To us, Laos seemed to embody the essence of new life. From the vast, twisting rows of green crops; to the newborn animals fighting for their mother’s milk; and all of the smiling and waving children on the side of the roads, we felt surrounded by youthfulness, innocence, and wonder...
It took three hours, but we were able to cross the friendship bridge into Vientiane with our motorbikes. This side of the Mekong River was dusty and bustling, which was a stark contrast from the quiet and lush Thai banks on the other side. We got our rest and made tentative plans for the days ahead.
We set out the next morning for Vang Vieng, which has been a town notorious for partying backpackers. The ride in was beautiful with twisting roads, towering and rounded jungle mountains, and villages squished up against the sides of the road. Vang Vieng opened up as a ramshackle-type town surrounding a rushing river. It is definitely a backpacker town, with tourist-friendly restaurants, tours, and hostels, but the scenery surrounding it was the best we have seen this year. We spent our days seeking waterfalls, lunching in the countryside, and hiking to view points.
From Vang Vieng, we headed north to Luang Prabang along stunning mountain roads. We spent a few days in the French colonized city, and loved the fusion of cultures. We chatted with novice monks as we watched the sun set over the city, filled our tummy’s with baguettes, and shopped the local markets for coffee and art.
From Luang Prabang, we headed back south to begin our journey to the Cambodian border. We made a detour to the Bolaven Plateau. This area is the poorest part of the country, but the closest to the heart of the Laotian culture. We camped out in a tiny cabin for the night, hiked to waterfalls, and had home-cooked meals for less than $2 per person (a glass of wine was $1.50!!!).
Our last stop before attempting to cross the Cambodian border (they ended up not letting us in), was 4,000 islands. We took a small boat across to some larger islands on the Mekong and settled in for a few days. We were finally able to have some downtime, so we spent the days lounging by the pool, riding around the island to viewpoints, and relaxing by the waterfalls. The river and it’s islands and waterfalls were truly unique, and we hope to someday be back.
Laos was an incredible country, and what made it the most incredible was the people. We found ourselves constantly smiling with the locals and children, and staying a little longer than we had expected. It was the perfect balance of raw culture and comforting friendliness.
We hope you enjoyed our photos! Thank you for following along, and as always, feel free to reach out with any questions you have!
-Bree and Trevor