Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
Trip End Feb 28, 2008

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Sunday, September 30, 2007

We flew in from Hanoi to Luang Prabang Wednesday, in the northern part of Lao PDR.  The town is set between the Mekong river and a smaller tributory, the Nam Khan river.

We arrived after dark and soon managed to find a decent guest house and explore the town.  The main road is lined with pretty, french style buildings and it wasn't until Thursday daytime that we saw the beautiful green hills rolling into the distance.  We explored the rest of the town on Thursday, there are lots of Buddhist temples around and we took in the sunset from the top of a hill within the town.

On Friday the plan was to spend half the day cycling, taking in a trip to a waterfall and then kayaking back to town.  This didn't go quite to plan however.  After setting off at 9am in baking sunshine and riding for half an hour  to a temple on a big hill, Theresa told Mark that she "hated this" and Mark was feeling dizzy so lay down on the grass.  After a small break we both felt good enough to continue until, at the bottom of the hill, Mark stopped to wait for Theresa to descend.  When Theresa caught up, Mark was hunched over the bike feeling sick.  Seconds later Mark was sick.  Three times! 
That was the end of the cycling trip with the group so we went back to the tour office to return the bikes.  After a little snack we both felt well enough to rejoin the group to kayak down to the waterfall and then back to the town.

Tad Sae waterfall is a beautiful place with water flowing over limestone rocks (see pictures).  We were able to walk up them (Health & Safety would not allow for this in the UK!) and swim in a specially adapted pool at the bottom.  There was also a picnic area where we enjoyed our lunch (yes, rice does come with everything Katherine!).  Elephant trekking can also be done here but we gave that a miss.

Following this it was back to the river for two hours of kayaking back to Luang Prabang over a few sets of rapids.  The only people to have any problems with this were our guides whose kayak was filling with water so they had to stop and empty it while the other three kayaks cruised on down the river.  We had managed not to embarrass ourselves on the kayak trip right up until the end.  We were supposed to pull in at the side but managed to miss the best place for turning.  Mark held on to some plants to pull us round but in the end he had to let go and we needed to paddle really hard.  It didn't help that Mark was paddling on the wrong side but eventually the guide was able to pull us in.

For our last full day in Luang Prabang we decided to take it easy and take a half day trip, starting in the afternoon.  We visited another waterfall; Kuang Si waterfall.  We had thought Tad Sae was impressive but this one took our breath away.  The main fall had a massive drop and the spray coming off it soaked us through when we got closer.  It was possible to climb the hill around it and walk across but it was too tricky for us to get there.  Further down were some smaller falls where we could take a dip in the cool water and further still was a fall you could jump off and a rope swing into the water.  It was a really nice day to cool off and take it easy.

Vang Vieng is the next stop.


Mark and Theresa xx

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