Saturday, August 7, 2010

Laos

Alina from Russia & I
I'm currently in Pakse, a city in the southern part of Laos.  I crossed the Cambodia - Laos border about a week ago and have been hanging out on the "Four Thousand Islands" since.  There really are thousands of islands in this part of the Mekong, but only the larger ones are inhabited.  I met some German travelers and a Russian girl on the bus out of Ban Lung (in Cambodia) and we spent most of our time on the island of Don Det.  It has been a relaxing week.  So far, I love Laos - it is probably my favorite country is Asia so far, although I really enjoyed Cambodia as well.  The thing that really sets Lao apart from the other countries I've visited is that there is no one harassing you to stay at their guesthouse, take their tour, or go in their tuk tuk.  It was such a relief to get off the boat on Don Det and have no one trying to convince you where to go!  The islands are very relaxed, and it was the perfect first stop in Laos.  Lonely Planet writes that it "feels so laid back that you could imagine the islands drifting downriver into Cambodia with barely anyone rolling out of their hammock."  Paradise!

In Ban Lung I did a three day, two night trek with two British girls and it was definitely an adventure.  Our guide didn't like trekking (or the jungle) and the ranger didn't speak English.  Most of the communication between us and our guide was "walk faster" or 'kill the leeches!".  Nevertheless, the girls and I got along great and made the best of the situation (I did not get any leeches).  We would have been better off doing the (more expensive) official National Park trekking package.  I also rented a bicycle one day and went to a beautiful lake that was created after a meteor struck.

Now I'm heading to the Bolaven plateau for a week long motorcycle road trip.  I'm really excited, and I originally thought I would not have enough time to see this part of Laos.  I'll be on a Honda Wave 100cc with another American that I met in Don Det.  Although my camera is broken, I have been lucky enough to copy friends' photos in each place I've been so far.  I'll be posting most of them when I get home.  I can't believe I'll be back in the states in about 10 days! I'm looking forward to spending Labor Day weekend in Boston :)

Where are you in the world?