A short post on Laos…

We had plans for Laos.  We were a few days behind a couple we had met in Chiang Mai and were nosily following what they were doing in Laos.  The plan was to go from Luang Prabang down to Vang Vieng which they said was good for tubing and kayaking.  Lastly we would go to the capital Vientiane – just because.  It’s the capital.  So it must be interesting right?

As we walked through the streets of Luang Prabang, you could see the French influence everywhere!  I took a picture of a nice building then realised it was an ophthalmology centre!  There were lots of nice styled buildings and wide roads.  It was so peaceful compared to Thailand.  

We exended our stay and decided to just stay here and go to Hanoi from here.  If we went down to Vientiane it would be such a massive journey back up to Hanoi in Vietnam which is in the north.  Plus we had lost a day getting here, and it would be another day getting out.  We had only allowed ten days for Laos in total so it made sense to chill out in Luang Prabang.

Our hotel was lovely, we were given a huge room that we didn’t actually book, with two giant beds and a massive separate rainfall shower.  We spent quite a lot of time in Luang Prabang chilling out and doing nothing but reading and eating.  I think it’s important to do that sometimes when travelling.  Some people might have the energy to just keep going and do something every day, but at least for us, we need time to just relax.  And eat.  Oh my god I found BAGELS.  With CREAM CHEESE.  God bless the french colonisation, my tastebuds appreciated it, even though the Laos people may not have.  We also met Matt again, and ate at a veggie stall in the night market.  He had another girl with him who noticed my tattoo and said she was born at 11:11!  And apparently 11:11 is big in germany – they have a festival clled carnival, which starts at 11:11 on the 11th November.

We did explore Luang Prabang – however everything charges you to get in which is a shame.  Also it is an expensive town – not dissimilar to English prices.  We went to the top of the hill in the centre called Pho Usi hill.  Yes Pussy hill.  There were some amazing views from up there of the city. 

 However I HATED the fact that there are caged birds up there.  The local people believe that it is good luck to free a caged bird on top of the hill.  So at the top of the hill there are so many cages of these tiny cute fluffy birds desperate to escape their little bamboo cages.  I was so torn.  I wanted to buy them all so I could free them all and they would be happy.  But in doing that I would be encouraging the practise and causing more birds to get caught so I walked by 😦

On top of the hill is also the temple which was pretty cool, they had some interesting statues and a really spidery cave which I did not find pleasant!!  There was also a REAL buddhas footprint.  Very interesting.  I didn’t realise that buddha was the BFG.

The only thing we wanted to do in Vang Vieng that looked cool was the kayaking.  So we, instead did that in Luang Prabang.  We were meant to be in a group however as it was quiet season, it was just the two of us.  Our boat was loaded onto a truck.  I got in the back and noticed there was a ginormous spider on my kayak.  I flew back out of the truck and asked the man to sort it out.  He shooed it away but i spent the rest of the journey eyeballing the floor like an obsessed collie waiting for it to re-emerge.

Luckily I forgot about it when we got to the river and got into the water.  It was such great scenery and we both really enjoyed it.  However I got blisters on my thumbs from rowing and it was really knackering.

 The oddest thing I saw was a plastic bottle “floating” quickly upstream which confused me.  The guide explained that the local villages tie the bottles to long reeds and use them to fish! Very resourceful!  

We stopped for lunch and got to explore some caves.  I saw some spiders which I think are funnelweb spiders.  I had seen them in a YouTube video (I was trying to calm my phobia by learning about them) – they sit in a little hole and build a funnel shaped web in front of it which closes on any unsuspecting insect.  

After we kayaked in the afternoon we finished at a little village which is famous for making whisky.  They had lots of people making scarves and an amazing temple.  

The village looked so quaint and rustic.  But between all the house were huge sky dishes.  Even in remote village they can’t live life without sky TV which is a shame!  I’d love to not have a TV when I get back.

We spent the last couple of days hiding in out hotel as it rained.  Like rain I’ve never seen before!! So again, we chilled and read until it was time to get our sleeper bus of doom.  All 26 hours of it.  FUN FUN FUN!!!!

Oh and there was no toilet.  When we stopped it was on the side of the road (with an audience) so men were OK.  I think they just expected to get their vaginas out and go for it!  Luckily (foreeing the problem before it arose) I had deliberately dehydrated myself and not drank anything for hours, so I made it to Vietnam and Hanoi without any indecent exposure 🙂

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