A Travellerspoint blog

2nd Country entered: Lovely Laos


View Laos November 2006 on Tina Bean's travel map.

After a long 6 - 7 hr drive from Chang Mai we entered the border of Thailand, Chang Kong. I hadn't been feeling all that good and got time to relax after we had completed our Visa forms in this restaurant we had been taken to. Only i could decide that a good time to be sick ws just as i had my back pack on about to enter the water to get on te boat to cross the border to immigration! (not to mention the fact that i had a crowd of about 50 people and the locals on the beach playing football!)

Anyway, that said we were now in Huay Xai and after a talk about catching the boat the next morning and found a guesthouse to stay in. Thank goodness it was nice with our own bathroom...was definately time to get some shut eye and make myself better for the 12 hr boat trip.

It sounds a long time but i spent it sleeping, reading and listening to my Ipod. Tunes such as Chasing cars, Bitter sweet symphony were a great soundtrack to listen to as we crusied along the Mekong.

As soon as we got there (Luang Prabang)we were greeted by the steepest steps ever, that overcome we chilled out in a little french influenced barand tried to decide on a place to stay in for the night. Laziness crept in and after looking at the place next door, the Sok dee, we stayed there.

Dinner was in a lovely french restaurant but unfortunately my stomach was too delicate to take it so i ate some bread and drank the water while the others tucked into Spaghetti Bolognaise, steak and a burger! Whoever saaid you will get skinny in SE Asia is lying, esp in Laos where baguettes are everywhere!!!

Early to bed, early to rise and after a breakfast of a warm baguette, scrambled egg, bacon, ham and cheese and a cup of tea we hired bikes for the day. From midday till 5 we rode around, checking out local life, schools, universities, even the airport. The views were stunning and the atmosphere was buzzing!

After freshening up we decided to search out the nightlife. There is one street we had heard about where all the action was and one particular bar...the Hive bar. 2 for 1 on cocktails led me to my fav, a Mojito!! Beer lao soon followed. We have been travlling with a group of about 10 people who all seem to be doing the same route so we keep bumping into them all. Several Australians, some guys from Leeds and a girl from Ireland. We all ended up in a late night place called Vietnam Bar, all very dodgy and to be honest smelt of wee! Ho hum, beggers can't be choosers and with a whole bottle of Beer to drink i wasn't complaining.

The late night didn't make our 8.15 start to catch the bus to Vang Vieng enjoyable! The mini bus was interesting to say the least, there was cracks in the windscreen and Emily had to sit on the arm rest between me and Lucy...not nice, so we shuffled about.

So here I am, my first night in Vang Vieng. It is kind of like the Ko san Road on a smaller scale. We are staying in a lovely guesthouse, wit breath taking views on the balconies! It is true what they say though, Friends re-runs are being played in all the bars, some of you know that will make me happy!

Plan on going tubing tomorrow...that is where you get on a tyre type ring and go down the river stopping in bars along the way. Don't worry, won't be drinking a lot. Will fill you in about that later

Posted by Tina Bean 03:54 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Kanchanaburi - The bridge over the river Kwai

Just a quick fill in about my 5 days in Katchanaburi.

We stayed in a Bamboo hut on the River Kwai. The name of the guest house was Bamboo house...quite aptly! The first night we did stay in a bungalow on dry land with our own bathroom!

The floating huts were really basic, just a matress, fan and a mirror. We had to share toilets and showeres which was a new experience and it was great to have my head tourch to make it to dry land in the middle of the night!

It was so relaxed and the views were postcard perfect. We would often spend evenings watching the sun go down with a bottle of beer on the lawn behind our hut. We met an aussi and two english guys there who finally persuaded us to take a dip in the river kwai! Was very sureal having a swim and looking up to see the famous bridge! It literally was swimming distance away!

So relaxed days were had, sunbathing but also one around the local area and market. I took a walk over the bridge, where i saw an elephant and could also see our river hut!

Our main day adventure was when we went to the hellfire pass memorial museum, saw the cuttings that the POW's did and the track that still remains. All very morbid but something to take on board and remember what was done for us. We then went for lunch at a shack on the side of the road and then to the Soi Yuk Noi waterfalls. Very beautiful. I had a paddle, climbed up them and just stood in ore of it all.

We then went on an elephant trek, followed by a bamboo raft (this one had sides and we had a life jacket on!) The elephants were fun, we just trapsed around, in the river and to be honest after a while it got uncomfortable up on the seat and hard work clinging on when they were going downhill.

Kanchanaburi didn't have so much nightlife to offer. One night that we had a lovely thai meal (thai green curry..v hot) in a restaurant after going to another bar, on our walk back they invited us in for a drink with them. An israli couple were there too and it turned into quite a late one. One evening we went to a lovely restuarnt by the river and fed the fish. It reminded me of a bar in Ibiza right on the water, lots of paper white lanterns in the trees and very chiled out!

Another night saw us play drinking games in a lovely open air restauarant with our own seperate bamboo canope type thing, we sat on the floor around a low table. This night also was when we all lost our samsung bucket virginity, this is a small bucket of thai whisky, coke and red bull. Nedless to say we all got v drunk!

Sadly enough another evening when me and Lucy were the only ones hungry, we gave in and went to an English bar for a burger and were subjected to a james bond film!

All in all, a lovely place to visit and would go back!

Posted by Tina Bean 03:42 Comments (0)

Chang Mai is a beautiful place!

I have missed out my tales and tribulates about Kanchanaburi but will fill in later....this is all about my last few days in Chang Mai.

I took the 13hr overnight train to get here from Bangkok after being in Kanchanaburi since last tuesday staying on a bamboo raft on the river kwai!! and off to Laos on sat morning.

