Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Travel Laos 8 Days 7 Nights [Part 2]

Third day was full of surprises, I bought minibus ticket with the tour company but ended up traveling with a local married couple further north to Luang Prabang, the site of Wats that were frequented by the royal family back then, still a site of devotion for local Lao Buddhists, is one of the oldest cities in Laos with crumbling French architecture and Unesco Heritage listed.

The boss said I was a lucky man as I could travel more comfortably with the his friends (a married couple) and they would pit stop at places where the buses never stopped, but it still cost me 100k Kip/$12.50 and 5 hours to get there (VVIP bus would take longer).

One of the most delicious Lao curry noodle soup (chicken) I ever had in Vang Vieng

The couple made a few of stops to stock up and this market was remarkably selling parts of wild boars, squirrels, tortoise, and "happy" whiskeys.

First pit stop

Hello squirrel

Happy whiskeys

Hello tortoise

Hello wild boar

Route 13 had stunning views of deep mountains, my eyes were locked on to the green hills, tiny huts, agriculture plants and the home to local ethnics.

She's telling something through her eyes

These kids were really cute, they waved at me everytime I took their photos. They reminded me I was once as happy and care-free as they were, but somehow along the way life's get tougher and more sophisticated and we were less happier and care-less.

Local Lao ethnic kid

Waving future
The super curvy road to Luang Prabang was nut, the super relaxed driver was always one hand on the steering, and the other often too busy with something.

The tyre kept making noises everytime he went cornering, I really felt the car was going to be skidded off and there goes the car down the cliff (it's high up the hill, I could feel it's getting colder up there), AND the best thing was there was never a road BARRIER!

Embarking roller coaster excursion

So intensed back there, I held on to anything I could grab. The fella did not understand what I was saying, so I failed to talk him in to slowing down the car. And the poor Lao guy behind me I think he threw up one whole pack of 'substance' he ate that day.

All I could do was just pray, and I vowed to God that I'd be a vegetarian for a week if I survived this, I made it to Luang Prabang unscathed. Now I need to pick the day to go on vege.

Luang Prabang

At this time I was worried about how I supposed to return to Vientiane on the same route i came, I literally hesitated.

I bumped into Nick on the street that night, a Canadian lawyer, we met in Vang Vieng. He said he almost die on the way to Luang Prabang. He was sleeping, everyone dived to other side of the bus when the hand of the crane that was fixing the road hit and tore part of the bus, that's crazy!

Enough of the horror story, I touched down Malaysia safely couple of days later! Don't worry too much if you are going to Laos, seriously, it's horrific experience but fun to remember.

I walked a few blocks and settled down at Soutikone guest house (exact geo location on google map - 19.896408, 102.1411), it was absolutely a nice place to stay. Clean and quiet at night, the rate was reasonably cheap, $10 or 80,000 Kip per night for queen sized bed room.

Soutikone guest house, 80k Kip/$10 per night
The room had a little balcony

Cosy shared balcony Soutikon guest house

The owner was a sweet lady, and she owned a beautiful dog, Petty.


At night, I walked the Sakkaline street (main street of the town) and did a little shopping at the night market. The night market started as early as 7pm and ended at 11pm daily, local friendly sellers were selling interesting handycrafts and stones on the street.

Those things were already cheap before bargaining, although 50% discount is ideal, but I suggest 30-40% to make their lives easier.

It resembled 'Pasar Malam' (night market back in Malaysia), I felt home a little.

Second day in Luang Prabang was fascinating

I loved the Lao beef noodle soup for my breakfast (RM4.50).

Lao beef noodle soup for 12,000 Kip

Pork (with internal organs), I didn't try this..

I did politely ask her to smile..

There were plenty of Wats and old buildings around, and I decided to only visit the nearest and well known ones, the busy streets were just so lifely, they were definitely interesting enough to stop me to snap a few photos. It was the most enjoyable moments to walk the busy streets.

Wat at Luang Prabang

Blink blink Buddhist sculpture

Wat Xieng Thong was built in 1560 by the Lao King, was situated near the Mekong river and very popular tourist spot.
Wat Xieng Thong

Wat Xieng Thong

The gigantic guardian ship in the Wat
 I continued with my random takes on the French/Lao architectures & activities.

Door way

Origami by the window

Little Lao corn seller

Corn seller on the street

One of the few places you couldn't have missed, I believe is the morning market and laying back at the river front restaurants along Khem Khong street to have your own little quiet moments with Mekong river.

Morning market

Morning market

The view of the Mekong river from the restaurant were different at noon and sunset, I've blogged about the magic moment.

Mekong river
The vegetable sticky rice came to me by surprised because I ordered beef rice, it must be the sign, or reason, so I took it.
Vegetable with sticky rice
Next up, amazing Kuang Si waterfall excursion, and funny incident on my last night in Luang Prabang with two American friends.

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