Laos is one of the least explored countries in South East Asia. Read on to see what we discovered in this country.
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, my friend Jane and I had breakfast first before embarking to another 4-hour drive going to Vang Vieng where our guesthouse is.
Thanaleng to Vang Vieng
We were welcomed by this beautiful formation of clouds. I was pleasantly surprised with the cold weather too. Totally unexpected, I brought no jacket!
Hot Air Balloon
At 02:00 PM, we arrived in Vang Vieng. Our guest house offers help in booking activities and services so we didn’t have difficulty booking our hot air balloon ride. This activity 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.
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 colourful 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.
This was my first ever hot air balloon ride, and it was a wonderful experience! Thank you, Jane, for suggesting this activity. Bucket list checked!
Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang
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.
Up close with the elephants
We went to the city center, and booked a $50 package with All Lao Service. It includes a one hour encounter with elephants, entrance ticket to Kuang Si falls, transfers to and fro the city center, lunch and drinking water.
The magical Kuang Si Falls
Our next destination was the Kuang Si falls. You know those calendars that feature beautiful falls? Yes, they actually exist! Kuang Si is breathtaking with its turquoise color, and is truly a gift of nature.
The pools have cascades of up to 5 metres high and is surrounded by a lush tropical jungle. You can relax in the shade if you are not keen to swim, but I say that it’s a must try!
Jane and I had planned to take a dip, or at least get our feet wet, but she backed out last minute. I was apprehensive too at first, but I didn’t want to miss the chance of experiencing this.
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 their 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.
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!
Laos to Cambodia
Now off to the last stop of this trip – Cambodia! The bus/train ride from Vang Vieng to Siem Reap was over 30 hours long, and I thought that would be such a waste of time so ultimately I chose to fly with Cambodia Angkor Air. More about it on my next post!