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Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng May 20th 2015

With not much else for Vang Vieng to offer us, Kate and I decided to begin our descent of Laos. With not wanting to stop over again in the capital - Vientiane - the next obvious place seemed to be a small town on the west side called savannakhet. This would mean partaking in a 16hr coach journey to get there! So, after a lovely breakfast of my new favourite thing ( muesli and yoghurt) we booked our tickets at the tour company next door. Chilling out and buying a few foodie bits for the trip we got picked up at 1ish to be taken to the bus station - bus stations are rarely in the town centres here, instead anything up to 10-15km on the outskirts. Getting our seats on a coach along with about ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng May 16th 2015

After reading up a little bit on Vang Vieng and the surrounding caves we decided to go and see a few. So after breakfast Kate and i wandered down the road to hire a couple of pushbikes, as each of the caves was only a few kilometres out from town - and the exercise would do us good! For just over £1 for the day we rode off with a map on a couple of ok looking mountain bikes. Heading firstly in the direction of the blue lagoon cave. We turned off the main road and crossed a couple of bridges before joining a very off road road - More akin to a dusty, dirt track on the south downs way! After cycling for only 7km - but on those tracks and in the relentless 35 ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane May 15th 2015

The very early hours of today started as yesterday ended, generally trying desperately to sleep in a seemingly impossible situation! The bus finally came to its first stop at 01.30 ?dinner time! Filing out the cramped bus and into a waiting restaurant, we were all served up soup containing dubious pieces of ?meat and noodles. I was trying to enjoy it until someone noticed a huge spider under my chair, carrying a half eaten butterfly! Suddenly my appetite disappeared. Squeezing back on the bus we carried on our journey. I don't recall lying awake all night, so must of managed to nod off a few times until finally waking at 5ish with a migraine! With my medication being in my bag in the hold there wasn't a lot I could do other than throw up and ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng May 15th 2015

Waking up and feeling much better after a good nights kip, kate and I decided that Vientiane didn't have a lot to offer and that maybe we should leave. So after walking to the end of the road to have some breakfast and then out to see the Mekong - which is a somewhat disappointing sight from the capital city, we booked our seats to Vang Vieng for 13.30. Grabbing some drinks and biscuits for the 4-5 hour minibus ride we were picked up sharp and then on our way. Sitting up front ( ive travelled in the back on enough roads in Laos!) it was quite an enjoyable journey. With the scenery dramatically changing from flat back to the lovely limestone hills of the north. With windy - but not too bumpy roads we travelled ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane May 15th 2015

At first glance, Laos can seem expensive until you remember that 6,500 Kip approximately equals $1 Canadian. The government appears to be working hard to improve the lives of the people in Laos. This includes improving nutrition for children, as well as health care. The country has been polio-free for several years and is working on eradicating measles although it isn't easy to reach some of the mountain tribes for vaccination, something the mountain people aren't necessarily enthusiastic about. The government has recently passed a new law to regulate alcoholic beverages. Venues offering these cannot be located near healthcare and education centers, state offices, religious venues, embassies, public parks, opera houses, passenger vehicle stations, petrol stations, sports complexes, and factories, which must limit possibilities. In addition, advertisements for alcoholic be... read more
Patuxay
Patuxay view
Plain of Jars

Asia » Laos » West » Nong Khiaw May 14th 2015

After spending a few very enjoyable days in the north of Laos today id decided to begin my descent. Firstly meeting up with the group from yesterday for breakfast and saying goodbye only to Guillaume as all the others were leaving today also. So, getting the boat at 09.30 we arrived back in Nong Khiaw just over an hour later. Jumping in a songtheaw we were driven to the bus station to get a connecting bus back to Luang prabang. Feeling pretty unwell on a 4hr journey that seemed more like 8hrs we had finally arrived. Walking a short distance with Hayley, Craig and crystal we found a perfectly good hostel to book ourselves into for a night or so. Chilling out for an hour or two I stayed put while the others popped out for ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 14th 2015

My main objective for today was to catch up with my blog. Two weeks had easily escaped me and the poor WiFi connections. I suppose you cant really expect too many of lifes little luxuries when you're in the middle of nowhere. So in the middle of catching up with them I also managed to do a hand wash and eat a baguette that Hayley had popped out to get me. With a bit of cabin fever setting in Craig, Hayley, Betty ( a girl travelling from the UK) and I headed out for some dinner. With Craig having sprained his ankle last night it was crutches and tuks everywhere - poor thing. After a bit of a disappointing meal at an indian restaurant I saw someone I knew walk past. Rushing out to call after ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 14th 2015

Today was writing up blog day x2! Before heading south to meet Kate. I headed out late morning with Hayley, Betty and Craig to find something to eat, book my night bus ticket for tonight and get a few provisions for the journey. After a nice breakfast we left Craig in situ while we went for a little walk around the town. Walking back to the hostel after getting all our bits done, I caught up again with my writing. After saying a sad goodbye to my travel buddy - Hayley - i got picked up at 19.00 to be driven to the bus station. While waiting our turn for the sleeper bus I chatted with a nice lady travelling on her own from the Czech republic - who happened to be my bed buddy for ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng May 12th 2015

On May 11th we drove from Luang Prabang along a steep new road through the mountains that cut two hours off the older route to Vang Vieng. It was cool and very misty but we caught glimpses of impressive views as the mist rolled around. Before we reached the mountains we passed many rice fields and also visited a mixed race village of Hmong, Lao, and Khmu people. On different sides during recent conflicts, the government is obviously working to unite the different groups. The village school children were on a break and we created much interest. They giggled when Keith showed them photos of themselves and it was a pleasure to see them active and playing as at a couple of Lao villages we visited along the Mekong the young children had been sitting vacantly ... read more
Mountain short cut
Karst limestone topography
Sunset (almost)

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 10th 2015

There seems to be a correlation between the number of steps we have to climb to reach the village, the Buddah, the temple, the cave, our hotel, breakfast, etc., with the number of degrees celsius it is outside. After plodding up stairs to various temples our first morning in Luang Prabang, then stopping for a welcome lunch, we asked what our afternoon agenda was. "Wat Xieng Thong temple," said our guide. We exchanged glances. "Is there anything special about this temple?" asked Keith. As if suspecting that we were about to say we'd skip this temple, our guide replied "this is the most important temple." Of course it was. It was one of the oldest because it had survived invading armies. Back at our hotel we indulged ourselves with a well-earned massage and enjoyed the lovely ... read more
Land of a thousand elephants
Bear rescue centre
Khouang Si waterfalls




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