So I was right about turning a corner. The last 10 days since entering Laos has been the best spell we’ve had on the trip. We began by getting that two day boat down the Mekong, which was tough but really great fun. We met a hell of a lot of people and have been bumping into them constantly over the last week. So where to start…
Well we left Thailand and crossed the Mekong in the rain to the Laos border where we got Visa’d up and all that jazz before getting on the boat. On route we met so many Irish people, who were definitely the dominant group around in terms of numbers. The boat was so much fun on Day one, with everyone hitting the beers at 11am and just generally having it. On the boat we got talking to two English lads from Essex, Alex and Tom, and we’ve been hanging out with them since. Off to Vientiane with them tomorrow.
Ok so I’m going a bit all over the place here. Basically post-boat we arrived in a really nice little town called Luan Prebang, which is kind of north-west-central Laos. We stayed there for 3 nights and was great fun. All the boat crew were still around and we met even more Irish. Real cool temple there too on the hill with views all across the town. We then went on a day trip to a huge waterfall just outside the town and managed to get right under the waterfall, which was cool. Got some good shots which I’ll get up in the coming days. I also jumped off a waterfall, about 15-20ft, which was great craic.
Luan Prebang doesn’t have much going on around it so 3 days is plenty time there. Like the rest of Laos there’s an 11:30 curfew which means the nightlife can be a bit dead, however there’s always been at least on late bar that stays open (illegally) and is full of foreigners. It means good nights as you inevitably bump into all your recent acquaintances.
Vang Vieng, where I am now untill tomorr, is a different story altogether. While Luan Preband has a certain beauty to it, Vang Vieng is a kind of dirt town that has a banging nightlife. This is where people let their hair down in Laos and a lot of the bars have a “happy” or “special” menu where you can buy magic mushrooms, weed or opium on pizzas and in milkshakes. It’s also home of tubing, the best pub crawl in the world, ever.
Tubing is basically spending a day floating down a river in a tubs and being pulled into the eights bars along the 3km distance. Each bar has slides, zip wires and swings which you can swing out on and fall into the water. It is great fun and in the 7 days we’re been here we’ve done it twice.
We actually tubed yesterday in what was probably the best day of the five weeks travelling. We met two Irish girls from Cavan – Grainne and Sarah – and two American girls -Mikaela and Jenn- and just had a blast allday. Then myself, James, Tom, Alex, Grainne and Sarah went on a big session that evening which was great fun. All six of us are going to be in Sydney for Xmas so we’re already hatched plans to meet up and spend Christmas Day together. If it’s anything like last night, it’s going to be great fun.
And that’s really been the best thing about Laos – the people we’ve met. We’ve met a host of really cool people who we will more than likely meet along the way. Lots of people are doing similar routes to us so it’s enviable we’ll keep bumping into each other.
Anyhow so much more has happened in Laos and maybe I’ll get a post in tomorrow but yeah, it’s been really great. Roll on tomorrow!
By the way, tune below chosen on the basis of the Laos word for goodbye – Kap Chai La Li. Say it over in your head and you’ll understand.