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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lovely Laos

When you join the backpacking trail in Southeast Asia there are a few places that keep coming up again and again as a must go and a must see, Laos is definitely one of those places. I've heard from so many people how beautiful, simple and amazing Laos is and I was eager to find out for myself.

The first stop was the capital city of Vientiane, right across the border from Nong Khai. There isn't a while lot happening in this capital, but there are a lot of amazing bakeries scattered around the city, and since Thailand has left me seriously deprived of baked goods, I made it my mission to try every cafe in my 24 hours in the city, and I did a pretty good job! Nell and Michaela and I also did a ton of walking and managed to see all the major wats and the Patouxai Monument, it looks very similar to the Arc De Triomphe, and I thought it was really cool. Apparently the people of Laos don't think too highly of it though because the inscription at its base calls it a "concrete monster" that is "even less impressive as you get closer" - burn!
The next stop on our tour took us to Vang Vieng, previously a small town amidst the mountains, but it has evolved into a backpacker favorite due to the introduction of tubing down the river. The tubing scene is pretty wild and crazy, and since we only had 2 days we decided to skip it in favor of chilling with the locals. The scenery in Vang Vieng is stunning, big mountains, lots of green space built around a lazy river. We spent one day trekking (9 miles) to the Blue Lagoon, it was a long walk in the usual blistering sun, but it was really enjoyable (at least on the way there) because it took us right through a few villages and it was really interesting to see how many people in Laos live. We made friends with some cute kids, baby chicks, puppies and kittens, water buffaloes and cows galore. It was definitely a good way to meet the locals and get up close and personal with the wildlife. Next stop on the trip: Luang Prabang, a city that deserves its own post!

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