Laos is a beautiful country, but unfortunately, it didn’t exactly give us the warm welcome we’d hoped for.
Upon our arrival in Luang Prabang, we were smacked with huge bills for only average accommodations and food, which really took us by surprise. We also found that hardly anyone spoke much English, which made getting around very difficult at times. Despite all this, we enjoyed delving into Laos’s diverse landscapes and rich cultural traditions during our short five-day visit.
After arriving late the night before, hungry and exhausted, we spent the first day exploring the city by bicycle. The town itself is adorable, situated right on the river, with ornate temples lining the streets. We climbed up to the top of That Phu Si, a hill in the center of town that allows you to see everything with a bird’s eye view. We also woke up early to observe the locals and tourists offering alms to the monks as they paraded down the street at 6 a.m.
The next day, we escaped the city to visit the Pak Ou Caves, filled with a myriad of antique Buddha images, and the Kuang Si waterfall, LPB’s number one attraction. The falls were absolutely stunning, with tiers of crystal blue water. Michael and I both even mustered up the courage to jump in off a ledge! Only downside was that his phone accidentally went swimming too…
After shopping for some handicrafts and scarves in the night market and chowing down on some seriously awesome street food, it was time to head to Vang Vieng, which ended up being much easier said than done. We got on a bus, then were switched to a different bus, then that bus blew a tire, so we waited on the side of the road for an hour before getting back on the bus (with the tire), finally eating lunch at 3 p.m. and arriving in Vang Vieng after a grueling eight-hour trip.
While not on our original itinerary, we detoured to Vang Vieng for one day solely to get drunk and go tubing down the river. Let’s just say it was everything we hoped for and more. We met some awesome people, enjoyed the gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, and got our free t-shirts from Sakura Bar (a rite of passage for SE Asia travelers). Unfortunately, my Ray Bans did not survive the trip and in all the chaos, we forgot to apply for our Burmese visas… #majorfail. After exploring and eliminating every possible solution, we decided to roll with the punches and stay in Bangkok for the week instead. Myanmar will have to wait ’till next time.
We’ll be in Bangkok now until April 7th, before Mike heads to Shanghai and I go back to Lampang, so if anyone has suggestions of how to fill our time, please send them our way!