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Showing posts from November, 2017

28. DOUBLE DRAMA...HOT AIR BALLOON CRASH & NAIL BITING MOUNTAIN BUS JOURNEY...

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Having decided to travel onward from Vang Vieng, we booked onto a mini van which would take us to Vientiane (the capitol of Laos.) Our driver would apparently be taking us via the “new road” cutting our journey time down from 7 hours to 4 but frustratingly we first spent an hour driving around Luang Prabang picking up people before finally setting off. It was now just after 4:30pm. According to L the journey started with amazing views of the dramatic mountainous landscape, unfortunately I'd missed such views because instead I'd been watching the inside of my eyelids. It was around 6pm when we lost the light and continued to climb up the mountains in the dark. There was a roadside stop for all the men on the bus to hop out and pee up against a hedge, luckily I wasn't desperate. 
We were very high up on our mountain road when out of no where seriously thick fog and terential rain set in. A handful of minutes later the minivan came to a complete stop in a queue of traffic. O…

27.HELICOPTER EVACUATION MIGHT BE NEEDED, WE’RE STRANDED…

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Following our 3 day gibbon experience we took a boat cruise down the mighty Mekong river from the Lao border town of Houay Xai to Luang Prabang. The journey would take 2 days with around 6 hours cruising time each day with a stop off over night at a small place called Pak Beng. We were quids in and ended up getting put in a luxury ‘wooden shed’ on the outskirts of town with a balcony which over looked the river. It turned out our early booking of the cruise had secured such luxury and others who had made a more of a last minute booking onto the cruise had to settle for lesser accommodation in the town. Unlucky for them they didn’t get to see the elephants swim across the river early in the morning! The ’Slow boat’  wasn’t actually slow, but slower than the canoe-like speed boats that zipped past every so often. For a little extra dollar you can reduce the journey time to just 1 day and in return they’ll give you a full face motorcycle helmet and if you’re lucky, a safe passage. We opt…

26. SLEEPING IN 100FT JUNGLE TREEHOUSES...

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Arriving in Huay Xai, a small town on the Laos side of the Thai / Laos border meant we were now only one sleep from a part of our trip we'd been super super excited about since leaving the U.K. The Gibbon Experience! Okay so it is ridiculously expensive (€295 each) but it is tipped as a must do for any outdoorsy, thrill seeking, nature lover who is moderately fit and wants to live that childhood fantasy of sleeping in tree houses hundreds of feet up in the jungle canopy...and zip lining between them on some of the worlds longest and highest cables. So if in Laos, do not miss booking yourself onto 1 of their 3 trip options. I had booked both L and I on the 'classic tour'. L didn't really know what exactly it was I'd booked us on, but being told we would be in the jungle for 2 nights 3 days having a blast doing the above, along with the possibility of spotting gibbons, was just enough to keep him from getting edgy about the price...well sort of...let's not forge…

25. THE GUY ON A BUS WHO FELL ASLEEP ON MY SHOULDER...

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Our Arrival at Chiang Mai bus station marked the start of an unfolding drama. Apparently the bus tickets we thought we'd bought last night online for our 3hour one way journey to Chiang Rai, had in fact since been resold to a monk, and all busses leaving today (bare in mind that they left every hour and it was only 10:30am) were already full up! This presented us with a problem and left us with two options. Option one: take a taxi, Option two: stay another night in Chiang Mai. Neither option ideal and both options more expensive. A taxi for 2 was 8x as much as a bus ticket and to stay another night would cost more still...Option 3 surfaced in the form of two dual national Iranian / German brothers also heading to Chiang Rai. They'd teamed up with another German couple and asked if we wanted join them to fill a 6 seater taxi. An American couple who overheard our conversation also wanted in, and we soon decided that it would be more cost effective to charter our own bus service…

24. 3-D ILLUSIONARY AND CARPETED ESCALATORS...

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Where to start!… Finding ourselves with a few hours to kill and after studying a tourist map of Chiang Mai, an unusual P.O.I caught our attention “ Art in paradise museum”. Sounds intriguing we thought, not knowing quite what to expect….
We took a walk in the direction of the museum. Emerging from a typical looking side street we entered onto a bustling main road and in font of us stood a some what out of place building, given the style of the surrounding architecture. “ Art in paradise” was written above a faux romanesque entrance… We had arrived at out destination. The “museum” turned out to be an art gallery for 3D illusionary art. On the most part, interactive, allowing the visitor to become a part of the work. Given that N is the official trip photographer, this meant that I became the official subject! (Bar a few occasions when our roles reversed.)
Once inside, the strange looking building’s original purpose became clearer. Originally built as a theatre or cinema it was spread …