Nightbus from Vientiane to Bangkok, 12 hours, a land border, sleepy taxi ride to guesthouse at 6:00am, chill out until room is ready and sleep until it’s after the midday heat. Emily and I really have our Asian night bus routine down to a tee. A one night stay in Bangkok, enjoying the capital of street food (where you can get 3 amazing curries and rice to share for less than £4) and we were back in a minibus heading the short (3 hour) distance to our next destination in Thailand – Kanchanaburi!
Vientiane, capital of Laos. A capital city that doesn’t feel much like a capital city at all. Perhaps it’s the lack of large buildings that typically sprawl up and outwards in most capitals, or maybe it’s the lack of renowned sights. Regardless, it’s still a city worth visiting as you work your way through the country! Liam and I spent our first afternoon wandering the streets to see That Dam, an ancient stupa covered in vines placed smack dab in the middle of a roundabout. This historic sight is just casually integrated as a fleeting sight in city traffic. After seeing this odd sight we headed back towards our hostel and hit up the Mekong riverside market where locals come to shop for new clothing, electronics and have a few snacks along the way. I bought a new hat after losing my last one at the airport (oops) with a cute kitsch little cat face on it. My perfect travel look for SE Asia!
Ah Vang Vieng. Famous drink and drug fuelled party town of Laos. Arriving here after Luang Prabang was a little disappointing. Not much visible Laos culture, just a small strip geared towards westerners. Happy hours where the alcohol is free. Weed and opium for sale in various bars. It was clear in just our first night here how Vang Vieng got its reputation for being the party hotspot of South-East Asia. Emily and I weren’t really there for that though. Well we were a little. Who can say no to unlimited free whisky after all…
Just some of the amazing beauty Vang Vieng has to offer
Luang Prabang is a town that gets mentioned whenever you meet someone traveling to Laos, and for that reason I always pictured it to be a big bustling place. In actuality Luang Prabang is a relaxed smaller town, around 55,000 people live here. The streets are filled with the smell of fresh herbs and Laos coffee, you pass by locals eating family style just enjoying their days. It’s easy to see the charm this city has.
Transit, transit, transit. With the end of our time in Northern Thailand approaching and Laos calling us, the inevitability of long, knee cramping, bum hurting journeys rolled in. It’s not something that Emily and I will ever get excited about! 3 and a half hours from Pai to Chiang Mai. A broken sleep to break up the journey and then up early and back in a different van for an 8 hour drive to Chiang Khong. Exhausting.