... Tubing! Some of you may know that tubing has a dodgy reputation with tourists dying whilst doing it as water and alcohol don't mix but we were unperturbed! We met a lovely couple called Paige and Paul who were our pals throughout the day, Picked up our tubes and immediately were transported across the river to the bar - bucket time!!!!!
After a couple and after meeting a tiny tame monkey (so cute!) the bar got crowded and the party started. We jumped on our tubes and floated down to the next bar where they throw bottles attached to ropes at you to haul you in. If you dont see it, then its a big bump on the head! Ha ha!
The third bar was where we actually saw why people might die here! There was a 6 meter dive platform there, into brown, murky water with rocks a mere meter away... Paul and Trace just got to the top and jumped safely, except that Trace disappeared under for about 8 seconds and thankfully resurfaced a few meters down... Scared the shit out of Tash!!! Tash and Paige were a little more reluctant but eventually jumped off. It was great fun but boys were flinging themselves off right by the rocks so you can see why accidents happen. Apparently 22 people died last year - not a fact that they advertise as its SO much fun!!! Next bar had a trapeze rope to fling yourself off from which was awesome and Tash loved it although the buckets put paid to any strength in her arms!!
She noticed some guy wearing flip flops like hers and thought, "ooo they are like mine!" not noticing that it was a bloke wearing girls flip flops and TASHA'S flip flops!!!! He disappeared so Trace just stole someone else's flip flops for her! Result!!! Prefect fit too! So we carried on drinking and having a blast but it started to get dark so we thought we should float on down to the end. Along the way we encountered three idiot girls swimming down the river without tubes, one of whom couldn't bloody swim!!!! We latched her onto our tubes and, in the dark, finally found the exit point in the dark. Awesome fun!!! Tash then got everyone to sing rugby songs in the back of the tuk tuk, then we got some food before heading to the main river bars in town - bucket bar and smile bar... The rest is a bit of a blur but we know we had a great time!!! A big YES to tubing!!!
Next day we got a beautiful scenic drive to Luang Prubang, with a delightful hangover... LP was a lovely lovely town so we went to the markets and ate some awesome street food.. Yum yum and cheap too at only 4quid between us. Next day was our flight to Cambodia - Siem Reap. The airplane was an old school prop plane... But we survived! Big thumbs up to Laos!!!