It's now Monday, we're in Vietiane, the capital of Laos, home of the ONLY international ATM in the whole of Lao which has made the trip very interesting to say the least!! Today we fly to Hanoi, Vietnam and we're both really excited about travelling through Vietnam. We have thoroughly enjoyed our week here in Laos but we are ready to move on.
After our last message we were off tubing and oh my god what a fantastic experience that was! We had booked a tour, 14 of us in the group, and we got dropped off at the river ready to start our 10km tubing experience. We had a great group and literally just laughed the whole day. After 6km we stopped at some cool bars on the river bank and had a few beers and goes on the swings, located over the river! Jem was great at less and did the really high swings too! We then had a sing song on the journey back to town and had a great night out at the hat party that night!
Jem and I had a very early start the next day as we caught the 7am public bus to Vientiane. This was an experience in itself, the driver overtook buses and trunks on corners and we had to cling on for dear life. The journey itself passed through lots of Lao villages and we saw the very basic living conditions of the majority of Lao people. They were brushing their teeth and washing their clothes in very dirty water and they lived in wooden huts. Makes you realise what you've got!
We arrived at Vientiane at 10.30am, checked into our lovely guesthouse and then had a wander round. Vientiane is a chilled city with a relaxed atmosphere. At 4pm, with a lovely girl called Susan from Glasgow who we met in internet cafe, we got a tuk tuk to Wat Sok Pa Luang to join in on a meditation session with the monks. This was great fun but very hard as we had to meditate for an hour and a half! We then were allowed to ask the monks questions which was very interesting. There's a really good massage place within the temple grounds so we treated ourselves to a massage and then met up with Susan again for dinner. She's travelled round Vietnam so she gave us lots of tips which was great.
Yesterday we went round the beautiful, Wat Si Saket, which is the oldest temple in Vietiane. We then met up with our two friends, Tegan and Hen, and got a tuk tuk to the golden Pha That Luang, which is the most important national monument in Laos, a symbol of both the buddhist religion and Lao sovereignity. Our tuk tuk man waited for us to look round then took us 25km outside of Vientiane, at 5km/hour, to go round Xieng Khuan, the Buddha park. Which is basically a grassy field with lost of buddha and hindu sculptures. It's definitely well worth a visit as we got to climb inside a massive buddha and look over the park from the top. We would definitely recommend a trip to Lao before it gets too touristy! Will be in touch, bye for now xxx