Let me begin with my entry into Laos. One of the biggest challenges so far on this journey was crossing the border from Vietnam to Laos. I would call it the most interesting experience yet. Initial plan was to exit Vietnam from the very northern town Sa Pa. Cheapest and quickest route from Sa Pa was to Luang Prabang via Tây Trang border control. However, it turned out to be the longest and most expensive way at the end.
I couldn’t exit Vietnam through Tây Trang checkpoint. I was left with no choice other than going back to Dien Bien and figure out a way to exit Vietnam in order to enter Laos. Straight after a long journey on a night bus from Sa Pa to Tây Trang, I had to jump on to another night bus from Dien Bien to Vinh City without even knowing whether there are any connection from Vinh City to Luang Prabang.
I was lucky to meet a young local who is intending to starts his studies in Germany this summer. With his help I gathered almost all information that was needed, even still it wasn’t all.
Long story short; I jumped on a night bus to Vinh City without having any idea if there is a connection bus to Luang Prabang. I was the only foreigner on that bus and I guess it’s not a usual backpacker’s trial 😀 However I really enjoyed the bus journey and I call it The “bus family” they invited me to have dinner with them for free. Many unexpected happened worst of it all was, after 15 hours of traveling I finally got to Vinh City at 7:30am and there is only one daily bus to Luang Prabang leaving at 6am and I missed it!
I was stuck in Vinh City for a day and luck finds me again. Bus driver dropped me off 7km away from the city center where I met a local who could speak English. In a nut shell, I stayed at his place, ate with his family, went to a premium fitness studio and he took care of my bus ticket to Luang Prabang as well as my 2 day overstay problem (normally you can get in real trouble, if you overstay more than one day in Vietnam).
Finally another 22 hours bus journey and I’ve arrived in Luang Prabang at 4 in the morning. At the end everything paid off I was meant to meet this great family and have this experience.
Let’s start the adventure Laos in Luang Prabang
There was no way I could check in at 4am so I sneaked in and slept for few hours on a very comfy bed. Spend two days in Luang Prabang exploring the Kuang Si Waterfall, Phou Si Mountain and Utopia bar. All of these places are worth a visit. Luang Prabang is a good places to start the trip through Laos.
On the second day we (Nina, Nisha, Nils and Zorro) took a night bus to Houayxay. That’s where we started our Gibbon Experience. We took the 3 days 2 night waterfall adventure tour. I really enjoyed those three days, zip-lining in the jungle, watching the monkeys and especially the tree houses. Food was great unfortunately not enough for 7 people. If you are paying 275€ you expect to have a good enough meal. Besides that it was a really good experience.
After three days of jungle adventures we came back to Houayxay and catch a night bus back to Luang Prabang then straight onto another bus to Vang Vieng. Vang Vieng is really a nice place to stay. Blue Lagoons and the caves were really good experience. Other than that, Vang Vieng is very well known for its nightlife and the food. Happy Mango is a good place to eat it’s a bit pricey but very good food, Sakura Bar, Space Bar and Viva Pub are good places to have a drink. Once we left Vang Vieng we felt like we shouldn’t have. But it was time for us to move on to Thakhek for another Loop experience on a motorbike.
We started our 3 days 2 nights adventure pretty late around 12pm. Precisely why we arrived in the dark at our first stop Thalang. We stayed at the famous Sabaidee Guest House. Really nice and chill place with an amazing BBQ for a reasonable price. On the second day we drove all the way to Kong Lor to explore the Kong Lor cave. We started our day by going into the Kong Lor cave or let’s say driving forth and back on a boat. It was a good experience and an impressive cave with a river that’s flowing through the cave. Around 3pm we started our return journey back to Thakhek. It was hell of a ride, covering 150 km in heavy rain. We made it back safe almost on time to return the bikes. Same night we catch a night bus to Pakse where we jumped onto another Mini Van to Don Det.
1st Thakhek to Thalang (72,92 miles)
2nd Thalang to Kong Lor (102,86 miles)
3rd Kong Lor to Thakhek (115,08 miles)
Don Det – “happy” place
Don Det was a lot of fun even though it wasn’t so crowded. We stayed in a lovely bungalow with our own hammocks. It was such an amazing place to relax and enjoy life. We did a bike tour to the Tad Khone Pa Soi Waterfall and crossed the dodgy bridges (a must to do). It was adventurous and terrifying at the same time, but hell of a fun. On our last night we tried happy pizza. Oh well, what should I say I guess we were all very happy ?
Last stop: Pakse
Pakse is very famous for beautiful waterfalls. We rented a scooter to explore those waterfalls. We only explored the surroundings of Pakse for a day, but you can do a 3 days 2 nights trip to see in total about 10 waterfalls. We’ve been to the Tad Fan, Tad Yuang and Thamchampy waterfalls. Tad Fan is the tallest waterfall in SEAsia, with a height of 300 meters. All of those waterfalls are very impressive and unique.
Nearly 2 and a half weeks in Laos and it was about time to say good bye to Laos and hello to Myanmar. Before flying to Myanmar, it was time for a night in Bangkok with foot massage, Pad Thai, stroll along the Khaosan Road and Soi Ram Buttri. Next day morning flying to Mandalay.