I don’t know when I changed, the day when traveling stopped being about shopping and buying cheap stuff. Instead I realized the joy in traveling came from exploring the unknown, wandering the streets and trying to experience the culture of the place.
Last year we started planning for a short trip to Cambodia, tam, long, meng and I. While researching we came across the gibbon experience in Laos. Without reference to the map, we happily thought perhaps we could go for that before meeting tam after her volunteering stint in Cambodia. As we continued our research, our short Cambodia trip became a 6 day Cambodia, 3 days Laos trip, then a 6 days Laos plus 3 days Cambodia and after a few variations, we decided on an 11 days Laos plus 2 days in Chiangmai with the highlight of our trip being the gibbon experience, an expensive 3 days 2 night stay in the forest, or is it jungle where we get to zipline across the jungle with the ziplines as high as a particular pyramid in Egypt. A decision none of us regretted despite it being a 33 hours journey from our starting point in Laos, vientiane.
So here goes, day one in Laos, Vientiane, 14 April 2011.
Flew by Air Asia and did a transit in KL.
Arrived at the airport in Laos infested with mosquitoes only to realized that meng’s luggage never left KL. The case of the missing luggage. Which also brings about a whole new experience for meng and a lesson for all of us whom are now paranoid about losing our luggages. It’s good to always have a change of clothes in your hand carry together with stuff you’ll die without, like iPhone charger! =P
After spending a lot of time at the airport due to the lost baggage, we made our way to the guesthouse we were staying at. Really pretty and cheap place! Though the air con in the guys’ room weren’t working and so they bunked in with us together with their sleeping bags on the first night.
Checked in and left to search for dinner, Laos food is really unlike Thai food. Managed to get to a night market which really wasn’t much of a night market. One thing I really liked about Laos is the lack of nightlife. There’s really nothing much to do at night. We went to bed when the sky turned dark and woke up when the sun came out. It honestly felt damn right, and good. Can’t really explain why it felt right, but it did.
Day 2, Laos, Vientiane, 15 April 2011.
Honestly don’t know if we had a good or bad experience at Vientiane. The day we touched down happened to be the start of their water festival. Was quite a sight to behold, at around 5 plus in the evening, the streets started to fill with tons of people armed with huge tubs of water, pails, water bombs, water hoses and water guns. Trucks and lorries ferrying people armed with the same drove through the streets and everyone was soaked. Well that scene was after we rode to the Buddha Park 25km from Vientiane on dirt roads with uncountable portholes whilst being attacked by the locals with water where Long and I fell thrice.
Woke up early, had breakfast at the hotel and off we went in search for bike rentals.
Interesting how they used a real tree trunk as support for the building.
Got our bikes. Coffee stop on our way.
The king and his subjects. Royalty treatment for his wounds for just 12 000kips. Around 2SGD. After his third fall which was also the most serious, thankfully he only suffered external injuries.
When Tam and I walked towards him he was excitedly asking us to take a shot of him -.-
The Buddha Park, which was really crowded as it was the Lao new year.
I think we were all too tired from the ride to truly walk enjoy the park, plus it was crazily hot. Rested for awhile and we made our way back, where I fell again and with both side mirrors gone, decided not to continue riding =X Went back to clean up and slack while Meng and Tam continued riding around. Thats when Long and I sat at the lobby, well protected by glass windows, watching the water attacks from inside, feeling hungry. Was contemplating if we should head out to get food then decided against it cause it would have been impossible to stay dry just venturing out 100m from the hotel.
We did want to go out and join in the fun, immerse ourselves in their culture, but with injuries.. actually I was just too lazy to shower again. =P
Thats the end of the first 2 days, which I didn’t exactly enjoy. Perhaps due to the stressful ride, the weather or that literally all the shops were closed for new year?