Upon arriving in Laos, we were asked to pay 50 baht, or the equivalent in kip (Laos currency), at the immigration. We headed to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, 40 mins away from Thanaleng station. When we got there, Jane and I had breakfast first before embarking to another 4-hour drive going to Vang Vieng where our guesthouse is.
We were welcomed by this beautiful formation of clouds. I was pleasantly surprised with the cold weather too. Totally unexpected, I brought no jacket!
We had two missions: ride the hot air balloon and see the Kuang Si falls. At 2:00 PM, we arrived in Vang Vieng. Thankfully our guest house offers help in booking activities and services, as most guesthouses there do also, so we booked our first activity right away! The hot air balloon ride can be done either during sunrise or sunset. I initially suggested we do the sunrise, but since our schedule didn’t permit so, we opted for the sunset one. They say it’s better when you do it during sunrise, but our sunset experience was pretty nice too. I wouldn’t be able to compare as I only did the latter.
We paid $80 each for a 1 hour ride. That also includes a pickup and drop-off at your guesthouse so it’s convenient. I don’t think we were up there for an hour tho, probably around 45 minutes only.
This colorful hot air balloon had just landed and was waiting for us. It’s huge and could carry around 10 people. In case you’ve been wondering how Jane looks like, you can see pics of her below! 🙂
Needless to say, the view from the top was awesome. I took more videos than photos, and I will post a compilation later on.
Bucket list checked! First hot air balloon ride! Jane suggested this one, so thanks to her for this wonderful experience!
When we got back to our guesthouse, we decided to take the sleepers bus to Luang Prabang, where Kuang Si falls is, to save time. We caught the last bus at 12 midnight. It’s a lot slower, 7 hours on the road, compared to taking a mini van or VIP. But it was a trip overnight, like what we did from Thailand to Laos, so we didn’t mind.
We arrived around 7 AM in the morning, and an even colder province greeted us! We looked around for a quick breakfast, and we found this Chinese restaurant where they served hot soup.
We didn’t feel like going to Kuang Si yet, so we searched for a place with wi-fi to look online what else can be done in Luang Prabang. Thanks to a random lady who let us connect to theirs for free. Tho it kinda took us a while to search for one! Haha
We went to city center, and booked a $50 package with All Lao Service. It includes one hour elephant trek, entrance fee to Kuang Si falls, transfers to and fro city center-elephant camp-Kuang Si falls, lunch and drinking water.
I know some people wouldn’t like riding elephants, but I honestly think Jane and I are not very heavy people so our elephant, Sophie, probably didn’t get tired. 😆 She was very cooperative when the mahout let us drive her, so that made my first elephant ride really nice. Bucket list checked! We thought we would be bathing them as well, but nope. That’s fine tho since it was freezing cold, and dipping / getting wet would’ve made us more chilly.
Our next destination was the Kuang Si falls. You know those calendars that feature all these beautiful falls? Yes, they actually exist! Kuang Si is breathtaking with its turquoise color, truly a gift of nature.
As you can see, the entrance fee is just 20,000 kip. If you convert that, it’s just less than $3.00! The lunch they provided was just okay too. I would say that the package we got was kinda overpriced. But I liked the fact that we had a service so there was no hassle traveling at all. I guess that’s what you’re mainly paying for.
How can you not love this place? It’s even more mesmerizing in person! Jane and I had planned to take a bath, or at least get our feet wet, but she backed out last minute. I was apprehensive too at first, but for the sake of it, I still dipped! Bucket list checked!
We went back home around 5 PM, and reached our guest house almost 12 midnight. It was supposed to be a 5-hour drive only since we took the mini van this time, which was very uncomfortable by the way because we were seated at the back, but it took longer because the driver and his partner brought us down somewhere in the middle of Vang Vieng. We thought they would bring all the passengers directly to our respective guest houses, but they didn’t. They spoke English a little only so we had a hard time communicating with them. After asking for more money and having a quite tense discussion, they finally brought us to the area where most guest houses are. But we still had to walk a few meters more to get exactly to our place. What a mess.
Other than those, the whole trip was an enjoyable one! I love how this place is not overrated, and three items off my bucket list is definitely awesome!
Next country… Cambodia!