Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and 4000 islands
25.03.2013 - 30.03.2013 50 °C
So we left Chiang Mai for a 3 day 2 night trip to Luang Prabang that included accommodations and two meals . The first day we took a 6 hour bus to get to the border town between Thailand and Laos called Chiang Kong. We got dropped off at a dumpy little hotel and quickly met several others that were on the same route as us and we ended up making the most of our situation and had a great night of guitar and Changs The next morning we were up early to eat breakfast ( a fried egg prepared the night before and self serve toast ) and head to the border crossing. It took over half the day getting everyone through customs and getting our visas and we finally hopped on the boat to cross over to Laos. There we transferred onto a huge long tail boat that would be our transport all the way down the Mekong river. The first day on the boat was about 8 hours long it was pretty squishy but the views made up for any inconveniences. Our pictures do it absolutely no justice it was stunning! One of my personal favorite parts of the whole trip so far. That night we stayed in Pakbeng a tiny little town in a dumpy little hotel again, I don't think we even opened our bags ,slept in our clothes over top of the covers and kept our bags close by and locked! The next day was the same thing back on the long tail boat to continue our journey down the Mekong, this time it was about 7 hours. After a long 3 days we pulled in to Luang Prabang just as the sun was setting over the river. We could tell we were going to love Laos already!
We spent the next three days just relaxing in this beautiful little town, it was by far one on the cleanest places we had seen in a long time. We spent alot of time with our new friends we met that first night in Chiang Kong, two guys from Sweden, a guy and a girl from England and two guys from Regina! The timing worked well too because we all ended up moving on the same day to the next place Vang Vieng. Which turned out to be what we thought at the time, the worst bus ride yet! But we didn't know what was still yet to come...
Vang Vieng is a cool little town full of pubs and restaurants that serve up awesome baguette sandwiches (influence from when it was a french colony) amongst other things and has a real relaxed vibe to it. In both Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang everything closes around midnight and they literally become ghost towns. It was such a nice change from all the hustle and bustle of capital cities and crazy city centers. We stayed there for about 4 days, one day our group of friends rented scooters and checked out the blue lagoon not far from town but too far to walk in this heat! The ride there was interesting would have been more enjoyable if we were on a quad instead, we hit some pretty rough roads even by Saskatchewan standards and crossed some pretty sketchy bridges but we made it and it was worth it!
We spent a few hours there working on our tans and swinging into the water, pretty surreal! We also seen the biggest bug we have seen yet and he just so happened to be sitting next to this sign haha
Seriously can you believe the size of that thing? Ick. When he finally flew away he flapped his wings like a bird he was huge!!
We spent the next couple days checking out the town and really just doing nothing before planning our next move to the 4000 islands. We lost some of our group this time two to Vietnam and two to a different city in Laos but Amie and Adam the two from England and Jordan and I were headed to what Lonely Planet described as "Travellers Mecca" and the "Jewel of the Mekong" well after a long 21 hour night bus trip that was worse than the previous, several transfers, no AC and no sleep we made it to Don Det, one of the 4000 islands here on the Mekong. Well it only took us about 6 hours to realize this was the most boring place we had been yet. Also I have to make note of the heat - I read in a couple guide books that this was the hottest are of SE Asia during the months of March and April but it was already +40 where we were how could it get any hotter than that? Well it did it was +50 during the day only dropping to about 35 at night it was almost unbearable and was for lack of a better word a total dump. We stayed 2 nights and that was 1 night too long. I have a few pics of us arriving and a few of us leaving and thats about it! It was too hot to take pictures !
And that concludes our short but sweet visit through Laos! From here we took another horrendous trip across the Cambodian border into Siem Reap a 10 hour trip that somehow turned into a 24 hour trip! But you'll have to wait until the next post for that