I don’t know why I never thought of doing this, but I love editing movies and often film my holidays and this is what I produced from my trip to South East Asia. I visited Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
They say there is something in the water over here, and I believe them. It seemed as though once I got to Vang Vieng, some outer spirit invaded my body, turning me into a character one would commonly describe as ‘action woman’. Rope swings, rock climbing, partying and hot air ballooning. I wanted to give everything I came across a go. And I did.
After the rocky (or rather bouncy) start to our Vang Vieng experience, the blue lagoon was exactly what the doctor prescribed. Stunning blue water, individual bamboo huts, rope swings, volley ball, and a game of boules, the blue lagoon was magic. We spent hours just being there, soaking up the sun and reading.
After the weather began to turn sour, we headed back to our hostel – Pan’s Place – where I treated myself to a well deserved ‘Parmy’. Followed by some bargain buys of gin and juice ($12 bottles of Gordans gin, mum would be in heaven), we hit the streets. My eyes we’re drawn to the club with the guys fire-twirling out the front, clearly the classiest of establishments, where we found the parties of three contiki tours. We got to talking to two guys, who used one of the most interesting pick-up moves I’ve seen yet, and found out that we’d be with them for New Years. What forward planning. After Suzie booted in the alley way, we decided to call it a night.
Unfortunately the weather hadn’t cleared up by the morning so tubing had to be called off. We decided to go rock climbing instead because we’re just so adventurous. And it was incredible. Our guide Aaron, a 19 year old Canadian who had been climbing for just three days, took us up the cliff. He was an absolute sweetheart and made the whole trip twice as fun. The view from the top was spectacular, and as a beginner, the feeling of reaching the top of the climb was a huge accomplishment.
We finished off our time in Vang Vieng with a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. As you do. Another early rise, but well worth it! Being bundled out to a rice field, watching a group of ten or so men inflate the balloon, and then floating high above the cliffs and rivers and houses that make Vang Vieng, while watching the sun rise was absolutely awesome. Something I don’t think I will ever be able to afford in any other circumstance, and another thing to tick of my bucket list. At this rate, I’ll be able to die happy by the end of my trip!
Next, off to the capital Vientiane before heading to Cambodia! A few days of horrific travel up ahead – 40 hour train trips and bumpy bus rides…the pleasures of travelling on a backpacker budget.
When sitting down to reflect on the last two days in Laos, two words come to mind; patience and blondes. In fact, even those two words are relatable – due to my growing patience for a certain group of blondes (at the best of times!)
Both today and yesterday started on a bit of a fizz. First day we got up at 5.30am because we were told that elephants would be parading down the street. After waiting for several hours we decided to head to a cafe, only to stumble upon the elephants on our way back to the hostel…at around 9am…
The second day we got up at 5am to watch the monks receive alms in the streets. Like curious little cats, we perched on the gutter on the opposite side of the road to the temple, under a spot of light but safe from the rain. Unfortunately we seemed to be the only tourists conscious of the traditional and cultural significance of this practice, opting not to shove huge camera lenses in the faces of the monks, but rather observing from a distance.
After grabbing a few minutes more sleep, I rose again in time to get down to the city centre for a parade we were told started at 7am. At 12pm we were still waiting…after retiring back to the hostel, it turns out the parade finally started to go just after I went upstairs to pack my bag. Good one, Luang Prabang. Pretty cool though that the whole city is a world heritage site.
But apart from the hours of waiting that seem to constitute the last two days, and the subsequent patience that ensues, there were some awesome memories made in Luang Prabang. We visited waterfalls that raved menthol-green water, and went swimming on rope swings. We found a super cute cocktail bar and treated ourselves to ‘screaming orgasms’ and ‘sex on the beach’. We finally found a bottle of wine that we could afford. We got our appetites back, and subsequently ate our body weight and more at the 10,000 kip buffet. We ate delicious crepes from the street vendors, explored the night markets, found salad we could eat, ate in a cafe with the President of Laos’ daughter, and visited a heap of temples. Plus I got to see elephants, and tick another box on my to-do list.
Apart from some super blonde moments, such as Hannah’s concern for our ability to breath while driving up the mountains, through fog, to get to Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang impressed. While the bus trip to Vang Vieng was a nightmare – blowing a tire, speeding through fog on winding roads against oncoming traffic, and stupid seats that felt like we were sitting on a trampoline – we have some awesome activities planned for Vang Vieng! Let’s hope the weather holds out!
First day of Laos and all I can say is wow. I love it. A day of temple-hopping, treatments and treasure hunts, I’m already beginning to feel symptoms of the so-called ‘travel bug’ coming on. Walking down the main street, you can definitely feel a French influence in the shop-fronts and produce. Not to mention the many delicious looking (and smelling) bakeries lining the street! After a kick-starting coffee, we scoured the town for temples. Buddhist temples are quite something. The detail and effort that is put into their appearance is incredible, and quiet different from the church designs back home. Whether carved into gold, glass mosaic or intricate painted patterns, each temple was unique and a treat for the eyes.
Next on our list, however, included a treat for our body. After slogging it for the past few days – either trekking around a city for hours on end, or finding ourselves stuck in the same position for multiple hours – we decided it was time to be pampered. While it wasn’t the greatest facial in the world, I did enjoy the chance to lie back and put my feet up…so much that at one point I think I fell asleep…
Today included more than one treasure hunt. The girls had found a cute little cafe come book store where you could buy or swap books, as well as get food. We wandered far to find it, only to stumble across it later while looking for something else (always the way). After all scanning the shelves I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was the only one to get something (are you proud mum?? I bought a book!). The main treasure hunt, however, was tackling the night markets. An abundance of colours and culture, Christmas presents were bought, essentials were bought, and of course, a little bit more! After all meeting up again, we stumbled home before curfew, but not before stopping off at the corner store to buy some chocolate that we’d all be craving.
Elephants and waterfalls tomorrow I believe. Cannot wait.
P.s. Sorry Mum, I’ve been terrible at posting. I need to find a chance to sit down with Internet and catch up on posts and photos! Promise to do so soon. Also will call you when I next get a chance. Missing you. Always look forward to snapchats from Jack. Xx