Travel Blog Information June to July 2011

World Tourer - Travelogue

Video Postcards - Travel Archives - My Lifetime of Travel - Photo Index

8th July 201

The trip back to Jomtien Beach, Thailand, from Vientiane went smoothly and I tried a new way to go from Vientiane to Udon Thani to catch the flight back to Bangkok - I caught the "International Bus" that starts at Vientiane bus station and goes to Udon Thani bus station (there is also a service from Vientiane to Nong Khai). This bus is air conditioned and stops (and waits for the passengers) at each side of the Friendship Bridge for Lao and Thai immigration procedures. This was much easier and even cheaper (22,000 Kip - Less than $3) than the "Do It Yourself" method I had been using previously.

My trip through Laos was good but quite tiring (mainly due to the 14 hours on the slow boat and the 16 hour bus trip from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng) Laos Photo Gallery

My next trip is to Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, and I fly from Bangkok via Kualar Lumpur leaving early Monday morning.


3rd July 2011

Have I mentioned that I do not like buses - well I still don't - yesterday I caught the "Express VIP" bus from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng. This trip is supposed to take between five or six hours BUT the terms "Express" and "VIP" mean different things to different people - Obviously Lao VIP's do not go to the toilet much as this VIP bus had no toilet for the six hour trip - Also "Express" appears to mean only that this bus goes faster than the general bus - My trip to Vang Vieng took sixteen hours! - The trip is entirely up and down mountain ranges on a narrow, winding, rough road. That is the reason it is supposed to take up to six hours even though the distance is only about 230 kilometres.

This trip was a bit different - after travelling for about three hours we stopped for a break that was supposedly the half way stop. Along the way we had come across many landslides and mudslides blocking a large portion of the road but had managed to squeeze through. Shortly after the half way stop that all changed - we came across a mudslide that had taken most of the roadway down the mountain and left only a pile of mud in its place. Our bus driver thought he could get through but got bogged halfway tthrough and could not go forward or backward. We spent about twenty minutes just trying to go forward or backward without success. The driver and his assistant then gathered some rocks and filled in the deep mud ruts and we eventually got out. A minibus that followed us through smashed their gearbox on the way through and the passengers joined our bus.

A short time later we came across another large, recent landslide that had earthmoving machines in the process of clearing a way through (30 minute wait). Not long after that the road was again blocked, this time a minibus had slipped down a hill that was covered in mud and smashed into a truck with them both then being unable to move (and completely blocking the road) - eventually an earthmoving machine arived and pulled them apart - our us driver then fitted chains to the rear wheels of the bus so that we would not also slip back down the hill (30 minute delay).

About five kilometres further on we encountered another landslide that had been partialy but in passing through we drove over a sharp rock and blew a tyre (60 minute delay).

Again moving we travelled another few kilometres before arriving at a queue of vehicles - upon investigation we found that there had been another large landslide and most of the road had gone and there was an earthmover in the process of transferring earth to fill the space where the road used to be. Roughly 60 minutes later a few vehicles went through but then the machinery returned to do more earthmoving. Another 60 minutes passed and again vehicles were getting through - but for some reason only smaller cars and trucks were going through, all the larger trucks and buses were not moving. Most of the passengers on the bus were tourists and due to the language problems we could not find out anything about what was happening, or why. After a couple of more hours we were told we would be spending the night in the bus where we were.

The driver and his assistant prepared their beds and went to bed leaving all the passengers totally bewildered. Then some hours later (I think about 6 hours after we stopped there was some comotion and we started to move. We got passed the problem area (Almost sliding off the road into a large ditch) but without anything having changed since we had been told we were there for the night.

We eventually arrived in Vang Vieng at 1.30 am (in the pouring rain) after leaving Luang Prabang at 9.30 am. I had booked (and paid for) a hotel in Vang Vieng but there was no local tuk tuks or taxis around (there were plenty of very drunk backpackers in the bars and walking the street) so I just found the closest guesthouse and crashed for the night.

Today I caught a minibus from Vang Vieng to Vientiane (the capital of Laos) and the trip took the three hours as advertised.

Tomorrow I am catching the "International Bus" from Vientiane to Udon Thani, Thailand and then fly back to Bangkok and home to Jomtien for a rest.

Landslide in Laos    Bus Bogged in Mud    Truck and Minibus Crash     Laos Landslide    Rockslide in Laos    Stranded Bus Passengers

Laos Photo Gallery


1st July 2011

Still in Luang Prabang - I have done a fair bit of walking around town last night and today. We had heavy rain last night that continued into today. The rain slowly eased to drizzle by this afternoon but shows no sign of stopping.

