Pai to the border
So, quite a bit of backtracking to do in this blog as not written for a couple of weeks. I'll break up Thailand and Laos.
Last time I wrote we were in Chaing Mai. From there we took a very long and windy road in a cramped mini bus to Pai, a small riverside town up in the mountains. In Pai we stayed in a little bamboo hut by the river.
We also hired a scooter here (sorry mum!) and took a drive around to see the countryside. We appreciated the freedom it gave us to travel around at our own pace. I've put up a picture of Pai canyon which was a highlight. We've sinced bumped into so many people with motorbike related injuries, I think we may stick to bog standard bikes in the future.
Pai is lovely - but really chilly at night! A bit of a shock to the system.
From Pai, contrary to what we were advised we had to backtrack to Chaing Mai. This time our bus driver thought he was Michael Shumacher, so I was well and truly green by the time we got out of the moutain area. We then picked up another mini bus for another hour drive to the border with Laos - Chaing Khong.
The border between Chaing Khong in Thailand and Houay Xai in Laos, is the Mekong river. During our time in Pai and Chaing Khong, we coincided with a special festival in northern Thailand, whereby people go to rivers to wash away their sins... I think they throw things into the water. They also set off beautiful candle lanterns at night, which float upwards until they disappear. This made for some scenic evenings for us, with the sky full of these candles flying away.
A night in Chaing Khong was more than enough, so we took the ferry over to Houay Xai in Laos the next morning. Disaster almost struck on the way over when my sunglasses fell in the river (stupidly I've brought along pricey ones). Lucky for me, our ferry driver also had some pretty fancy foot skills, and managed to dig around in the silty muddy river bed with her toes... and give them back to me...with her toes!
And, that was our last transaction in Thailand... and so to Laos.