Page 7 of rrruss Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh February 12th 2017

A little over three years ago we visited Phnom Penh for the first time. Since then the city has undergone quite a transformation. New hotels have sprung up all over the place and there seems to be a proliferation of Sky Bars. We stayed at url= Grand Mekongwhich was very nice, but probably not grand. It did have a sky bar though, and we ate breakfast there each day with a magnificent view of the Mekong. Happy hour suited us well too, with beers buy one get one free. Even better deals were available for cocktails! When you have already done the main sites and museums, tuk tuk drivers constantly asking if you want to go to the "Killing Fields" gets... read more
Across the river
Playing at the night market
Food stall at the night market

Asia » Cambodia » East » KratiĆ© February 11th 2017

Getting to Kratie left us feeling a bit grumpy and ripped off. Having crossed the border from Laos into Cambodia we were then herded onto a big bus. There wasn't enough room for all of the bags and rucksacks so some had to be on the bus itself. Before we left, our passports were handed back and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. An hour later we reached the town of Stum Treng from where we would be put on different minibuses depending on our final destinations. We were dropped off in a huge yard with no information about what would happen next. We were encouraged to order food but our sandwiches were not ready when our minibus arrived and wanted to go. The kitchen delivered something akin to a chicken sandwich just as the driver ... read more

Asia » Laos » South » Si Phan Don February 11th 2017

There may or may not be 4000 islands dotted around the Mekong in southern Laos. What is certain is that there are an awful lot of them! We stayed on the largest island of the archipelago, Don Khong, which was a tropical paradise and fairy undeveloped. A minibus had brought us all the way from Pakse to a tiny settlement on the bank of the river. There we were handed over to a boatman who safely delivered us to the other side, successfully selling us a day trip in the process! He took us all the way to where we were staying, theurl=;label=Low_CPA_English_EN_TH_21461894545-TCZB66d_PFY4nG12HSEDLAS99511130065%3Apl%3Ata%3Ap1%3Ap2%3Aac%3Aap1t1%3Aneg%3Afi%3Atidsa-166246061305%3Alp1012729%3Ali%3Adet%3Adm;sid=2f484f802e297fa03f690f097175015d;all_sr_blocks=129619802_91951386_0_0_0;checkin=2017-02-11;checkout=2017-02-12;dest_id=-2666... read more

Asia » Laos » South » Pakse February 1st 2017

Flying with Laos Airlines was a pretty good experience and, if a bumpy overnight sleeper bus is your idea of hell, it's probably a very good idea. We certainly felt we had made the right decision. The only problem came at Pakse airport and there was nothing the airline could do about it. We had booked to stay in the Champasak Palace which really was quite grand. Three French travellers waited, like us, for the complementary transfer to arrive. A different courier phoned the hotel for us and we were told to wait. A pick up eventually arrived after about half an hour. 5 passengers don't go into 4 seats too well but someone immediately volunteered to go in the back with the luggage. We don't think he was being heroic- he just wanted to smoke! ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng January 31st 2017

Vang Vieng was once known for its hedonistic nightlife, drug fuelled raves and drunken backpackers drifting along from bar to bar sitting precariously on inflated inner tubes as they float down the river. Perhaps 20 years ago that image might have been a bit more attractive but luckily for us the town has worked hard to change its character and it definitely has a more sedate tone today. The change continues though, and the building of large hotels for rich tour groups may yet signal the end for the meagre backpacker. We ended up staying for four nights on the edge of town, far away from the few noisy bars which still operate until the "curfew" at 11pm. We started in the Laos Haven whose small swimming pool provided a place to cool off in the ... read more

Asia » Laos » East » Phonsavan January 29th 2017

The Plain of Jars is quite a curiosity. Hundreds of neolithic jars are scattered around the landscape and archaeologists' opinions about them are at odds with local legends. Staying in Phonsavan gives you a great base from where to explore the area, but getting there is something of an adventure in itself! We had booked our bus tickets with an agent in Luang Prabang. That meant we were collected from our hotel and taken to the bus station, quite some way out of town. Our driver seemed to be on some kind of errand run on the way as he stopped several times to pick up and deliver packages and, more surprisingly, sandwiches! Most travellers have experienced what came next. You get to the bus station and see a decrepit bus at the stand you expect ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane January 25th 2017

We decided it was time for a splurge when we reached Vientiane. The Golden Sun Hotelturned out to be exactly what we needed, especially after we changed rooms when the noise from the kitchen was just too much at 6am! Every day we did something touristy in the morning then returned for an afternoon relaxing by the pool. At US$44 a night it was certainly pushing our budget but it was well worth it. On our first night we walked out to the bank of the Mekong where many Laotians were taking an early evening stroll. The temperature was lovely and we enjoyed stretching our legs around Cho Aravong Park stopping to admire the huge statue which stands as a memorial to the man after whom the park was named. We also passed through some of ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang January 22nd 2017

Luang Prabang is a nice little town on a spot of land where the Mekong meets the Nam Khan. In 1975 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritagesite to protect the unique blend of Laotian and French colonial architecture which can be seen everywhere. It is also famous for its many temples which also have an architectural style not found anywhere else. We stayed for three nights at Villa Luangsokxay which was nice enough but a little overpriced for what was really quite basic accommodation. It was very well located for exploring the town on foot, and we were relieved to find that the nearby noisy bars were not going to affect us as there is a curfew at 11pm. It's not really a curfew but the loud music and rowdiness has to stop. There ... read more

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang January 20th 2017

Relax while drifting down the mighty Mekong river for two days on a slow boat. Nothing to do but watch the world go by. Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? The reality was a little different! We used Easy Trip to make this journey. They are the Thai arm of Discovery Laos , and their office was conveniently located just round the corner from our hotel in Chiang Khong. When they collected us at 0830 in a brand new pick up, so new the plastic covers were still on the seats, we suspected we might have paid too much! First we were taken to Thai immigration on one side of the Friendship Bridge which links Thailand to Laos. Those formalities completed, we waited for a bus to take us over the bridge to Laos immigration. This time there ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Northern Thailand » Chiang Khong January 15th 2017

Noooo! We arrived at the bus station to see that the clapped out red bus standing there WAS the next departure for Chiang Khong. We squeezed in like sardines onto seats made for two Thais long before fast western food came to town. That meant sitting with just the one cheek supported! Oh well, the monk across the miniscule aisle was sound asleep so perhaps there was a chance we could find the same tranquility. Our bags perched precariously at the back of the bus as we set off on the two hour journey. Mercifully it was a dry day so the roads were starting to recover from the recent downpours. It turned out to be a reasonably pleasant journey and as a few passengers got off later on it was even, dare we say, comfortable. ... read more

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