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The Saga of Heather's Travels ... the story of a dream come true

Great times in Lao

LAOS | Monday, 30 November 2009 | Views [506] | Comments [3]

Great times

Great times

Recovery from that boat trip took a few days of sitting in gorgeous cafes in Luang Prabang sipping wine, and browsing at the night bazaar! This cute wee town is just captivating, and I had such a peaceful nice time there, just wandering around visiting temples and the Museum. Had a great day trip, in the morning to the Pak Ou Caves which are where the old buddhas are retired to, amazing trip down the river again, and then climb up many steps to see. It was crowded, a popular trip that everyone does, but still really worth the trip. The afternoon was a visit to a very beautiful waterfall, but serendipitously for me, as it wasn't mentioned in the blurb, at the waterfall I stumbled across a black bear rescue sanctuary, something dear to my heart, I really loved watching the bears. It was soon time to move on, and I managed to get onto a Plain of jars trip  (3days, 2 nights) with a very dear irish/aussie couple, Aisling and Gerry. We hit it off straight away, and with the addition of our bright, bubbly Lao tour guide Noy, off we set. There were so many highlights on this trip, I just had a wonderful time. (Apart from the car sickness going over those mountains with a too fast driver!)For me it was great to have a short period of travelling with people again, and opportunities to socialise (and drink a bit of red wine!) So many stories from that area, of the jars, but also the "silent war" Who knew that the Americans had bombed the soul out of this area of North/central Laos, in the 60s and 70s? We met a real aussie bloke, working with a company there for 6 years now, 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off, and still pulling out live bombs and landmines every day. He told us there are so many there, he doesn't believe thay will EVER clear them. I didn't need to be told twice to keep between markers at the 3 Plain of Jars sites we visited. We also visited a cave that was used as a field hospital during the war and another one that was a shelter from the bombs. Medicines were stored there and the remains are still visible and there are bomb craters all through the plains, gigantic ones,  So so incredible. We partied well both nights in Phonsavan, then on 3rd day headed back up the mountains. I was dropped off in a wee mountain tribe village to catch the bus on to Vang Vieng, as I didn't fancy doing the whole trip twice. Had a scarey experience, as I somehow missed the stop for Vang Vieng (my silly fault entirely) and when I realised, I walked to front of bus and told driver, and he just stopped and put me and my pack out on the side of the road!! OMG it was a bit daunting to say the least, I had to walk about 10mins back in the heat and dust, (thank goodness for lighter pack!) till I came to a wee village shop, NO english, but managed to make "Taxi" understood, and eventually, found my way back to Vang Vieng on the back of a dirty, dusty crowded pickup truck taxi. It was quite scarey at the time, but once I was safely back in town I could see the funny side! Didn't love Vang Vieng! It is an adventure tourism spot, where many many young backpackers go to tube down the river, then drink and drug themselves silly. The main street is ALL little guesthouses and restaurants that all look exactly the same, and surprisingly all seem to have the same menu. There was no character or soul in this town at all, that i could find, and was very glad to get on a bus a couple of days later, heading for Vientiane, the capital city of Lao and arrived here yesterday. After Vang Vieng I didn't hold out high hopes for Vientiane, but I have to say, so far I just love it. It is very colonial french, I am having to brush up on my Bonjours, and merci's. the streets are all Rue's, and there are Patisseries, and bakerys, and art galleries, and craft galleries, and coffee houses, and croissants and baguettes - all sorts of restaurants, some bars, but there is a nightime curfew of around 11.30, so not sure of the nightlife, but not really interested. I wandered around today, and couldn't stop smiling. The vibe is friendly, and the town has soul. The Lao people here are not pushy (exception to rule: the Tuk Tuk drivers!)they are happy to chat to you, and give information. It is much warmer than further north, but not stifling, altogether a place to linger and enjoy I think. I have no further plans other than being in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, by the 12th December to fly to Mumbai for my other baby's 1st birthday, and for christmas. Will be great to see what more Vientiane has to offer.....

Comments

1

Heather-as you travel your wonderful blogs are more absorbing.So much information on parts of the world we hear so little of. Your present town sounds so interesting and really nice.Watch out for all those delicious patisseries!!! They sound devine! Hope you meet up with other travellers to go have some good times.
Travel well,travel safe sister dear. Not far till Christmas now!! love Caroxxxxxxxxx

  Carolyn Bisley Dec 1, 2009 5:41 AM

2

have fun relaxing and enjoying vientiane. post photos! x

  deb Dec 1, 2009 9:24 AM

3

Hey heathergay,

We really like your story and have decided to feature it on our Adventures homepage this week so that others can enjoy it too!

Happy travels!
World Nomads

  World Nomads Dec 22, 2009 6:15 AM

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