Saturday, 20 April 2013

Sabaidee Laos!

Today was just travelling to Laos. I awoke and checked out of Yellow, gave everyone massive hugs as they'd been almost like a family this last week. Had breakfast and sat chatting to Greg (an older American dude I'd met before I went on my trek) about world matters, politics etc. Then my minibus arrived and I was on my way (6 hours) to the Thai border town of Chiang Khong.

We stopped off at the White Temple along the way which is amazing, it's more a work of art than a temple, as it's designed based on films - you have the hands of hell which is from City of Angels, various heads of film characters etc. It's like a fairytale castle, all white and glittering from the glass tiles on the white stone. It was then that everyone on our bus got talking and we were an around-the-world bus, people from Chile, France, Japan, Australia, Canada, USA, Germany.

It was then a further 2 hours to Chiang Khong via some amazing karst and rice paddie scenery. When we got to the port, I booked my boat ticket across to Laos (40baht), got my passport stamped to leave Thailand, and boarded a long-tail boat which took a 2min cruise across the Mekong River to the Laos border town of Huay Xai, home to the Gibbon Experience and gateway to Laos from Thailand. It's weird because just across the river is Thailand! I then went through the rigmaroll of getting a Laos visa, which didn't take as long as the other border crossings I've encountered, but then it was only an hour until the border crossing closed. It was just one tiny little building on the riverside, two photo's, two forms, $35 and a 10min wait, until I was granted entry into Laos.

I then went on an accommodation search; I met an English guy who was doing the same thing and so we searched together (though for separate rooms), the first place I went into, BAP Guesthouse, was perfect for me, twin fan room, shared bathroom for 250baht (60,000kip) a night. I checked out another place I'd read in the LP but it was more expensive and further from the port/Gibbon Experience office so I went back to BAP, checked in and showered. Then went off to get a SIM card, some food at a local restaurant, wrote some more of my blog, and skyped the parents, before getting an early night as I was still suffering badly with my cold (it seems to be getting worse rather than better, grrrr!)

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