Posts in "Laos"
later lao lao: the good, the bad and the annoying...
the panic button has officially been activated. we are trying to figure out how the heck we went from spending ten days in laos to over three weeks. regrettably this time will now be shaved off cambodia and vietnam, but it goes to show how much we enjoyed our time in laos.

since my last update we have spent a few days chilling in the 4000 islands which consisted of around 4000 small islands located in the lower mekong delta, straddling the border of cambodia. unfortunately we arrived a few weeks short of the high season and the water was still a little brown, as opposed to the blue green aqua water that arrives in december.

it was a real mission of a trip (numerous buses, dust storms and pit stops in the middle of nowhere) from vientiane but the relaxing serenity once we finally made it, was ace. we stayed in bungalows along the riverside and literally had nothing to do but read in hammocks, bike ride through rice fields, take leisurely boat trips up and down the mekong to local villages, enjoy barbeques and drink copious amounts of cold beer lao’s.

pics. sleeper bus down south, bungalows over the water in the islands, barbeque beers, kurt hitching a ride and sunset in the southern mekong delta

my conclusions of laos are as follows:

the good… everything in laos is super cheap. we saved a lot of money without having to say no or tighten our belts and go without the entire time. we stayed in nice guest houses, enjoyed gourmet foods and drinks and still had a lot left over to dispose of, as we pleased

2. luang prabang would have to stand as one of my favorite, if not, my favorite spot we have been to yet. the ambience, the ease and the beauty of the area was second to none and really could be enjoyed by anyone at any age – however next time we come we will defiantly be flying, the bus trip was a bit much!

3. kurt really enjoyed the sticky rice, which is a staple in the lao diet. as opposed to normal steamed rice, the sticky rice is able to be eaten with your hands and is a great substitute to bread for eating left over sauce from curries or soups

4. some other plus's worth mentioning: beer lao, freshly baked baguettes with cream cheese, the fresh fruit shakes available from stall vendors, picturesque water buffalo roaming in the rice fields and sunsets on the mekong river

the bad…

1. laos unfortunately seemed to attract a lot of know-it-all travelers who all thought they were they best travelers in the history of the world - consequently they tended to be european or americans. everyone had “advice” and “recommendations” which were at times totally uncalled for, which got very (very) tedious and annoying

2. some of the locals which caught tourist buses were extremely rude and inconsiderate, which when you are on buses for 12 plus hours becomes increasingly frustrating - we have to many accounts to jot down

3. the dust. laos is a land-locked country so its predominately dry and the red dust is every where. it seeps into the smallest, most confined areas – so we basically had allergies each day and you never felt totally clean, even after numerous showers

4. the pollution that blows in from china distorts the sky in the north and there is a near constant haze that covers the sky. the fact that lao’s burn their rubbish, may also contribute to this…
"Laos"Jamee ParkerComment
in love in luang prabang…
we are now back in vientiane after spending a few more days in the northern lao mountains, than anticipated. if i can use one word to describe the last week it would be perfect. after a week and a half spent in recovery i must admit i was not looking forward to the ten hour bus trip up north, but it was well worth the effort. we arrived after dark so the our first impressions were not great as we trekked through a night market that crowded the street making in very difficult to find a guest house, and after a day on a dusty bus, we were irritable hungry and tired. once we got settled, we found ourselves falling quickly in love with this little french village, that is literally in the middle of nowhere.

the quiet streets meandered alongside the mekong river which was dotted with old french villas that had been revamped and turned into beautiful quaint guest houses. there were cafes that served amazing laos coffee and freshly baked croissants throughout the day which turned into groovy little wine bars when the sun descended. it was small enough to walk around however most chose to hire bikes to cycle around town and to get to the riverside bars in the surrounding villages. luang prabang initially evoked curiosity as its labeled as one of south east asia’s most romantic villages and i might just add that it did not disappoint. we were quiet loved up by the end of our visit…

we spent the first day exploring and eating our way around the village before signing up for a lao cooking class the following day. a tour through the local food market saw the day get off to a fun start and we met some really great people along our cooking journey. the food was not as desirable or tasty as the thai foods however the company we kept during the day certainly made up for it. we had a few english lads, a couple from switzerland, a couple from melbourne and an americano. we had fun feasting away at the table after creating our meals and chatting to everyone about how they ended up in luang prabang. we ended up dining with the group for the preceding two nights and headed out for an afternoon adventure with our fellow aussies before heading south to the capital.

we are now in the throws or running errands in vientiane and we are in good spirits. i am almost fully recovered from my dengue fever but still get a little low in energy in the afternoons, so we are being careful not to overdo things. we are en route to the 4000 islands in the south of the country before crossing the border into cambodia. lao has been a great stomping ground and we have really fallen in love with this dusty land, which unfortunately has put us almost a week off course. so we have less time in cambodia and vietnam, but we will cope…

pics. mountains of northern lao, french guest house, kurt cooking, some of the cooking class out for some beverages, sunset on the mekong, kurt enjoying a cold beer lao at sunset, chilling at the river, a typical side street in luang prabang and day trip to waterfall

"Laos"Jamee ParkerComment
three countries in three days and some seriously bad news...
after a manic two weeks in myanmar we had a whirl wind trip back to bangkok before our overnight train to laos. after touching down and getting reconnected with the communication realm in thailand, we got the horrible news that my aunty jan had passed away unexpectedly in new zealand. we soon found the truth in the notion that bad things happen in three's, as days later i was diagnosed with dengue fever and kurts grandma passed away back in australia. in low spirits we had to spend a week and a half in laos's capital, vientiane while i recovered from my illness; which rendered me useless for a while. we are now back to our travels and hope that all's as well as can be back home with our families. much love at this difficult time...
"Laos"Jamee ParkerComment