Blogs from Laos, Asia - page 516

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Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng May 7th 2006

Vang Vieng - what a place! Unlike anywhere I have ever been before but for once the hype was to be believed. Laos had been a slow-burner for us up to this point but we really started to enjoy it last Monday when we rolled into town after a sweaty 5-hr bus journey from Vientiane. Arriving in the evening, priorities first, let's get a hostel where the action is - as a guy I once knew used to say "GooseCentral"!! It proved to be a wise decision. Now others may have shuddered at the thought of a cockroach infested room with a building site on one side and the towns only late night bar on the other but for us it was perfect, and all for $2 each a night. The licencing laws in Laos are ... read more
Troops ready for action
The wee jump...
Splash

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane May 7th 2006

Well folks the main reason I'm doing this is not because I'm an egotistical b#^!h but because I feel I may email you all and you might think “Oh Clare there she goes again banging on about her travels and to be honest I don't give a ...” So if you are reading this you have to be interested 'cause you're here Yeah! Well I'm in Laos which is lovely and has been the most hygienic and “normal” so far. The people aren’t trying to sell you stuff 24/7 and they are a lot more relaxed. We’ve met a lovely Swedish couple so we have just been riding bikes around the city together lovely! The journey here tho was a complete ‘mare! Anyway we were staying in this fabbydoo hotel in Hoi An, Vietnam really posh, ... read more

Asia » Laos » North » Muang Ngoi Neua May 5th 2006

On my first day in Muang Ngoi, a quiet picturesque backpacker place (almost a contradiction in terms) I met Ernie, who was keen to go hiking the following day and was looking for someone else to join to halve the price. I had breakfast with Ernie, Brian and Tania before setting off on the trek with them. Brian, a head ranger from Canada, and Tania, a doctor from Perth, decided during breakfast to join us. Of course, there was no chance of be getting injured or needing survival training - that would only happen when there isn't a doctor or ranger around. We set off at 0900 with our guide, Peng, and porter, Weu, for the 40 minute walk to the caves. They were caves. And like most caves in this part of Laos they had ... read more
The team
The rebel HQ
Rice farms in the valley

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane May 4th 2006

Wed. 26th. April. A lazy day, in theory, but in truth, we chased our tails doing bits and bobs. We survived another sgary haircut. It's very awkward when they don't understand a word of English, and then that was the end of Chang Mai. Thurs. 27th. A minibus collected us from the hotel and transported us to Chang Khong, a typical Thai village on the Mekong River. The scenery on the way was quite mundane and as the minibus was running on "kangaroo juice", we were glad to arrive. We had booked a package to Laos so we were pleasantly surprised that the hotel was clean, and we even had an en suite. The view from our balcony of the Mekong River was beautiful. Fri. 28th. We lugged our bags onto an open-top pick-up, and cleared ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane May 4th 2006

Sun. 30th. April. Before it gets too hot we climb 300 steps to the temple and marvel at the view. We really are overwhelmed by the beauty of such a relatively unknown country. If only we hadn't wasted time in New Zealand, we would have stayed here a lot longer. The travel agent we find to book our flight to Siem Reap accommodatingly changes all our odd foreign currencies for Laos money, so that's made Jim's wallet a lot lighter. We buy our lunch from 2 little girls at the market, then amble round town for the rest of the day, soaking up the atmosphere and the feel good factor. Another first class local meal, slightly spoiled by all the flying things on the balcony, and then a quick check of the bedroom for any "visitors", ... read more

Asia » Laos » South » Si Phan Don May 3rd 2006

Lao Airlines flight QV522 from Siam Reap to Pakse was not what we expected. It was the first time any of us could remember flying with an airline that refused to publish its safety records, so as you can imagine expectations were low! In the end we felt like we were cheating a wee bit by flying to Southern Lao and avoiding the 3 day bus, boat and overnight stay combo that travelling through Cambodia would have entailed but the border crossing from Cambodia to Laos doesn't allow visas on arrival and waiting for one in Phomh Penh could have meant a 3-day wait, so we took the easy option and flew. I say the easy option but I had been dreading it. In the end it was certainly no worse than flying Ryanair, only with ... read more
Room with a view
I'm going in!
Lunch

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane May 3rd 2006

(Kev) I looked forward to traveling in Laos. Fellow backpackers raved about it, and the pictures I had seen further piqued my interest. We only had a week though so we had to pick what we thought would be the best of the best. We chose Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang , and Hongsa. We started in the capital (Vientiane) and spent the day walking the river, and exploring Buddha Park. As far as parks with statues go this is the best I have seen. It combines Hindu and Buddhist imagery creating a fantastic looking merger. Near the entrance of the park, there is a giant pumpkin; it makes me think James and the Giant Peach. While atop the pumpkin I told Daryl and Dust that I was going to go to the bottom to get ... read more
One huge lawn full o statues
You must be at least THIS tall to ride.
One of us has waited for the bus way too long.

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 1st 2006

After much contemplation (“Should we stay one more night?”), we took a bus to Luang Prabang the next morning. The scenery along the route was just an amazing collection of rolling mountains, low misty clouds and endless greenery. According to the Lonely Planet: "The pictures do not lie; Luang Prabang is stunning. An incredible collection of Buddhist and French colonial architecture clustered together on a small riverine peninsula and surrounded by mountains... Over the past decade, tourism has boomed, but even that has done little to dampen Luang Prabang's unique atmosphere, and many visitors find the pleasure of simply wandering the streets makes them extend their stay a lot longer than planned." Actually, the whole town of Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for its preservation and blending of two distinct cultural traditions, French ... read more
Brent's lost
A wat in Luang Prabang
don' t mess with a person on an LA bike (with bells)

Asia » Laos April 30th 2006

Hands down, this has been our favourite place so far. The relaxed culture, the stunning and ever-changing landscapes, and the wonderful people, all made this a place we want to return to. Our favorite foods were the rice soup for breakfast and the amazing riverweed (like sea weed but thicker and lightly fried in garlic and sesame seed, usually eaten with fresh chilli and sticky rice), both of which were our main staple in Laos. Other memories include: *- paying for dinner at restaurant in any combination of currencies including kip. dollars, baht and euro. All are accepted. *- dancing with the head man of Muang Ngoi village - he asked Stef twice ;) *- nights at the Vietnamese bar - when everything else closed for curfew in Luang Prabang at 11.30pm, Vinh would take us ... read more
Stef with local kids at Tat Lo
Goofin around
On our way to the unexplored caves in Vang Vieng

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng April 28th 2006

HANOI to VIENTIANE The drive from Hanoi (Vietnam capital) to Vientiane (Lao capital) can be a whole blog entry in itself! There were several travelers who had warned me against taking the bus, but my broke self had to opt for the cheapest method. The 20-hour bus ride was an overnighter, roughly from 7 p.m. to 4 p.m.-ish the next afternoon. The bus that took me on this journey turned out to be a retired Jeju-do (island in Korea) bus! The things you see! Anyhow, let me paint a picture of the bus scene when I walked in: cheesy disco lighting; first five (or so) rows are locals; next five (or so) are travelers; last five rows are potatoes and onions. Literally, on the back of the bus, you can see and smell a huge mound/wall ... read more
This was at Pra That Luang, considered the most important national monument in Laos
Leader of the pack...Vroom, Vroom
At one of the main bars along the river




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