Luang Prabang is quite similar to Vientiane (The capital of Laos) just smaller.

Tomorrow morning I am catching the bus to Vang Vieng - From what I know there is not much of interest in Vang Vieng (unless you are a bar crawling backpacker) although I have heard that the trip from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng is quite pictureesque as it passes through some major mountain ranges.

Boats on The Mekong River    Haw Pha Bang     Phou Si Hill Temple    Wat Pa Huak


30th June 2011

I am now in Luang Prabang, Laos, after a two day boat trip down the Mekong River. The seats on the boat were soft seats rather than the wooden bench seats I had been told they would be - which was wonderful considering the first day to Pakbeng took six hours and the next day to Luang Prabang took eight hours.

I will post a few more photos and add more information when I return to Thailand on 4th July.

Chiang Khong    Huay Xai    Slow Boat Down The Mekong River    Mekong River Village    Mekong River Rocks


23rd June 2011

Got bored and organised another trip - I have been thinking about a trip through Laos for some time and have finally decided to do it.

I am going to fly from Bangkok to Chiang Rai cross the border at the Mekong into Laos at Huay Xai, get the two day slow boat down the Mekong to Luang Prabang, then on to Vang Vieng and Vientiane by bus, and finally back accros the border at the Friendship Bridge into Thailand and fly back to Bangkok from Udon Thani.

All up the trip will take eight days. I leave on Monday 27th June.


18th June 2011

I am working on the photo galleries as and when I have the time - I have just finished the Egypt Photo Gallery. All the Egypt photographs were taken during my two week group tour in March 2008. The tour covered Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, Hurghada, The Western Deserts and of course the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza.


8th June 2011

Today I had planned to go on a day tour to the Burmese border (Myanmar) and the Golden Triangle. My plans changed late yesterday as the tour company wanted to charge me double as they had no other passengers and they require a minimum of two. Also it had been raining heavily yesterday and the weather for today was unpredictable. I did not go ahead with the booking and decided to just get up today and see what came along.

After a short stroll around town and a coffee I happened to pass a car rental/motorbike rental place and decided to rent a motorbike for the day and do my own tour similar to the one I had considered going on. The rental place was called North Wheels and they were very professional and the bikes were in excellent condition. The bike only cost 160 Baht (about $5.50) for the day.

First I went to Mae Sai which is the border crossing into Myanmar. They have a large, well organised, street market at the border crossing point which I checked out.

I then headed towards the Golden Triangle area stopping at the second Friendship Bridge (border crossing into Laos) on the way. The Golden Triangle point on the Mekong River at Sob Ruak, where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet, is quite "Touristy" and looks a bit run down. I had planned to have lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the Mekong but I was not really hungry so I just bought a singlet and headed back towards Chiang Rai. I went back on a different road so I got some variety of scenery. I got caught in a tropical storm on the way back and got soaked - at least I was cool for the rest of the trip back to Chiang Rai. In total I covered about three hundred kilometres.

Golden triangle    Golden Triangle Buddha Park    Golden Buddha

Photo Gallery of My Chiang Rai Trip


7th June 2011

I am now in Chiang Rai, Thailand. I decided to come in the rainy season as I have previously visited Chinag Mai in the hot season and was disappointed how dry and bare it was. Chinag Rai is very green and lush at this time of year - exactly how you would imagine a tropical region. Today it rained lightly in the morning and very heavily in the afternoon. I was planning to take a day tour tomorrow but have decided to wait and see how the weather is.

Yesterday I spent the day walking around town and took photos of the Clock Tower and the King Mengrai Monument.

This morning I went to Wat Rong Khun (Also known as the "White Temple") whcih was built by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a local artist, who also built the Clock Tower. The only way I can describe Wat Rong Khun is to say that it is completely different from any other Buddhist temple I have seen and and looks more Hindu than Buddhist.

Chiang Rai Clock Tower    King Mengrai Monument     Chiang Rai White Temple


2nd June 2011

Today I completed the Costa Rica Photo Gallery after finishing the Cambodia Gallery a few days ago.

I am going to Chiang Rai (Thailand) next week for a few days just for a look around. I will probably go on a day tour of the Golden Triangle area which is close to Chiang Rai.

Previous Page

Video Postcards - Travel Archives - My Lifetime of Travel - Photo Index