Travel Story «"You can check out but you can never leave"....»

Lao | 0 Comments 11 April 2006 - Last Update 01 June 2006


This quote taken from Eagles Hotel California seems appropriate for our initial impression of Luang Prabang. We arrived there on the Tuesday after a pleasant bus journey from Van Vieng (relieved that our "guide" wasn't heading our way too after spotting him in guesthouse lobby - see Em's tubing story if confused!) and were already decided that first things first we were going to organise our transport out of their the next day as time was running out and we really wanted to be back in Thailand - Chang Mai for most of the Songkran Festival (New Year). But this was not to be - we just assumed keep going north in Laos and then it'd be no problem to just pop over to Chang Mai. 10/15 bus journey through the mountains - whatever!! Sure weren't we the hardened travellers by now!! What we didn't bank on was the great big Mekong river in our way and no actual road directly to Chang Mai!! Our options were slooooow boat (taking up 2 days), speed boat (seriously risking our own lives - parents will be pleased to note we didn't even consider it, hmmm), going back the way we had just came to Vientienne via Vang Vieng and onto Chiang Mai then on a 28/30 hour bus journey (not a hope!) or digging deep into our pockets and flying directly. So we ruled out the first three options and decided on flying! Again - not so straightforward - fridays flight booked out, sundays flight booked out... things were not looking good so we just had to knuckle down and find ourselves accomodation for the forseeable future in Luang Prabang which in itself wasn't easy as everywhere was filling up fast ahead of the festival! The next day we tried again and luck was on our side (or just plain old backhanders - whichever you prefer) and we managed to bribe ourselves onto Fridays "full" flight to Chang Mai! Or as the tourist agent put it we were simply putting in a "special request" - yeah right along with $40! As the news came through that we had seats, Lorna and Grainne were passed a note telling us to keep quiet and pretend we were just tipping him for his excellent service! You can imagine our expressions - obviously his work colleagues weren't as au fait with these "special requests as himself! But we didn't care, we were delighted with ourselves for getting transport out of Laos before Xmas even if there was a chance we'd be sitting in the toilets!!! 

Now don't get me wrong - Luang Prabang is an absolutely picturesque town and we were more then happy to spend 4 days there - it just didn't fit in with our plans at first! We all did our own things while there- just wandering about, using internet, shopping (they had brilliant markets!), eating or sleeping. Nightlife was quite good there too and we visited the Hive bar as advised to by Athlone girls we met in Vang Vieng (thanks girls- hard enough to find!). One of the days we went on a trip upto nearby waterfall, which was absolutely gorgeous and freezing cold to swim in (we were all reminded of being made go for swims in atlantic at home during "summer") and really nice for a change. All in all it was a lovely few relaxing days here interrupted by the occasional drowning by water-gun or bucket (giving us some indication of what was to come in Chang Mai with the New Year festival - bring it on.... ) and we were sad saying our goodbyes to both Luang Prabang and Laos on Friday morning.





Photo albums from Lao

New Year Festival (Songkran) in Luang Prabang (3)

15 April 2006 | Lao | Last Update 15 April 2006

  • Water fight on street - water guns were a must hav
  • Loyalties did not last long - each man/woman for t
  • Water fight on street

General (3)

14 April 2006 | Lao | Last Update 03 December 2010

  • Scenery from Vang Vieng, Laos
  • Scenery from Vang Vieng, Laos
  • Scenery from Vang Vieng, Laos

Tubing in Vang Vieng (8)

10 April 2006 | Lao | Last Update 10 April 2006

  • View from the bar where we stopped to rest our wea
  • Emily climbing on to the rope swing
  • Lorna and Grainne
  • Grainne tubing


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