A Travellerspoint blog

Bus Rides

Huay Xai -> Luang Prabang -> Vientiane -> Bangkok

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After the Gibbon Experience we stayed one more night at the B.A.P. Guesthouse. It was great to have a shower and a good sleep. We booked a VIP bus from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang which was supposed to be a 13 hour bus ride. We booked it through the guesthouse and we asked for the VIP night bus instead of the local day bus because the local bus takes way longer and makes frequent stops to pick up passengers.

Well, you could've just called the bus that we took a local bus. They crammed the bus with people. Locals were sitting in the isles on plastic stools, sitting on the toilet so you couldn't even use it, people standing and sitting in the stair ways... and the best part was there was a girl sitting on the floor beside Tyler in the isle puking. She puked 7 times! Thankfully she had a plastic bag. There was a screeching noise the whole bus ride and became worse when you went over bumps. The roads were terrible. It felt like we were off-roading in a large coach bus. We were going so slow because there were huge turns and bends in the roads, we felt like we were never going to get to Luang Prabang. Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, we heard a bursting noise and the bus came to a stop. Flat Tire! To make things even more difficult the bus had dually wheels and it was the inside tire that went flat. They had to take both tires off to be able to change the flat one and eventually we were back on the horrible bumpy, windy, noisy road.

After 18 hours of the horrible bus ride we arrived in Luang Prabang. When we look back on it now, we laugh and are glad we experienced it. We originally planned to either stay a day in Luang Pragbang or catch another bus to Vientiane (the capital of Laos). After the horrible bus ride we really didn't want to get on another bus or find the energy to look for a place to stay, we just wanted to get to Vientiane. We went to the airport to check see if we could catch a flight that was leaving that day to Vientiane. There was and it was only 40 minutes long! We took the flight and got there in know time - way better than the bus ride.

When we arrived in Vientiane we didn't have a place booked so we walked around looking for one. We found a nice hotel that we stayed there for 2 nights. During our time in Vientiane we had dinner at a local soup kitchen which was really neat, went bowling and walked around the center.
Bowling in Vientiane Laos

Bowling in Vientiane Laos


Tyler Bowling

Tyler Bowling


We found it to be a lot more expensive then other places and we were eager to get back to Thailand!

This time when booking a bus to Bangkok we made sure that we got a proper VIP bus that had only 24 seats which were larger. We also got blankets and food. It was definitely better than the other bus ride, we actually were able to sleep!

We arrived in Bangkok around 5:30am and heading to the apartment building that we already had booked. That evening Pat (Tyler's Mom) was arriving. We went to the IMAX theater at night and watched Alice in Wonderland in 3D before we headed to the airport to meet Pat. She arrived safe and sound with no complications.

Yesterday we walked around Bangkok and got a Thai massage! Today we have to check out and are heading to the town where the floating market is. We hope to stay there for one night and then go to the floating market in the morning before all the tourists come. We will keep you posted on our next adventure.

PS sorry for no pictures in the blog. There wasn't much to capture haha

Posted by Thai-Sarah 19:50 Archived in Laos Tagged bus Comments (2)

The Gibbon Experience!

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Hey everyone! Sorry we havn't been blogging a lot in the past few days, but we have been in Laos and the internet connections were scetchy at best. Now that we are back in Thailand we will do our best to blog more often!!!

By far, one of the greatest experiences of our lives! The Gibbon experience (not to be confused with the "Flight of the Gibbon" or the "Flight of Nature" which are short zip line tours which only last a few hours) is a three day and two night adventure which is a combination of jungle trekking, unlimited use of the zip line network (without guides!), and sleeping in tree houses that are over 50m high and above the jungle canopy! The Gibbon experience is located in north western Laos in the Bokeo province. More specifically, it is in the Bokeo nature reserve. On day one we left the small border village of Huay Xai on a 3 hour truck ride into the nature reserve.

Truck we drop in to the village from Huay Xai

Truck we drop in to the village from Huay Xai

It was a fun ride, and we went through some pretty hairy terrain and rivers to reach the small village where we would begin our trek. It was a great truck to ride in and it was very sturdy on the rough roads.

The road

The road

Driving Through Water

Driving Through Water

Local Kids having a ride

Local Kids having a ride

Village near the Gibbon Experience

Village near the Gibbon Experience

Village near the Gibbon Experience

Village near the Gibbon Experience

local kids

local kids

Village where we got dropped off for the Gibbon Experience

Village where we got dropped off for the Gibbon Experience

Local Boy and Sarah

Local Boy and Sarah

Local Boy

Local Boy

Tyler Crossing the river

Tyler Crossing the river

The trek up into the mountains was about two hours long and hard work almost the whole way, but it was very rewarding in the end when we reached the first zip line.

Field

Field

Sarah and The jungle we lived in for 3 days!

Sarah and The jungle we lived in for 3 days!

