Laos Wins

May 9th, 2007

I made it to Laos – Vietnam is Finished. I’ve been here only 5 days, but its already significantly different than the rest of SE Asia. The biggest thing is that there is way less people – almost nobody asking to buy something, rent a motobike, or .. “money?”. The other main reason i love this country is the mountains and clean air. Its kinda like Sapa .. but .. better.

Right now i’m Vang Vieng, a small backpacker town 4 hours north of Vientiane, the capital of Laos. We arrived in Vientiane on Saturday, spent a few days there, some in the rain, some with sun, all good fun. We checked out the Beer Lao Brewery – had the shortest brewery tour ever – only got to see the bottling section, about 5 mins. We also did a traditional Laos Weaving class – We got to dye some silk in Indigo, then spent the rest of the day weaving a pattern using a Loom. Looms are cool. Plus i just like to say the word … LOOM. Good name for a band. Anyway, I now have alot more respect for all hand weaved items. However, my favorite thing in Laos was the herbal sauna and massage. The herbal sauna is like a regular sauna with steam filling in a small room, but mixed with all kinds of herbs. I bet you never would have figured that out. Anyway, it left me feeling very invigorated. Alive. Then the massage made me relaxed. Alive and relaxed. Great combo.

Vietnam ended on a pretty good note – after Sapa we went to Hanoi and the famous Halong Bay. We only spent one night in Hanoi, checked out a water puppet show and had some tasty food. We took the 4 hour bus ride to Halong Bay and spent a night on one of the famous junk boats. It was gorgeous – the rock formations in the bay are quite unique, and there are hundreds of them. Sadly it is foggy 10 months out of the year, so you can’t see them all very clearly. We did get to go on one, inside a cool cave, kayak, swim, and do a little karaoke on the boat. Then we headed back to Hanoi, and the next day took a flight to Vientiane.

We just left Vientiane yesterday, so we plan on being here in Vang Vieng a few more days – need to do some tubing down the river and a bit more exploring. There is no rush, i’m enjoying the relaxed Laos vibe, friendly locals, beatiful countryside .. as well as the free wireless, the 50 cent mango shakes, $1 meals and beers. Then we head north to Luang Prabang, a day bus ride from here, then we’ll get into some more remote action in northern Laos. Then back to Thailand.

  1. Margo Levy Marks
    May 10th, 2007 at 08:19 | #1

    Hey Chad! Margo Levy here, only now I’m Margo Marks with a husband and 2 kids.

    Just googled you b/c I was thinking about you and you’re blog showed up. Holy Shit, you have a lot going on! I can’t find an e-mail here, so e-mail me so we can catch up!!!

    Gotta say, you’re life looks pretty good right now!

    Write me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. May 10th, 2007 at 08:56 | #2

    so, when do we get to see the fruits of your loom?

  3. May 12th, 2007 at 06:07 | #3

    wow – nice boat pic with shayna! you’re def inspiring me to live up the life and check out the rest of SEAsia – the whole landscape has changed on this end in just 6 weeks so let me know when you’re bout to step foot back in thailand and i just may go a lil crazie and meet u up north – no promises cuz timing is going to be tricky but like the saying goes…”bah pai laew!” 😀

  4. May 20th, 2007 at 07:25 | #4

    And Dave tells me Chloe died last year. Can you believe it?

  5. A Jem
    May 24th, 2007 at 02:21 | #5

    Hey Chad- How are you and shayna doing? It’s been a couple of weeks since the www word press has heard from you. Update when you can! Enjoy your adventure!

  1. June 5th, 2007 at 05:21 | #1