Laos was an amazing country, which we didn’t really do justice to. Partially because we were getting a bit tired of the constant moving on, and partially because we couldn’t be further than 6 feet from the toilet for the first entire week of our stay… Don’t worry though. I didn’t take any photos of that. I promise.
The Laos customs house was spectacularly tacky, like on overgrown Christmas decoration.
Luang Prabang, our first stop in Laos, was a picturesque little town, the whole of which is a World Heritage site. And here’s why: it’s gorgeous!
Our beautiful room at Liberty Guesthouse in Luang Prabang. By the time we left, it had a miasma so foul I think they called an exorcist.
Our first entire week in the country was spent in bed – well, a fair amount of it was spent on the toilet, too… This is the first collection of meds we tried.
One of the first things we did when we felt strong enough to leave our room, was watch the dawn alms-giving parade. The monks filed past the (mostly local) people lining the street, and each person gave a small amount of rice to each monk. A cool old tradition, all performed in respectful silence.
I decided not to get my hair cut in this place. Because it looked like a cross between a third-world dentist, and a set from the movie SAW.
Exploring Luang Prabang was as dangerous as exploring any Asian city – one minute you’re looking around you at the pretty buildings, and the next you’re in the sewer, wondering how you got down there…
The countryside of Laos was full of rice paddies, and subsistence farming is still how 80% of the population live.
The river flowing through Vang Vieng is only a small tributary of the mighty Mekong, but when it’s this swollen, it can still cause havoc.
I couldn’t believe how much weight I lost during that week-long bout of illness. No wonder, really, given the speed everything I ate came out again…
Tubing in Vang Vieng was awesome fun, though not quite as crazy as I’d expected. The reason? Too many deaths! So the government had bulldozed all the bars six months earlier!
I still managed to enjoy myself on the riverbank slip n’ slide, though. And I got the scratches to prove it!
This fantastic limestone karst landscape is what attracts climbers and hikers to Vang Vieng. Everyone else is attracted by the drinking…
Heading off for our first day of rock climbing, we found the road flooded ahead of us. This didn’t stop the enterprising locals though, who floated everything and everyone across on their canoes!
The river was a little deeper than usual… in fact, it’s normally a path…
Ready for my first go at ‘lead’ climbing – all my gear dangling on display, as usual 🙂
This is the part where lead climbing gets tricky – I have to take that rope by my knee, and clip it into the thing in my right hand. With my teeth, presumably! Until I manage it, the only place I’m attached to the rock is that clip below me.
“Don’t get too close to that one,” our climbing guide told us. “They’re not very nice.” Well, I think he looks just charming!
Wading through the river on day two of climbing.
This Avenue of Cocks is the ceremonial path through Wat Phu Champasak temple. Talk about over-compensating…
It was a very picturesque place, though – leafy green jungle encroaching on the crumbling stone monuments, piles of fallen blocks, and children playing on all of it.
We sneaked into one of the ruined temples after seeing the kids come out of there. It was closed, presumably because it was a bit unstable…
These steps must have been level at one point, but either earth movement or growing roots have turned them into this lovely rounded shape!
A pig, living on Don Det. Why not? Gotta get their bacon from somewhere…
My eye, shortly after ‘it’ happened. It swelled straight away, but didn’t look too bad at first…
Then the eyelid started looking… well, pretty gross. Roo refused to take any more pictures after this, as it made her feel ill!
Eventually, Roo got her bike ride. Although the conditions on Don Det in the rainy season aren’t IDEAL for bike riding, it must be said…
Roo riding across one of the more substantial bridges on Don Det Island. The locals drove motor scooters over here without batting an eyelid.
This waterfall is normally clear blue and very photogenic. Guess we picked the wrong time to visit…
Having gone to a place called the 4,000 Islands, Roo was determined to find a beach. This was as close as we got.
I spotted this little girl, intent on her game, on our last day on Don Det. She seemed perfectly happy with her choice of toys, as did her Mum.
Roo took matters into her own hands and cut my hair herself. But only because I was a captive audience – note me covering my eye, for fear it would ruin the photo!