A Guide to Laos
Trip Roundup - 17 days in Laos Oli's first land border crossing signalled the start of our jaunt in Laos. We came here with high expectations, and a stack of wanderlust after a lacklustre trip through Northern Thailand. We started our trip in water, and ended it in water -- Laos was definitely the country we got back to nature in.
Best meal: Oli: The Duck Laap was delicious at Laos Kitchen. Lucy: Errrrrrrm pate and blue cheese anyone? Courtesy of the delicious iBeam restaurant in Vientiane.
Worst meal: Oli: Probably one of the many mediocre breakfasts we got with sweet butter on toast with eggs...weird. Lucy: Probably the bland beef fried rice in Si Phan Don. So dry.
Best place: Oli: Si Phan Don - absolutely gorgeous place, Don Khone was where we stayed but I'm sure any of the Islands would be awesome. Lucy: Si Phan Don -- it's amazingly beautiful, and the people are much nicer than anywhere else in Laos.
What we wished we'd known at the start: Oli: It's difficult to get money out of ATMs. You can withdraw a maximum of 1million Kip (£70), for which you are charged 20,000 Kip (£1.50)! Bring cash with if you can! Lucy: Laos is pretty expensive for SE Asia, but we still came under budget most days (albeit the extended budget).
Best experience: Oli: Tubing in Vang Vieng. Really fun way to spend a day! Also the Kong Lo cave. It was incredible in there. Lucy: Tubing was amazing. Surprising Ruth for her birthday, then spending the day tubing was one of my fave moments ever!
Worst experience: Oli: Laos Tuk Tuk/ Sorngtaao drivers. They are the laziest I've come across, and they will not haggle, meaning that even if you genuinely want to pay them to get somewhere, it's a struggle Lucy: I can't think of any to be honest....Luang Prabang was really unfriendly and pretty dull though.
Books read: Oli: Still working my way through the 900 pages of Shantaram! Lucy: Nada.....I did manage to read about 3 copies of Stylist that have been sat in my newsstand app for a while. It was bliss.
Lost along the way: Oli: My towel, so now I am at the mercy of hotel towels and a micro fibre. And a pair of flip flops when I was drunk. Lucy: ALL of my bikinis. I left them in a bag in Luang Prabang.....probably in a rush to leave, haha.
Gained along the way: Oli: The obligatory tubing tank top, and what could become a pretty good scar on my wrist from falling over when drunk. Lucy: Some very sexy 'In the tubing' shorts, and a new bikini (see above).
Most useless thing in my backpack: Oli: Trousers...it averaged 35 degrees during the day for our entire Laos trip. Only crazy people wear trousers at those temperatures. Lucy: It's a recurring theme.....still haven't used my microfibre towels!
What we spent: As always, our budget was £40 a day, which is 520,000 Lao Kip. We averaged £29.93 aka 389,000 Lao Kip. Just as an aside, our 13,000 times table is much better than it was before we got to Laos! Score.
Useful links: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx">Fit for travel
In Summation Laos was a real mixed bag for us. We really didn't enjoy Luang Prabang, but absolutely loved Vang Vieng and Si Phan Don. The French influence was a real novelty, which started to wear thin towards the end of the trip (seriously, even Igot sick of baguettes) and we were shocked at how expensive the country was. That being said, Laos is one of the most beautiful countries we've ever been, and every bus journey was genuinely a delight due to the stunning views. The children were super duper cute, and I will be recommending one to Ange and Brad upon my return.
Oli and Lucy x