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Adam's Travel log

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Welcome to my travellog. Here you can read about my journeys day by day.

Log entries 91 - 100 of 264 Page: 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Aug 14, 2009 06:00 PM On dirt roads around Vang Vieng

Although we hadn't planned it before, we decided to stay one day in Vang Vieng to see the extraordinary scenery around this touristy town. There's nothing in the town itself - just many bars. We only changed our hotel in the morning, I found a better one with A/C for the same price. Actually A/C is not necessary in VV but if you want your things to dry quickly after washing A/C will help.
We rented motorbikes (chinese, 40k kip per day), filled the tanks and started our journey. The karst landscape is spectacular, but the road was in terrible condition. It was very muddy in places and we had to cross several streams. Eventually it turned out we could complete the loop and we had to go back. Several times we got stuck in mud and we were also caught by a storm. Hopefully we found a shelter and waited until it eases. Altough very hard and demanding, the journey featured many breathtaking vistas and I enjoyed it. I only wished we could complete the loop.
On the way there were several caves and 'blue lagoons' (that were in fact neither blue nor lagoons). They were all merely worth a visit. It's better to just focus on the landscapes that are themselves worth the effort.

Aug 13, 2009 06:00 PM Pak Ou caves

In the morning we took a boat to Pak Ou caves. Organized by guesthouse it cost 70k kips. Had we gone to the boat landing site directly we would have paid 50k only, but we didn't know this option. The cave houses hundreds of Buddha figures and the boat ride on the Mekong river is very enjoyable, even if it rains. On the way back we stopped at a "whiskey village" - a shopping place, just waste of time. In the afternoon we took a minibus to Vang Vieng. It cost 110k kip and took 7 hours instead of 5 as advertised by the guesthouses who sell the tickets. We arrived in VV at 9:30 in the evening and easily found a decent fan-cooled (enough here!) twin room for 70k kip.

Aug 12, 2009 06:00 PM Exploring Luang Prabang

There are many temples in the town. All located close to each other so you can visit several of them without the need of using a tuk-tuk or taxi. We decided to visit the most important only: Wat Aham, Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Visunarat and Wat Mai Suwannaphumamaham. They're all quite similar, so there's no need to visit all the temples. We also visited the Royal Palace Museum. Admissions vary from 10 to 20 thousand kips. In the afternoon we bought a minivan trip to Kuang Si waterfall. It's definitely worth a visit, although I hope that Tat Fan waterfall will be even more spectacular.

Aug 11, 2009 06:00 PM From Luang Nam Tha to Luang Prabang

We left LNT at 9 a.m. by a minivan to reach LP after 8 hours. On a big public bus it would probably take at least 10 hrs. So it was a good choice, I think. We're staying here at Mao Pha Shok guesthouse. A twin room with hot shower and A/C costs 85k kips ($10). In the afternoon we visited one temple and talked to monks. You can always learn a lot from them, e.g. what they day looks like (they get up at 3:30 a.m.!). In the evening we're going to see the night market as well. Tomorrow we'll explore the town.

Aug 10, 2009 06:00 PM Around Luang Nam Tha

In the morning we rented motorbikes (50k kip for a decent Honda, $1 per litre of petrol) to explore the area around LMT. Along with the bike we were given a map of the area. At the beginning we visited Nam Dee waterfall and then we spent several hours riding through villages and observing people's life. The vistas around LMT are breathtaking. I especially liked rice paddies. There's also a stupa close to the town but I preferred the views from the stupa hill rather than the shrine itself. There's a guy who wants to charge you 5k kip but we just ignored him. Tomorrow we're going to Luang Prabang. It's 7 hrs on a minibus (by bus it would be 10 hrs, that's why we opted for the first option). The price is 95k kip.

