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Reisverslag New years eve in Laos and many more adventures
9 januari 2016
New years eve in Laos and many more adventures
It's been a while since my last post. That was on the 29th of December last year, if I'm not mistaken. That night I hade an enjoyable Skype session with my lovely roommates who were in the middle of a combined birthday/Christmas party. It cost me some sleep in the middle of the night, but was totally worth it.
On the 30th we rented a motorbike and rode up to the Khong Si waterfalls. If you are ever near Luang Prabang, this is totally worth a stop. Not only is the jungle beautiful, but climbing up the mountain you will find smaller waterfalls on different levels. The water is very turquoise, almost nothing like I've seen before. When you've seen all the small water bassins and waterfalls, you get to the big one. A breathtaking sight of liters and liters water falling down from above. The climb all the way up to the top was a tough one, very steep, big steps all the way up. The view did totally make up for it, though. In the afternoon the motorbike brought us to the Pak Ou caves. The caves were absolutely not what we expected of it and were actually quite disappointing. To road that took us there was very adventurous (or bumpy...) and the view from the beach en boat that led us there was amazing.
The last day of 2015 we spent in a minivan traveling from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng. This was a bumpy ride as well and both Winnie and I had been ill at night (most likely from food poisoning) so we were not completely happy with that. But we arrived kind of safely in Vang Vieng where we had already booked a hostel. There were four very funny guys from Israel who were very concerned about us not feeling completely well. I was feeling a lot better after a nap and a shower, but Winnie was not well enough to go out for new years eve. So she stayed in bed and I went out for pizza and a party with two Finnish guys from our dorm. Later we got company from an Austrian guy and we had a countdown in a bar.
The day after we started the new year tubing down the river. We ended up with the guys from the night before and got company from a girl who was from Finland as well. We spent a little too much time at the first bar, which caused a little hurry later on. It was the most relaxing day, but in the end it got cold and a little dark and at the "2 km left"-sign we were picked up by a tuktuk.
The 2nd of January we rented bicycles and cycled 8 km up to the blue lagoon. There was an awesome cave!! We could go in without guide, but we were very, very happy with good shoes and head torches. I think we wandered around the cave for at least an hour. Just climbing and crawling around in the dark. It was a little spooky some times, but the way back was quite easy to find by following the sound of talking people.
On Sunday we took a vip-bus to Vientiane, the capital of Laos P.D.R.. I wasn't feeling very good, so stayed in the guesthouse were we ended up and Winnie went out to find a better place to sleep for the next day and to get some dinner. The place we were staying looked a little bit like a prison room with high walls without windows, two basic beds and an even more basic bathroom. The drain from the sink was missing, so when you were washing your hands, you had to be careful not to get your feet wet as well.
On Monday the 4th we moved to another place and explored the city. The highlight must have been the COPE visitors centre. This was a museum about all the bombing in Laos during the secret war between the USA and Vietnam. Laos is probably the most bombed country in the world and the jungles are still filled with unexploded bombs. This not only causes quite a lot of fatal accidents every year, but also causes a lot of people to lose limps. In the center there were documentaries on cleaning up the bombs as well as pictures and text about the process of making protheses and a huge collection of home made protheses. They also showed how the bombs and the leftovers of those play a mayor part in the life of the Lao village people. Combined a nice experience in a quite, but interesting place.
Our second full day in Vientiane we went with Kelly from Amsterdam to the Buddha Park by local bus. The locals here do not speak a lot of English, so finding the right bus was a challenge. We managed to tackle the language barrier and found the right bus that took us to the Buddha Park, a park the size of a football field filled with statues of Buddha and a lot of Hindu gods. It sounds quite dull stating it like this, but is was quite nice and there was an enormous ball shaped thing of stone where you could crawl in and inside you could climb all the way up until you were on top and had a nice view over the park. After the bus back and lunch we went to Patuxai, a monument shaped after the Arc de Tromphe, where we could climb all the 190 steps up to the top, providing us a view over the entire city.
Two days ago we took a local bus, which turned out quite fine, to Konglor. Konglor is a very small village close to the Konglor cave. There are 4 guesthouses which were not filled, and 3 or maybe four small restaurants. We spent all day in the bus and after picking a guesthouse we had dinner with some backpackers that were on the bus with us. The village was really basic, which gave me the feeling we were experiencing a little bit of the authentic Laos, instead of the touristic sites we had seen so far.
Yesterday we went to the famous cave and it was well worth the trip!! It was just a 10 minute walk from the guesthouse to the park entrance. We got a boat ticket, left our bags in lockers, changed our shoes for flip-flops and got a life jacket and a torch. Together with our boatman we walked up to the entrance of the cave where we entered the boat. There is a river floating through the mountain and we went on the river through the mountain by boat. After a small drive we got out on an underground beach and walked around in the cave viewing the stalactites and stalagmites. We entered the boat again and still had a big part of the 7 km trip left. The last part, just before entering the "village" on the other side was not underground but out in the open where we could see cows bathing in the water and chilling in the sun. We had a drink and a snack and went back into the cave again. The water was quite shallow at some points and at one point we even had to get out to lighten the boat while we waded through the water. When we got back to the park we stayed there for a while, reading and writing in the shadow. We had an easy afternoon followed by dinner with almost the same group as the day before. We went to bed early, again, for the sleepiness came soon when the sun set and the dark fell in, with the absence of any street lights.
The bus was supposed to leave at 7 this morning, but a little later than 6.30 we heard the engine running already. Luckily we stayed in the guesthouse at the busstop. Otherwise we would have missed the bus that apparently left at 6.45. It is now 13.30 and we have transfered busses 2 times now. When we got out of the first bus we were somewhere where there was nothing. We only knew that the bus going south should pass this place. After 2 minutes Winnie said all of the sudden that there was a bus coming. So we started waving and it stopped. It was even going in the right direction. So that was a close one.
We're now traveling to Pakse, a city in the south of Laos. I'm hoping to post this story tonight, whenever we get to town.
UPDATE: Okay, I didn't. I could not find a proper connection last night after the 12 uur bus trip. So now it is morning and the sun is shining! Have a good day :)
12 januari 2016 08:42 | Door: oma José
Ha Laura, en Winnie, interessant verslag weer. Dat je daar ook nog tijd voor hebt, Laura. Ik heb het een paar keer gelezen, zoveel informatie. Heel veel plezier verder, goede reis verder. Al bijna de helft van jullie reis zit erop, he?