Here we go again.....
After a relaxing day we attempted the tubing again, and this time with much more success than the time before!! We picked up another english couple (kirk and helen, another essex couple, whoop!!) who were staying at our bungalows and the 7 of us headed off with our tubes. We had a couple of beers on the way down, but this time we managed the full 4km. Was hard work in the end as the river was low and not much current but we got back by the 6pm deadline to reclaim our deposits!! We also visited the mud bar this time, as the name suggests it was a mud pit, but great fun playing volleyball and football in knee deep mud!! my shorts still wont clean fully!! After a long days tubing the 7 of us headed out for good old pie and mash, with beans and gravy, my first pie since we've been gone and it was goooood!!
The next day was another chilled day, all the bars in the centre of vang vieng all have big comfy seats, and show either friends or family guy, this day me and chloe watched about 6 episodes of friends, then went back and lay on our bed!! we met the other guys in the evening for dinner!!
The next day was time to move, so we hopped on a bus down to the Laothian capital of vientiane, we hadnt heard good things about it, so we werent sure of our plans when we got there, turned out we got off the bus and booked a bus out that evening to the 4000 islands! The whole group had come down from vang vieng, the three southampton guys and the two essex guys, and most of us were off to 4000 islands, but sadly dave had to make other plans, after 10days or so was a sad goodbye to dave who was heading into vietnam!! After the big goodbye the 6 of us left jumped on a sleeper bus down to the 4000 islands! you get beds on these buses, i slept most the way but chloe had a rougher journey!!
We arrived in Pakse the following morning, and got shuttled to another bus station where, after a short wait, we got a mini bus and then longtail boat over to Don det, one of the main islands, but we had planned to stay on Don Khon, a smaller more chilled island, we decided to walk over there....45mins later after trekking in the full mid day heat, which was almost unbearable we arrived and checked into the first guesthouse we found! We showered and cleaned, grabbed some dinner and then slept!!
The following day we got up and all moved to another cheaper guesthouse, then rented some push bikes! We cycled over to a pretty impressive waterfall, and then found somewhere down stream we could swim and had a dip and bit of a sun bath, well the girls sun bathed and us boys did some exploring!! After a nice swim and colling off we cycled right across the island and then down to the most southerly point, which is also the most southerly point in laos, cambodia was about 200metres the other side of the river! Us three guys jumped into the river and took a swim in no mans land between laos and cambodia, and played with some of the local children who were swimming out there! We watched sunset then made the cycle home, grabbed dinner and an early night!
The next day we got up early and headed back down to where we had been the night before on the southerly tip on our bikes, and chartered two boats between the 6 of us to go out doplhin spotting! In this stretch of the mekong there are the irrawaddy dolphins, the only place they can now be found, and due to the cambodians using grenades for fshing, there are only thought to be about 10-12 left! We headed out and due to the low numbers wasnt really expecting to see any, but we managed to get about 15-20 sightings of them over the hour we were out there!! Was such a great experience, definately one of the things i will remember at the end of the trip!! sadly they only come up to breath and only surface for about 2 seconds so couldnt get any photos, by the time you spot one and aim the camera its gone again!! after the early morning and cycling back we spent the afternoon in hammocks, reading, chatting and planning our trips!!
Next day we were up fairly early, and got some tubes and a boat to the top over don det, the neighbouring island. We grabbed some brekky and a couple of beers (seemed like the right thing to do when you have a tube after vang vieng) and set off on a three hour float back to our island! Was really chilled and beautifull! On the way we stopped to help some locals who were trying to push a boat up onto shore, we helped for about 15mins and managed to get it most the way out and i jokingly suggested it was time for a Laos Lao whiskey (this is a really strong rice whiskey that the locals brew themselves, its disgusting but they all love it), this idea went down a storm, they all stopped working, one guy pulled out the whiskey, we all had a shot and then they all stopped work for the day and headed back to the village, so we carried on on our tubes!! we stopped for some lunch abit further down then floated back to our guesthouse! When we got back me andy and kirk went out into the river with andys snorkel gear tyo have a nose around, then a few kids came along and were amazed with the mask etc, we let them have a go and they kept coming up with shellfish, and even little fish they'd just grabbed, at such a young age they can already live off the river!! They gave us a small fish which we went to bbq but we didnt get it back from the chef!! We chilled around the hostel for the evening, playing with the owners little baby and other kids, at one point i was holding the baby when the owner came charging up with a bottle of laos lao and made me take a shot, i tried to give the baby back before but they wouldnt take her so i had to take this rank shot whilst trying not to drop their baby! The owner of our guesthouse was permantly drunk on laos lao, we would be offered shots with ourt breakfast at 6am, but they were really funny and friendly and had a really good stay there!
Sadly the next day we left the 4000 islands, its such a beautifull and chilled little part of laos, not an awfull lot to do but relax, but was the pefect place to relax and play with the locals! We headed to champasak a small little town abit north, we got the boat to the mainland, a minbus and then another boat across the mekong to champasak! There really isnt much inchampasak, just a dusty street with a few guesthouses, and no ATM, which we now needed!! luckily we had some USD on us and we found an exchange which kept us going! The 6 of us were still together, and we met a french couple so the 8 of us headed off for some dinner! There are some ancient temples just out of the town so we arranged our transport for the following day and then slept!
We got up early the next day and headed off to meet our minibus to the temples, i'd had a rough nights sleep...for the first time of our travels i'd got the runs, something which is still with me!! anyway we headed off to the temples which were pretty impressive, hopefully the photos will do it justice, but theres literature which states this site has been around since the 5th century!! We spent a couple of hours walking around, and the our minibus took us all the way from champasak to pakse, the town we are currently in!
We arrived and checked into a hotel rather than guesthouse, i wasnt feeling good, and helen was starting to feel abit ill too so we upgraded! i couldnt be to far from a toilet so didnt get upt o much in the afternoon and evening!
The next day the 6 of us chartered a mini bus tour to take us around the bolavean plateu, an area full of little viallages and waterfalls! Some of them were amazing and again i hope the photos do them justice, we left about 8.30am and got home about 6pm so was a long day! The other 4 guys did an elephant ride aswell but me and chloe gave that a miss as we had already done it! I was feeling better...untill i had a sandwich about 4pm and couldnt keep it down. I headed out when we got back and went to a little local shop where the woman gave me some random japenese pills (they were like little black jelly balls and stunk of bonfire) which were meant ot be good for stomach issues. She refused to take any money for them and on the way out i realised it wasnt a pharmacy but just a little shop and a nice lady helping me out, anyway i took these random pills and actually felt better so headed out for dinner! Again i couldnt hold this down though and was pretty ill when we got back! I was starting to worry, i hadnt held anything down for 48 hours and wasnt feeling good at all, but dont fret as this morning im on the mend! Ive just had some brekky and held it down and just passed solid for the first time in days, it seems these random japense pills that stink of bonfire work!!
Anyway, enough of that, not really sure of the plan at the moment, we were meant to have left here today but due to my illness we've stuck another day, we've just waved off kirk and helen who are off to cambodia now, but we are still with andy and tash, been almost 3 weeks with them now but think we are going to have to split up in the next couple of days...chloe is currently working out a plan so hopefully we'll know where we are going soon!!
Enough from me for now!!
Hope all are well