Posted by: Talie Morrison | November 21, 2008

A Week in Laos

laotian-countryside1

First let me say:  I LOVE Laos!  But then are we surprised since I am always drawn to mountains and mountain people!   Laos is a small, land-locked, mountainous country.   The people have been friendly, helpful, and non-agressive.   We started our Lao trip from Chiang Kong in Thailand and crossed over to Houaysai in Laos.   It was a bit scarey to hand over our passports the night before and trust that we would be able to pick them up the next day in Laos.   But it all worked smoothly – even though for a while we felt like we were being “herded”, which is something we have been avoiding and why we are doing all this on our own!   We had booked two spots on the “slow boat” from Houaysai to Luang Prabang – two days on the river and one night along the way.   The night was in a little village on the river – it was pretty remote (electricity turned off at night), but still was comfortable and clean.  

 dianne-on-slow-boat1

 The boat was an experience in long distances sitting on small hard wooden seats (we bought a couple of cushions before we went).   And, even though there were lots of tourists on the boat, we felt that we were seeing the way the river people traveled – and seeing a good part of Laos from the water.  (The Mekong is, I believe, the 5th longest river in the world.   Thus it drains a lot of land and carries a lot of silt with it.   It is pretty muddy most of the time from erosion.)

We both totally enjoyed Luang Prabang.   We found a tuk-tuk driver, Somphet, who became our good friend and took us all about town (when he wasn’t in school or taking care of his 89 year old father).   We went to see the Buddist Monks as they asked for “alms” at 6 am.   Somphet brought us some stickey rice that his father had made for us to give to the monks as they came by.   It was a very special experience.

 

From Luang Prabang, we got a private driver to take us to the Plain of Jars and spent the night in Phonsavanh.   The Plain of Jars was very special to me as I remember my brother, Craig, talking so much about it during the war.   There were bomb craters all through the area and they are still finding live explosives.   They actually blew some up while we were there.   Our room key ring was an exploded mortar shell.   The jars themselves are stone crafted jars from ancient times – I sure can’t figure out how they made them!   There are many theories as to why they were made – but seems that maybe they were cremation containers.    The second day our driver took us to Vang Vieng, another town we came to love.   We had a lovely place to stay right on the river Namsong.   I was able to sit on the deck at 6 am and watch the sun come up each morning on the mountains.   I was loving it!

 

From Vang Vieng we took a bus to Vientiane – the capital of Laos.   So here we were in another big city, at another big city market, looking at big city temples.   We did find a great little Scandinavian Bakery which did an excellent breakfast.   Then we flew from Vientiane to Hanoi.   So now we are starting our Vietnam part of the adventure.   And, yes, Hanoi is a BIG City!   Whew, I’ve never seen so many motor bikes.

I wanted to put in more photos, but the systems here are pretty slow and I can’t get it to upload photos from here..   Oh, well. 

We are back in Hanoi – listening to the horns, motor bikes and traffic!   We had a beautiful 3 days in HaLong Bay on the coast – and tonight we are on another night train up to the hill country around Sapa.  

The adventure continues….

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Responses

  1. hi tali!
    wow! thank you for showing us your travels! it is so exciting to read all of your posts.
    xo
    melissa

  2. now I want to be there!
    amazing….maybe you’ll take a few of us back there someday? especially to the tiger!
    love it…keep it coming….take care.
    love..Roberta

  3. Laos sounds wonderful! It really is the first I have heard of anyone’s travels there. Sounds funny but true 🙂 Hope you can post some more of your pictures soon.

    Thanks for sharing all this Talie 🙂

    Melanie


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