From Pakse, Laos to Los Angeles

The trip back to Pakse included spending half of the minibus drive with a huge iguana, which the driver suddenly bought from a roadside vendor. Slightly weird. We found a decent hotel in town and went by motorbike the next day to see the Angkor ruins this area is famous for. The ruins themselves were ridiculously small compared to Angkor Wat to the south but the nature in the area was quite nice so we enjoyed our little road trip including the two ferry rides across Mekong river.

The following day we went by bus to Ubon Ratchathani across the border to Thailand. Immediately after crossing the border we rediscovered how civilized Thailand really is compared to it's neighbors with nicely paved roads, well maintained buildings and generally less trash in the streets.


Mekong and Four Thousand Islands

Following up on the trip to southern Laos, Tha Khaek was quite an uninteresting town so we slept there one night before going to the bus station to catch a ride to Pakse. The last local bus was amazing so we gave it another try. This local bus, however, was at least 20 years older than the one we went to Tha Khaek on. It had no air conditioning and felt like it had no suspension at all. If the bus was a big wok, the passengers, were pieces of chicken being stir fried for 7 hours. One row of seats even broke off as we hit a hole in the road. This brutally woke up the guy sleeping on it as the seats fell onto the center isle of the bus to much amusement of the many other locals passengers.


Northern Laos

Our stay in Luang Prabang led us to Tat Kuang Si which is a multi-tiered waterfall with numerous turquoise colored pools fit for swimming and rope jumping (swinging from a rope and jumping from the highest point). Beautiful and fun. We stayed in Luang Prabang at Chittana Guest House for 60000 kip (42 DKK, $7) for an additional 4 nights, along with some huge cockroaches, before we decided to move a bit on southwards.

Surviving an interesting 6 hour bus ride through the green mountainous landscape we finally arrived at the infamous Vang Vieng, which is the craziest place on earth so far. The city is famous for it's “tubing”, which is an activity where you sit in a inflated tube as the current takes you down the river (in this case Nam Song) while randomly stopping at makeshift bars on the river side selling beer and handing out free whiskey shots.


Sabaai-dii, Laos

After a tiresome stay in Vietnam we've decided to put it all behind us and concentrate on Laos. Describing the Halong Bay incident shortly, it was an incredibly poor organized tour and the boat crew behaved like we were there for their sake and not the other way around. Our mood wasn't positively influenced by the rainy weather either on day two on Cat Ba island. Altogether the trip was shit, and almost everybody we met on the tour agreed. Unfortunately we had paid a deposit on another tour to Sapa. We booked both tours through Sinh Cafe, which can be found throughout Vietnam, and we got nearly the entire amount refunded, so they are almost forgiven for selling us a useless tour. When we got back from the tour, aching everywhere from a 4 hour minibus ride, we decided to go to Laos on the first plane the following day. This gave us until the afternoon to explore Hanoi's old town which was quite fun.