Tyler

Tyler

The beginning of the Jungle Trek

The beginning of the Jungle Trek

Tyler

Tyler

Tyler in the Jungle

Tyler in the Jungle

Tyler Trekking

Tyler Trekking

Tall Tree in the Jungle

Tall Tree in the Jungle

Sarah Trekking

Sarah Trekking

Sarah Taking off to Zip

Sarah Taking off to Zip


Tyler finishing a zip

Tyler finishing a zip

After a few zip lines we finally came up to a waterfall that was located near our tree house that we were going to be staying in the first night. The waterfall was like a little oasis and it was the perfect remedy for a long day of hiking. The water was so fresh and so cold! After the waterfall it was another few zips to the tree house. When we arrived to it we were amazed and we became even more excited when we realized that we were going to be sleeping there! Its kind of tough to see in this photo, but believe us when we tell you it was amazing!

Our first tree house

Our first tree house

So when we reached our tree house we all sat down and enjoyed some snacks, and then out of nowhere a little Lao lady came zipping down the line with a big bag full of our dinner! Probably the most dangerous food delivery job in the world, it was so funny!

Lady zipping into the tree house with our lunch

Lady zipping into the tree house with our lunch

Lady zipping into the tree house with our lunch

Lady zipping into the tree house with our lunch

Everyone enjoying a snack in the first tree house

Everyone enjoying a snack in the first tree house

After dinner, which was delicious (fried mixed vegetables, noodles with pork, steamed vegetables, and lots of rice) we enjoyed the twilight views from the treehouse.

View from the first tree house

View from the first tree house

View from the first tree house

View from the first tree house

trunk of our tree house tree

trunk of our tree house tree

Sunrise from the first tree house

Sunrise from the first tree house

Sunrise from first tree house

Sunrise from first tree house

At about 8pm the sun was completely down and it got really dark and the jungle came alive! The sounds that come out of the jungle are amazing at night. A mixture of birds, frogs, and the unknown noises that are really fun to listen to. Needles to say, after a day of trekking we were wiped out and ready for bed pretty early. In the next photo you can see our mats that we slept on in the back of the photo near the railing. In the picture following that, you can see what the beds look like with the giant mosquito net/sheets that covered us.

Lady that brought our food.

Lady that brought our food.

Our Mosquito nets that we slept in

Our Mosquito nets that we slept in

The next morning we were up at the crack of dawn but we bummed around the the tree house for an hour or two and then made our way down to the kitchen before our next trek to the next tree house. We made sure to have a coffee which was easy to make in our tree house kitchen and say good bye to the little cat that lived in the tree house, i really like him because he reminded me of Bear!
Our second treehouse

Our second treehouse


Kitchen in the first tree house

Kitchen in the first tree house


tree house cat

tree house cat

So we were off Trekking and zipping again after breakfast!

Sarah Trekking

Sarah Trekking

Wallking across the fallen tree to get to the other side

Wallking across the fallen tree to get to the other side

Sarah trekking through the jungle

Sarah trekking through the jungle


Sarah getting ready to zip

Sarah getting ready to zip

Sarah getting ready to zip

Sarah getting ready to zip

Clara Zipping

Clara Zipping

Kenneth Zipping

Kenneth Zipping


Sarah Zipping

Sarah Zipping

Kenneth Zipping

Kenneth Zipping

Clara Landing

Clara Landing

Tyler Landing

Tyler Landing

After zipping and trekking for the day we reached our next tree house, Check out this video!

I promise to post more videos when we have a faster internet connection, we have a few more.

So for the rest of the day we basically spent our time zipping. Like I mentioned earlier, it was unlimited use of the zip line network and the craziest part about it was that you do it alone. And I mean alone with no guides, nobody to check your harnesses or make sure you are being safe. It was so fun though, the independence of zipping alone makes it even more fun. It almost feels like you are cheating death every time you step off the platform haha.

In our group of 8 there were two American guys who were really fun and fearless. Tom and Ryan were both nuts as far as i'm concerned, on the night when we were in the second tree house, they both decided to put on their harnesses and zip out to the middle of the cable and share a bottle of scotch and smoke some cigars! It was so funny but nerve wrecking at the same time to watch! The funniest part was, Tom is a general surgeon and Ryan is a pilot!

Ryan and Tom hanging and enjoying a cigar and whiskey

Ryan and Tom hanging and enjoying a cigar and whiskey

Ryan and Tom hanging and enjoying a cigar and whiskey

Ryan and Tom hanging and enjoying a cigar and whiskey

Ryan and Tom hanging and enjoying a cigar and whiskey

Ryan and Tom hanging and enjoying a cigar and whiskey

So that night it was much the same as the first night, except this time we brought out the bottle of vodka that we had brought with us and Ken brought out his ipod with speakers and we stayed up real late (10:30pm!). The next morning we got up again around sunrise, cleaned up a bit, had a shower (with a million dollar view of the jungle canopy and the sunrise), and prepared to trek back to the village.

