Laos Day 4: Tubing in Vang Vieng

This is gonna be my ultimate blogpost on Laos.
I’m so proud of myself for finishing a series all proper.
Doesn’t happen often hah.

Previous posts before this: 
* Laos Day 1: Vientiane *
* Laos Day 2: Vang Vieng *
* Laos Day 3: Vang Vieng Organic Farm & Waterfall *

We SAVED tubing to do on our last day in Vang Vieng.
It’s supposed to be one of the main attractions in VV,
and i thought it so sweet Steph saved it to do with us too (she was there with Nick a month prior).

So TUBING.
We were a bit scared, thanks to watching horror youtube vids of kids smashing their heads open while swinging on ropes and banging their skulls on the side of a pier.
People have actually died while tubing.
I also remembered my aunt G telling me how she saw two girls getting caught in strong currents and screaming for locals to save them.

Soooo we told ourselves that we’re NOT gonna fuck around and we’ll watch out for each other!

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There’s only one place to rent tubes in VV

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Steph and i
Before you start tubing, they take you and your tubes on a boat to the main ‘starting point’ which is (naturally) a bar.

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Numbers and Laotian characters are written on us to account for our tubes.

We sat at the ‘starting point’ bar for a bit,
chilling (gathering courage) and talking to some backpackers who were working there.
As is customary tubing tradition, we were given free shots of local whiskey.
At least the bars there have a system, for every free shot they give you, white string is tied around your ankles/wrists to mark how many you’ve had
(so if you’ve got HEAPS, they know it’s time to stop giving you any more drinks lest you drown yourself -_-)

Seeing we wanted to be ALIVE and not mati lemas,
we paced ourselves cos we knew we’d be tubing all afternoon.

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Seriously. This view. Is just proof of why tubing in Vang Vieng is so legendary.
We were really lucky that the currents weren’t as strong as some horror stories we heard/saw on youtube,
and it was wonderful that there was no crowd seeing it was non-peak season (June).

‘Twas surreal to just chill on the tube,
listen to the water gently rushing,
feel the sunshine on my arms and legs and face,
and watch nature’s hills jutting out of the skyline next and in front of me.

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[mengada pose]

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There are scores of bars next to the river just for tubers to stop by.
Most of the guys working there will be calling and waving for you to stop,
so all we had to do was yell and decide with each other that we’d take a break,
and give them a wave and yell back.

The bar guys would then throw thin rope (the kind that hurts your hands :p) for you to grab on to while they pull you onto the bar steps.

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Jess & Tianna

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My green monokini is from Kyla Ruiz, hat from Mimco.

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Lots of dogs to pet and spoil.
Steph and Jess spent ages calling the dogs … -_-

I found it hilarious that the first menu they gave us was this:

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Us girls stared at it wondering… don’t they serve alcohol?!
Called the waiter back and he got us strong cocktails served in buckets.

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I made friends with one of the Pail People

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Hugging sunshine: Tianna shows how it’s done.

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Another bar we stopped by that afternoon (i lost count, and also half the afternoon was admittedly hazy in my memory)

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More killer bucket cocktails.
Steph getting worked up about something she’s talking about.
I don’t remember anything (that’s why i took videos but erm shouldn’t put them up).

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More tubing!
At this point i was getting dangerously comfortable with my camera on the river.
Am amazed i didn’t drop it in the water :p *HUGS CAMERA*

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WooHOO LAOS!

Yay i’m done with Laos posts!
But not done with Laos.
I would so go back.

Laos Day 3: Vang Vieng Organic Farm + Waterfall

I’m trying in vain to blog more holiday posts before i shoot off for another holiday this Thursday!
This time, it’ll be back to Bali with Clem.
When i was updating my dad where i’ll be the following week,
he said, “Bali?? Again?? You want to live there is it?”
Well, actually, i do, i really do.

But it’s getting quite commercialised, especially after Eat, Pray, Love
so maybe it’s time to find a new second home.
Laos is a possibility!

Previous posts on Laos before you continue reading this one:
* Laos Day 1: Vientiane *
* Laos Day 2: Vang Vieng *

SO!
We woke up to a gorgeous misty morning on our 3rd day in Laos:

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I mean really, how lucky were we to have a backyard view like that
to relish in the moment we woke up!

