Blogs from East, Laos, Asia


Asia » Laos » East » Plain of Jars March 21st 2015

My pickup finally arrived at Laos Haven Hotel, half an hour late, in a beat-up old bus. He dropped me off at the bus station where I was told as I was the only person travelling from Vang Vieng to Phonsavan that day, I had to wait for the local bus travelling through from Vientiane to arrive. I couldn't pin him down to an arrival time - 'sometimes early, sometimes late' is as good as it got. So, the ticket I bought for a seat on an air conditioned mini bus has now become a much cheaper seat on an un-airconditioned local bus, but nothing I can do about that. When it finally arrived, I was relieved to see one vacant seat along the back row, which I claimed, and I was the only Westerner on ... read more
The Plain of Jars - Site 1
Hmong Village outside Phonsavan
Hmong Village outside Phonsavan

Asia » Laos » East » Plain of Jars December 20th 2013

Aujourd'hui, changement de guesthouse. Pas de chambre pour 3, alors on se prend une chambre double. Un lit pour 3, au-moins on a des chances d'avoir moins froid et en plus ils nous ont prêté une couette en plus, eux. Un café vite avalé et on part pour la plaine des jarres. La Plaine des Jarres, ben, euh, c'est une plaine avec... des jarres. L'intérêt, c'est que comme les Moaïs de l'Ile de Pâques ou l'alignement de menhirs à Carnac, un grand mystère entoure ses jarres. Elles seraient vieilles de 2000 ou 3000 ans et plusieurs versions existent pour expliquer leur présence. Tout d'abord, il faut préciser que l'on n'a retrouvé ces jarres que dans cette région précise du Laos, à l'Est du pays, et que sa proximité avec le Vietnam fait que cette région a ... read more
Plaine des Jarres (site n°2)

Asia » Laos » East » Phonsavan December 19th 2013

Hello. 8h30 du mat, tuk-tuk jusqu'à la gare routière. On part en minivan à Phonsavan, dans l'Est du pays à une petite centaine de kilomètres de la frontière avec le Vietnam. La ville se trouve dans les montagnes à 1200m d'altitude. Il faut 6 heures pour y aller. Le trajet est plutôt sympa avec de jolis paysages et une image plus réaliste du vrai Laos. Mais la route est plutôt cabossée et comme toute route de montagne, elle n'est pas en ligne droite. Beaucoup, beaucoup, beaucoup de virages. A croire qu'il leur restait du goudron à dépenser. Heureusement je ne crains pas les routes de montagne mais le chauffeur me racontait qu'ici les chauffeurs sont obligés de prévoir les sacs plastique car il y a souvent des personnes qui s'amusent à déposer une gerbe... mais pas ... read more

Asia » Laos » East » Phonsavan August 2nd 2013

The 8 hour bus ride from Luang Prabang to Phonsavan allowed us to see in amongst the hills and valleys we has seen from the slow boat. Outside of the city this presented a very different side of Laos. Houses are wooden with bamboo roofs mostly raised off the ground. Children and adults shower in a communal area and food is eaten on the ground. Chickens, pigs and buffalo roam seemingly freely and cows sit outside the houses, some tethered, some not, as if like dogs near the front door. Phonsavan is the gateway town to the Plain of Jars, an iron age archaeological landscape comprising of clusters of stone 'jars', the original use of which is open to some debate. We visited sites 1&3 of the 3 main sites and saw jars of between 1-2 ... read more
Jars at site 3
Jars at site 3

Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua July 27th 2013

Another bus journey… This time we chose to go during the day though. The bus was supposed to leave at 8am from the Northern Station, but thanks to a guy working at the bus station in the centre we would be picked up from the centre instead! He said it was no problem at all, he would just divert the bus for us. Wow! How nice was that! As we were waiting for our bus I thought that maybe he forgot to do that after all as it was 9am and the bus was nowhere to be found yet (we were supposed to leave at 8am). But eventually it came a few minutes after – funny yellow minibus packed with locals and their stuff. At the beginning it looked like we might have to fight over ... read more
incredible limestone formations in Viengxai
local women going to the market in Sam Neua
huge cave in Viengxai

Asia » Laos » East » Phonsavan July 21st 2013

The original plan was to take a usual (meaning sitting) bus to Phonsavan but since we left the booking for the last moment it appeared that we had missed the only sitting bus that day already so we were left with a choice of either staying another night somewhere in Vientiane and leaving the next morning or taking a sleeping bus the same evening instead. We really wanted to move on further so after bargaining on the price a bit, in the end we chose the latter. We were picked up from our hotel and on the way to the bus station we realised that we were missing the best sunset in Asia so far! Every evening I was hoping that finally we would see some decent sunset (as they have been quite disappointing until now) ... read more
at Jars site no.2
Plain of Jars site no.3
old bullet made into a lighter...

Asia » Laos » East July 14th 2013

Hi! We have arrived in Vietnam now after a THIRTY hour bus journey haha!! We drove for seven hours and then so typical of Asian people they just stopped the bus at this random bus stop/hotel thing from 2am - 5am to wait for the border to open. Nobody told us what we were waiting for though and nobody told us this was going to happen when we bought the bus ticket haha! Anyway at 5 we sat off again but only for about 20 mins, then we had to go on foot to get our passports stamped, which was such a walk away! Then when we did all of that we had to all unload out bags and carry them literally 20 metres over the actual border from Laos to Vietnam and then we had ... read more
All the girls!

Asia » Laos » East » Sam Neua March 27th 2013

In our effort to experience the real Laos, we hopped on the bus to Sam Neua in east Laos. Trying to get off the beaten track wasn't really comfortable and wasn't that cheap either. After exhausting 16 hours on the bus, we arrived to a small town in the middle of mountains and dense forests. Coming to the mountains pretty much means we spent the whole time on a bus bumping up and down and left and right as the journey is just turns and cliffs and downhills and uphills and more turns and luckily for lots of people on the bus, there are vomiting plastic bags available in an unlimited amount. Only a few tourists come here to Sam Neua, usually only to change a bus and cross the border to Vietnam. We definitely didn't ... read more
Ashtray in a local village. The Vietnam was reminiscent
Passing through Vang Vieng
Picture 1159

Asia » Laos » East March 14th 2013

We were up early - that morning the gates of the guesthouse were unlocked - and rattling along in a tuktuk to the bus station to catch the 'express' bus to Phonsavan. Our bus (120,000 kip each) certainly didn't look much like the shiny VIP express bus - destination Vientiane - that it was parked beside it at the bus station. Not much more than a run down rattly local bus - the air conditioning that we had been sold the previous day comprised of open windows. But the seats were comfortable and it left on time packed with locals and with a total of six Western tourists (Michael and Emily from England, Marty and Carolyn from Canada plus us) on board. We followed the highway towards Vientiane - a pretty drive with lots a curves ... read more
Plain of Jars site 1 - largest site
Plain of Jars site 3
Wedding car in the dust of Phonsovan

Asia » Laos » East » Phonsavan February 26th 2013

February 25, 2013 Phansavan was a whole new experience then anything I’ve explored so far. This place is raw. The landscape is a lot like central Oregon and the high dessert. The air is colder, enough to need shoes and a sweater. Layers of dust are now mixed in with the usual exhaust that coats your lungs. We are 3 of maybe 30 falangs (foreigners) in the whole city which is a new experience compared to all the touristy places in SE Asia. That’s exactly what I wanted but it’s a new feeling having every person you walk by stare at you. Phansavan filled me with so many different emotions its hard to know exactly what I’m feeling. What drew us to this city were ‘The plain of jars’. All three of us were intrigued by ... read more

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