Dury and I are currently in Luang Prabang, in Laos!
Since writing last time, we caught the bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and stayed a couple of nights there. Chiang Rai didn’t really seem to be anything special. Just a smaller and less nice Chiang Mai really. We were staying at the Mae Hong Son Guesthouse which was nice itself, but backed onto what looked like the Chiang Rai council estate! Bit shady! But we were ok.
I was glad to leave though and make the journey to Laos. We got a 4 and a half hour bus to Chang Kong, but literally just jumped in a tuk-tuk and told him to take us to the immigration office immediately. The ‘friendly and helpful’ guy at immigration stamped our visa and sent us down the road where there were loads of tiny long-tail boats waiting. We thought we must have missed something because surely we wouldn’t cross the river in one of those?! But then we saw a little hut with a desk, the woman sold us a ticket each and pointed to a boat! So we hopped in a crossed the river! That was pretty cool. At the other side, at Haoxyai, we got our visa and found a guesthouse for the night.
Even that night in Houxyai was really different from Thailand! Everyone is really laid back and everything seems to move much slower.
From Houxyai the next morning, we went down to the boat dock and got our tickets for the slow-boat to Luang Prabang. The trip takes two days, with a stopover in Pakbeng. There is a speed boat but apparently people have died on that so we chose to take the slow boat. Still can’t decide whether that was even a good choice! The seats were tiny wooden benches with straight backs and a tiny little cushion. You would have thought the boat was full but then about 50 more people came down the hill and all got on. There weren’t enough seats so people just had to sit where there was a space! In the end, most of us moved our benches to the side and sat down on the floor too cos it was much more comfy that way. The first day was actually pretty cool. The scenery was amazing, a group got a guitar out, people were chilling on the sides of the boat and everyone was in a pretty good mood. By the end of the second day though, I was pretty glad to get off. It was an EVEN SMALLER boat on the second day and the benches were attached so we couldn’t move them aside.
Finally arriving at Luang Prabang was a relief and I really like it here. It’s like no other city in the world. It’s just like a big village, or loads of villages all together. There’s one main street, they nickname ‘Ferang Road’ (foreigner road or something) with lots of restaurants and shops on. The end of the street turns into a night market in the evening which was really cool! We went last night and it was really different from Chiang Mai. All the people are really friendly and smiling and not pushing you to buy their stuff which is such a relief after Thailand which is all about hassling you to buy stuff! On the first day we went out with a couple of girls staying at our guesthouse to the waterfalls nearby which was pretty cool. We did some swimming and some jumping in! That night, we also enjoyed a burger at the Lao Lao Garden which is a cool restaurant on another road. Getting sick of veg and rice, tofu and rice or veg and tofu, a veggie burger and fries was definitely a good shout! Today we went up Phu Si Mountain and looked over the Mekong River which was pretty awesome. Couldn’t take any photots though cos both our cameras have broken within a week of each other! Boo.
Tomorrow we are leaving for Vientiene to organise our visas for Vietnam and then will maybe go back up to Vang Vieng or go down to the Four Thousand Islands. So far, we’re undecided.
Anyway, hope everyone is having a good summer back at home.
Source : Travelblog
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