Jeez, I managed to get out of Luang Prabang! It was hard, it has to be said, it was just such a relaxing chilled place. Even at the bus station I was feeling weird about leaving when I said goodbye to Jane in the tuk-tuk as her next stop was the Red Cross to find out about the volunteering I was keen to do. But hey, if it sounds good I can always go back. Time is passing too quickly to stay 🙁 I also tried to speak to the guy at the adventure tours place about potential opportunities last night, but fate decided it was his night off – the only time he hasn’t been there in the dozens of times I’ve walked past… but this generally sums up my Luang Prabang experience…chilling out and leaving everything until it had to be done.
I found even more places in the last few days that I had meant to check out for days – a really cool place called le’Cinema that has private rooms, with hundreds of DVDs you can pick and watch, and l’etranger book shop which we chilled in for hours yesterday, not even watching the world go by…and eating a damn fine ceasar salad baguette. Even at the night market I found the most tasty, yet sickly sweet coffee I’ve had for ages, AND I got it to takeaway! The Lao Coffee rocks. Even better when it’s served ‘Sabah style’ (a kickback to my Borneo days) with sweet condensed thick syrupy ‘milk’. I also went for a bit of a shopathon at the night market which was great, but has left me carrying even more shit with me – so much so the guys from the bus thought I was moving house.
Today I made the 7.5 hour public bus journey from Luang Prabang down to Vang Vieng. Despite not having taken any of the ‘VIP’ tourist buses yet I’m convinced the local buses are the best way to travel…take a bit longer as you stop off at some village dropping rice and stuff off, but far less tourists, and you manage to get a better glance at the places you pass through, rather than being surround by 60 tourists gazing out the window at 70km/h. And you meet cooler people. Usually.
Vang Vieng is home of some of the biggest limestone karsts in SE Asia, and I’ve got a decent room for $3, with a communal balcony out the back overlooking the river. Hopefully I’ll get some tubing down the river tomorrow, or a climb ($21!!) and get a better feel for the place. As usual my scenic expectations haven’t quite been matched yet, but I’ll give it time. I’m off out to post this blog entry, and avoid any happy pizzas, and see if this place is really as much of a backpackerville as it’s made out to be.