Just imagine that you spend a night on a boat in a cozy cabin being surrounded by 1,900-2000 rocky islands and islets with caves and grottoes .. And in the morning what wakes you up is an unearthly view from your cabin window and it turns out to be one of 7 New Wonders of Nature… Ha Long Bay or Descending Dragon Bay is situated in the Northeast/Dong Bac region of Vietnam and it has been considered the UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994. This incredible place is visited daily by a large number of tourists, who most often go there for 4/6/8h trips looking from the distance like herrings packed in small boats entering the bay. They all are taken to the same place, so called Surprising Cave, the most spectacular cave in the bay. We did not want to make this kind of hop-on-hop-off trip in a cramped boat. Instead we decided to establish a closer contact with the Ha Long Bay and spend there almost two days and one night – the boat cruise provided us with many unforgettable memories!
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Previously we knew Laos only from stories. Firstly, we heard that this is an extremely cheap country. Secondly, that we would easily be struck by poverty as it is the case in Cambodia or Myanmar.. Hmm, we started to doubt it as soon as we arrived there and noticed Toyota Hilux vans and other cars of leading automotive brands passing the roads here and there, even in small villages. There are very few old cars on the roads, the rest of them look like brand-new ones. What’s more? We also heard that Lao people are extremely open and communicative (resembling Sri Lankan people in this way).. Hmm, well, and here again we have a doubt .. So how does it really look like?
Continue reading “Laos – the things that surprised us…”
Vang Vieng is a city in Laos labelled as a place for party animals and sports addicts. Indeed, there is no shortage of bars with loud music played every day until 1:00am, and you can spot night life at the Mekong River near the wooden bridge, but you can also find some places where nature is conducive to challenges, extreme sports , exploring caves, or trekking … One thing is certain – it’s impossible to get bored in this small city, and for sure everyone will find something for themselves!
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‘’4000 islands’’ – most probably the name of this place doesn’t sound familiar to you? Let’s change it! In Laos the islands are must-see if you want to relax during your stay in this country! The hottest part of Laos right close to the border with Cambodia is not only a place to wind down in bungalows in the islands of Don Det and Don Khon, but also a place where you can experience a closer contact with dolphins floating in the Mekong River! How is that possible? Dolphins in the river? Yes, confirmed and seen with our own eyes! 🙂
Continue reading “4000 islands – in search of tranquility and …. the Irrawaddy dolphins!”
Bolaven Plateau situated in southern Laos is known for its landscapes illustrating unspoilt nature: myriads of waterfalls and green scenery. It can be considered an ideal place to take a rest or the one perfect to have a tour visiting waterfalls while staying in Pakse. Also this time we recommend you to hop on a motorbike although the area you will have to move along covers 180-200km. We purchased a tour at a tourist agency tempted to see 3 more attractions in one day and paid 2,50USD more per capita comparing the costs of taking a motorbike for 2, but later we regreted that we did not do that the usual way – on a motorcycle, despite the large distance to traverse. For sure it would have been more fun! (Especially since our driver was driving his clunker so fu(..)ing slowly!…)
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Before we came to Laos everyone was telling us that nowhere in Asia we would see such magnificent natural landscapes with lots of beautiful waterfalls as in this country. And because of that we waited impatiently for this point of our journey but also were half-convinced when hearing these opinions as from our experence in many Asian countries tourists are offered to see waterfalls, which depending on the season look different than in the pictures, and in many cases you can get easily disappointed, e.g. seeing in front of you a watetfall which dried out or which looks flooded in a rainy season with mud everywhere and no more crystal clear waters…
Continue reading “Kuang Si Waterfall and its neighbourhood – the breathtaking views!”
Have you ever heard of the Plain of Jars near Phonsavan in Laos with over 2,000 stone jars scattered all over a huge area (some of them being 3m high)? And any idea about bomb craters in this terrain left by the Americans during the Vietnam War? The mysterious surroundings of Phonsavan arouse curiosity of many travelers. Life in the villages situated close to the craters goes on as if the bombs have never fallen in that area and the real purpose of the mysterious jars is not 100% confirmed …
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Chiang Rai is a city situated in northern Thailand, close to the famous Golden Triangle (where the borders of three countries /Thailand, Laos, Myanmar/ meet and where opium used to value the same as gold, hence the name!). You can visit the city and its most important points in one day, provided that you don’t have going for trekking in your plans. We went on an excursion, which included driving about 240km to visit 10 points starting in the early morning and finishing around 7pm! Not all of the places are worth visiting, but we have to admit that we wouldn’t have been able to visit half of them on our own, so all in all, the trip was worth doing.
Continue reading “Chiang Rai: visiting the controversial Long neck women village & much more…”
Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city with a population of over 5 million people, being the economic and cultural center of the country. You can see that this is practically the only prosperous and ” civilized ” city in this country, focused on business development and having a vibrant life. It is also the most diverse city with a mixture of cultures and religions.
Continue reading “Yangon – the most interesting places to see in 1 day”
Mandalay is the second largest city of Myanmar with a population exceeding one million, yet not looking like a well developed and organized city. Chaos on the road is nothing new in an Asian country and it’s there. What strikes a contemporary traveller is poverty, decrepit buildings, someone would have said ‘the grunge everywhere’ and general backwardness in thinking and technology as well.
Continue reading “Mandalay and its neighbourhood – temples dripping in gold vs sad reality”