The leaving of Nam

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Jun 19, 2011

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Sunday, October 17, 2010

Journey into Laos was always going to be eventful and it did not disappoint. We had a tourist frebellion on a bus as the driver tried to take forty winks as he made is way around winding mountain roads and then once we got across the border we discovered we had about two quid to last three days.

Took an early morning bus from Sapa to Dien Bien Phu, a town just twenty kilometres shy of the border. Not long after breakfast stop, during which driver gulped down a bottle of beer, he began nodding off at the wheel. A young Swiss girl spotted it and then others on the bus and then there was a minor rebellion. Me and Bea were a bit oblivious to it all as we just wanted some kip.
After another couple of nods from the driver the tourists demaned the bus was stopped much to the bemusement of the driver and the local passengers. 

Some passengers took their bags and refused to get back on until they realised they were in the middle of nowhere and quickly got back on.
We drove on for another half hour but with Sleepy at the wheel doin his best to get some shut eye the tourists stoped the bus again and once again bags were hauled off and then reluctantly thrown back on when they realised we were still in the middle of nowhere.
Me and the shoosh thought we had a better chance with sleepy so stayed on and thankfully after all the protest the driver was now wide awake and besides the scenery was absolutely stunning once again as it has been since we came north.

Next day another 10 hour journey bus into Laos including the border crossing - see pic of Bea in the sardine tin.
Arrived in Muang  Khua where we stupidly thought there would be an ATM. With about two quid to get us to the next ATM which was a couple of days away I was forced to offer Bea to the highest bidder.
Thankfully no one took her but two generous couples from Switzerland and Israel coffed up 90 dollars to keep us afloat.

Spent next few days in this beautiful region of northern Laos, which is much more chilled out than Vietnam.
Spent a night in idyllic riverside village of Mung Ngoi Neua before heading to Nong Kiaw where we did a crafty switch transaction and became instant millionaires.
With two million kip in our pockets and wind in our sails once more it was time for a spot of 'pants fishing' - see pics.
Basically you pay a couple of blokes to take you out in a boat, they get stripped to their undies, give you a couple of nets to chuck in the river to catch nowt but weeds and then they go off and pretend to catch a big fish, which really they brought from the restaurant. Everyone sits down round a fire and then the fish gets devoured, eyes and everything.
we then get given two rubber ruings or tubes as they are nown to float back to village on a barely moving current, while they go off fishing again. two hours later we arrive back in the village in pitch black, freezing cold and covered in friction burns from the tubes. Cracking idea Ben!

Next day we tried our hand on another excursion, this time a two day trek to a tribal village through jungle and rice paddies.

First day was great until about 6pm when they cracked open the Lao Lao - basically home made spirit which varies in strength depending on who his making it. Having a hangover away from home comforts is never great but waking up in a hut under a mossy net surrounded by giant spiders and the relentless cock a doodle doos ringin in my ears was pretty miserable.

When the guide served up rice and eggs for breakfast I knew it was time to breath some food. AS the village chief played his bag pipes to thank us for the visit I accompanied him by playing the Wretch in a nearby toilet.

Up to now we have operated a 'squash on sight' policy to all bugs and mossies. The death toll has been high but commiting insecticide has been worth it.
however in the jungle the bugsand spiders were just too big to squash. had a good tussle with the leeches but everything else we left well alone.

Trek was great and we finally learned where rice comes from. 
Ben was also able to pratice his teaching skills to three bemused kids and a fourth one who arrived in the classroom butt naked. ben sent him home to putt some pants on. He came back witha ironed shirt and trousers looking like a page boy (check out the little lad on the back left of pic)!!

Off to Luang Prabang next to visit Temples and ATMs 

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