So you probably know I went to Laos for a week or so in May.
I'm just gonna stick up a few photos with some captions, I'm too lazy at this point to do a whole write-up. In general, Laos is a great place. Good, cheap food and accommodation. Nice people, a lot of English, and a lot of unspoilt countryside. If you get a chance, I'd recommend it.
Pha That Luang in Vientiane
The dude in the middle had fluent, natural English despite being only 20 and having never left Laos. Most monks learn English at the temple schools.
Beer Lao. It's not the best beer in the world, but when it's cold it tastes pretty damn good.
Excellent cheap local restaurant.
Small village we stopped at during the 9-hour bus ride from Vientiane to Xieng Khouang. Next to the bus driver, there was a dude with an AK. Cool.
Traditional mountain Lao village.
Xieng Khouang markets.
Sign warning of land mines.
During the Vietnam war, Laos became the most heavily bombed country in history, and it's still very dangerous. The Hmong forces were allied with the US and when they lost the war, they became an insurgent army that, until recently, has made many strikes on the ruling Communist regime.
In the last month or so a lot of the remaining Hmong tribes have surrendered.
In between the mines is the Plain of Jars.
Kind of in a similar vein to Stonehenge or Easter Island, a bunch of ancient stone monoliths that remain shrouded in mystery.
More recently, they were used as firing holes in the Vietnam war.
Cave in the Plain of Jars.
Dude on the right is a writer from England who has written a bunch of stuff for the Australian literary rag Quadrant. He goes by C A R Hills.
Rare in that it has electrcity and telephones.
The villagers' livelihood is noodle-making.
This crazy old hag was babbling Lao to us while picking feathers from a dead chicken.
But her family was really nice.
They gave us dodgy snacks and soy milk, and some ridiculously strong Lao fire water, called Lao Lao. I felt fucked-up drunk after two shots.
More jars, more plains.
Morning in Xieng Khouang.
Temple in the old capital, Luang Prabang.
Luang Prabang is one of the most beautiful, relaxed places I have ever been to. Despite the unrelenting heat and humidity, it was always comfortable.
On top of the hill in the middle of town.
That's the old palace in the foreground and the Mekong to the rear.
Southern part of town.
I snapped some corny effect shots of the sunset over the Mekong.
On the Mekong riverside near our hostel.
Waterfalls half an hour drive out of town.
We met a dude who claimed to be a political refugee from China trying to get to help in Thailand. He was fluent in English and Japanese and wanted us to help him fake a visa.
Delicious Lao barbecue.
Tiny weaving village down the Mekong.
Temple in a cave.
Slow boats outside the temple.
Vinay was by chance working in Laos so we caught up in Vientiane.
Same old Vinay, but now with limited-time-only beard.
Bangkok, Wat Pho.
This is one of Bangkok's lesser attractions, but it was so intricate, like a labyrinth, and beautiful.
On the Chao Praya.
The food was SO good.
Khao San Road.