We originally booked two nights in Luang Prabang. The day we arrived we realised we hadn't really planned anything for Laos, short of knowing we needed to fly from Vientiane on the 24th to get our Vietnamese visas. I wasn't prepared for just how little information there is in Laos, being able to find next to no information online about buses or even places to go.
We thought of travelling East and going to phonsavan and veing xai, but it soon became apparent that this would entail a good 35 hours on various buses for visits that were likely to only take a day each. We decided with 12 days in the country we couldn't be doing with that amount of travel, especially with how unreliable and pricey buses are here.
However we still didn't want to enter the classic tourist trap of only visiting Luang Prabang, vang veing and Vientiane. Someone in the hostel suggested Nong Khiaw to us, only 4 hours north it looked pretty stunning so we thought it would be the way forward. Looking for a place to stay was a whole different headache, seeing
I'm still not up for turning up somewhere without any idea. After a few hours of head banging we went cheap and cheerful and hoped for the best....
On our second day we went to see the main waterfall 25km from town. This had a random bear sanctuary at the start - pretty epic to see massive bears chilling out and playing. It also acted as a conservation project, looking after Mis treated bears and providing education about what products sold in Laos should be avoided as they use bear saliva for medicinal purposes.
The waterfall was simply stunning, and made us feel much better for skipping kanchaburi In Thailand. A 20 minute walk took us past a few pools and mini falls before we got to the main fall. To the left of that we followed the steep path up, clambering on sections and walking up a set of steps with the edge of the waterfall running over.
At the top we stopped and scoffed some fried rice we brought at the bottom, much to the envy of a German group next to us who only considered beer. It worried us slightly that we had thought of food before beer.... You could then walk right to the edge of the waterfall, held only by a bamboo fence.
After a quick turn around at the hostel we went up to Luang Prabangs peak just in time to get a view of the town as the sun set and the mossies ate my legs alive.