We woke up on the train in a different landscape to that we’d left behind in Bangkok – everything looked a lot drier, as the dry season is in full swing up in the north. Instead of lush green trees and grasses, as around Bangkok, there is instead a profusion of different shades of brown […]Read more "Into the land of communism…"
At sunrise we took a look at the local market, to see what delights were on offer for us. Bird flu is still an issue here, and is expected to be for a few more months, so the usual supply of chickens at the market was absent, and instead all kinds of different animals were […]Read more "To market we go…"
It seemed like such a good idea – hiring bikes, and setting off into the countryside. And in the morning, it was. We cycled up and down the main north/south road, only occasionally being passed by motorbikes and an occasional bus, tractor or lorry. We haven’t seen a car for two days! We got to […]Read more "Biking off more than we could chew"
The next step of our journey, further north, is to Luang Prabang, the ancient capital city of Laos, sitting on the Mekong and surrounded by mountains. The journey takes 6 to 10 hours, depending on how you elect to travel there – local bus, air-con coach or minibus. We opted for the minibus – the […]Read more "Into the mountains, and past the guerrillas"
We’re now in Luang Prabang, the ancient mountain capital of the Kingdom of Laos. Nowadays it’s not the capital, and Laos is no longer a kingdom, but a People’s Democratic Republic. But the history of the city is everywhere you look. We arrived last night, hunting for accommodation near the Mekong, which flows on the […]Read more "Luang Prabang"
Luang Prabang was the historical home of the Laos royal family – until the revolution! In 1975, when the revolutionaries finally won a war against the King’s forces, King Sisavang Vattana was forced to abdicate, and then imprisoned in a remote cave, where he and his entire family died from starvation and neglect. And within […]Read more "Royal sight-seeing"
Wherever you go in Luang Prabang, the monks are inescapable. On every street corner, set of steps and pavement, there is normally a monk chatting or hurrying between temples. It is one of the things which makes Luang Prabang stand out as an other-world place. At 6.30 in the morning, the monks leave their monasteries […]Read more "Monks – everywhere!"
Although there’s enough to see and do in Luang Prabang, we thought we ought to make an effort to get out to the waterfalls, 15 miles from town. As it is currently the dry season, we’d expected a trickle of muddy water over a small rock. We definitely weren’t prepared for what we found – […]Read more "Waterfalls"
We’re becoming experts on getting around Luang Prabang (not difficult – there are so few ways to do it, and so few places to go!). Slow boat up the Mekong One of the ways to enter or leave Laos for Thailand is to take the slow boats which ply the Mekong river. Although we’ve declined […]Read more "Getting around Luang Prabang"
It seems like ages ago that we arrived in Laos, but in reality it was only 11 days ago. But now we need to leave – our visa only lasts for a fortnight, and we’ve got other things to get to. We had 3 options – the two day slow boat to the Thai border, […]Read more "A week later – leaving Laos"