A Travellerspoint blog

Phonsovan

Laos

sunny 32 °C

After 4/5 days in the lovely, relaxing Luang Prabang, we headed to Phonsovan, primarily to see the 'Plain of jars'. The day tour we took was good, with the guy from 'Nice' guest house taking it. He was a very cool guy and it was a shame another English guy made a scene over the price of the food at the restaurant we were taken too.

Anyway, got some decent pics at site 1 of the plain of jars and we also went to a hot spring, cotton weaving house, a Hmong village, a Laos soldiers' cave and a bomb crater site from the US bombings in the 60's & 70's.

Messed up the bus journey away from Phonsovan, as we turned up at around 10.15 am at the station, only to be told that the buses are at 8.30 am and 4.30 pm! We got the 4.30 bus and arrived in Vang Vieng at about 12.15 am.

Posted by mm1 22:56 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Luang Prabang, Laos.

5th July

sunny 36 °C

What a stinker of a journey to Laos, Vientiane. 23 hours with a stressful border crossing, at which both me and J were short of the required 38 dollars (39 for a passport pic as well!) for a visa. We had enough for the 35 dollars which we had been told, but hadn't factored in the 'weekend overtime' rates for the visa issuers. Of course not. Many had the same problem but thankfully an American guy had some spare and was bailing everyone out, lending a few dollars here and there!

After a night in Vientiane (which looks lovely and by far the most relaxed and quiet capital city we've been to) we took ANOTHER horrible bus journey to Luang Prabang. Funny to see the 'conductor' turn on the air-con when the other 6 or 7 foreigners had got off at Vang Vieng! The roads were so winding and we didn't seem to be making any progress, although we did get there within the 10-12 hours we had been told to expect. Saw some pretty amazing steepling green scenery on the way, too.

Luang Prabang seems lovely and the people of Laos appear very friendly so far. The hotel, Phashoke Guest house, is one of the best we've stayed at, 100,000 between 2. It's clean with nice wood panelling everywhere, a clear and modern TV, air-con and fan and free tea or coffee anytime!! There are a lot of foreigners here and you can see why. The architecture is pretty, the pace of life is slow and relaxed and there are beautiful waterfalls nearby, one of which we are going to go to tomorrow (probably). Found a really cool bar called Utopia last night, complete with a large volleyball pitch! Feel a bit ropey today, them large beer Lao's are quite lethal.

Posted by mm1 00:45 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Hanoi

sunny 34 °C

Another quite arduos journey from Hue to Hanoi, this time a measly 12 hours. We were dropped off near the hello Vietnam hotel and because the price was reasonable and we were so tired we decided to stay there. It was pretty grubby, the sink was very close to coming totally off the wall in the toilet and it was in the middle of nowhere, old quarters. I really am struggling to navigate my way around this place. It's VERY claustrophobic and there are so many little streets that all look the same.

Saw Rik and Aaron again and met with them for some drinks at a bir hoi. What a laugh they are and a shame for them they have to go home because they didn't get any money back that they were promised from the car they rented in Australia.

Still no real sign of the 'rainy season' although we have had a few torrential downpours. Power is much better here, we haven't had a cut-out yet.

Took a 2-day 1-night trip to Halong bay. The scenery was very beautiful and it was a new experience to sleep on a boat. Met a guy from San Francisco called Reggie who we had a good laugh with. On our return to Hanoi we stayed at the same hotel and met up with him in the evening for a few drinks.

Went to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum the day before leaving Hanoi. That was a surreal experience. After struggling to find it, we were lucky to get in, as they stopped letting people through about 1 minute after us. Didn't see anyone worshipping him like some stories we had heard. Also saw his famous 'house on stilts'.

Posted by mm1 22:24 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hue

sunny 38 °C

Not so impressed with Hue as Hoi An. There aren't many bars although we did find a good one called DZ to watch the England game. The power cutting out in the early hours of the morning is a real pain in the arse and I can't seem to sleep beyond 9am, not what you want when you've been out until 1,2 or 3 o'clock drinking. Stayed in probably out nicest room yet (Dong Muong II?) for 8 dollars a night between us! The only problem was it was up 6 flights of stairs and as I was having breakfast most mornings due to an early power-cut enforced wake-up it was a right trek.

Posted by mm1 22:04 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hoi An

16th June

sunny 36 °C

What an epic 22 hour bus ride. Left at 8am and arrived after 6am today the 16th June. Was quite suprised that I managed to sleep for a decent portion of it - maybe 5 hours or more. People were getting off saying 'never again', but me and J were on longer than them and we didn't find it so bad. First impressions it seems like a nice chilled out place. We are staying at sea hotel for 10 dollars a night. What wasn't very impressive was upon getting to Hoi An, we were told that the electricity is out yet again - not what you want when you want to crash out a cool room.

What a gorgeous place, the beach is really nice and the old town is relaxing and interesting to walk around. We rented a moto (the first time either of us had driven one) and with me going first we went to the beach with the two cool guys from England we met Aaron and Rik. After, we had a random drive around Hoi An to use up the fuel we had bought - it was fun!

Posted by mm1 02:16 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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