It’s ridiculous how fast the past week has gone. I’m currently writing from Pai in Thailand having made my way here from Luang Prabang in Laos. Of the week that has past, one whole day has been in some form of transport. My sense of humour has been tested properly with the Laos bus system. But all is well that ends well!
Having returned from the trek we did around Luang Prabang, Bianca and I spent the next 3 days exploring the little town. It’s a pretty cool place with a heavy French influence. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a small French town – the narrow, cobbled roads, cafes on every corner and the smell of freshly baked croissants permeates every corner of this town. The main tourist drag is located on a piece of land surrounded by 2 rivers which means you can walk around the area very easily. What I’m trying to describe here is that it’s really easy to love this town.
Arguably one of the biggest attractions is the night market which is a massive street affair. The main road is closed to traffic at night and street sellers come out in their hundreds to sell everything you can imagine. When you’re done with this, you can wander off to another narrow little street that only sells street food. It’s awesome.
You will find a lot of Wats here – you can easily spend a day exploring them. You can’t show your shoulders here, so make sure you cover up.
Another big thing to do here is wake up early to watch the giving of alms – the local monks walk around the town at sunrise to receive alms from both locals and tourists. Initially, this pissed me off a little as it felt fake as many of the tourists taking part in this were using it as a selfie-taking opportunity, which ruins the authenticity of the act. Anyway, I am not a morning person and I boiled my bad mood down to this. Now, I realise that the monks rely on this so whether a selfie-taking tourist or a local devotee gives rice to the monks, the monks are still benefitting ultimately.
The big highlight for me was the Kuang Si waterfall. Easily one of the most impressive waterfalls I’ve seen. In essence, it’s a 3 tier waterfall with crystal clear water – I loved it. The area is also a sanctuary for Black Bears.
Two friends I’d met in Tibet happened to be in Luang Prabang at the same time as us, so we met up – great to catch up with Mathieu and Charlotte again.
Then before we knew it, Bianca headed back to South Africa and I needed to make my way to Thailand. Easy enough to get to right? I’d booked my flight to Thailand departing from Vientiane (flying to Thailand gives you a 30 day visa whilst bussing in only gives you a 15 day one – go figure?). My flight from Vientiane had a layover in Luang Prabang which meant I was flying back to the place I was initially at, but changing a flight in Laos is as difficult as converting water into wine.
The bus from Luang Prabang to Vientiane was terrible. They call the bus a ‘sleeping bus’ as you can lie flat on the seat/bed but what they don’t really tell you is that you share this tiny space with another person. It’s shit and I never slept a wink all night. Then the soul destroying act of flying back to where I was kicked in! Anyway, long story short, I got to Chiang Mai in one piece!
Next week this time, a bunch of mates from Australia, Ireland and South Africa come and join me in Thailand for a couple weeks. I can’t wait for this!
Cheers for now.