Day 35: Luang Prabang, Laos & Hanoi, Vietnam

17/12/2006

We got up pretty late this morning from a massive farewell night in Luang Prabang, which was an AWESOME night. We nursed our hangovers with some great breaky across the road from our guesthouse (I had the BEST noodle soup, I guess Laos saved the best for last). So we sat there for an hour or so having breaky and a good chat before we saw each other off. I think that this group of travel companions had been the best in my whol trip! Farken Sveden heh. I got the classic looks from people.

Hersh: “Good times”

The 'Hersh' look

Random Svede for dead, sick, tired, drunk:

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Jem, Manny and I made our way across to the airport for our flight to Hanoi, what a sight, every flight was delayed, ours was delayed for… FIVE FRIGGEN HOURS. Lucky we weren’t the only ones:

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We sat at the airport and killed time with a book, sleep and watching some random hindi movie on Jem’s ipod. The plane having ‘Technical difficulties’ worried the hell out of us, the Laos airline flight NOT HAVING JET ENGINES!!!

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Day 34: Luang Prabang, Laos

16/12/2006

Went walkabouts again today and had a look at the stupa that overlooks the city. After a long and arduous climb to the top, the view was breathtaking! We saw an imprint of “buddha’s” foot at the top and chilled out for a while just absorbing the atmosphere.

Luang Prabang from above

Mathias and I decided to get a massage, which was CRAP – what a waste of $2 hehe, but yeah, it was crap because it was so soft.

We decided to chill out because we knew we were having a MASSIVE night since it was our last night in Luang Prabang, Laos and time with Mathias, Hersh and Mara =(. Anyways, we started the drinking earylish, heading straight to the drinking holes we had visited the night before – because we knew when the happy hours were on. That night we met up with Clare, who had travelled with Mathias during his China visit. We started with dinner at the markets again and decided to hit the Hive, getting straight onto the Bicardi & Cokes, some random coctails and some Lao Lao, it was a pretty massive night and i was pretty off chops. Walking back was pretty funny, my flip flops had broken and Mathias made me piggy back him after he had pigged backed me. After a night of drinking and the 12 oclock curfew had come around, we decided to bring the party back to our guesthouse, to the dismay of the other patrons hehe, oops.

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Day 33: Luang Prabang, Laos

15/12/2006

A day of complete NOTHINGNESS, where we sat around the guest house watching UFC, Movies and everything that can be watched on cable. We decided not to bludge THAT much and we walked along the Mekong, checking out the rest of the city which we hadn’t seen, the architecture was very french influenced.

Laos Architecture

One of the places we walked past was a Jewish hangout, where the Hersh realised that it was Harmica and he had to do something religious that night. We went and did that whilst we decided to have a movie night.

The ‘Cinemas’ we went to was pretty much hiring a room with a TV and DVD player, bean bag and surround sound. We watched Mystic River – and I fell asleep heh. We got back to the guesthouse and decided to have a big night, again hehe. We got trashed, AGAIN since there were no parties going on that night in LP.

Day 32: Luang Prabang, Laos

14/12/2006

We decided to have a more touristy day today, since we didn’t do much of the sight seeing since we left Thailand, I think it was because we had stopped caring and gotten into the real Laos lifestyle of just chilling out. We booked a day tour which was made up of two parts, the morning which was to see the Tham Pha Tok cave which housed many statues of buddha which were being abandoned.

My Lonlely Planet style photo

It was along the edge of the Mekong and we had taken a nice boat ride across. We then went to two villages, the Whisky Village and the Paper making village – it was really tourist driven and I highly doubt that they were genuine villages. Sure enough we saw them making whisky and paper, but it was crap to see because we knew this wasn’t a traditional village, it was a ‘traditional village’ with satellite TV!!

