Luang Prabang

Written by Michael Zangerle on . Posted in Laos

We had an adventuress trip up to the north – to Luang Prabang. The bus wasn’t in best condition and fully booked. So sitting in the back of the bus we bounced with every little dip.

The mountainous landscape was stunning and the villages became smaller and dustier. This is the area of Laos where you can see the poverty of the country but also the beauty. The bus drove slowly up the hills and I was thinking of my childhood. Being in the alps, visiting my uncle. I love the mountains.

Lost in my daydreams we arrived at Luang Prabang. As a city of world heritage it has beautiful small alleys with little shops and galleries. Big villas and houses marked from the colonial era of the French.

Every evening the long main road changed into a huge colorful bazaar with beautiful handicraft. Micha and me were sure, our mothers would have bought like crazy. We ourselves had to watch out not to buy anything.

The Royal Palace Museum was built in 1904 when Luang Prabang was still a kingdom. After the revolution in 1975 the kings family went into exile to the north of Laos. After this you never heard from them again. They changed the Palace into a museum and left all the furniture at his place.

The Stupa Phu Si is on top of a 100m hill. Up there you have a splendid few over the city, the Mekong and the mountains. Near the river was the Wat Xieng Thong, one of the most important Wats in Luang Prabang. It was built in 1560 and has beautiful mosaics made of Japanese glass.

Walking through the small alleys we found a Spa Garden. After checking the prices we decided to have one hour sauna and one hour massage treatment (15 Euro). It was a small sauna only for us. It was a perfect relaxed ending for Laos. The next day we flew back to Bangkok.

We wanted to end our three month trip chilling a little bit in the south of Thailand before heading back to our little island. Out of the airplane the view of the mountain tips covered in clouds was amazing. Bye Laos!

Accommodation: Somkhounmuong Guest House

Price: US$ 11,50

Comment: in a quiet alley, really clean double-room with bathroom and TV. Nice owner.



Trekking - Caving - Kayaking

Written by Michael Zangerle on . Posted in Laos

After having a quite New Years Eve we decided to do a two day trip around Vang Vieng on January 2nd. We were lucky again with the group, just two more. Our guide was named Wong and had a really good English.

The first day we went uphill. These treks reminded us a lot of Camaron Highlands in Malaysia. Steep and slippery rocks, small rivers were on our way. Some were dried out cause of dry season, otherwise we had to take shoes of and walk the cool water.

Two caves were due on the first day. The first was right in the beginning and is called Elephant cave. The story about this cave is a little wired and long so we skip that here.

On top of the hill it was a fantastic view and the end of this trail was just amazing. We had to walk trough a cave to get to a place called Secret Eden. A little bending, little crawling and there we were. The view was just astonishing and the name honors the place.

7 hours later we walked through a village of Hmonk-people but they did not were the traditional clothes like in Sapa / Vietnam.  They live from their own farming. When we meet a group of boys and men they invited us to see a traditional Hmong-game. This game is with some metal spinner and every player had a stick with a 1 m long rope on it. They put the rope around the metal and twist it. The other players try to hit this twisting metal from about 5 to 10 meters away by throwing there own metal out of their rope. This is not the best explanation but you might understand….

It is funny to see the living villages in Asia. Not just kids but chickens, dugs, cows and dogs. They run around everywhere with the kittens, you can feel the pulse of live. It opens your heart to see so much new born live. It ain’t like home where you just have a small group of kids. Here, like in Cambodia and Vietnam, are so many of them.

To get to the place to stay the night we had to cross the river with a boot made out of one tree. This boat gained water all the time so our captain (this time a woman) had to clear it of water. One by one we crossed the river. Before we could have a shower Micha had to fix a problem with the pipes to that the water could run. This was a totally basic accommodation. Mattresses on the floor and paper-thin walls what we just had to experience as the local people started a party at 1.30 am.

A little bit tired we started the second day on kayaks. The cool water refreshed us quick and the landscape was – again – just breath taking. Every now and then we stopped to see caves or having lunch at the eco farm. The first cave this day was taking your mind of cause it was half way flooded. We had to walk to water high to your crotch (for Nadine up to here stomach, hehe). To get out of the cave we had to crawl on our bellies. At the exit we found a big spider. Of course we took a picture. You can see these pictures if you register.

To get to the end of our kayac trip we had to pass the Tubing headquarter. Tubing is written BIG in Vang Vieng. For people who don’t know what this is: grab a tube from a truck and cruise down the river. You get a lot of alcohol and swings where you can jump into water. This is not always safe, sharp stones are in the water and many tourists hurt themselves. There are about 5 to 20 drunken tourists who die each year.

Well, we just enjoyed the landscape and the kayaking down the river. This was one of the best trips we had in the last three month! We planned to relax another day and do a one day climbing before we go up north. But Nadine got ill so we went a day early to Luang Prabang. Maybe we can to a little rock climbing here.

Accomodation: Viangvilay Guesthouse

Price: 50000 kip (US $6), double room with bathroom and TV

Comment: very clean and nice helpful staff


Vang Vieng

Written by Michael Zangerle on . Posted in Laos

Here we are in Vang Vieng, 4 hours north of Vientiane. The bvus left 1.30 pm so we could sleep in having a nice breakfast. First time to say thanks to the French. They left bread!!!

It took two hours till the bus had all people onboard and left to Vang Vieng. This wasn’t well organized… We arrived around 7 .30 pm. We could get a good and quick overview and booked till the 2nd of January.  We also booked 2 day tour from 2nd till 3rd. Then we’ll go back here and stay another day or two. Its just damn good here.

Tomorrow it’s tubing time with several stop to have something cold to drink! You can jump from a wipe into the river and more… Let’s see, people died already because of having to much drugs….

Well, it did not fit with the tubing. We had an unexpected short night because of a party. Music was good, Lao mojito was even better.... We did sleep late and had a chill out day with seasons of FRIENDS. Yeah, some people would love this.

Our New Years Eve wasn’t that long cause of the night before. Many different possibilities to spend the night but non of the music convinced us much. Too much strange music everywhere. So we ended up playing pool billiard and had a quite night.

So, to all of you: Have a GREAT New Years Eve!!!!!!