Saturday, December 23, 2006


After our time in Siem Reap we caught a plane to Laos. We had heard a few dodgy things about some of the smaller airlines but the twin prop plane (probably 30 seater) that we caught to Vientaine was quite good and we even got served food. We stayed one night there and then the next day caught a bus (looked like it had been taken from Priscilla Queen of the Desert set) up to Luang Prabang. That was about an 8 hour trip and the King of Bus had one of the worst toilets we have had to date. Think of bad smells, half height room in a double decker bus and a lot of swaying from the hilly mountains.

Several words can be used to describe Luang Prabang. One of them being chilly. We have been surprised with how cold it is here but it is reasonably north and quite hilly. I think the bus through the mountains got to 2000m at one point. We spent one day in Luang Prabang shopping and checking out the nearby sights. It is quite a small town and you can easily walk from one end of the main street to the other in a short time. They also have very cool night markets that pop up at one end of the main street after sunset. We all agree that we like Laos better than Cambodia. The people are a lot more friendly, seems to be less crime and the sellers and tuk-tuk drivers will stop bugging you after one quick 'no'. Oh and the tuk-tuks are a bit more like 3 wheeled vans than Cambodia.

After our day of rest we decided we were due for a bit of exercise. We took a 3 day trip with Green Discovery (highly recommended) which involved 1 day mountain biking, 1 day trekking and 1 day kayaking. Each night we stayed at a local village (quite an experience, and rather cold). The second night we were involved in a welcoming ceremony which involved the local chief of the village saying some stuff in case our souls had been left behind in the trip to the mountain. Also involved some of the local moonshine, a large amount of Beer Lao and the locals tying string around our wrists. We have to keep the string on for 3 days too or otherwise we may lose our soul again.

Today is another day of rest and more massages plus booking accomodation in Thailand. Accomodation is proving difficult as it seems New Years on a beach in Thailand is quite popular.

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