Luang Prabang, Laos

March 9
The bus ride experience to Luang Prabang was a living hell. We went to the tour agent office where we booked a minibus ticket the day before around 8:00 am. At 8:25 am, the guy told us that the minibus wasn’t coming but we could pay a little more to go on a VIP bus that left at 9:00 am. We were pretty pissed at him for playing us so we argued until he gave us all of our money back and we walked down the road. We found another tour office that booked buses so we went there and asked if they knew of any buses that were leaving for Luang Prabang right now. He called his friend and said we were all set. We waited for 30 minutes and then a minivan finally came. The minivan was completely full and they tried to jam us on it. There was no room for us but they tried anyway. After everyone on the bus got angry at the driver and we realized that we weren’t fitting on this bus, we had the new tour agent book the dreadful VIP bus for us. VIP buses are known to be the shittiest buses ever and we managed to avoid them until now. Just because they are called VIP, doesn’t mean anything. A van picked us up and took us to the bus station to board the bus. As we picked up more and more people, some of whom were our friends who we have been hanging out with for the past two days, we realized that every single person had a very similar story or getting screwed over by a tour agent. We got to the bus station and all got on the piece of shit bus. When I say shitty, I mean shitty. Our bus didn’t have a front door, first of all. It leaked water from the ceiling cups at a time randomly and got everyone really wet at some point. I had to create a makeshift water catcher out of a bag and rubber bands to stop from getting drenched with dirty water. After the trip, the bag was half full with about 2 or 3 cups of water. The back half of the bus smoked up half way through the trip and everyone in the back was coughing in their shirts and trying to breathe while the bus continued to drive. Some seats were added after the old bus was built so the seats either moved or had no leg room. And we had to deal with that on a horribly maintained bumpy road through mountains for 6 hours straight. It was absolutely horrible. The local girl near us got sick and threw up a lot. She ended up barely being able to move so a guy who worked on the bus held her hand/molested her for a couple of hours. It was the worst ride yet, and that says a lot. We finally got to Luang Prabang after too long and teamed up with 8 backpackers to get a cheap tuk tuk ride into the main town. We paid significantly less than the other tourists who got really ripped off for the short ride. We got to town and tried to find a cheap guesthouse on the main road. They were all too much, so we walked down a side street and found a good one. Matt and I shared a room and our two Dutch friends shared a room. We walked around the town which had a different feel. It had French influence and didn’t look like it belonged in Laos. We ate dinner at a riverside restaurant that was nice. We then walked through the night market and went to a bar that was themed like a forest on a hill. It was a cool place and seemed to be a hit with backpackers because they had weird drinks in buckets and good specials. We hung out there until everything shut down around 11 pm. It’s so weird that curfews are so early in a lot of Asia. We then walked home and called it a night.

March 10
Today, we decided to go to the waterfall. We messaged some of our friends on Facebook who came in late last night and decided to all go together. One of our friends from Canada met a guy on the bus and hung out with him all day, so she didn’t come but our other friend from New Zealand came along. I ate a delicious crepe with Nutella and vanilla sauce. Mmmmm. I also got a sandwich to bring for lunch. We then got a tuk tuk to the waterfall an hour away. It was honestly the best waterfall yet. Most waterfalls are only attractions here in Asia because the towns don’t have much else going on but this one was legit. It was so blue and had countless ledges with water streaming over. We hiked to the top which was way too difficult. It was so steep and didn’t have good traction. It was kind if scary. Once on top, we walked around there for a while and took overlook pictures before heading down. The way down on the other side was much easier. We then jumped off a small cliff at one of the swimming areas and swam around for a while. Some guy set up one of those ropes that you balance on and walked across the whole swimming area. It was neat and impressive. Our friend from New Zealand tried it but fell almost immediately into the water. We took the tuk tuk back and went back to the hotel to rest. Matt and I booked a boat ticket for tomorrow and got some shirts from the night market. We all met up for dinner on the river again and then went to a chill bar that was packed with travelers. It was dark and candlelit outside and tables were made out of tree trunks. We drank there for a couple of hours until it closed around 11. Once 11 pm strikes, this entire town shuts down except for one place. It’s so random because it’s a bowling alley fifteen minutes outside of town. We got in a tuk tuk and headed to the bowling alley along with about fifty other people. It was fun to go all at once like this because there were four crowded tuk tuks all passing each other and people standing on the back. I stood on the back and enjoyed the journey. It was fun. We got to the bowling alley and bought some drinks. It was surprisingly legit. The lanes were good and well kept. It was so random. And I have no idea why they are allowed to be the only place open after hours. They must bribe the police. We got a lane and bowled a round. Everyone was pretty bad but it was fun so no one cared. Around 2 am, we all took a tuk tuk back to our guesthouse, where the owner left the door unlocked for us. It was a fun night.

mikepsilve'sLuang Prabang  album on Photobucket