The five hour van ride north to Luang Prabang was a pain in my stomach! The windy roads up and down the hills made me feel woozy. I was getting sick but luckily the driver stopped many times where I could get out and get some much needed fresh air. But besides feeling like crap the whole way, the views were quite scenic. At one point, we made a stop at the top of a mountain overlooking the countryside. It was here that I saw THE BEST. TOILET. EVER.
Finally, Lucy, Abe, Tristan, Claire, and I arrived in the city of Luang Prabang. We booked a guest house at Khammany Inn and found that we were in the same room as other backpackers we met previously in Vientienne, Meg (England), Si (England), and Justyne (Germany). Cool coincidence! This guesthouse was big and the rooms were actually pretty decent. But we didn’t stick around for long; we wanted to see the town. So what is there to do in Luang Prabang? Well, the town itself is pretty relaxed. There are markets down the road with tons of tasty food and stalls of freshly made fruit smoothies along the road.
There are temples everywhere here too. I’d say the main attraction are the two waterfalls that everyone must go to when they visit here, Kuang Si and Tad Sae. We decided to only do Kuang Si. The next day, the group of us, including two German girls we met in Vang Vieng, took a minivan about 25km to the Kuang Si waterfalls. I’ve been pretty good about not vomiting from motion sickness so far on this trip…until now. On the way to Kuang Si, I cautioned the driver to pull over! And then it happened, all over the side of the road. But at least I felt better afterwards!
Upon walking to the foot of the waterfall, there was a fenced off area that held rescued Malaysian Sun Bears just playing and laying about.
Furthermore, we came to a crystal blue pool of water where we could Tarzan swing in and swim underneath some of the falls.
The water was cool and refreshing and I lost count of how many times I swung and splashed into the water. Every time I made my way out of the water, I could feel fish nibbling at my legs and feet. A bit strange a first but then barely noticeable after awhile. Soon, Tristan and I made our way further up the falls until we found the grand daddy of the Kuang Si! Tristan is great with a camera, much better than me, and was able to take some great photos.
We spent a couple hours at the falls before we headed back. I was worried about the ride back but I sat in the front this time and was able to fall asleep. Falling asleep is the only sure fire way I won’t get motion sick!
Here in Luang Prabang, the town shuts down at around 10pm. Everything except for a bowling alley in the middle of nowhere! Once all the bars and restaurants close, all the backpackers frolic to this one and only place that remains open to continue their fun there. We made a night of it and all went to Utopia, which is a bar when everyone takes their shoes off and sits on the floor, with pillows of course. The atmosphere was neat as the bar played familiar western music and everything was made of bamboo and stone.
It was also here where things got a little crazy. Once again, just like in Vang Vieng, after a few drinks we all accidentally split up! I have no idea where the others went, but I ended up in the alleys of the bar with a German guy who also stayed in our dorm and with one of the German girls who came with me to the waterfalls earlier. Both were hammered. Me, not too much. All I knew was we had to get to the bowling alley! That’s where everyone else probably stumbled to.
I am skipping a lot of stuff, because I’m sure none of you want to hear the stuff that happened in between getting separated and getting to the bowling alley. Just a lot of a boozy mess. Once I finally made it, I reunited with a couple of the others. Everyone was all over the place, but we eventually early and went to sleep. I am skipping a LOT of stuff here but you can ask me in person and I’ll tell you all about it. It’s pretty funny.
So at our guesthouse, every guest has to take their shoes off and leave it at the door. It’s disrespectful to walk around inside with your shoes on. With all the guests at the guesthouse, there was always 50 pairs of shoes outside, if not more. The next morning after Utopia, I found that my Nike trainers were missing! My favorite shoes that I have had for a long time were gone! I had them on last night and I always take them off at the door. I checked everywhere! Didn’t find them. I was pretty bummed about it, more so than losing my iPhone earlier. It’s hard to find a good pair of shoes that last long, fit perfectly, and never look like they’re dirty no matter what I put them through. I’ve seen places to buy shoes in Luang Prabang, but they were all knock off’s and crap quality. All I had were my hiking boots and my wet shoes. I’ll wait until I get to Thailand to buy some quality shoes. I predict, some homeless guy was walking down the street in the middle of the night and say my trainers and claimed them for himself. Shoot, if I were a bum on the streets, I would probably do the same! What made matters worse was what happened the next day. Now my wet shoes were missing! If you’re not familiar with a wet shoe, it’s a shoe that fits tightly over your foot. It’s basically a wet-suit for your foot. It’s one of the best items I brought with me, as I wore it through hikes where I had to cross rivers and step through ponds, streams, and mud. They were also easy to clean. Just rinse em off. I thought it was weird that out of ALL the shoes laying out front that both pairs of my shoes, were missing. A sick joke. Now all I had were my cheap hiking boots, which were breaking down everytime I put them on. They sucked compared to my old ones. I didn’t want to wear these around for long. I hate these boots but I had to make do.
This was our last full day in Laos with everyone until Lucy and I depart to Chiang Mai, Thailand. As a matter of fact, from here we would all be going our separate ways. Tristan and Claire are heading to Hanoi, Vietnam. Tristan is buying a motorbike while there and biking down the entire country! Abe is staying in Luang Prabang for a couple more days until he heads back south. Before I came to Laos, I didn’t expect to meet a group of friends in such short amount of time. What was great was we traveled through Laos together.
Lucy, me, and my hiking boots said our goodbyes and went to the bus station and waited for a bus to take us through the border of Thailand. Laos has been more than I ever expected, especially with the people I have met.
Thailand time :).