Nov 15, 2010

later lao lao: the good, the bad and the annoying...

the panic button has officially been activated. we are trying to figure out how the heck we went from spending ten days in laos to over three weeks. regrettably this time will now be shaved off cambodia and vietnam, but it goes to show how much we enjoyed our time in laos.

since my last update we have spent a few days chilling in the 4000 islands which consisted of around 4000 small islands located in the lower mekong delta, straddling the border of cambodia. unfortunately we arrived a few weeks short of the high season and the water was still a little brown, as opposed to the blue green aqua water that arrives in december.

it was a real mission of a trip (numerous buses, dust storms and pit stops in the middle of nowhere) from vientiane but the relaxing serenity once we finally made it, was ace. we stayed in bungalows along the riverside and literally had nothing to do but read in hammocks, bike ride through rice fields, take leisurely boat trips up and down the mekong to local villages, enjoy barbeques and drink copious amounts of cold beer lao’s.

pics. sleeper bus down south, bungalows over the water in the islands, barbeque beers, kurt hitching a ride and sunset in the southern mekong delta











my conclusions of laos are as follows:

the good…

1.cheap. everything in laos is super cheap. we saved a lot of money without having to say no or tighten our belts and go without the entire time. we stayed in nice guest houses, enjoyed gourmet foods and drinks and still had a lot left over to dispose of, as we pleased

2. luang prabang would have to stand as one of my favorite, if not, my favorite spot we have been to yet. the ambience, the ease and the beauty of the area was second to none and really could be enjoyed by anyone at any age – however next time we come we will defiantly be flying, the bus trip was a bit much!

3. kurt really enjoyed the sticky rice, which is a staple in the lao diet. as opposed to normal steamed rice, the sticky rice is able to be eaten with your hands and is a great substitute to bread for eating left over sauce from curries or soups

4. some other plus's worth mentioning: beer lao, freshly baked baguettes with cream cheese, the fresh fruit shakes available from stall vendors, picturesque water buffalo roaming in the rice fields and sunsets on the mekong river

the bad…

1. laos unfortunately seemed to attract a lot of know-it-all travelers who all thought they were they best travelers in the history of the world - consequently they tended to be european or americans. everyone had “advice” and “recommendations” which were at times totally uncalled for, which got very (very) tedious and annoying

2. some of the locals which caught tourist buses were extremely rude and inconsiderate, which when you are on buses for 12 plus hours becomes increasingly frustrating - we have to many accounts to jot down

3. the dust. laos is a land-locked country so its predominately dry and the red dust is every where. it seeps into the smallest, most confined areas – so we basically had allergies each day and you never felt totally clean, even after numerous showers

4. the pollution that blows in from china distorts the sky in the north and there is a near constant haze that covers the sky. the fact that lao’s burn their rubbish, may also contribute to this…