Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Further North (Laos)

Nong Kiaw
A beautiful little town nestled between limestone mountains, on the river, minus loads of toursists. A trip highlight for us both. We meet the nicest Canadian couple, who we spent most of our time there with. We had landed ourselves in abit of financial shit, as we had forgotten to take money out in Luang Prabang, and there were no ATM's. Luckily we could randomly change some left over Thai Bhat we had, and with some strict spending we made it through. We visited caves that were used to hide out in during the sencond Indochina war. To celebrate Ben's birthday, the Canadian we met, we all had drinks and cake riverside.

The four of us did a long walk, in the scorching sun, following the river to several small villages. At one village a fisherman offered us a boat ride back to Nong Kiaw, after 3 hours of walking, we happily accepted. The boat was a hollowed out tree trunk. The views were breathtaking as we floated along, with our hands in the river to cool off! Words cannot describe. Photos, on the way, we promise....hopefully!

Luang Nam Tha

A gruelling bus journey got us here in the Northern mountains, the gateway to Nam Ha national park. At one point we had to wait at the roadside for an unlimited amount of time, as workers finished laying the road! None of the locals seemed fazed by the wait, which is apparently a common occurance, only in Laos!

We spent our first day with an English coupl that we had met on the bus. The four of us cycled (rather leisurely for our new fit standards! lol!) to a waterful and around the countryside out of town. To celebrate the start of my birthday we had dinner and drinks all together, we were also joined by five of their friends who arrived on the bus that afternoon. We drunk abit to much (rick mainly) without fully understanding the consequences for trekking the next day!

We embarked on a two day trek into the national park. We were a small group, only us and an American couple, who were sadly not that talkative (despite our best efforts at conversation!). Our guide was amazing though! We had opted for the trek that involved a mountain top homestay. As a result the first day was pretty much all uphill! Much to Ricks amusment, who was pretty green the whole way! For lunch the guide and the two villagers, from the village we started at who were there to help the main guide, prepared lunch on the jungle floor. They cut down bamboo and leaves to make a table, which we all sat around to eat together. At the village after the ascent, we became the new animals at the zoo. The village of about 100 people, don't see tourists very often, so they all came out to stare at us doing not alot. It was so cool to watch them go about there daily life. The view from our hut out across the mountains was amazing.

The second day we trekked across the top of the mountain range and descended to another village, where we swam in the river with the local children, who thought it was hilarious that westerners could swim. Our guide made us, with the massive knife he was carrying, bamboo cups, an awesomme souvenir. The whole trek was fantastic.

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