I have been to many temples around chang mai (there are 300) and tomorrow I am going to oe where you can chat to the monks, have already got a few questions for them!

Had a thai massage (cost a whole 150 bhat - Just over 2 quid) It was amazing, painful in parts and he totally gets amoungst it, feet go in many part of our body including inner thigh and he stretches you, pulls your arms up like he is going to pull them ot of te sockets and then he puts pressure on legs and arms but all felt good!

Monday we had a lazy day and went to a swimming pool at a plush hotel, wish i had the budget to stay there but the guest house we are staying in is amazing, the family are lovely, helped us with all our trips and where is best to go. Their children are so cute, want to bring one home with me!!!

I went on a thai cookery course on tues. First we went to the market, got our ingredients then made 6 dishes including our own green curry paste for green curry. Made spring rolls, pad thai, bannana in syrup with to die for coconut ice cream,hot and spicy soup and sweet and sour chicken. Watched the Constant Gardener in a nearby bar which was cool to have a bit of me time.

I went on a trek yeaterday and today. Just the four of us and a middle agesd guy named Eddie from Hawai. First day we went to the market to get supplies then driven to the hills/rainforest. We first had lunch then trekked 30 mins to a waterfall which was stunning then back to the truck (sawthong - don't know if that is how it is spelt but a pick up truck with benches in the back) and drove for a nother hour before trekking began. OMG...we all though we were going to die, it was like climbing up primrose hill 20 times over!!! Nobody told us it was going to be this tough!! It did get easier but we treked for an hour before stoppng at a Karen hill tribe. Boon, our guide is part of the tribe. Like nothing i have even seen, these people live in such primitive basic conditions...pigs in wooden cages below the huts they live in, sifting the wheat from the chaffe...get the pic, all in the middle of the rainforest!!! We then trekked for another 2 hours with lots of stunning views and one brown snake!By the time we got close to the hill tibe we were staying in for the night it was dark and some of the routes were only 50cm wide and a sheer drop on one side...my head torch is amazing even though the girls scoffed! We had a lovely dinner, our bed for the night was one hut for all of us, matresses on the floor (if you can call them that!) and blankets.It is absolutely freezing in the rainforest so we had a camp fire and some drank beers and we shared stories with other people on the same trek - btw met a girl from san fran last night who knows the creators of flickr!!!!! The night was tough in our mozzi nets, v. cold and the 1am trip with Lucy to the toilet was hilarious!!

One of the girls got sick in the night and one had blisters so instead of walking to the third village we got a bamboo raft... thought i was going to die! The water came up to my neck and i only had the 18 bamboo logs underneath me to hold onto without any life jacket as the rafting was not planned. It would have been a hard hill walk but i had loved every minute of yeasterady I wanted to carry on today. I can not describe how scary our white warter rafting experiece was. We crashed onto a rock and nearly turned over, half the raft and our backpacks were in the water, we had had to put all or valuables in a plastic bag...that should have explained it! The two guides managed to get us back on track before we submerged...what an experience! Last bit of fun...once we got to dry land to have lunch, a massive spider crawled up my leg...oh how i squeeled!!!

Our last day in Chang mai was spent by the pool relaxing in the day and then myself and Emily took ourselves off to a temple where you can chat to a monk...that's right i now official have a Buddist monls e mail address as he wants me to tell him about Laos as that is where he was from! It was amzaing, we asked them about their way of life and rthey asked us about what life is like in the UK. All very strange but a wonderful thing to have done as it helps to improve their English.

It was our last night so while the others all stayed in i decided to go to the Chang Mai night market...what it is most famous for. It is one street both pavements lined with stalls, tightly packed and fake designers gear as far as the eye could see...all i bought was a chocolate pancake!

Saturday 26th saw us north bound to Laos. A 6 hrs mini bus drive awaited us!

Loving it all however!!!

Posted by Tina Bean 05:58 Comments (0)

The koh san road baby!

sunny

For those of you that didn't get my mail, here is how singapore was:

After 12 long hours i have finally arrived. After much rushing to the bus tour desk i missed the last bus to allow me to get back to the airport in time to check in...by 5 minutes. My flight from LHR was delayed by an hour...how annoying. They did offer a shuttle bus option but that involved me getting in a taxi once i reach part of the city to catch a connecting bus, me thinks that may be pushing it for day 1!

Nevermind, there is so much to do here to kill the 5 hour transit, i may go swimming or watch a movie, get a massage, who knows! (I WENT SWIMMING AND I HAD IT ALL TO MYSELF!!!)

Singapore air is amazing by the way, i have watched two and a half movies, episodes of Fraiser, Medium and Friends, not to mention played super mario bros! The best thing of all...i was sitting next to Alex Parks and her friends...now who remembers her? No actually the food was the best thing of all, lunch and breakfast...heaven, oh and hot towels!

Now Bangkok.....

Day three and have now moved to a hostel room on the Ko san road which the four of us are sharing. Bit of a come down after the hotel we have been staying in in the last two nights...complimentary water, shampoo and shower cap!!! Stole the toilet paper so we don't go short!

In an internet cafe in the hostel. All is going well, the girls are lovely and i am getting used to living out of a backpack. Have seen a ping pong show, have been to the grand palace and generally checked out BKK! We are moving onto katchamaburi tommorrow (bridge over the river Kwai) and will hopefully be staying in a guest house by the river. WE are then going on a 10 hr bus ride to get to chaing mai, where we will be trekking!

All still very surreal, feel like i am in an extra from the beach! Walking down the Ko san you can buy anything, even deep fried insects! The food is amazing though and so cheap.

All felling the need to get out of the city, can't wait for the island hopping.

Don't worry about me, i',m fine, will take a while to get used to this way of life but you know me...i'll embrace it!!!

xx

Posted by Tina Bean 22:48 Archived in Thailand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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