Laos

Laos wasn’t what I expected at all. I thought it would be a little bit like Nepal and that I’d love it, but I didn’t. Both countries had similarities but were very different. It’s taught me not to try and second guess a country before visiting it. 

I travelled with Stray through Laos and found that they took me to places I could have never been to on my own. We did some incredible village stays and met some amazing locals who shared with us so much knowledge about Lao history, culture and tradition. This was by far my favourite part of my Laos trip.

I also got a chance to experience the typical Laos travel route, but I was so ill at this point that I just couldn’t enjoy it. I deffinatley spent a lot of time in bed and was told that the party scene was great. I did however manage a tube ride and 1 river bar in Vang Vien.

Overall Laos was a nice chilled out friendly country, where I met some amazing people. 

  

Village Stay – Xe Champhone

Today we went to stay in the village of Xe Champhone, home of the Hotay Pidok Buddist Library which contains some of the countries oldest scriptures. 

For dinner we had the most amazing feast. I tried snake soup, duck blood salad and cockroaches. My favourite dish though was the grilled fish! Yumm!

There isn’t a lot to do in the village after dark but we found ourselves in a wooden shack claiming to be a Karaoke bar and had the most amazing evening singing the night away. 

  

Kong Lor Cave

Kong Lor cave was beautifull. We took a little boat through the pitch black 7km cave to see it’s amazing interior. Afterwards we headed to an area where we could swim just at the entrance of the cave. 

We spent 2 nights here and when we weren’t exploring the cave we were weaving our way around the villages tabaco fields. 



Tubing – Vang Vieng

I was soo ill on the day we went tubing, but I was determined to go and not miss it. The moment I turned up all I wanted to do was turn back, the party atmosphere was crazy and I really didn’t think I could handle it. But I stayed and made it to 3 bars before deciding to just float the rest of the way back. It’s dry season so the water was low and we kept hitting our bums on the rocks. Even though I felt like I was on my death bed, I had a really good experience and enjoyed myself. 



Elephants – Luang Prabang

I wasn’t really sure how I felt about elephant tourism and even after going to the Elephant Village in Luang Prabang I still don’t really have an opinion on the debate. 

I had an amazing day. I got to ride the elephant called Mae Kham bare back, learn mahout comands, feed her and wash her in the river. The elephants were well treated and all rescued from the logging industry. Even one of the workers admired that he chose a pay cut so that he could work in an ethical park. 

Ban Pak Nguey – Village Homestay

I’m now in Laos and it’s beautiful. To get to Ban Pak Nguey we took a 7h journey on a private boat along the Mekong River. The views were amazing. At first we had Laos on our left and then Thailand on the right, but it wasn’t long until the river snaked through just Laos.



On arrival we went to be greeted by our hosts in the lower village before taking a look at the Buddhist village temple and then the school. The kids invited us into the classrooms to join then for the last few minutes of their day.



After school the children came and found us and asked us to play with them. We invented action songs, taught them the Hokey Cokey and played general games of tag. A couple of us tried to explore the village but were joined by all the kids, the girls were showing us around and even demonstrated a local song/dance which they tried to teach us.



The hosts of the house we stayed in made us an amazing evening meal before inviting us to participate in a Baci ceremony. This involved us being blessed by the villagers who in turn said a prayer and tied a white bracelet to our wrists. The ceremony is designed to call back all the souls you leave behind when you travel and the white bracelets are to be left on for 3 days to help your spirits find and return to you. This was an absolutely amazing experience.

After the ceremony we spent a few hours on the beach next to the Mekong River drinking local spirits round a campfire. I won’t be forgetting this day anytime soon.