Curvy Road to a Dirty Backpacker Oasis

Trip Start Jan 01, 2011
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Trip End Mar 21, 2011


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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Today we had a 5:15 am wake up call as we were supposed to be meeting the Stray Bus to drop our bags off and then go and see the morning alms, which Luang Prabang is famous for. Basically, the monks from all of the town's monasteries go through the streets just before sunrise to collect their daily food from the buddhist residents of the town.

We quickly got ready in the morning and then went to drop our bags off. Only thing, is that the bus didn't come. Finally, at 6:05 am, we decided to walk to the Post Office which was the 7 am pick up point. By this time, we were quite annoyed. We had been to the Stray office the night before to confirm the pickup time and point and they said that it was 5:30 am at the guesthouse. We asked a couple times and they said yes that it was correct. When we finally met up with the bus and guides, we found out that the office had said that there were no pickups at the time. Very frustrating. Instead, we had to walk 15 minutes through the town with our bags, when we could have slept in a bit.

Luckily, we did get to see the morning alms. I thought we were going to miss it. Unfortunately, some people decided to stay longer at the guesthouse and missed it. I would have been so upset.

The morning alms was actually a bit eery. The morning is cool and hazy and then you see these orange clad figures appearing with no shoes and containers on their hips. It's too bad that some of the tourists are so rude. They were using the flash on their cameras which you could tell where making the monks uncomfortable.

We then started our journey from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng over what we had been told was the curviest and highest roads in Laos. Good thing, I double dosed Jeff with Gravol in the morning because the roads definitely lived up to their reputation.

We finally arrived in Vang Vieng, which is a dusty strange little town in a beautiful setting. The setting reminded us of Halong Bay in Vietnam without the water. This town is famous for all of the backpackers that head here to tube the river (which looked disgusting and has been rumored to cause stomach and skin issues) and party. It is also famous for its "Happy" pizzas and drinks (ie. they have drugs in them) and the many restaurants playing loud reruns of Friends and Family guy. Not our cup of tea.

When we got into town, we first headed to our accommodations. This is the first time that I could not stay somewhere. The rooms that had been booked for us were thatched bungalows across the river. This I don't have a huge problem with, but they were not sealed like others we have been to. There were huge gaps between the floorboards and bugs flying all throughout. We ended up walking back across the river and getting a room in a guesthouse for an extra 10,000 kip. A good night's sleep was worth the extra $1.25 we had to pay for the night!

In the afternoon, we walked around the town a bit and enjoyed the view. We met up with some of our fellow travelers for dinner and then headed back to our room as it had been a long day.
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