Hanoi to Chiang Mai, The Laos Experience

Sabai dee mates!

As you all know I tore through Vietnam in about two weeks and proceeded to Laos and now Thailand. I’ll let you know how it went!

Last time I posted I was about to get on the cruise for Ha Long Bay, and trust me, it was worth the (extremely high price in asia) 50$ we paid. We got on the boat (pirate ship) to get served a good 5 course lunch while heading out to the grotto. We didn’t get to do much more than explore the massive grotto and kayak while on the boat, but the scenery was equivalent to cruising through the Whitsundays from Australia. I managed to do some frontflips off the back once we stopped for the night but that was about it. We head back the next day just to make it to Hanoi in time for my 2nd lunch. We made our plans for the following day and called it a night after catching up on the TV series’ we follow.

My mates Charles and Aurélien flew to Southern Thailand while I jumped on the 22 hour bus to Vientiane. Luckily we didn’t have any farm animals on the bus although some produce was present. I met a good group on the bus and enjoyed some Beerlao (best beer in southeast asia by far) upon arrival. When we made it out to the night market I finally got to test my limits of what I could eat. We started with bugs, which weren’t too bad, moved on to the cow brain which was quite delicious with all the spices it was prepared with. We moved on to try some aborted chicken (or duck) fetuses. These were sold in eggs for about 50 cents each and you had to crack it open before eating the miniature bird inside the egg, which was surprisingly good. We moved on to try some barbecued chicken heart and a full frog each; both of which topped the previous 3 . Unfortunately we didn’t do any real tourism in Vientiane as we caught the 7 am local bus to Vang Vieng the next morning. That bus was filled to about 33% capacity with procude on the inside, not to mention the overload on the roof. Upon arrival I had my daily fried rice breakfast and tried some Lao-Lao, the rice whiskey that is apparently illegal yet it’s more common than water in Laos. We checked into our hotel and began the day of tubing, the main young tourist thing to do in Vang Vieng. The day progressed quite slowly by moving about 50 meters at a time from bar to bar being poured free whiskey and dancing. The tarzan ropes, ziplines and high jumps were well worth the time spent. We did two days there with very little else, my diet of fried rice helped the absorption of the alcohol.

After those two hectic days I took a bus to Luang Prabang to walk around and enjoy a more relaxed and scenic city. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to see the waterfall, hill tribes or elephants but I’ve made it a goal of mine to return there. I took a 12 hour bus to the border, hung out for a day in a city run by monks and took a 45 second boat accross the border to Thailand. Now I’ve finally landed in Chiang Mai and will be here for a few days doing relatively touristy things, starting with renting a scooter and planning some key spots to see.

My trip has come down to its last few weeks so I’m hoping to take full advantage without breaking the bank (as snowboarding once in Vancouver will cost the budget of about 4 days in asia)

Anyways, right now I have decent internet so I hope you can enjoy the pictures!

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