Stunning little holiday town with a lively night market and an amazing waterfall!
22.03.2010 - 24.03.2010 32 °C
I must start by apologising for the delay in keeping my travel blog updated. I'd like to say it's because we've been none stop crazy busy, but really it's just that I've kind of forgotten to dedicate some time to it! Anyway, I've still been making notes as we've gone along, so I can keep you all updated now that I have some time to kill during a 5 hour bus ride in Malaysia.
After we'd completed an epic bike ride to the water cave in Vang Vieng we decided to continue north to a beautiful little town called Luang Prabang. Little did we know, the journey to get to this scenic little destination would be enough to have us kissing the ground and thanking our lucky stars that we had arrived safely! As you might have guessed by now the journey was, lets say, eventful.
We got transferred by mini bus to the main bus as usual, only to find that the decrepit bus we were about to board was clearly on it's last legs. We were no longer surprised by discoveries such as this, because we'd come to expect the very worst when it comes to transport of tourists in South East Asia. Unfortunately the state of the bus was the least of our worries, as it seemed that the bus 'driver' (I say the term very loosely) was suicidal and didn't seem to mind taking 30 plus passengers along with him! We hurtled around the mountainside, navigating some incredibly sharp, blind, corners at pretty much full speed. It didn't seem to matter that there was no form of barrier between us and the edge of the cliff face. Our driver seemed to struggle changing gear, breaking and steering – three things that are relatively important in road safety.
It was only a matter of time before our driver misjudged a corner and wound up crashing into a passing pick-up truck. We were all actually relieved when it happened, because it meant that we could get off and make the most of living. After a large argument (and a small back hander) we restarted our perilous journey. Soon after our driver decided he was bored of driving on 4 wheels and tried to use a ditch to get the bus up onto two wheels! Well, in reality he crashed into the ditch on the inside of the mountain road whilst trying to avoid a much larger truck after going yet again too fast into a blind bend! After the crash the bus ended up on 3 wheels with the front left raised high into the air. As we got off to survey the damage, we were all simply thankful that we had crashed on this side of the road and hadn't plummeted to certain doom a few seconds earlier. After a while we were back on our way. The winding roads took there toll, and we all started to feel pretty sick.
We eventually arrived in Luang Prabang, and were dropped just outside town, which was frustrating as it meant we had to then pay for a tuc tuc to take us the 10km into the centre. I came across a nice little place, in a good location and with free wifi for a decent price. I don't think we have ever been so grateful for a warm shower and a comfy bed! There was just time for a quick Skype call to mum before a trip to the land of nod.
The next day we grabbed some breakfast and then joined a trip to a nearby waterfall. Before joining the track that lead to the base of the waterfall we came across a bear sanctuary. It was amazing to see these giant beasts at relatively close proximity. Some were playing with the tyres, while the larger bears lazied around on the custom built hammocks and wooden structures.
A short walk through the forest and we found ourselves at the foot of the waterfall. It was simply incredible. The picturesque turquoise water cascaded down over the rocks. I couldn't wait to jump in! The water was cool and very refreshing. There's nothing like feeling the power of water as it tumbles down onto your back. I could have stayed for hours, feeling more and more relaxed every second as I listened to the tranquil sound of the water crashing into the rocks.