Another beautifully lost dreamer with an incurable case of wanderlust.

Let’s Get Lao!

My first experiences in Laos were not the best. We got scammed by a bald man, had a woman screaming on our slowboat that we were all going to die and stayed at the worst ‘hostel’ in the dodgiest town Laos has to offer… Yet, after these unwelcoming ordeals, we really enjoyed our time exploring this beautiful country!

Pak Beng

This is the slowboat stop off town. It’s horrid. Google warns ‘watch your bags here’. You will definitely get offered drugs at dinner, you will definitely be spooning cockroaches in bed and you will definitely want to go to sleep as early as possible to make your stay go that little bit faster.

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Luang Prabang

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What a strange little place. My first Impressions weren’t great. It was more expensive than I had thought it would be and it didn’t seem to be a very friendly town. Luckily my opinion did change throughout our stay. On our first day we visited the most impressive waterfall I have ever seen. Bright turquoise pools tumbling down the hill from the roaring fall at the top. Beaut. While we were there we visited the black bears at the ‘save the bears’ rescue centre. They were little cuties, I defo bought a cheeky tee in exchange for a donation to the charity. I’m a sucker for sweet animals. Another one of our days in Luang Prabang we climbed the 400 stairs in 35 degree heat (sweaty times) to the temple on the hill. It was a fantastic view of the city, worth the effort for sure. There was a lady selling birds to set free for good luck. I didn’t like the fact they were in tiny cages, I wanted to buy them all, but being a backpacker I obviously couldn’t afford that, so Ash and I settled for two each. It was fun seeing them fly away… Although they are probably trained to fly straight back to the lady- it seemed like they would do anything for money there! When it came to the evenings that is when it got very odd. Everything closes at 11pm, so the tradition is to go to ‘Utopia’ (a little hippy bar, it’s a good place for cocktails!) and when it closes head to the bowling alley. When I got told this I didn’t really believe them, but come half 11 there are hundreds of tuk-tuks waiting to take you bowling! It was buzzing! The most happening bowling alley I’ve ever seen, and it sells bottles of booze and popcorn! What more could you want?! The strangest nights out I’ve had in a while, but I’d definitely say you’ve got to do it!

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Vang Vieng

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Vang Vieng was my favourite place in Laos. Although the tubing has pretty much been closed down, it was still a great little town with a good vibe. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I arrived, as there isn’t really much to it, but we stayed a week and managed to find things to do. The countryside in Vang Vieng is stunning, so tropical and green, with mountains in the distance and (when we were there) angry grey skies, making a picture perfect scene. Ok, so tubing was a let down. It was really quiet on the river, and being dry season we had to shout ‘bottoms up’ way too often. Not to mention my spider ordeal, I accidentally floated into a bush and got way too friendly with about five huge spiders crawling on me. It was horrific. The first bar was fun, we spent our entire day there playing games and sunbathing, and once we were done we left the river and got a lift back to town! Nothing like how it used to be, it’s sad to see burnt out bars along the way, but I guess it was for the best, as life isn’t worth risking for a day session of drinking on a river. The blue lagoon is worth a visit, you can suppress your urge for jumping off things into water. It’s super pretty and perfect for a lazy day in paradise. If you’re feeling adventurous you can visit the caves… But I wasn’t. Soz. While we were in Laos we were lucky enough to experience the Rocket Festival. So, basically, locals make their own fireworks and set them off from a launch pad in the middle of a field while spectators get drunk on beer and dance like mentalists to live music, with the occasional added sound effect of a fake orgasm over the microphone. Yes, that’s right. This is actually a Buddhist tradition, to celebrate the coming of the rains. Genius. Highly dangerous, but genius all the same. One of the best experiences to date. VV has still got it.

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Vientiane

One day was certainly enough here. We had a little walk around and explored what this capital city had to offer. It was rather pretty and traditional, but not like any other capital I’ve ever visited before! Most of the shops were closed (perhaps because it was Sunday) and there seemed to be nobody around. There were no obvious transport links in sight or any kind of entertainment/attractions around. The highlight was walking around the park by the river. To be honest the only reason we visited was to catch a flight (Vientiane is the most boring airport in the world- so be prepared), I probably wouldn’t recommend making a special effort to visit Vientiane. I can’t even think of much more to say about it, that’s a first, hey.

4 comments

  1. The Guy /

    Interesting experiences Sam, sorry to hear about the spiders.

    I think I’ve read about the tubing, has that ended because there were too many accidents.

    I’m not sure if that release the birds lady is the biggest con going. But you have to admire her creativity and way to make a living.

  2. “If you’re feeling adventurous you can visit the caves… But I wasn’t. Soz.”

    Haha! Love that!

    P.S…nothing wrong with bald(ing) men!

  3. Vientiane can look like a dusty, not so interesting city. But when I was there, few years ago, I discovered some lovely streets and lovely coffee shops, french style. I somehow changed the image I first had about the city..

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