To get to Laos we chose the 2-day slow boat from Chiang Khong to Luang Prabang. With about 100 other travellers, we sailed along the Mekong River and marvelled at the local life and hustle and bustle on the riverbank. Children bathing and playing, parents washing clothes and water buffaloes everywhere. The trip was definitely an experience – also scenically. We spent the night in a specially designed tourist village with guesthouses, restaurants, etc. A little weird in the middle of nowhere, but it was an entertaining evening.

Luang Prabang

We then spent our first days in Laos in Luang Prabang, a Unesco World Heritage village. It quickly becomes apparent that the clock is ticking more slowly here. Work is only done when it is absolutely necessary. Ordering something or paying a bill is almost a monumental task. Nevertheless, they are very nice people, even if they hardly speak English. The days were relaxing. Along the way we visited some temples, and went by motorbike to the Kung Si waterfalls– a paradise! The waterfall consists of many small pools with turquoise blue water.

Vang Vieng

We continued by minivan to Vang Vieng. The landscape with the gigantic Limestone Cliffsis a dream. But it is also the tourist mecca par excellence for backpackers. The reason is tubing. Some obviously travel to Laos just for that, especially English and Australians. You can float down the river by tube (car tyre) and stop at the next bar every 10m to have another drink. In the evening, there is an exuberant atmosphere in the village. We didn’t go tubing (not only out of principle, but also because it was bad weather and quite cold). Instead, we rented bicycles and explored the Limestone cliffs with their countless caves and visited the Blue Lagoon. All in all, Vang Vieng is certainly worth a visit. The atmosphere along the river with the cosy restaurants and bars is great and the landscape is very beautiful.

4’000 Islands

Next stop was Vientianne. The capital of Laos. We didn’t really like it there, so we moved on relatively quickly. We were drawn further to the Fourthousand Islands, the Si Phan Don. The relaxation spot for long-term travellers. A few days of hammocking, reading and simply enjoying was our programme. Our room for Fr. 2.50/night was rather sparse, but with a top view directly on the river. Besides, we also went on a kayak tour. The group was great, the guide terrible. He yapped at us all day in English that not even the Americans understood – we just looked at each other puzzling over what the message was. Some places in the river had it rough in terms of the current – in any case, we actually managed to turn. The largest waterfall in Asia, measured by water volume and not height, was also part of the programme – right on the border with Cambodia.

The endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, which live on the Laos / Cambodia border, we unfortunately only saw from a distance, as they are very shy. That was the end of our Laos trip, although we would have liked to see other places. Travelling by bus in Laos unfortunately takes a lot of time and it is difficult to escape the crowds of tourists.

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