Without a doubt the main drawcard for visitors to Siem Reap, and Cambodia as a whole, is the famous Angkor ruins. For us, it was definitely the main reason for visiting and spending a week… More
Our stay in Lopburi was a very last minute plan as our Airbnb just out of Ayutthaya was cancelled (due to damage caused by recent flooding) four days before we were due to head there. So after some last minute accommodation searches we found a good little spot just out of the centre of Lopburi…. and we were pleasantly surprised during our stay in “monkey city.”
Once our month-long visa for Laos was up, we had three weeks to fill before meeting family on Thailand’s eastern coast. We took a look at the map and did a few searches around the main trunk line that runs from the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge border crossing down towards Bangkok.
When we told people we were spending eight nights in Vientiane to finish our month in Laos everyone said we would be bored senseless and that we should spend our time elsewhere. However, after a busy three weeks we were looking forward to a quiet week and that is exactly what we got.
After Vang Vieng we travelled 25kms south to Nirvana Archipel Resort nestled on the edge of Nam Ngum Lake, by what else but a tuk tuk.
Vang Vieng was once the undisputed party town on the Southeast Asian backpacker circuit. Here you could hire a tube and float down the river stopping at any of the dozens of bars lining the riverbanks. Beer, and especially spirits, were essentially on tap costing less than a $1 a glass. After 27 recorded deaths of backpackers in 2011 alone, this finally was the wake up Laos needed to see that copious amounts of alcohol and drugs and floating down the river on a tube do not go well together. As a result, during 2012 a lot of the bars, mostly illegal establishments, were closed down and tighter safety rules were put in place to prevent any further tragedies occurring. So five years on, is Vang Vieng still clinging to it’s past as a place for young twenty somethings to let their hair down and party the day and night away or has it successfully reinvented itself as a destination for all travellers?
After a 7 hour minivan trip from Luang Prabang that winded and twisted and turned for 250kms high into the mountains, to say we were extremely relieved to finally reach Phonsavan was an understatement.
As soon as we caught our first glimpse of Luang Prabang from our AirAsia flight we knew we were entering a different world to the one we had just left behind in Bangkok.