Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lao Trip

The trip to Lao was incredibly amazing. Not only because everyone living in the house went, but also because it seems we packed so many different things into one trip. For one, our transport was quite varied:
  • Walking
  • Mountain Biking
  • Swimming
  • Tuk-Tuk
  • Jumbo (like a tuk-tuk, but a retrofitted pick-up truck)
  • Rickety wooden boat
  • Long ferry boat
  • Kayak
  • Elephant
Compared to Vietnam, Lao is a peaceful sleepy country. The city of Luang Prabang, where we spent most of the week, is a World Heritage City. I suppose mainly because of this UNESCO designation (of which Quebec City is as well), the city is a tad bit too touristy for my liking. Too many French-style cafés serving baguettes and croissants. I suspect the average Lao or Luang Prabang resident doesn't (or can't afford to) eat in these restaurants.

Here are some photos of my trip

Kids egging on a monk to throw down jackfruits.

After losing 3 house mates because of the treacherous climbing and the unkown reward, we came upon this beautiful set of cascading waterfalls. Amazingly deep and blue. We spend way too long here.
The village we overnighted in during our kayak trip. Complete with chickens, boars, palm trees, a giant hornets nest in the room, friendly Lao people, and the drunk Lao guy who we heard vomit all night long.

We took an hour and a half boat ride to see a whole in a cliff (a cave, they call it) with 2000 buddha's in it.
The scariest ride I have ever had in my life. I kept thinking of how the inability to sue people for responsibility in much of the developping world means that safety provisions haven't been instituted. It was raining and muddy going up these mud cliffs. I kept seeing my housemate's giant elephant slip in the mud, and wondered how my seemingly less-experienced and smaller elephant would be able to climb it.


Rebel said...

Oh wow! I'm so glad you posted about this... I'm heading to Laos in October. Where did you stay?

And btw - there's NO SUCH THING as too many baguettes!

Jonathan said...

I stayed mostly in Luang Prabang, at this little inn. It's not ideal if you are by yourself, because there's really no opportunity to meet other travellers. Let me know, i can e-mail you the deets.

About that waterfall - it's "the waterfall" all the tuk-tuk drivers are telling you they can bring you to, but this little part i found was off the beaten track. If you hike up "towards the source", you'll come upon a set of stairs. Right before you reach the top of the stairs, there's a small break in the bush on the right. You can crawl over to these little pools at the bottom of a fall. The best one is at the back behind a giant bolder.

Also, at the bottom of the stairs on the right, follow the rocks to the bottom. There's a huge canyon with a sign that says "danger". Ignore that, but just be careful and keep your eye on the ground. This is where i found the pools in the picture. The pools there are super deep. You can even jump into them without ever touching the bottom. Hope you find them!