I have to say that Laos is the most beautiful country that I have visited and I really enjoyed traveling from Thailand to Laos and after a five hour drive from Chiang Mai in Thailand to Chiang Khong, we spent the night in a on the Thai-Laos border which was so quiet, there was not a sole in sight. Luckily we met some really nice people who were also heading to Laos on the same route as us which was great.
We started out early the next morning, we crossed the border marked by the Mekong River on a small motorised tail boat and arrived at the border control point in Houayxai.
The first taste of Laos was a chaotic and hectic visa and passport office, but after all our visas were stamped and monies paid we were on out way to Laos.
We had decided to get to Laos by boat and took a two day slow boat journey along the Mekong River for 600km until we reached Luang Prabang. We stopped overnight at a small town called Pakbeng which was in the back and beyond with no hot water and the electric was switched off at 22:00, we were given candles to get ourselves around.
The boat journey was a lot of fun, the scenery was just stunning and what a great way to see the countryside. The following day we arrived in Luang Prabang and checked into a really nice place near the Thang Farang, luckily it had an amazing shower which was much needed after a 2 day boat journey.
We spent two days in Luang Prabang seeing the sights and enjoying the atmosphere, we took a trip across the river to see a ruined temple and a trip out to the Pac Ou caves which are like a nursing home for old and broken Buddha’s. The Buddha’s that are broken or old and no longer used in the temples have been put in the caves, and are left there to see out there days! It was quite a funny sight to see.
After our few days in Lunag Prabang we headed to Vang Vien. We traveled by bus which was not the best bus ride I have ever had. Due to the rain that had occurred half the roads had fallen down the side of the mountains and the driving skills are not like they are at home so the 6 hour ride from Luang Prabang to Vang Vien was adventurous.
Vang Vien doesn’t look like not much and reminded me of somewhere out of the Wild West. The town is where all the backpackers head due to its laid back attitude and the main reason is to go tubing…
Everyone comes to Vang Vien to float down the river on a large inner tube, which is so much fun you pay a small amount for an 18-wheeler tire and a ride in a tuk tuk to the river. You get with your inner tube into river and float down about 45 meters to the first bar where they reel you in with a bamboo stick with a plastic bottle attached to the end. You then buy a beer and climb a bamboo tower contraption to enjoy a rope swing over the river. Then its time to set off through the rapids down to the next bar for a refill.
As the river progresses and the beers start to take their toll, the bars continue and the swings get higher and higher. Once you arrive at the third bar most people spend the bulk of their day swinging like Tarzan, across the river and enjoying the beer.. The beer is all good until you realize you have to get back on the river and get to the end, which was the funniest part of the day.. Luckily there are river patrols for anyone who’s lost their tube or just too drunk to continue.
Once you reach the bottom we were pretty cold from being soaked all day, so headed back to the hotel and luckily had a warm shower and then headed out for the night.. We had dinner at a great place and it included some kind of Whiskey with a snake in, I can’t remember what the purpose of this was but it was pretty gross but we drunk it anyway..
We spent the next day just chilling out and we met up with the people that we had traveled with on the boat; we had another go at tubing which is just so much fun. Vang Vien was the highlight of my time in Laos and what was meant to be 2 nights there turned into 5. Two days for tubing, and the rest for recovering and so on.
By day 5 it was time to head off we hopped on another local bus and headed for the capital city of Vientiane. Vientiane is the capital and to be honest there isn’t much really there, Vientiane is the capital of Lao but it feels like a small town and is incredibly quiet. We managed to see some of the temples and get something to eat. We were only staying here one night before heading to Thailand so we decided to get an early night.
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