We got back and chowed down some quick noodle soup and made our way to see a spectacular waterfall. We took a half an hour bus ride and there was a boy who was throwing up out the window, we had only realised when Mathias said ‘Man, my arms getting wet from something’, when we realised it was the spew from the kid! hehe

The waterfall was awesome though, it was huge and we have pics to show! Another waterfall we saw halfway up to the main one was swimmable, and totally awesome. We jumped off trees and the top tier of one of the waterdalls into blue, glistening and fresh water! We had a great time swimming around for ages.

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We were pretty buggered that night and didn’t do much – we had an awesome dinner at the food markets though, there was a heap of food at dirt cheap prices. Hersh seemed to be able to consume everything – no matter what it looked like. We finished the night with a stroll through the markets

Day 31: Vang Vien to Luang Prabang, Laos

13/12/2006

We got up pretty early considering we had a pretty big night, since we had to get a mini bus from Vang Vien to Luang Prabang. We caught a bus from the restaurant which we had eaten at and they seemed to be good people. It was a 7 hour ride from Vang Vien to Luang Prabang but it was made quicker with my music and Mathias’ speakers. We were pretty tired and decided to sit down to have dinner on Mekon, just as the sun was setting – a very picturesque dinner!

Dinner on the Mekong

Day 30: Laos – Vang Vien, Laos

Had another day to check out some of the more touristy sites here in Vang Vien. Jeremy, Manny and I hired mountain bikes and we around to a village and to see some caves. The bike ride was friggen tiring because I didn’t lower the gear/s when going cross country! I ended up with legs burning like crap! We visited two caves, one was friggen crap, but the second was spectacular. It was a 200m trek up a cliff and then we hit this landing that had awesome views of Vang Vien and Laos in general. We went inside with our guide and had a few slips, but it was eerily dark and pretty freaky!

We decided to ride back to a nearby village and chillout over some drinks. Sitting around for about an hour the 3 of us decided to get some Lao massages. AWESOME!!! For $US2.50 per hour we got a great massages that left us in pain, but as they say, no pain, no gain – talk about cliche, but its so true

That night we chilled out over some beer lao and had an early one.

Day 23 – 29: Thailand and Laos

Okay, so I’ve been a bit lazy and haven’t been posting lately, but seriously, it’s because I’ve been travelling so far! Sorry for the belated post, but I’m going to sit here for a while and pound out everything I’ve done!

Day 23:

So I left by saying that we didn’t end up going to the full moon – which was really disappointing because I heard, from some people that had the balls to get one of those boats through the waters, that it was NUTS. Oh well, Jem, Manny and I met up with a few Norwegians staying at our resort (Matlang, huge recommendation!) and we decided to have a full moon party if our own in Chewang, heh. We ended up with a few drinks at some English pub – pretty cruisy night with some drinking games.

Day 24:

We woke up with the intention of chatching an overnight train to Bangkok, pssht, no chance. The train was heavily booked and we were left with only one option – the 11 hour bus ride. We had to do it, but it was an AWESOME bus and we got a great sunset (pics included, of course!) when on the boat from Na Thon (Koh Samui) to Surat Thani (mainland Thailand). This bus was pretty awesome though, “Super VIP” with a steward, meals and all that jazz included. The 3pm to 6am bus led us to day 25.

Day 25: Thailand – Bangkok

We ended up in Bangkok this morning in hope of catching a train/bus/plane to Chang Mai (north Thailand), heh fat chance. Today was the start of a long weekend and some flower festival was was – as a result, we had to deliberate on where we were going to go. We dropped our bags off at the train station and headed to Khao San Rd for some Internet, Breaky and reevaluation of where we were at on our trip.

With all options to Chang Mai out of the question, we decided on going to Lao! How else? another 10 hour bus ride!

We spent the rest of the day at the huge MBK shopping centre where we had an awesmoe lunch with some funky fruit shakes that not even cabra can compare to!

