Laos – October/November 2013
This week’s Throwback Thursday was an easy one when I realised that exactly three years ago today I was on an all action adventure in Laos!
As part of a six week, action packed, holiday through a variety of Asian countries, I visited Laos for just a few days. Arriving in Vientiane on the 29th October, we spent one day and night in the capital city before joining Green Discovery on one of their Kong Lor Cave Adventure trips.
There were just four of us on the three night excursion, which comprised of one day hiking, one day cycling and one day of kayaking through the Kong Lor cave. We also managed to pack in some swimming, in clear waters, under rushing waterfalls, in the forest and a visit to a village karaoke bar!
A few days of adventure
The second day was the absolute highlight of the trip, as we made our way through the 7.5km Kong Lor Cave. Although the locals had always known the cave existed, it was not until the 1980’s that it was discovered you could travel all the way through it. Suddenly villages, which had seemed so remote from each other, were easily connected. Once through the cave we hiked to the village of Ban Natan, where we were to spend the night in a home stay, with a local family.
It was a truly magical day, discovering a whole new culture and being welcomed into the village. The houses were all wooden and built on stilts, allowing the livestock to live beneath. I was relieved to be a vegetarian the next morning however, when the Baci blessing ceremony was performed. Happy to accept the cotton thread wound around my wrist, I was glad not to eat the boiled chicken which was also offered.
Fun on the bikes
The day of cycling was an interesting one. Some people had overindulged on the Beerlao at the karaoke bar the day before! The relentless heat meant it was a tough day for those already slightly dehydrated. The bikes were not of the highest standard but that added to the fun. What, you want brakes, working gears and inflated tyres; all on one bike?!
I was given the only ‘road’ bike they had – the thin tyres made crossing the slatted bridges slightly precarious. But I fell in love with it, I mean, it did have pink handlebars! The only slight problem with said handlebars was that they would gradually move downwards all the time, leaving you doubled over the front wheel. It also had ‘Spert Classic’ written along the frame. I am guessing this was a mis-spelling of ‘sport’ but it added to the charm.
Cycling is always a great way to see a country. You feel like you are covering miles whilst also going at a pace to take everything in.
The morning after our village stay we kayaked back through the cave. In double kayaks, all we could see was each other’s headlights in the pitch black of the cave. The only way to know when you were coming to rapids was to listen for them!
Back to the city
Back in Vientiane, we had one last night before flying on to Cambodia. A visit to the exquisite taste experience of Makphet Restaurant is one I will not forget any time soon. I will let you read about the restaurant in a fellow bloggers piece here. Well worth a visit if you are ever in Vientiane.
My only regret with Laos was to not have stayed longer. I shall have to return one day!
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