We crossed the border into Laos a few days ago. The border crossing was really interesting. First, we received our departure stamp from a little booth in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Next, we took a canoe across the river and receive our visas through the window of another small booth on the Laos side.
We spent the next two days cruising down the Mekong River via long boat and stopping at guest houses along the way. The long boat is really cool. The front 2/3 is for the passengers. The back 1/3 is where the family who owns the boat lives. Their livelihood revolves around transporting and feeding their customers on the river.
Yesterday, we left our long boat when we arrived in the cute little town of Luang Prabang. We took a bike ride around the city and explored a Buddhist temple as well as the various shops and cafes. We ended our ride by stopping for a taste of the local version of moonshine. I’m not joking, it was rice wine fermenting reptiles. I literally drank snake juice. Yuck!
This morning we went for an elephant ride, and tomorrow we will get up very early to participate in the morning alms for the local monks. I’m really looking forward to this, since it reminds me of the book Siddhartha, which first piqued my interest in Buddhism over a decade ago.
Laos is hot and buggy (insert girlie scream from finding cockroach in bathroom here) (additional girlie scream from awaking to beetle crawling across face) – yet still, Laos has amazing character and the people are very incredibly kind and hospitable. The Mekong River and the rolling hills leading into the thick jungle have their own unique beauty.
Interesting observation: Lay’s potato chip flavors here include: seaweed, squid, prawn, and duck. I like the seaweed flavor.
Luang Prabang, Laos