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Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng April 20th 2006

Auf die "Ebene der Tonkrüge" folgt das Gefälle: der Fluss in Vang Vieng. Das kleine Städtchen Vang Vieng liegt auf halber Strecke zwischen Luang Prabang und Vientiane, der laotischen Hauptstadt. Ich und mein Travel-Kollegen Michael aus Kanada mieten uns in einem Bungalow ein, der direkt am Fluss und vor der herrlichen Kulisse der hiesigen Berglandschaft liegt. Nach der anstrengenden Nachtfahrt im vollen Bus buchen wir zusammen mit zwei Mädels aus England und Holland wir eine "Tubing-Tour", bei der wir uns auf einem aufgepumpten Lkw-Reifen ganz entspannt den Fluss runtertreiben lassen. Dass wir für die insgesamt 4.5 km lange Strecke satte sieben Stunden brauchen liegt daran, dass zum einen die Strömung wirklich sehr, sehr langsam ist und man nur in den wenigen Stromschnellen zügig vorankommt (meist dreht man sich dabei ständig um sich selbst). Zum anderen gibt ... read more
Tubie-Bubie
Kraterlandschaft
Höhle

Asia » Laos April 20th 2006

So this is where we ended up for my birthday. We were thinking somewhere south in Thailand or Cambodia but extending our stay in Asia 10 days meant we could take our trip thru Laos more casually. We ended up staying at an average guest house, but for US$12 you can’t complain. We were told nothing but to “get out of Vientaine, there’s nothing to see”, so we had no real expectations. We decided to stay for the main reason that we didn’t really want to be traveling on some scummy train/bus on my birthday. Gald we did cos we’ve both really like the place. Last night we had one of our best dinners yet in SE Asia. It was this really classy joint that served Indian, Thai, Laos, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian and Western. We ate ... read more
me
west east
tuktuk

Asia » Laos April 19th 2006

Ended up taking a primo kayaking trip to Vientiane instead of the standard 4 hr bus trip. We traveling on the back of a “jumbo” (tuk tuk/mini truck) for an hour with a pretty stiff Belg couple and a quite fella from Bangkok. Our guide, Pan, spoke all the way in his very broken English. Was pretty tiring having to make sense of a sentence when you only catch about 1 in very 5 words, but interesting all the same hearing about the Laos way of life. He came from a poor rural area with no road access and worked in the paddy fields with his family. He moved to Vang Vieng to work for his uncle who owned a restaurant. He’d work from 5am till 4am the next morning, just for food and board!! His ... read more
rapid2
Jump
River view

Asia » Laos April 17th 2006

Had another great day rock climbing with some Geezers, a Yank and a Qubec Qua. 7 climbs, one too hard for us all, but it's always good to go to the point where you've got nothing left in the tank and JUMP. Yesterday a group of 7 of us went ubing which involes, tractor inner tubes, a river, huge flying foxes and swings into the drink and alot of Beer Loa consumption.....best beer in SE Asia they say. Have both been finding Vang Veng real relaxing. Will probably spend 4 nights in total which menas I'll likely be speding my birthday in Vientene, Laos' capity city or just south somewhere in NE Thailand. Don't forgot folks, I may be an anchient 27 years but I still love pressies.......... read more
Climb
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Niki

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang April 17th 2006

It has been a wonderful week we have spent in Luang Prabang. It was hard to leave Muang Noi, one of Laos' best kept secrets, but I'm sure we'll return one day. We have spent most of this week drenched ( I have tried many times to get to the internet cafe without being soaked, but have failed each time......) We have met up with a really great crowd. Phil and Millsy, who we originally met in Chiang Mai, recognised us from an internet cafe as we walked down the street. Since then we have meet heaps of people; the Irish girls (Karen, Helen and Finola), now known generically as the "the girls", Roxy and Tucker, Debs, Mexican Man, Anna and Matt- loads more! We also met a Lao called Vinh who has been our self-appointed ... read more
The Falang Rangers
Duelling with a monk
Typical scene from the main street

