A Travellerspoint blog

December 2009

Laos - Luang Prabang

UNESCO world heritage town with a beautiful waterfall thrown in!

sunny 28 °C

We finally decided we were gonna give Laos a go and set off with Beej and Sav to Chang Kong from where we would catch a slow boat (2 days on the river) to Luang Pubang in Laos. We had met another couple from England, Steve and Jenny the night before, so the 6 of us set off on what was a long trip. When we finally got to the boat it was already full so we had to find any seat we could. Anna managed to find herself one of the comfy seats, whereas I was stuck on the wooden bench (thank god I bought a pillow) and we did swap halfway through the 6 hour first day trip so it wasn’t too bad.P1000546.jpg Steve and Jenny had unfortunately got stuck at the back next to the engine, which couldn’t have been nice as it was so loud. We stopped for the night at Pakbang, a small little village which ran off of generators. This was amusing because at 10:30 all the lights in the town went off!!! We also saw the biggest spider I have ever seen!!! In the morning we set off on the final 7 hours of our trip. The views were gorgeous but it was a long day. We passed the time playing cards and trying to figure out where we were gonna stay. When we finally arrived in Luang Prabang after 13 hours on a slow boat we were all pleasantly surprised. It was a small beautiful town, which had felt like it should have been on the beach. We all set off to try find a room for the next few days and quickly found one right on the river. We then headed to the night market, which we thought has been the best one so far!! We also ate there and i had nice BBQ chicken and pork which made a change and Anna had some Veg Noodles. Then we headed to a bowling alley which was where all the cool kids hang out after their 11pm curfew!P1000613.jpg It was pretty good, I was appalling, Adam was unfortunately his usual good, smug self ;-) The next day we headed to the Kuang Si Waterfalls which were stunning. P1000654.jpgThey had a rope swing which you could swing off of into the cold water...I was the first to do it, with Anna saying it was too cold. Steve also gave it a go but we couldn’t persuade Anna or any of the others. At the waterfalls there was also a bear sanctuary where rescued bears were looked after. It was nice to see them up close and they seemed happy, although a lot of them were asleep!! The following day we decided to rent out bikes and go to the other side of the Mekong and visit the villages that weren’t filled with tourists. So we jumped in a slow boat with the bikes on the roof, glad they didn’t fall in. Over the other side it was a different world to the French influenced town we were staying. We rode along the dirt tracks which were their roads, with Steve having to stop every 10 minutes with his chain jamming on his bike. We went past little shacks trying to dodge animals in the way. We also met 2 little girls who followed us on a bike.P1000691.jpg Anna enjoyed showing them our camera taking funny photos of her and them. We weren’t sure if they had ever seen pictures of themselves so it was nice for them. It was a nice ride into the little village which was yet another example of the wonderful sights we have been lucky enough to see in South East Asia. Our last night we went up to the temple to get some pictures of the sunset which were, as you can see, amazing! After Luang Prabang we headed to Vang Vieng for the notorious tubing!!

Posted by palmer830 03:15 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Chiang Mai

Trekking, Andy, Opium

sunny

We booked a ‘vip’ bus to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. It was a long and tiring trip, made easier by watching monsters vs aliens on our netbook! We had planned not to do a trek and see Pai instead cos it was meant to be beautiful but the bus driver had other plans. They drop you off at ‘not so’ nice place in Chiang Mai at 5 in the morning when you are knackered and just want to sleep and try to sell you their rooms and treks. We were sold. Booked a 2 night trip up to Pai with some guy who called himself ‘Crazyman’...The next day we set off on our trek with Beej and Sav who we met on the way up, an American couple called Cass and Bridget, a Canadian called Clarissa and ‘Andrew’ (who you will hear more about later) we still don’t know if he was a genuine trekker or worked secretly for ‘nice place’. We set off and the pace was pretty fast...little did we know we were just heading back to Crazyman’s hometown for the night. The views were amazing however, and we went to a local village where a woman cooked us a lovely lunch. IMG_1587.jpgWe got to the town we would be staying at for the night and found our room which was a bamboo hut to fit 10 of us in. Then the boys played football with the locals where they got their arses kicked! Adam being Adam managed to cut his knee but he’s doing ok ;-)In the evening we had dinner around candlelight and then some local people came and joined us to sing and dance which was really nice.DSC_1668.jpg Then the evening took a dark turn...The locals decided to try and make some cash off of us by trying to sell some opium. Andrew (if that was his real name) was straight in there puffing away and trying to encourage us to try some. At £6 a go and us not being druggies we declined but ‘Crazyman’ (meant to be our tour guide) and his sidekick Andrew had finished off most of it and retreated to bed, leaving us with the locals all getting high. It was a very weird, surreal night which we won’t forget in a hurry. We woke up early the next day for what would be one of the hardest days trekking known to man!! We left at 7:30am (way too early for us) and the first 20 minutes were up a steep hill that never seemed to end!! We walked constantly for 1hr 30min by which time we were ready for a break, and this came in the form of a cute little waterfall. If it hadn’t been so cold we would have jumped in, however we were soon back on our feet climbing more hills, which was made difficult by slippery mud and Anna wearing trainers with little to no grip!! Typical. So me being a gentleman I helped her along!!! After another hour or so we came to an open field where we saw 3 elephants. 2 adults and a little baby. The 2 adults were our ride for a while, but we weren’t comfortable doing this. We had to get onto them by standing on their head and climbing onto the seat. I had originally been asked to sit on the mums head for the journey but it was a little awkward so I instead went into one of the seats which was a little more comfortable. We did this for about 40 minutes and then it was the final stretch of our walk. The guide had told us it was a short distance but 50 mins later I definitely disagreed with him. We had some lunch and then did some rafting. Now we had thought this was gonna be a nice relaxing end to the day, but no. I had to steer the raft along with a bamboo stick whilst Anna spent most of her time falling into the river!! All in all it was a good but tiring experience. We got to see some awesome views and see how a tribe lived as well as some extreme exercise. We had fun but were ready to get to our hotel and decide if Laos was for us or not!

Posted by palmer830 01:13 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bangkok

The first few steps

sunny 30 °C
View Half a world away on palmer830's travel map.

We arrived in Bangkok after an uncomfortable 11 hour journey stuck between an unsociable German and a perverted Frenchman. Managed to make our way to the infamous Kho San Road and got conned out of £1.20 (ouch to the budget) by the tuk tuk driver only to be taken full circle. Good start! Our hostel here is lovely, got a rooftop pool and everything! But I’ve warned Adam not to get used to this luxury! Spent the first evening finding our feet and sorting out Adam’s tooth dramas! Then got up early the next day to check out the Grand Palace.P1000191.jpg Pretty nice place as you can see. We saw a mini Angkor Wat, the Green Buddha and all sorts of wonders! In the evening we tried out the local cuisine, I opted for the trusty Green curry and Adam splashed out on sweet and sour chicken. Afterwards we tried out a Thai massage and avoided the dodgy ‘men only’ section. The next day we went to the floating market, sold as ‘Venice of the east’.P1000250.jpg It was mad! The river was crammed with boats and at one point at boat was actually going over some woman’s head! It was very picturesque though and we got some great photos. After that we chilled out by the pool and planned our trip to Northern Thailand.

Posted by palmer830 20:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

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