Well what can I say about Laos? Apart from that I absolutely loved it, maybe even more than Thailand (or what I’ve seen of Thailand so far). Everything about Laos suits me down to the ground, the welcoming people, the sunshine, the chilled out, relaxed atmosphere…I could stay there forever.
Lets start with where I entered the country, Vientiane – it’s small enough to be able to walk around (most of) it in a day, yet big enough that it doesn’t just feel like a tiny little riverside town, which essentially is what it is. There’s so much to see and do, from the gorgeous temples, such as the gorgeous, golden Pha That Luang and the impressive Wat Si Saket, to the markets, such as the enormous Talat Sao, to just chilling in the park or going for a walk along the river.
There’s also plenty of places to eat and drink around Vientiane, True Coffee and Joma being our favourites for coffee and a bite to eat, especially at breakfast (Joma also has free WiFi, whilst True Coffee has computers and wifi available for a tiny cost). At night, we enjoyed the cocktails at Daafa Bar and the live music at Kop Chai Deu, and finally our favourites for a good meal were the Full Moon Café and Fuji Sushi (if you ever have the chance to go there, get the caterpillar roll, it’s delicious!).
After a few days in Vientiane we thought it was time for a change of pace, and so a trip to a place nicknamed ‘party island’ was in order. After a four hour bus ride, we arrived in this place, otherwise known as Vang Vieng, as quickly found somewhere to stay, a lovely little guesthouse called Sisavang. That evening we had a little wander around the town and main strip, full of bars and restaurants, all with big screen TVs, and all playing endless episodes of American sitcom ‘Friends’ – and they had the tables all set up with cushions so you can sit, watch and eat in comfort…very bizarre, but I’m a huge ‘Friends’ fan, so I was in heaven!
The next morning, after changing residence to the beautiful Banana Bungalows (we got out own little house on stilts, right by the water), we decided to try out one of the activities Vang Vieng is best known for – that of the ‘sport’ of tubing, or rather just lying on a big inflatable rubber ring and floating for two hours down the river. But of course that’s not all there is too it, not with Vang Vieng being the party place that it is. Along the river, there are numerous bars, all with their own music and drinks deals, and all trying to pull you in (literally…they throw ropes out and tell you to hold on so they can bring you in) to stay a while before continuing on with your trip downstream. This is how hundreds of travellers spend their time and money in Vang Vieng everyday. We opted for the more relaxed tubing experience, and so ignored all the pleas for us to come on land to the bars, and just floated on by, more concerned with topping up our tans than destroying our livers.
The next morning, after an evening spent just chilling out in a bar with some food and drink, I awoke to glorious sunshine, bright blue sky and the most beautiful mountain view I think I’ve ever seen. I could have stayed there forever.
But it was not to be as, if we are to make it to Singapore in time for our flight to OZ at the end of December and still be able to do all the things we want to before then, we had to keep on moving. So at 1:30 pm we began the epic journey to Hanoi, Vietnam.
To be continued…