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Published: December 9th 2012
Vieng Vang and typical Laos river valley
This isn't my photo, but this is my insipiration for going. Photo credited on the image.
For the longest time I've wanted to visit one of the last remaining countries that is yet to be overrun with tourists - Laos - and this Southern Hemisphere summer I get to. I've been planning the trip since July, and now I find I'm just over a week away from departing. I'm so excited about the prospect of venturing deep into the unknown for three weeks. There are so many elements of planning that are only now just coming together and still more to resolve.
I initially started out with this grand vision of travelling through the country really rough, without prearranged accommodation or transport... this footloose and fancy approach was really attractive to me (and in many ways necessary given the remoteness of most of Laos), but "reason" has prevailed in the last 24 hours. The thought of sleeping on a farmers mud floor with his chickens and goats just didn't seem as appealing as it did a few years ago. I've been able to nearly lock in all my accommodations (though I can't say I'm really roughing it any longer), however there is still an element of uncertainty as the transport network of old busses and minivans are well know for their unreliability. I may yet end up sleeping under the stars.
This time around I've also taken my health a little more seriously... I'm now officially a walking pharmacy of medications including: malarone, iodine, lepetamide, antibiotic eye drops and regular antibiotics... this on top of a number of immunisations and your standard first aid kit. Just as I was collecting the last of the required medication and immunizations from the doctor, she felt it her duty to warn me about rabies (while I know the risks) it was briefly off putting to be told "once symptoms develop, death is inevitable... there is no cure!" Well thanks for that doc. Fortunately, if the proverbial hits the fan I've got travel insurance that will cover a medical evac to a first world country where if I get there in time I might stand a chance. Ha, Ha.... while this sounds ominous thousands of tourists face this each day and live to tell the tale - I'm looking forward to telling my tales long after I return.
My iteneray is below - highlights include: Luang Prabang - former capital of Laos and a UNESCO World Heritage city; Nong Khiaw - a rustic little town on the bank of the Ou River; Siem Riep (Angkor Wat) Cambodia - which contains the magnificent remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire of the 9th to the 15th centuries (think Tomb Raider etc....Lost temples found in the jungle); Vientiane - among other things to learn about the 'secret war'; and many other interesting locations.
I'll try to keep you posted as I go, but I may not get a chance until I return in January. All my best for now Donavin
PS: For those of you not on LinkedIn you can see my most recently completed project at the airport at the following link, you might even catch a very brief glimpse of me (if you squint). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77eB_3wBqU4&feature=player_embedded DateDaySleep for NightTransport type
20-DecThuPlaneflight (depart 7pm)21-DecFriLuang Prabangarrive via flight (circa 1:55pm)22-DecSatLuang Prabang 23-DecSunNong Khiawslow boat 6hr, or bus/van 4hr24-DecMonNong Khiaw 25-DecTueNong Khiaw 26-DecWedNong Khiaw 27-DecThuLuang Prabangbus/van 4hr or slow boat 6hr28-DecFriSiem Riep Angorflight (depart circa 2:35pm) and arrive around 4:30pm.29-DecSatSiem Riep AngorBitmap 30-DecSunSiem Riep Angor 31-DecMonSiem Riep Angor 1-JanTueSiem Riep Angor 2-JanWedVientianeflight (depart circa 10:05am) and arrive around 1:00pm.3-JanThuVientianeBitmap Bitmap Bitmap 4-JanFriVang Viengbus5-JanSatVang Vieng 6-JanSunVang Vieng 7-JanMonLuang PrabangBitmapbus8-JanTueLuang Prabang 9-JanWedLuang Prabang 10-JanThuplaneflight (depart 3pm)11-JanFriAKLarrive via flight (circa 6:30pm)
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