A week in Laos would never be enough and I knoew this from the beginning. What a truly amazing place with the most calm and humble people that you could ever meet.
The city of Vientiane, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang are the only places that I managed to visit on the short stop that I had. With the aid of a 4 wheel drive pick up truck I set of to make the most of the short time that I had in this beautiful country.
Dotted with temples along the way, banana plantations, random roads, men in orange, elephants to wash and just generally awesome people who cannot do enough for you.
Meditation with the monks on a Saturday afternoon in Vientiane is a mist if you can find the correct temple and you manage to arrive on time. 30 minutes late but no one was concerned in the slightest and this was quite a surreal moment for me but although i struggle to sit still for periods of time I did really well and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and felt extremely relaxed and calm at the end of the session.
Vang Vieng is a backpackers haven but if you stay just outside of town away from the crowds then the riverside boutique is the place for you. Gorgeous pool overlooking the limestone peaks and the river that families drive down to in their carts for the daily bath at the end of a busy farming day in the heat. Cycling the 34km loop on bumpy roads was hard work but well worth it to stop at some caves and go for a swim in the blue lagoon. Arrive early and you get the pool to yourself, climb the tree and jump in or swing from one the swings and let go. Its cold but very refreshing.
The geese beside the river had great fun scaring off would be walkers and were quite entertaining first thing in the morning for sure.
Luang Prabang, the highlight of all for me seeing the men in orange not the dutch football team but the monks do their daily alms walk was lovely and peaceful aside from the odd tourist shoving their cameras in their faces when in fact you should be 3m away and respect this ritual. The top of town beside the 3 nagas or banettons bakery is the place to set up right opposite one of the wats. Very few tourists and you don't need to go and wave a camera in the monks faces as you have an awesome view from where you are.
Visiting and bathing the elephants was great fun but try and do this as a morning tour as it was quite long winded.
The night market was great, no hassle from any market traders and you can barter but no point as all is calm and its cheap enough anyway.
Amazing Laos is all that can be said.