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang April 17th 2006

Not a bit of an exaggeration when I say that Helen and I have just had the most fun few days ever. Made a timely arrival to Luang Prabang on Wednesday 12th for the Laos New Year (Pi Mai) Celebrations. We think New Year's Day was actually Easter Saturday but its hard to know when the celebrations extend as many days as they do streets and water pumps! Pi Mai is celebrated with the ceremomial chucking of water over every person that comes within throwing range. Its an extension of the tradition of pouring water on Buddhas to get rid of last year's bad luck. People roam the streets drenched and anyone that isn't fully wet is prime target for hoardes of water-pistol & bucket weilding celebrants - as Helen and I soon found out. For ... read more
Kids in Traditional Dress for Miss Luang Prabang Parade
Messy Celebrations
Ganja, Steve, Steph & Vinh

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng April 15th 2006

We're in the heart of Communist Loas at the moment. As you can imagine, LA is taking some "gentle reassuring" that we are not gonna get blown to bits by some of the 14 yr olds roaming round the country with AK47's! It's soooo poor, a lot more so than Thailand, but then again we didn't really see "real Thailand" but the main touristv spots. The scenery is unreal here. Huge limestone cliffs and lots of water. A storm hit last night like nothing I've seen before. Fork lightening like the movies! We are living for a pittance. Accom is $6US and food is usually about $2 for a good local feed. You can rent bikes for $1.50! We have actually extended our flights by 10 days so won't be hitting Europe till May 4th now. ... read more
VV2
VV3
VV3

Asia » Laos » East » Phonsavan April 15th 2006

Dem vielen Wasser in Luang Prabang entfliehe ich in Richtung Osten. Nahe der vietnamesischen Grenze befinden sich die “Field of Jars”. Die deutsche Uebersetzung “Ebene der Tonkruege” ist irrefuehrend, weil die Kruege gar nicht aus Ton sind, sondern aus Stein. In der Gegend um die Phonsavan wurden die per Hand behauenen Steinkruege inklusive “Deckel” auf mehrere Huegel transportiert und dazu benutzt die Asche von Toten beizusetzen. Wie der Transport der bis zu 15 Tonnen schweren Kruege abgelaufen ist, welches Brauchtum dazugehoerte und welche Kultur hier ueberhaupt ansaessig war, das ist ziemlich wenig erforscht. Fuer die Laoten steht jedoch fest: die Kruege sind Becher aus denen der Riese “Kha” Reiswein gebechert hat. Mann, muss “Kha” voll gewesen sein - bei insgesamt 300 Kruegen… Die vielen Wisschenschaftler, die sich eben nicht mit der Erforschung der historis... read more
...samt Deckel...
...liegen in herrlicher Karstlandschaft mit Reis- und Weideflaechen...
...gestoert nur von den Kratern amerikanischer Bomben aus dem "Zweiten Indochinakrieg" !

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng April 15th 2006

E-mail #2- New Country, New Explorations! Hi everyone! Since my last e-mail, I am certified to scuba dive to 18m, participated in Songkram (new year) water/ talcum throwing rave/ parties in Bangkok, and finally left Bangkok for Laos. We are presently in Vang Vieng where there are stunning views of limestone caves. Laos is much different from Thailand. In Thailand, you see all the things that you would expect to see at home and everything happens on time, on schedule. In Laos, it's like entering a third world country. Much of the trip to Vang Vieng, I saw poor (by our standards) people living in bamboo huts. Vang Vieng is a rapidly changing little town, attracting many tourists. This region is just ripe with beauty! Unfortunately, the Laotian people have not quite grasped onto the concept ... read more
Now, here comes the talcum powder!
First taste of Laos
Vang Vieng

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng April 14th 2006

We're on day 4 here in Loas. It's been mainly travel except for a great 2 nights in what's called the most scenic city in all SE Asia, Luang Prabang. We have both been blown away by the sheer poverty of the majority of the nation, even a big jump back from Thailand (mind you, that's 'tourist thailand'). After that feral 8 hr overnight bus ride we boarded the 2 day slow boat to Pak Beng, a shit hole stop over on the edge of the Mekong. We were on the boat for 6-7hrs but it felt like 20 with having had no sleep the night before and being so crammed there was nowhere to get horizontal. After a 2nd day on the river we hit Luang Prabang. It is an amazing place with a nice ... read more
Slow boat1
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River




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