Blogs from Ban Houayxay, West, Laos, Asia - page 3


Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay February 4th 2008

From Chiang Mai we made our way to the border crossing to Laos. We were kind of ripped off on our pre-booked 'border crossing' package - it was just a guest house that took a service fee on the visa. It was obvious that they hadn't cleaned the rooms or sheets in a while... The next day getting the visa was chaotic as Huay Xai is not well equipped to handle the volume of travellers it is getting. Laos has only been open to tourists for about 4-5 years so everyone is rushing in to see it. The boat down the Mekong river was a cool experience. The Mekong is grouped with the Amazon as likely the two most ecologically diverse river systems in the world. You can see crazy pictures of the 8-10 feet long ... read more
Mekong River
Mekong River

Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay January 29th 2008

Somehow we managed to choose the one day of the dry season that it rained to catch a boat 6hours down the Mekong River....and it didn't just rain, it poured. We were woken up at about 4am by rain bucketing down and it still hadn't subsided when we boarded at 10am...and it continued ALL day. The slow boat is one of the 'must do' trips in Laos. It’s basically a 2 day ride down the Mekong River from Huay Xai (on the Thai border) to Luang Prabang in Northern/Central Laos. We had read many horror stories about the trip as the boats tend to be packed full of tourists until they practically overflow - there’s no guarantee of getting a seat, and all the available space is used, including inside the engine room. In order to ... read more
Mekong River
View from Pak Beng in the Morning
'Jetty' in Pak Beng

Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay January 17th 2008

Une longue épopée vers la frontière De Chiang Mai, nous partons en bus pour le village frontalier de Chiang Khong, que nous atteindrons au bout de neuf heures de trajet, en milieu de soirée. Le poste de frontière n’étant ouvert que la journée, nous passons la nuit dans ce village atypique qui longe de tout son long le fleuve du Mékong, qui marque en fait la frontière physique entre la Thaïlande et le Laos. Ce sera une ‘longue’ histoire entre le Mékong et nous, mais cela nous l’ignorons encore ! Après une courte nuit dans notre auberge qui donnait sur la rivière, où le propriétaire nous avait installés dans un bungalow surnommé « lune de miel », qui était en réalité un charmant petit taudis en bois, nous nous sommes levés aux aurores pour passer la frontière. Nous avons ... read more
Julie admirant le coucher du soleil au-delà  de la rive laotienne
Pont d'embarquement d'Huay Xai
L'intérieur de notre luxueuse demeure

Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay December 29th 2007

Saturday December, 29th 2007 I’m taking the bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong, last city before the border. There is a bus every half hour. The bus is already full so, it leaves 10 minutes ahead of schedule. I’m standing at the rear on pretty crowded floor but I cannot go in the alley as my head would touch the ceiling though I’m not tall by European standards. The border crossing is easy and without any problem. On the Laotian side, Huay Xai doesn’t offer much except for a small pagoda and the herbal sauna and massage, but the sunset over Mekong is something good. ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay December 2nd 2007

I'm not sure where Ria left you but I'll start with our second day in Laos. We had arrived in Houayxai (who-ate-si) the day before and had experienced a slightly more pricey version of Laos than we were expecting. Alas this was to continue as we were herded aboard our "romantic, slow boat" ready for our trip down the Mekong to Louang Prabang. We had negotiated with the local bank clerk for a 3% charge to withdraw money using our visa card at a rate which I'm sure was well below what we should've been receiving. NOTE to anyone travelling in Laos, there ARE ATMs (at least one in all major cities), however none of them accept VISA, they will take mastercard etc. But there is usually a charge, followed by the charge from your own ... read more
Getting full and yet people are still getting on
Just leaving Houayxai
Local boats

Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay November 30th 2007

Our next station in the Southeast Asian cherry-picking tour brought us directly from Siem Reap to Luang Prabang in Laos. You think that Laos is remote and that few travelers would spend their dollars in this obscure country? Forget it... it is almost as packed with tourists as every corner of Southeast Asia! There are less tourists than in Thailand and because Laos is landlocked you won't find the beach tourists here but sometimes we wish these governments would never had softened visa regulations... this would vastly reduce tourism! Nevertheless, don't believe we are not enjoying our trip or that we would not encourage you this visit this part of the world... just be prepared to bump into your neighbour! ;-) The town of Luang Prabang is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site (by the ... read more
Luang Prabang - Tuk tuk
Luang Prabang - Lao food
Luang Prabang - White  skin is considered priettier in Asia!

Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay October 26th 2007

As always, I hope all is well with you and yours. hmm, it seems like i disappeared for a while, well I am back (until I disappear again)! I am currently in Vietnam, Hanoi to be exact, where I will be for a few days resting and catching up on things before I head North towards the Chinese border. I just spent a month traveling in Laos, mostly in the North and mostly by boat. i also did several "treks" to hill tribe villages. I will try to "piece" together a few different blogs to tell you about the experience. Hopefully, I will be able to go through and edit the 1,000s of photos that I took so I can include them in the blogs. Before I forget, for all you beer drinkers I think that ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay October 23rd 2007

Day 15 - Monday 15 October 2007 Today we cross the border into Laos (pronounced Lao). Crossing was a pretty easy affair. After making the 1k trip from our guesthouse to the border we joined the queue to get our exit stamp. When we arrived we were surprised to see the Danish couple from the trekking also in the queue. They'd actually arrived at 3am to find everything shut up and deserted so had to sit on a bench until morning. Russ went to one booth and got charged 5 Baht for his exit stamp, I went to the next one and didn't pay anything. Thats how things work over here. Once we had our exit stamps we walked down the river and paid our 20 B plus an extra 10 B for our bags for ... read more
The slow boat
Down the Mekong 2
Local Kids playing by the river

Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay October 8th 2007

Left Chaing Rai early to get to the Chaing Khong: Huay Xai border. We got a local bus again only cost us 2 quid to Chaing Khong, we then decided to sort an on the spot visa out with a local travel agent with the boat ride over to Laos included in the 1600 baht.(just over 15 quid). All went smootly until we reached Huay Xai, where basically the travel agent had given me, Neal and 2 dutch ladies back our passports with visa forms and a wad of american dollars to pay for the visas. But he'd sold us short, and after much debate we had to cough up the difference with only worked out 6 quid each for me and neal but more for the dutch ladies because of the exchange rate. Thjis was ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay October 5th 2007

Brochure TextDay 5 Mekong River: Travel through Thai Immigration, which is only a couple of 100 meters away, then cross the Mekong by boat to Ban Houaysai and the Lao Immigration. Begin your journey down the Mekong by slow boat, stopping overnight in Pakbeng. OK, so this computer is so slow I've not uploaded all my photos, and the blogs I wrote up on the boat today - I've left the SD-card converter in the hotel, so tomorrow (probably!) in Luang Prabang... Meantime, go and see if I can put my Mosquito net up and try not to get more Deet all over my mouth... Friday 5th A very early start today! Alarm goes off 610am - Cassandra first to use the 'interesting' shower. I get up 630am - ready for breakfast 710am - mm - ... read more
Getting to the Thai border...
Bye hotel...
Through the town!

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