Back from Sapa early on New Year's eve we got to a hostel which was recommended to me by a friend..Central Backpackers hostel. Clean, comfortable and cheap it was great, also provided free breakfast in the morning and free beer in the evening..can't complain with that haha! In the day me and Thibaut walked around the city trying to find a good internet cafe and somewhere to eat while the girls decided to see another temple.. We found a cafe place with free internet but the coffee there was crazy expensive! Thibaut nearly had a heart attack haha! We ate at the real Aussie Kangaroo Cafe which had amazing burgers before making our way back to the hostel to meet the girls.
In the evening it was a quick glass of Gin and then downstairs for the free beer! Great place to meet people, fun and lively atmosphere with everybody in the new year's eve spirit! We left the hostel to have something to eat and then made for the lake at the centre of the city. The lake was lit up with lights and there was a stage in the middle of the street. We pushed through the mass of people to get right in the centre of the crowd! It was funny because it was actually the first time I have been able to see a stage without standing on my tip toes or straining my neck, I was tall in Vietnam! The acts themselves weren't the best..they hired a random guy who I have never seen before who only seemed to shout HANOI...YEAH YEAH YEAH! He didn't even know the words to Michael Jackson haha! Even so the Vietnamese loved it..jumping going wild it was all good fun! After the countdown we went to a bar for a few drinks, the concert ended at 1.30am and they already started to clean up! It was a tame New Year but feeling the effects of all the travelling I had done I didn't really mind and was ready for bed..
New Year's day (White Rabbits) we got up early to see the Hanoi Water Puppets..Was interesting and very different, can't say I understood what was going on but it was fun to watch. Then we went out for dinner before catching a night bus to Vang Vieng in Laos!! It was to be the longest journey yet especially as we needed to cross the border. After around 28 hours taking in all the views of the mountains we stopped at a cross road; the driver shouted to us that this is our stop for Vang Vieng..didn't really look like it!..We were basically thrown off the bus which set off again for Luang Probang.. Dark in the middle of nowhere it turned out that we were 100km away haha! Great! Luckily we found a minibus which was heading in that direction so we piled in and eventually arrived at our destination!
The next day the four of us hired bikes and made for the blue lagoon. The views on the way were gorgeous! Mountains in the distance and the sunshine just beaming! After some delay (because Thibaut kept on breaking his bike) we arrived! It's name said it all..beautiful blue water with places to jump in to feel the refreshing cool water.. The sunshine just complimented everything! It was beautiful. The ride home as the sun began to set was also pretty amazing, riding past a cave thousands of bats emerged overhead, never seen anything like it! An amazing first day continued into the night with great food, great company and a great lively bar! I have a feeling Laos has a lot to offer!
With one day to see some sights it was time for tubing!! Tubing here is famous and is the place to be for a party in Laos. Hiring a rubber ring we made for the river and the first of many bars! Free shots of whiskey and buckets of alcohol it was pretty hard core! Tubing or swimming between bars the locals would throw you a rope to pull you in; they were literally fishing for people haha! I had a great time meeting all sorts of people until one of the girls I was with got very very drunk and needed to be looked after! We only got the the 4th bar! She was staying in my room so I kind of felt responsible.. Not going to lie it did put a downer to the day trying to stop wierd drunk guys taking advantage of her but I still had a really good time beforehand. It was back to the room to put her to bed and then back out to get some food. Overall, a good day!
The next day was tubing again! This time we didn't hire rings and decided to just swim it haha! I met some really great lads from Manchester believe it or not and decided to chill with them for the day. Zip wire and jumping off a huge platform were the kind of things you could do! Cool but not the safest thing I have ever done haha! Later we found some rings and just drifted down the river..it got dark and cold so we caught a speed boat to take us back to the shore..Was cool to just chill with likeminded people who I had alot in common with! Later at a bar we met more people, two Thai girls and two Americans; was really nice to sit on a bridge looking skywards at the stars. Laughing and joking, it was great to be here with all these great people!
The following day I met up with the English guys (Mark and Michael) and the Americans (Dawn and Jacob) and set out to explore! Now this was a great day! Walking through the fields with a bamboo stick and a hat I had always wanted just taking in this unbelievable place is hard to put into words. Amazing mountains, beautiful flowers and great people was just brilliant! I know I have said this before but the people you are with really do make it a special experience! We climbed trees, played football with local kids and sat on a hay bale to watch the sun go down. I was speechless. The sun sinking below the mountains making the sky turn a deep orange then pink was a breathtaking sight..
The morning after Thibaut and Joanna left early for Luang Probang, I woke up to say goodbye and wished them well for the rest of their travels; I was sad to see them go as it was nice to meet them and spend such a long time with them in Vietnam at christmas and new year.. If I am ever in France near Bordeaux I think it calls for a cheeky visit :)! Later, so tired due to limited sleep I decided I didn't want to do much today! Mark, Michael and myself ended up hiring a bike to head back to the Blue Lagoon (I'd of rather got a tuk tuk!) Sleeping on the sunbeds, chilling in the water and checking out the nearby cave was great. Some awesome photos in the cave and some more of an unbelievable sunset..I think I have fallen in love with Laos! It really is an incredible place and I can't believe I was going to miss it on my travels!
I don't want to leave haha! Speak soon.