Quick update from Laos. Have been here about a week and really enjoyed Laos. It is stunningly beautiful - amazing scenery, all karst mountains and beautiful rivers and caves!
Took the slow-boat which took two days into Laos from Thailand - ten hours a day on little wooden benches (ouch!) but amazing scenery, and so much fun to be on the Mekong! We stayed over in Pak Beng (a tiny place where the electricity goes off in town at 10pm, but we did eat some yummy waterbuffalo curry) and then headed to Luang Prabang, the cultural centre. Luang Prabang is a very relaxed and quaint town with lots of beautiful temples and sunsets over the Mekong river. We got up really early to see the Monks receiving their blessings, and it has one of the best traditional markets I have seen. A really lovely centre with a truly Laos relaxed atmosphere.
Met a group of people from the UK, Denmark and Netherlands on the slow boat so have spent most of our time in Laos travelling with them, which has been really fun. We then all moved onto Vang Vieng - a nuts tiny town on the river where you can go tubing (floating in a tube between lots of bars) and jumping into the river from slides and swings! All very crazy like a scene out of some movie - but fun all the same...as long as you´re sober enough to know what you´re doing! With the river water low, it becomes pretty dangerous as people are pretyt drunk from all the free drinks in the bars, and then jump off these 10m high awings and slides into the water attempting to dodge the rocks below...needless to say about every other backpacker we met there was injured! After a three hour float back into town, and some food, we have headed to Vientiane, the capital of Laos.
Again, Vientiene is a pretty small and under-developed city, especially for a capital, but pretty and relaxed as ever! Which is always good when you´re ill like me and Sean...drank some dodgy bottled water where the caps weren´t properly fixed on, and our stomachs have been thanking us for it ever since! Still, we managed the 'last supper' with our friends before me and Sean get the bus journey from hell (29 hours) over to Hanoi in North Vietnam tomorrow, so hopefully catch up with everyone then!