Huay Xai > Pakbeng > Luang Prabang > Vientiane
7 November 2004
"Now I'm in Laos, after a long 15 hour boat trip (split over two days) down the famous scenic Mekong River, the valleys are gorgeous - lush green trees, rocks, sands, mountains, sunset is amazing! We're are now in Luang Prabang at night, so still to see it daytime, the nightmarket here is an experience itself. I'm having a great time. Once controlled by the French, its funny to see this Asian country very affectionate towards its French Baguettes." Huay Xai was a small village in which we arrived from our boat trip from the border of Thailand. We stayed in a guesthouse with a funny owner. She was a cute old lady and had very good English, aswell as French. Very persuasive in selling things so we just decided to get our Mekong River cruise down to Luang Prabang with her. Food was good, we had not had a good meal for ages so that filled us up and we went for a walk about around the streets. We saw everything, from families, homes, schools. Our Lonely Planet had recommended a full massage from the Red Cross Centre so curious to find out we tried it for ourselves and thumbs up. We were left tired in the end. We've met so many travellers and often bumped into them again, here we made alot of new friends in which alot also went on our boat trip. The cruise down the Mekong River was scenic. Mountains, rocks, valleys, this was a photo oportunity but pictures don't seem to do justice, you just have to be there to see and take it all in. Pakbeng was our stopover. It wasn't a village, just a small street, amazing, it's quite hard to describe. It was a small community where we made friends with more travellers. Eventually by the time we got to Luang Prabang, we knew everyone on the boat and we ussually met up with them to places like the massive waterfall where Dwayne and I climbed all the way up to the peak and walked over it. You can see the bottom of the fall on this photo background, it's clean and a tropical paradise! Later, we climbed up the Luang Prabang hill to JUST INTIME take the photo of the sunset - we were lucky... and breathless! We walked around the town, I loved it so much, it was small and unique. Small little shop and houses, non commercial at all. It was very relaxed by day, and chilled at night, even with the heat! Vientiane, the capital city was our final stop, the journey took ages on a very warm, non aircon, dirty and exhausting bus journey. Although the views had been amazing, we were left tired and miserable in the end. Our guesthouse never made up for this as I can only remember it being small, dark, warm and uncomfortable, but hey... this is travel and we were used to it by then. Living cheap is what we're best at. We walked (yes, we have strong legs now as a result) to the main central where they have the famous Arc de Triomphe (a cousin of the original one in Paris, France). Oh... money here is funny, you got lots of notes, so many to carry, it's like you've just robbed the bank! Laos, is a small country but has alot of natural things to see. It's a must visit country! Definately love to revisit but it'll probably won't have the same feel as with my Dwayne. The people of Laos are lovely just like the country itself. Home to the ASEAN convention.