Saturday, 12 November 2011

Luang Prabang is Pretty Nice

I arrived in  Luang Prabang I think on Wednesday 9th, I had the most stunning trip from Vang Vieng on the 7 hour coach ride, through the mountains.

Luang Prabang is a small town, and pretty much feels like a very sleepy "resort" town for foreigners. The people are a lot more friendly here. It's packed with Guest houses, restaurants, and surrounded by mountains sitting next to the Meekong and Namkhan Rivers. It's very very slow paced, a nice place to chill for a while. I'll be floating around here for another week before Thailand. Tomorrow I begin a 3 day trek into the Hill Tribes, then later next week I'll do a 2 day Elephant mahout experience, should be fun.
Vang Vieng

Bus ride from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

Mekong River, Luang Prabang

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Laos, not happy Jan!

Is sh.t hole too strong a word?

I flew to Vientiane, the Laos capital on Saturday 3 long days ago. I was so excited, from my reading and talking with friends I'd thought Laos would be my favorite country of all.
It all started out fine as I walked across the tarmac to the new but propeller based plane. "Do they still make those? I thought to myself!". 
The small stop at Pakse on the way gave me a glimpse of the dryer Climate. The environment here reminds me strangely of Australia, perhaps Queensland a little.

But everything changed when I got to Vientiane. My gosh, can looks be discerning. Although the city looks relatively modern, there is in some streets the smell of sewage. And worst of all, nearly all the people I met seemed to me unfriendly and rude, completely disengaged. e.g. I walked into many guest houses or shops and no one came to assist you. You'd have to go upto them and ask them for help. In the guest house I stayed at the reception guys were more interested in the TV and Internet than customers. Very strange.

The only saving grace yesterday was my Tuk Tuk driving Mr Tung. He was friendly and let me lay down in his hammock as we drove around town. I got some strange looks, people I don't think they are quite used to seeing one big western guy laying down in a hammock taking up a whole Tuk Tuk. Oh well, a good laugh and a smile will do some of them good.

Today i caught the bus to Vang Vieng. Although it's surrounded by beautiful mountains, the people are slightly more helpful, I just don't like it. It's not for me. If I was here with a friend I'd probably stay a few days but here solo, isn't the place for me. I wanted to go hiking and tubing but, I'll just move on to Luang Prabang tomorrow. Friends had told me I'll love it and it's so different to the rest of Laos. I do hope they are right. At the moment I just feel like taking the first flight to Thailand or going back to Cambodia.

It's interesting. I wonder if what I'm interpreting as rude and disengaged people is actually just a people who are actually very shy and don't speak English and not sure how to deal with a Tourists. Who knows, it's all part of the experience. I'll give it a couple more days.

Now I need a very strong drink. I'm really not in a good mood. The man down the back of the internet cafe is coughing up his lungs and there is a very very very loud American girl talking on Skype. Lord give me strength!

Sign on Guest house wall