Kidface's Big Adventure travel blog

I finally managed to haul my sorry-ass, beachbum behind off Ko Phan-Ngan. I was very comfortable and relaxed, but had the the nagging worry I may become symbiotic with my hammock if I stayed much longer - a hummock (that's a human-hammock for those not in with the portmanteau lingo). I had plans to go across to the west islands, Ko Phi Phi and Phuket, but the monsoon season was threatening and the islands were pretty quiet, so I decided to give myself at least 6 weeks to do the Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia circuit and booked an overnight bus back up to Bangkok. We arrived in Bangkok at 4.30am, Sat 17th Oct I think, I really lose track of the date and day of the week! I'd met a girl on the bus called Heidi and we got on really well and we shared a room at Rambutri Village Inn. It was a bit of an effort finding somewhere at this time in the morning, although there are plenty of rooms around, it can take some effort to check out the rooms as the standard can vary a lot. So we ended up somewhere relatively posh with air con and a swimming pool on the roof which was 8 pounds for the night each. It was well worth it though, we slept properly, got up and used the pool and stayed the Sunday night all for that price. And of course, I pocketed the free soap and shampoo. Me and Heidi had a fun night out drinking in Bangkok , but sadly she was on holiday and had to catch a plane at 3 that morning. A bit tipsy. I stayed in Bangkok for another couple of days (moved to a cheaper guest house) waiting for my visa for Vietnam. I had to take another overnight bus to Vientiane in Laos. I wasn't a big fan of Vietiane, it was pretty small and dusty with a few none too inspiring sights, such as a war museum. However, there's a real French influence in Laos, following previous colonies and I was reintroduced to bread and pastries for the first time in a month and everyone sells baguettes. I made a sharp exit the next day (after a night drinking with 2 Dutch guys) on the 4 hour bus to Vang Vieng.

Tubing! Vang Vieng seems now only to exist for one reason. Tubing (google it). It's known as a place that is like a piece of the Khao San Road (main backpacker area in Bangkok) has been picked up and stuck in Laos. It's not as bad, but not disimilar to Laganas strip. Every other bar has Friends or Family Guy on loop and most places sell 'buckets' - a backpacker treat of Sansomg (local whiskey), red bull, and lemonade or coke. I'm trying not to be snobby about it but I am well above this kind of vomit-ensuring, rohypnol-attracting Brit juice. So I've steered well clear. However, I'm still quite surprised that I continually meet people who are over the moon about this 'new' concept. What a jaded old witch I am (Shush it Deqa). Next, got the 8 hour bus to Luang Probang. This place was stunningly beautiful and very civilised, we cycled round the town, checking out the Wats. We spent a few days there and next we went on a day trip. This started with riding an elephant for an hour, through the river ( we checked they were nice to the elephants before we went!), then we took a long tail boat up the river to the most amazing waterfall. It all cascaded and swirled through different levels and I reckon there were almost definitely fairies living there. It could've been the fountain of eternal youth. Unfortunately, since then, I've discovered that it can't be, I'm still a bit old. After lunch we kayaked the 3 and half hours down the river, back home, surrounded by stunning mountains covered in forest. The only company we had along the way was the odd fisherman and a few buffalo with babies. Sounds pretty cool huh? Well, it was, the best day yet. The night market in Luang Prabang was also stunning, a real pleasure to walk around, loads of local crafts. I bought a stunning piece of white and grey handwoven silk which will eventually find its way home and until then is wrapped about 10 times in zip lock plastic in my rucksack. We ate some food from one of the stalls for dinner. I have a small idea of what it was, but will attempt to describe.. A rice pancake steamed over a fine mesh, which rolled rolled up and out over a kind of rolling pin. It's then filled with Laap (a Laos ground pork thing) and there's an egg poached in the middle, she covers it with sun-dried garlic and ground peanut oil is given on the side. You also get chopped up chunks of cured sausage (saucisson?). Sounds weird, tastes brilliant, costs 70p. Yum.

Made the descision to fly from Lunag Probang to Hanoi, as the journey was pretty long (over 24hrs), with nothing of interest in between. All in all it looked lonely and miserable, so I stuck my tight-fisted, grubby little backpacker hand in my fisherman pants and shelled out 80 quid to fly. I am now in Vetnam, but will fill you in on that in the next installment..

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