All in all, it was an amazing experience and anyone who comes to south-east asia should make the effort to get to Laos and do the gibbon experience. It will be a memory that we will have forever. Sleeping in tree houses, zipping over the jungle, the little lady who brings all your meals into the tree house by zip-line, jungle treks, and of course the friends and guides that we met.

Sarah and Tyler with one of the Gibbon Experience Guides

Sarah and Tyler with one of the Gibbon Experience Guides

Gibbon Experience Group

Gibbon Experience Group

Posted by Thai-Sarah 02:24 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Huay Xai Temple

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Almost right across the street from our guesthouse there were many stairs that led to a temple.
Stairs to the Houay Xai Temple

Stairs to the Houay Xai Temple

It wasn't the prettiest temple, but it was nice to go check it out and see the view from the top.
Houay Xai Temple

Houay Xai Temple

Houay Xai Temple

Houay Xai Temple

Houay Xai Temple

Houay Xai Temple

Houay Xai Temple

Houay Xai Temple

Stairs from the Houay Xai Temple

Stairs from the Houay Xai Temple

Stairs from the Houay Xai Temple

Stairs from the Houay Xai Temple

Houay Xai Temple

Houay Xai Temple

A Monk came up to us and brought us into a room where Buddha was. He sat us down and talked to us. He gave us each a bracelet which represents good luck. It was nice to speak to a Monk because we haven't had that interaction with any Monks yet.
Monk at the Houay Xai Temple

Monk at the Houay Xai Temple

Posted by Thai-Sarah 09:27 Archived in Laos Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Huay Xai, Laos

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We stayed at the B.A.P. Guesthouse when we arrived in Laos. It was a great place to stay. The guesthouse is managed by two older sisters who are crazy. They love to joke and laugh.
Everyone and the B.A.P. Guesthouse Owners

Everyone and the B.A.P. Guesthouse Owners

We had a great room which had a great view of the Mekong river and Thailand.
Our room at the B.A.P. Guesthouse

Our room at the B.A.P. Guesthouse


View from the balcony of the B.A.P. Guesthouse

View from the balcony of the B.A.P. Guesthouse


Mekong River

Mekong River

We had a balcony which enjoyed many nights watching the sunset
Clara and Sarah

Clara and Sarah

Kenneth

Kenneth


Sunset over the Mekong River looking at Thailand

Sunset over the Mekong River looking at Thailand


Our hallway at the B.A.P. Guesthouse

Our hallway at the B.A.P. Guesthouse

and one night there was a fire over at Thailand. We didn't see any flames but there was a large glow and lots of smoke.
Fire in Thailand

Fire in Thailand

We wanted to rent motorcycles like we did in Chiang Mai but we couldn't find any large bikes so we ended up with 50cc mopeds. Our Mopeds

Our Mopeds


They weren't the fastest and it was quite funny trying to get up some hills, I think sometimes we could've walked faster. We drove along the Mekong River which was nice.
Mekong River

Mekong River

Mekong River

Mekong River

Mekong River

Mekong River

Most of the roads we drove on were paved but we did come across some dirt and even sand roads! It felt like you were driving on the beach. Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures of the sand roads, we were to focused on driving straight haha
Moped Trip

Moped Trip

Moped Trip

Moped Trip

Moped Trip

Moped Trip

We had a rest at one village to look at some water buffalos.
Water Buffalo

Water Buffalo


Sarah

Sarah


Sarah on her Moped

Sarah on her Moped

While we were there a group of boys came up to us. They were walking home from school. We talked to them for a bit and they surprisingly had decent basic English.
Local boys coming home from school

Local boys coming home from school

Two cute shy girls also came up to us. They both were really interested in us but were very shy.
Two Cute Girls

Two Cute Girls

two local girls

two local girls

Two Cute Girls

Two Cute Girls

Even though we had 50cc mopeds instead of our big bikes, we still had a good day driving around through different villages.

Posted by Thai-Sarah 09:10 Archived in Laos Tagged motorcycle Comments (0)

Laos!

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We took a bus to the border of Thailand and Laos and then took a slow boat over to Laos.
Thailand and Laos Border

Thailand and Laos Border

Thailand and Laos Border

Thailand and Laos Border

Thailand and Laos Border

Thailand and Laos Border


We went to the Gibbon Experience office right away to see if there were any available dates for us to do the waterfall one and there was! We are doing the trek on March 4th for 2 nights an 3 days. We don't have any plans other than that but we hope to check out some of the temples and waterfalls that are around us.

Well we should go because we're paying for our internet but we just wanted to let everyone know that we made it to Laos and we plan to be here for around 2 weeks.

Talk to you later!

Posted by Thai-Sarah 20:55 Archived in Laos Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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