Aug 09, 2009 06:00 PM Tribes in Nam Ha national park

Today we had only 3-hour long trek in the jungle then 2 hours on a dirt road and after that we were travelling by 4WD. Alltogether we visited 5 more villages of Akha, Khamu, Hmong and Lahu tribes. The vistas were beautiful and we had a chance to see the real life of the tribespeople. I had several nice pics and will upload them when back to Poland.
We returned to Vieng Phoukha at 4 p.m. and were very lucky to catch the last bus to Luang Nam Tha (30k kip). The bus station in LNT was relocated 2 months ago and now it's as far as ca. 10 kms from the town. You need to take a jumbo to reach LNT (10k kip). In LNT we're staying at Thavy Xai guesthouse. We have a spacious room with bathroom attached, fan (enough here) and room service for 60 kip only. There are several cheap restaurants on the main street in the town where you can try local specialties. In the evening it took me an awful lot of time just to clean my hiking boots and wash clothes after the trek.

Aug 08, 2009 06:00 PM 10 hours in the jungle

We started our trekking at 9 a.m. The group was 4 persons - apart from us there was a Thai girl and Austrian guy. We had two guides to accompany us. All the way was through the jungle. We had to cross rivers several times and it was a very strenuous walk. It rained the day before and the paths were slippery and steep. There was a lot of mud and leeches were abundant (only 3 bites, fortunately). After dusk we reached Akha village, where we took rest. After having dinner I had massage from an Akha girl. Again I had a chance to sleep in the jungle listening to its sounds when falling asleep - unforgettable experience.

Aug 07, 2009 06:00 PM Crossing to Laos

From Chiang Rai we took the first bus to Chiang Khong (6 a.m.), a border town where you can cross to Laos. It took ca. 2 hours and cost 65 baht. From bus station we took a tuk-tuk to the boat landing (30 baht per person). From there we took a boat across the river (40 baht). At Lao checkpoint on the other bank of the Mekong river my body temperature was measured - they're very much afraid of swine flu. I already had a visa so I only needed to go through the immigration (during weekends they charge $1, 40 baht or 10000 kip extra for processing). It's quite far from the boat landing site to the bus station so you have to take a tuk-tuk (50 baht per person). You can also pay in baht in Laos. It turned out the next bus is at 12:30 p.m. so we had a lot of time to walk around the outskirts of Huay Xai (the border town on Lao side). The road from Huay Xai is sealed and it took 2.5 hrs only to get to Vieng Phoukha. It's a laid-back village in Nam Ha national park from where trekking can be organized. All the guesthouses are very simple and charge $3-5 per twin per night. We were staying at the one with nice bamboo bungalows (no fan, Asian toilet, mosquito nets provided) but with beautiful view over the river. There was also a small terrace and we had our dinner there. A great place to relax. We also arranged trekking for the next day - two days, one night - in Akha village. Other villages are also visited on the way. In Vieng Phoukha the electricity is only available from 7 to 10 p.m. No internet.

Aug 06, 2009 06:00 PM Yao, Akha, Lisu, Lahu

These are the names of hilltribes that have villages around Chiang Rai. In the morning we hired a 4WD and a guide through a travel agency in Chiang Rai. It was 2500 baht for the whole day village visits. In total we visited four villages. It's quite commercialised there and the tribespeople in Yao village had even souvenir stands for tourists. Other villages were more genuine. Sometimes local people want money for being photographed or at least want you to buy something if you want their photo. We're also going to visit some villages in Laos and I hope it will be more genuine experience. Nevertheless, it's worth visiting hilltribes of Thailand. Some women (e.g. Akha) still wear traditional clothes and it's not for tourists (I spotted one walking along the road and carring something).

Aug 05, 2009 06:00 PM Chiang Rai - the town of temples

After 9-hour flight with Aeroflot, I was very happy to leave the aircraft (can you imagine a long-distance plane with no (!) inflight entertainment - even no music?). I then had to wait at the immigration for an hour or so (queues were very, very long) and finally met my friend Talat at the meeting point at BKK airport. We then took Air Asia flight to Chiang Rai - it was one hour long only. The only way to get to the town from the airport is by taxi (200 baht, fixed price). We're staying here in Orchid Guesthouse (350 baht per twin, A/C). Very clean and centrally located. In the afternoon, in spite of rain we explored the city. There are many temples around and I can't memorize their names (so different from Polish language). We also saw a big group of young monks (or monks-to-be) in orange robes leaving one of themples. We also visited the Hilltribe Muesum to have some insight in the tribes' culture as tomorrow we're going to get some trekking organized.

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