Sitting at the bus/train terminal and waiting for our way to Lao, KFC was on the cards, heh. No fast food for 3 weeks was going to be tough for the likes of manny and jem, so we had to grab a zinger burger. The bus ride started at 9 and that took us through to day 27.

Day 27: Lao – Vientiane

I GOT SLEEP!!! For the first time in 2 days I had been able to sleep for a decent amount of time. I sat next to 3 Israeli’s on the bus, which was great because they couldn’t speak English and I didn’t have to make conversation! Randomly, I bumped into Matihas, a random Swede drinking buddy I met at Aussie bar in Patong. We said hi and bye, but that’s not the end of it..

Arriving in Vientiane at 9am (after paying $US31 for a visa, yes, an extra dollar for the weekend…) I sat next to a Cambodian/Austrlaian girl (Mara) travelling with her boyfriend (Richard), we all immediately bonded and decided to travel through lao together. Along with Mara and Rich, Matihas joined us and we all looked for accomodation together – random swede strikes again! We found a place by the Mekong to have breaky after getting some accomodation and I decided to get my head shaved (number 3), HOWEVER, walking to the barber who do I run into? ADAM BONES! So random, hehe. We talked a bit, he had just came back from, Vang Vieng – which is where we were going to go tomorrow, since Vientiane was seen as a transit city with not much to do.

Mara, Rich, Jem and myself decided to take a tuk tuk to do the major sites in the city, there wasn’t much. We saw an Arc de Triomphe look alike (Lao was colonised by the French) , a golden temple (i’ll update the name) and a museum full of buddha statues (i’ll update aswell).

Laos Temple

We were pretty buggered and decided to head back for a shower and pit stop before dinner. Rich and Mara decided to sleep in from our 7 o’clock meeting time, so to remainder decided to go by the Mekong for a late nite feed. The night was pretty uneventful as we had ANOTHER bus to catch to Vang Vien at 10am.

Day 28: Vang Vieng

So the gang was set, 5 aussies and a random swede, all ready to head off and travel through Lao together. We arrived in Vang Vien (between Vientiane and Luang Prabang, on the Mekong and famous for tubing!!) at around 2pm and found a pretty nice place which had a room for 4 (with lone travellers) and a room for the couple. It was pretty cool, very dorm like – i love waking up and being able to talk to people around me!

Anyhow, we decided to walk around for a bit and we found that all the restaurants had one thing in particular, something ‘magic’, ‘special’ or ‘happy’ , and that something could be ANYTHING! Pizzas, shakes, pancakes – apparently even Pad Thai! Rich wanted to do try some so we all went and watched him and swede go to another level. Whilst I decided to get some buckets, and these were the worst buckets I had EVER had. Lao Lao, or Lao Whisky was totally WRONG. Two buckets and I was pretty off chops, thankfully responsible Jem was around! That is how we spent our first day in Vang Vien.. plastered.

Day 29: Vang Vien- Tubing!

The day started with an attempt to get some moto’s again (like Phuket) but everything was manual! arhhh, I didn’t have the confidence to ride one so we got a tuk tuk to take us to the ‘blue lagoon’. Lao is known for having some spectacular caves and this one was pretty death defying. We got a torch and the four of us climbed up 100m and plunged into into the depths of the abyss. After the treacherous
climb we got to swim in the ‘blue lagoon’, AWESOME. The water was BLUE and there were swings and diving boards. We were the only group bar two couples (who were also from australia, man Aussies are going to own the wolrd!), had a great time! We ended the day with a speed tubing session, it was NUTS. We started around 2:30pm and it was pretty late, but we had only time to make one pit stop at a bar – and it was the one with the biggest zip line! AWESOOMEEE FUN on these tubes, tubing while drinking the BEST BEER EVER (Beer Lao) is something of a must do. I’m really happy that I’ve come to this place before it becomes too commercial – which is something I think that this whole country will face in the coming years – a massive influx of tourists to this beautiful, truly AMAZING country. The night ended with lao whisky again

more to come!