Luang Prabang 21st – 28th November
The six hour minibus from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang wound through the mountain villages. Jack had to sit next to a four year old Lao girl who spewed on herself from one of these villages where we picked her up all the way to Luang Prabang!
When we got to Luang Prabang we tried to check-in to Cold River Guesthouse, but because they were full we checked into a guesthouse over the road. I have no idea what it was called but for $5 each we got a two bed room with ensuite and air con, not to mention free bananas – bargain!
We had heard in Vang Vieng about a place called Utopia, so we went to check it out for dinner. It is a really cool restaurant/bar with daybeds overlooking the river, tables and chairs spread throughout a garden and in the middle, a beach volleyball court of course.
The first night we sat up inside the main area and met a Danish couple. After it hit 11.30pm, Utopia closed due to the curfew, so the four of us jumped in a tuk tuk and went ten pin bowling. We had heard that everyone goes bowling, because its the only place that stays open past curfew, and it serves beer!
We bowled a few games until about 3am, when we got a tuk tuk back to the guesthouse. I woke up the next day to a wooshing sound, thinking it was someone showering in a neighbouring room. I got up to brush my teeth, and realised the basin tap was on full – one of us had turned the tap on when we got home, but the main water system had been turned off, but turned on at some stage during the night, and it was now 1pm, oops. We ended up sleeping through until 5pm, before getting dinner, having a quiet night at Utopia and going back to bed.
The next day we went to check out Kuang Si Waterfalls, which were pretty amazing. They include a number of pools for swimming, with rope swings and waterfalls to jump off. We hiked up the steep path to the top, before going back down to swim at the bottom.
That night we went to Utopia (again) and met a bunch of Israelis. we played cards with them and then went bowling with two of them until the early hours of the morning.
We checked out the streets of Luang Prabang the next day, for lunch I ordered the first of many Pad Thai’s (If you’re not familiar with this meal, it is the best food in Southeast Asia). We also arranged a trip for the next day elephant riding, visiting the Pak Ou caves and the Whiskey village.
We went to Utopia again that night and ran into a Swiss guy named Eeeve and a few Swedish guys. We played drinking games with them for a couple of hours, before we decided to go to the only nightclub that stays open past midnight. We were in the club having a few beers at our table when one of the Swedish guys started rolling a joint next to me. I didnt think much of it, as it was pretty commonplace. Out of nowhere, a security guard came and grabbed the guy rolling the joint, and also tried to take me. I told him I had nothing to do with it, and slipped away. Jack and I and our Aussie mate Mike decided to get out of there before things escalated, so we jumped in a tuk tuk to the bowling alley. Ping, who worked there, also played a few games with us. After a few games, in walks the Swede who was being detained at the nightlcub, soaking wet from the rain. He told us that he was put in a chair in a back room, but noticed the door was left ajar. He pushed the policeman who was talking to him aside, and ran out the door, through the nightclub, jumped in a tuk tuk and hightailed it to the bowling alley, with no idea of where his friends were, crazy.
For our last night in Luang Prabang, we met up with Darryl from Vang Vieng and went bowling with him and Adam, a New Yorker he had met in Phonsavan. Darryl snapped this trick shot of me. both balls ended up in the gutter!
On our last day, before getting the bus at 6pm to Hanoi, Jack and I were sitting up in Utopia when we saw a dog down on the riverbank get beaten to death by two fisherman. They were not quick about it, the whole episode lasted five minutes and was pretty confronting.
Then, we got the bus of doom to Hanoi…….