Laos

Laos is the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen. However, it’s a bit disorientating. I can’t remember when we came here because it’s all gone by in such a blur. Kathryn told me today that we’ve stayed longer than she had originally planned, but it’s ok because we’ve been having so much fun! The country is disorientating for a few reasons that I’ll address below.

We travelled from Chang Mai to the Thailand/Laos border to get our visas which took one day. We stayed at the border and early the next morning we were on a leisurely slow boat down the Mekong River which took the majority of the day. We stayed at a small village somewhere on the river for the night and continued on in the boat for another 8 hours the next day! We arrived in Luang Prabang early evening, which makes it 3 days of travelling. It seems like a long time to sit on a boat for and it’s one of the reasons why I feel so out of touch with reality, but the view was absolutely stunning to witness, I promise you. And we managed to make a group of friends on the boat that we’ve stuck with for the majority of our time in this country! They are mostly British (a few from Holland and Ireland) and weirdly enough they are all in their 19s or very early 20s, on their gap year following high school or holidays after their first year of university. It’s odd being one of the oldest travellers in the group, in China I was used to being one of the youngest!

Luang Prabang is a beautiful city! We spent much of our 3 days there hanging out with our new friends, drinking fruit shakes and seeing the country side. On our second day there Kathryn and I, along with some of our friends, rented bikes and decided to bike to the waterfalls up in the mountains. Most people would simply take a taxi, but we were feeling adventuress. Bad choice! It was a 30km bike ride, a lot of it being uphill, and it took 2 hours to get to the location. It was worth the sweat and cramps though, the waterfalls were brilliant. The water was so fresh and blue, after taking a few pictures we jumped in immediately! It felt great to swim in fresh water, it made me miss summer in Northwest Ontario! As you might have guessed, we were all exhausted from the biking exercise and opted to pay a cab to bring us home, bikes and all.

We left Luang Prabang 3 days ago I think and got into a mini bus to head to Vang Vieng. The ride was incredibly nauseating. We drove through the mountainous countryside of Laos, which is basically made up of bumpy, windy, wavy, sharp-cornered roads. I was in the very back of the car and didn’t get to enjoy the scenic views because my eyes were closed and I was furiously concentrating on keeping my lunch down. It didn’t help that we’d go over a large bump every 2 minutes and I would be jerked out of my seat and into the pile of bags next to me! Once we arrived after the 6 hour drive I was relieved to find a hostel quickly and go to bed!

Vang Vieng is the main reason for my disorientation. It’s a very small tourist-orientated town with a huge party reputation. Tourists come for the tubing: a day excursion where you rent a tube and float down river for 5 hours. This is so popular because there are bars lining both sides of the river with free shots if you enter and very cheap drinks. The bars also have swing ropes to jump into the water with, loud music and plenty of bucket drinks. If you want to stop tubing and go to bar, you just put up your hand as a signal and someone will throw you a pop bottle tied to a rope and they reel you in! And once you’re finished with partying on the river, you come back into the village square to any restaurant and eat while watching Family Guy or Friends, because both shows play on giant tv’s, 24/7 at every restaurant in the village. It’s like, the ultimate hangover solution. In Laos. This is definitely the strangest place I’ve ever been. I can’t wrap my head around it, even though I’ve been here for 3 days. In the middle of the most beautiful, peaceful, quiet country there is this underground, seedy community of drunk tourists gathering from all over the world to party, eat, and watch Friends reruns together! The only Lao people I see are the owners of the restaurants, bars, and hostels. It’s just…it’s nuts. Fun, but crazy and beyond disorientating.

I can’t even tell you any of the dates for the Laos chapter of our journey because it’s all been such a blur! No, not because I’ve been drunk the whole time (I really haven’t!). Plus, I lost my camera so that doesn’t help me remember certain events when I go back to review the photos I’ve taken. Kathryn and I are leaving tomorrow for the 4000 islands, hopefully this car ride, which will be over 12 hours, wont be like the last. Fingers crossed!

xoxo

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Blaine Copland
    Jun 24, 2012 @ 19:44:46

    I just watched a show on Vang Vien. That place is crazy. I forget what the show is called but it is 3 Canadian chefs travelling across Asia.

    Reply

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