Last known location: London, England

Archive of posts about Laos


Luang Prabang: Wats and Waterfalls

After the nauseating bus journey through the mountains to get to Luang Prabang we checked into our hotel – the lovely Villa Laodeum.  We ended up watching the end of the Murray – Ferrer match in our room instead of getting out and exploring but it was quite an exciting one!  Afterwards we headed out for dinner in a restaurant on Luang Prabang’s main street.  There are a lot more tourists here than previous places we’ve been to in Laos and you can see why.  The town is beautiful, surrounded by river and mountains, with gorgeous old colonial buildings.  It’s very nicely done – most streets are lined with pretty fairly lights in the evening and there are lovely cafes with mod cons but decorated in a traditional style. Click here to read more…


Down the tubes in Vang Vieng

On leaving Vientiane we headed 4 hours north to the small town of Vang Vieng. Until a few years ago it was just a quiet village, but is now a major stop on the backpacker trail, midway between the capital and Luang Prabang in the north.

The main attraction is Tubing, where you hire an old tractor tire inner tube from the cartel in town, are driven about 4km upstream, and then drift slowly back down the river to where you started, sat on the inner tube. The added attraction is that along the way there are about a dozen bars to stop off at for a drink, and they throw a rope out into the river to haul you in. Some of them have slides and rope swings to keep you amused as well. Having seen literally hundreds of people around south-east Asia wearing ‘I went tubing in Vang Vieng’ t-shirts we thought it was rude not to give it a go! Click here to read more…


The Quiet Capital

We arrived in Vientiane early evening and checked into the Inter-City Hotel, which had some rooms with river views.  Ours didn’t, but the room was pretty nice.  We’d decided to treat ourselves to a decent place after a week or so of roughing it in some fairly unpleasant rooms!

After luxuriating in an almost-hot shower following the hellish bus ride we headed out to explore the city.  Vientiane is, without a doubt, the quietest and smallest capital I’ve ever been to.  Which adds to its’ charm, I think.  It is very attractive; with loads of colonial buildings (some of which are rather dilapidated) and pretty river views.  The capital was also by far the most touristy place we’d been to so far in Laos.  There was even an “English” pub, which we were later to discover served the most disgusting white wine I’ve ever tasted! Click here to read more…


The Long Road North

After Siem Reap our plan was to head to the border with Laos, and then travel north through the narrow strip of southern Laos, following the Mekong river to the capital Vientiane, taking a week or so to travel the 900 miles with a few stops along the way.

The first leg of the journey was the 8 hour trip to Kratie, a small Cambodian town near the border. We set off from our hotel at 5am to catch the coach from the travel agent’s round the corner. When we arrived all we could see was a tiny minibus, and after waiting around for a while it turned out that that was our transport, not quite what we were sold. An hour later, we were still sat there, and the 15-seater minibus by then had 21 people on board! Because there was so much luggage all the bags were tied into the tiny boot, and the backdoor was then tied down half-closed. A small Cambodian man was then lying on top of all the luggage and slightly unbelievably another one was standing with his feet inside the back holding on to the roof – he stayed in this position for a total of 4 hours as we sped along!

Eventually we met up with a proper bus coming from Phnom Penh – this was also full though so we had to sit in aisle for half an hour or so. A little while later the bus itself started to have a few issues. After stopping 3 or 4 times to let the engine cool down it finally gave up the ghost with water pouring out the back. After an hour stood in the middle of nowhere we eventually got on the move again thanks to some magic involving superglue and talcum powder! We finally arrived in Kratie 4 hours late, and not in the best of moods! Click here to read more…