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Asia » Laos » North » Luang Namtha July 21st 2015

Sarah: On our last night in Luang Prabang we revisited the same wine bar from the previous evening (they give free nuts, try and keep us away!). A carafe of chilled Merlot later and we were ready to find some dinner. We wandered the nice relaxed streets of the old town before settling on a busy looking restaurant on one of the main streets. We still had an appetite for Lao food and so went for some local dishes: a delicious vermicelli noodle dish for Nick and a simple but yummy fish stew for me. The next morning was our third early morning in a row to get our minibus north to Luang Nam Tha. Whilst waiting for our brekkie 45 minutes before our departure time the owner of the guesthouse (who had sorted out our ... read more
The trek begins!
Enjoying the trek
Lunchtime!

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Ngoi Neua May 13th 2015

With Guillaume joining Hayley and I for breakfast we decided that we would spend the day together as long as it didn't involve anything too strenuous! Popping out along the high street after breakfast we stocked up on some much needed provisions. While there we bumped into a couple of travellers we had met on the boat - a man from Australia and a lady from France who had been travelling together for the last week or so. Chatting with them about the day ahead they decided to join us. Finding the head boat man for the village and doing a bit of bargaining we got a good deal to get a boat for the day. Deciding to travel up the Nam ou river to visit a couple of villages and kayak back, we headed off ... read more

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Ngoi Neua May 12th 2015

After getting a better nights sleep than what I expected on a tired old mattress I headed over to meet the others for breakfast. Being presented with a nice cup of tea and a nutella pancake it was a good start to the day. Sitting with Samsonouk ( the name of the homestay as well as being run by Samsonouk and her son ) while she knitted a new fishing net out of plastic strands from an old sack we sat and all had a go. Very fiddily and very difficult, we never really got the hang of it so before tieing it in too many knotts we handed it back to the expert. While sitting and discussing the day ahead Hayley, Angela and myself were offered the chance to go and see a snake. Samsonouks ... read more

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Ngoi Neua May 9th 2015

After a good nights sleep and coming to the conclusion that the trekking tours they offer here are far too expensive and that the only option left is to go exploring ourselves, that's what we did! So, with Katya deciding not to travel any further north which was a real shame we parted company. Saying goodbye to my last travel buddy from the 2 day Mekong river trip was sad. Had spent a really lovely time together exploring Laos. I was happy to continue north for a few days as was Hayley so we would be leaving Nong Khiaw today at 1pm to go to Muang Ngoi. Katya and I went out for breakfast together and had a really nice chat over a bowl of porridge/muesli then walked back to the guesthouse to say our goodbyes. ... read more

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Ngoi Neua May 9th 2015

Today started as yesterday ended by sitting and doing some research on the trekking options around the local area. Muang Ngoi is very small with not many people around that speak English - there are a couple of tour agencies but many places seem deserted as its low season. Hayley found a very good website wiki travel which gave very concise instruction for trekking round this area. So over breakfast we wrote down a couple of pointers and reduced down our big rucksacks to a day sack as only planning on staying one or two nights in a village. After buying some provisions we were on our way. Walking for approx half an hour we made it to some caves so popped in to have a quick look - and payed the entrance fee! Heading on ... read more

Asia » Laos » North April 14th 2015

After wishing farewell to Vietnam we headed through no man's land to Laos. A few miles down the road we hopped off the bus and were directed to Laos immigration. Obtaining our Laos Visa on Arrival and entry stamp was a rather long winded affair involving queuing at three different windows to see three different officials. Each official was running their own side line business asking for an extra dollar or two as an "admin charge". Whilst this is quite annoying, as the visa itself costs a fair bit and we know this money goes straight in their pockets, the officials were so friendly that we just found the process rather amusing. In the end, we paid an extra $4 each, half in US dollars and half in Lao Kip. Getting back in the bus we ... read more
Arriving at Muang Ngoi Nhua
Celebrating with a Beer Lao
Rustic street in Muang Ngoi Nhua

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Ngoi Neua March 7th 2015

Passing the border to Laos was, as Cambodia, not without a scam! Knowing a visa costs 30 dollars and you have five dollars of admission fee, we took only the amount mentioned needed on the governements website. Of course when we arrived at the border they asked 35 dollars for the visa, two dollars extra because it was a Saturday, two dollars of admission fee and three dollars to get your passport back. This really pissed us off, as now we didn't had enough to pay for these additional fees and felt after all not that smart only having the exact amount. Luckily, a very nice couple of Chile borrowed us the missing dollars to get our passports back! Happy to arrive at our first stop in Laos, Muang Kwa, after 18 hours laying as a ... read more
Muang Kwa - Nam River
Message at Hostel for boattrip to Nong Khiaw
Information for boattrip on the door of the tourism information centre

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Ngoi Neua February 24th 2015

So much has happened in the past couple of weeks that it would be impossible to condense it all into a blog entry without writing a dissertation. In summary: In luang nam tha I cycled to a waterfall out of town. The journey took me through some local villages and impossibly green rice paddies and agricultural areas. After luang nam tha I returned to Huay Xai. Here I embarked on the gibbon experience. It lasted for three days and it was exhilarating. I ziplined at dizzying heights over dense jungle (this was fun in the dark at 5.30 in the morning), trekked, jumped in a freezing waterfall pool, stayed for the night in (apparently) the tallest treehouse in the world, enjoyed bamboo soup which the guide had rustled up from the jungle and managed to stomach ... read more

Asia » Laos » North » Luang Namtha February 9th 2015

From Chiang Mai I made my way to Chiang rai, which is further north. I found this guesthouse which had a strong, laid back, reggae vibe. My room was little more than a shack indoors with holes between the wooden slats forming the wall. But it was a social place and it was character building. The guesthouse had a bar lounge area and I met several cool people there over drinks which led to a woozy head in the morning and on one occasion bile in the toilet. My lonely planet guide told me that I shouldn't expect the highest standards of service from the place given its super chilled vibe. Well it could say that again: on my last night a member of staff became embroiled in a brawl with a customer over the bar ... read more
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Asia » Laos » North » Muang Sing February 1st 2015

well...despite the dusty surrounding, walking still seem not a bad option in Muang Sing, walking allow me more time to look closely whatever behind fence and bush, chance to run into village stupa's day and deity's day. Armed with a local map got name of the villages, together will GPS and google map, I guess I was well equipped. but I had forgot the human factor. one day I stupidy walk inside the sugarcane bush, trying to through a shortcut that shown on the google map but seem not exist in the actual real location, hey...I had GPS, no problem! trail turn to path then...nothing, only wild bush of sugarcane, checked the GPS, the blue dot in line, the right direction in my non-exist field. I told myself "not far" so I kept go ahead, stepping ... read more
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making brown sugar
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