You can’t walk far in Luang Prabang without meeting the young kids who need money to send them to school. To be fair they will exchange a bangle or a lucky charm for cash but you’ll feel bad about the balance whatever the outcome. Thing is, Laos provides reasonable education to kids and why is there always an older woman hanging around in the background? Don’t get me wrong they are nice kids, but if you make the mistake of […]
Mekong cruise. You have to do it. Whisky villages, scarves, snakes bottled in rice wine, temples – tourist stuff for sure, but the real thrill is the river and jungle. It’s easy to drift away as you’re skimming across the water, inches above the brown water, the jungle on either side and the sharp jagged peaks sticking out in the distance. If you got off the boat here, or there, or on that sand bank what would you find? Would […]
Vientiane was good, but after a few days we needed to move on. Vientiane is dangerous- it’s too easy to stay. I was all for moving there, setting up a fish farming business and becoming Laotian. Doesn’t matter if that didn’t work, it feels like something must , doesn’t really matter what it is, there are opportunities here and to leave would be a mistake; thing is you wouldn’t get here again- not in a hurry at least. So bye […]
Norman Lewis wrote in his 1951 book “a dragon apparent” that one of the essentials a Laotian would work for, was a bicycle for their daughter. “Each one had a bicycle- infallibly fitted with dynamo lighting, and sometimes three – speed gears.” Progress and economic development has meant that in Laos and especially Vietnam the bicycle has now been replaced by the scooter.
That Luang is a carnival cum trade show held in November at the Pat That Luang, the most famous temple in Laos. It attracts thousands of people from all over Laos for five days of religious festivals and wholesale marketing. We arrived in Vientiane too late to see the parades but the temple and markets were worth visiting.
Over 2 million tons of bombs were dropped on Laos between 1964 and 1973 during Americas secret war supporting the Royal Lao Government against the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese supply routes on the Ho Chi Minh trail. Laos is the most heavily bombed country per head of population in history. An estimated 80 million unexploded cluster bomblets or “bombies” remain in the countryside. These are small bombs, the size of a coke can or an orange. Since 1974 over […]
Lane Xang, home of a million elephants, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic- Laos. We entered Laos via the friendship bridge across the mighty Mekong river from Nong Khai in Thailand. We didn’t know that much about the place, except that everybody who had been there who we spoke to loved the people and the place. I don’t remember ever hearing a bad word spoken about the place. So with much excitement we booked a couple of nights in Vientiane the nations […]
We spent a few days in Nong Khai in the north of Thailand before crossing into Laos. Didn’t really know what to expect of the place, which is usually a good thing. We arrived early in the morning after taking the overnight train from Bangkok, checked into our slightly odd accommodation and went for a tiki tour around. I say odd, but many people like it. For me it’s too “knowing”, too easy, too “Thai- lite”, and too many mosquitos, […]
We had planned to go to Koh Tao for a week to get some “beach, sea and sun”, get tanned and look like we had been in- country a while. Monsoons though, wind, rain, heavy seas, poor sanitation- life’s too short to waste time on pre- planned dreams. Koh Si Chang sounded like a good alternative, only a couple of hours away from Bangkok, beaches, sea, seafood and quiet through the week. We stayed for five days and loved it. […]
From street side vendors selling every organ under the sun at knock down prices to the upmarket bling of Hermes, Dior and desirable western trappings, Bangkok has got it all. In the street markets it’s a sensory overload of new smells, sounds tastes and colour combinations whilst in the mall it’s a full on assault of your visual cortex. It’s sterile and safe and way too familiar.