After going full steam ahead in Bangkok, Briana and I were ready to slow the pace down in Laos. Laos is made up of epic mountain ranges, beautiful waterfalls and some of the friendliest locals you will find. Our first stop was Luang Prabang.
Luang Prabang pretty much shuts down between 11-midnight, with the exception of the bowling alley. Unpaved dirt roads and 5 people riding a single motorbike is all apart of the charm of this sleepy town. The entire vibe in town is very relaxed and this is emphasized by all the cheap massages you find on every single street.
Two days into the trip we joined another couple and rented a van to see the famous Kuang Si falls nearby. Chances are that you’ve seen travel pics of this place online before. Its popularity makes it one of the most crowded attrations. Do yourself a favor and arrive before 10am in order to beat the crowds. The falls are breathtaking, literally, the water is like ice in the morning. Luckily the humidity helps you work up the courage to jump in. On top of this place being absolutely beautiful, there are masses of tiny fish that will exfoliate your feet when you place them in the water. This is a popular past time in SE Asia but at the falls its free.
Most of our time was spent walking along the Mekong river and stuffing our faces. After 5 days, it was time to head to Vang Vieng. The winding bus ride was an adventure in itself. The overbooked bus had everyone shoulder to shoulder for 5 hours. One unfortunate passenger was puking the entire ride, which in tight quarters can be rough.
When we arrived, it was time get to our airbnb. To our initial dismay, the tuk tuk drivers had never heard of the place and it took some time to discover. Once we had a general idea of where it was located, the driver refused to take us the whole way because it was outside of town. We set off on foot on dirt roads with no signs, walking alongside chickens and cows that were everywhere.
Luckily, the owner of the property saw us walking around and flagged us down. We were relieved and introduced ourselves. Turns out, he only spoke French so our conversation just involved smiling and exchanging of the keys. To say we were staying off the beaten track is an understatement. For a split second, we were if we would find our way back in the dark. Ultimately, the location ended up being the perfect place to stay.
We explored the town and local sights but the best part of this stay was our accommodations. The seclusion and immersion with the local community made for an unforgettable experience. Every morning we were greeted by locals and never saw another traveler in our area. Experiencing other cultures is what travel is all about and we definitely had the authentic treatment.
Our last stop in Laos was Vientiane which had us jumping on another long bus ride. The couple of days ice spent in the capitol were uneventful. All in all, Laos was an amazing experience that went by too quickly. The biggest revelation our last two days in Laos was finding some amazing Indian food which tasted delicious but would have me deathly ill a few days later. By the time we were at the airport headed to Cambodia, I was running a severe fever and couldn’t keep anything down…but that’s another story. In spite of the health scare that was to follow, I would not have changed anything about this leg of our journey. We will always carry found memories of Laos.