Laos in my heart and in my mind

Mai 2009

A few days ago we spontaneously jumped on a flight from Bangkok to Laos. Without a guidebook or any  expectations we arrived in the capital Vientiane. It was early in may and the weather was amazing.

Vientiane was not the most exciting city I have been to, with the exception of Skandinavian Bakery and finally getting our hands on some "Norwegian" breakfast.  We rented a bicycle and went sightseeing for a couple of days before we decided to move on.

Our next stop was a destination we had heard a lot about from other backpackers traveling through South-East Asia. Some travelers described it as the best party place in the world. While others told us it was hell on earth. This crazy place was Vang Vieng. A tiny village in the mountains that became one of the biggest party places in all of South-East Asia.

In Vang Vieng Tubing is basically sitting inside of a blown up tire, floating down the river and in the case of Vang Vieng you float from bar to bar and get as drunk as possible. When you get back from a long day of tubing you can hang out at the many sandwich bars around town while watching friends on TV for hours and hours.

After a few days in Vang Vieng we had had more than enough and put us finally on a bus further north to Luang Prabang. This proved to be a charming little French-inspired city with exciting markets and nice cafes. From Luang Prabang we rented scooters and drove to a stunning waterfall, Kuang Si Falls. Both scooter ride up and the waterfall was absolutely stunning and without a doubt the highlight so far.

After a few lazy days in Luang Prabang we headed further north to a small town called Nong Kiawe. In Laos it is clear that the further north you go, the greener and more beautiful it becomes. There was generally little tourism and the local was incredibly nice and much appreciated to get tourists to visit. Here we finally got used climbing gear and explored the cliffs and caves. We bathed in the creeks and looked at the stars. It was the most starry sky I've ever seen.

We were a few extra days in Luang Prabang before we took a slow boat further upriver to a slightly smaller village. We have beautiful scenery in Norway, but this area was at least as beautiful and I imagine that it was the way it looked in parts of Thailand in the past. This small village had fantastic local food, lots of untouched forest and nature and the journey ended with a bit of an adventure.