I have done loads since I last wrote.Seen more temples than you can shake a stick at, all very pretty but starting to blur into one.
On my last morning in Chaing Mai I hired a bike and a guide and went off for a morning into the countryside through the suburbs.Was lovely- a very relaxed pace and got shown lots of cool stuff that I wouldn't have seen otherwise- even the local community crematorium complete with bottle of paraffin and some tongs laying on the side of a big pile of ashes that they don't remove- Buddhists very laid back about death because the body id only the container for the soul.Was a brilliant morning and one of the best things I have done.
I took a bus to transfer from Chaing Mai to the border town of Chiang Kong further East and this is where we spent NYE.A few people got together for beers on the side of the Mekong River looking over a Laos.We found sky lanterns and fireworks for sale in the street and spent the evening on the banks of the river letting them off.Was lovely way to have seen in the New Year. Everyone was very chilled out and great company.
Next day transferred across the river to Laos and once passed immigration boarded a boat to sail down the river for 2 days.This was kind of enforced relaxation as there was nothing to do but read, hang out and watch the most beautiful country side go by.Stopped at a small village for an overnight stay.This place had only had electricity for 2 months so was really basic- lovely though.I had a buffalo curry for dinner- very tasty!Managed to get a few people out to the bar and stayed for a couple of beers and indulged in the local rice whiskey that is sold in large shots and in accordance to LAO tradition - you must to shots in pairs- "One for each leg ?!?".Far be it from me to ignore local custom, so all in all we had a good time here.
Another day on the boat but we stopped at the village where the captain lives and say the stills where they make the afore mentioned whiskey.Saw the captain's house and the schools and hung around chatting to the locals in the village. I loved this bit.The people in Laos are really incredible.They are friendly and laid back and welcoming and beautiful I really like it here.
Next stop was some caves called Pac Au.They are above the river and rammed full of old Buddha statues that cannot be thrown away.Interesting to see as looked creepy in the cave and all the figures were covered in cobwebs and dust.
Soon arrived at Laung Prabang.It is an awesome place.I loved it the minute I saw it- that's only ever happened to me once before.It's a fantastic small city with a really chilled out vibe to it.People very friendly and the French influence is easy to spot.The money in Laos is ridiculous.It's called Kip, and there are approximately 12,000 to the pound.The biggest note is 50,000 (about four pounds) so my math's is constant ly being challenged as I never bothered to learn my 12 times table- a decision I am now regretting.
The markets here are brilliant- rammed with amazing textiles and silver wear so I may have to get another bag before we leave in a couple of days.
Today I went to visit some nearby waterfalls, and swam in the pools.This was pretty cool, because it's swimming in waterfalls.The water was bright blue and lovely and cool, well worth the hours tuk tuk ride to get there.
Tonight me and a few other people are going to go to as local family's home and have dinner.This should be fun and I'm hoping to get some good photos.
Hope you are all well and have had good New Year celebrations.
Sending lots of love