We were up early to get a bus to Luang Prabang further north in Laos. We set off and about 1hr later (of a 7 hour journey) we got stuck in traffic. A small sized petrol tanker had fallen in a ditch and there was a crane in the middle of the road trying to pull it out. We were stuck here for about an hour before setting off again. We drove for another 3 hours before stopping for some lunch, I got a tuna sandwich and then it began to rain a bit. The roads here are all cliff-side winding roads over the mountains, we drove for another hour and got stuck in more traffic, this time there had been a small landslide, but due to the rain the road was covered in wet mud, so lorrys and busses were stuck until it was cleared. However as we were in a mini bus we were ok to go over it, with the help of about 30 people pushing us along to prevent us from going near the edge of the road. We carried on for some time and arrived in Luang Prabang for 5. That evening we went to a bar called Utopia, which is a bamboo balcony over the river which was nice to relax at after our journey. We walked back to the hotel via the night markets and went to bed early.
Blaine, Chantel, Chrissy and Andy got up at 5 to see the monks taking donations from the locals down the main road and then went back to bed. We all got up about 10 and did our own things, Andy and I got breakfast at a bakery, I had a smoked salmon bagel which was nice. We then went for a walk over the bridge to the other side of the river and then back to the hotel for 12.30.
At 1pm we all left (excluding Blaine who wanted to stay and look around the town
) we went to the Kuang Si Falls. There was a small bear reserve there so we saw some black bears before climbing up the high, multi-level waterfall to the very top and stood right at the top where the water first falls, the water here was freezing cold to walk in. We made our way down and got photos at the bottom right infront of the waterfall. There were also some pools to swim in at different heights of the waterfall. We got back at about 5.30 after a 40 min tuktuk ride.
That night we went to LaoLao Gardens which do a traditional Lao BBQ, which is a hot bucket of coals with a metal dish on top, which had a raised centre. Water, noodles and veg go in the lower edges while you cook your meat on the raised bit. The meats were pork, chicken and buffalo. We also got given a free shot of a local alcholol known as LaoLao, which is said to be 50%+ proof; eitherway no one liked it.
We walked back through the markets to the hotel again to get some sleep.
Up for 6.30 to leave by tuktuk to our 'speedy canoes'. These were your typical wooden canoe but with an engine. We got in them, 3/4 in each and set off. They were fast, but smooth riding. We stopped every 2 hours for a break on the way, and 8 hours later we arrived at the Thailand border. We got off and crossed the border and back on another boat to get to our mini bus which drove us for a further 2 hours to our hotel in Chiang Sean.
We had a guide now for the next few days over our trek to make sure everything runs smoothly for us, his name is Sonny. We had 2 hours to spare here so sat on the roof and read for a bit before we had dinner on the roof too. We had clear skies, but could see a large amount of cloud further away which was giving off a lot of lightening which was cool to see. Me, Andy, Emma and the Canadians then played card games for a bit, Crib was one, which Chantel and Ryan taught us how to play. We played until 10.30 and went to bed as it felt much later than that.
Day 17 part 1
We set off at 9am to Chaing Mai by the same mini bus. On the way we stopped off at the Golden Triangle, where Laos, Burma and Thailand meet at the corners, and an opium museum near by. We were then due to go to Chiang Rai for lunch, but our guide said there was a nice white temple and hot springs place to see which would be nicer, so we did that on the way to Chiang Mai instead.
We arrived in Chiang Mai about 5pm and went to Tesco to get some water for the trek tomorrow, saw some orange coloured Pepsi but decided not to try it, maybe when we come back to chiang mai after the trek.