The air was fresh and cold,
my sinusitis broke out but i didn’t care,
villagers were fishing across the river in the early morn,
and everyone was in a completely chilled out mood.

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We all put on our spectacles (all of us are blind save Jess)
and pottered over to hotel buffet to have breakfast.
I went for the Laotian pork porridge every day i was there yummeh.
And half-boiled eggs and toast too.
Porridge alone is not enough for me!

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All of us go for yoga at the same teacher based in D’sara Heights in KL.
We were angelic yoga students for doing it on holiday,
and it felt so amazing in the cool air with grass in between our toes!

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Look at Tianna, she even brought her headband *giggles*

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After that, i don’t know what to describe we were doing except ‘NOTHING’.
I sat on the bench facing the river and stared out at the hills and mist.
Steph was on a mission to get THE perfert macro picture of an ant.
She said they had tiny spikes on their bodies.

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Then a butterfly came fluttering around and she went chasing after it.
Jess joined her too.

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I was content sitting on the bench, not moving,
and playing with my blue butterfly.

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After 3-4 hours of doing absolutely nothing but crawl and bum around our back garden (it’s a holiday!),
we all managed to get ready and head out for lunch and afternoon waterfall adventures.

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Open your eyes Jess.

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me & Tianna.
She can speak fluent French after studying it for a year.
Shame on me :p

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We took a clattering tuk tuk to the organic farm in Vang Vieng

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When we reached the organic farm, there was EXTREMELY LOUD RAVE MUSIC BLASTING from across the river…
i think i’m kinda so over my rave music era… (ok, except when i was in Copenhagen :p)
and so so hoped that not all the river bars would be blasting such crazy music the next day when we were planning to go tubing.
I much prefer happy indie rock pop clappy music to dance and drink to now   :xsilly:

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See the bar is crowded with ppl on the left of pic.
Little village children on the right bathing in river.

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Steph actually warned me before we went on holiday,
how she was going to wear Crocs.
She knows how much i detest them till i threaten to throw my friends’ Crocs away if they’re around me.
But the ones she had were not so bad.
Leopard print saves some fashion sense.

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Maurice next to all the anklets Steph has collected from her travels.

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Tianna’s duckie

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AWHHHH the organic food at the farm was fantastic!

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We ordered so much and stuffed our faces silly.

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Hopped back on the tuk tuk to find a waterfall after lunch.

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Scenery was wonderful, but i was passing out from eating so much at lunch.
Have to admit that i took some of these pictures without actually focusing on what i was taking!

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All we had was an photocopy of a roughly illustrated map of the waterfalls and caves around Vang Vieng,
and we crossed a river to find a cave.

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Steph, me, Tianna, Jess

My ‘I heart burger’ top is from Pop.Muse.Sic!
They’ve got some new stuff in,
and some older stuff is on sale, like this UNICORN SHIRT

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Maybe the map wasn’t great,
maybe our sense of direction is just terrible,
but we couldn’t find the cave.

Instead we found cows taking a walk…

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… a field of kiddos playing a game,
a nice Laotian lady and supercute baby who let me take a picture,

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… and lots of Laotian children bathing in the river.
Most of them smiled and waved,
but this one scowled at me.
I don’t blame her, i would’ve scowled at someone invading my bathing territory too!

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The last time i swam nekkid was in Tioman.
I miss being nekkid in nature! Best feeling.

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We gave up trying to find this hidden cave after walking around so much,
and went back to the tuk tuk where the driver was having a nappy nap.

Think he took pity on us, and brought us to another area,
where he personally walked us to a magnificent waterfall.

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It was so big i didn’t dare take my camera near it…
had way too much water spraying about like a storm for its safety!

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Water was icy cold! Steph is mad.

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Look at all the mist!!
My tiger swimsuit is from Urban Outfitters in London

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We hurried out of the forest before it got dark,
cos hiking over sharp rocks and slippery mud ain’t fun.

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Dinner time back in town yayyyy!

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Dessert for me was banana nutella pancake the local women fry to a precious crisp.

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Next post on Laos will be the last one,
where we do what every backpacker comes to Vang Vieng to experience – tubing down the river!

Laos Day 2: Vang Vieng

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Stephy and i

After spending one full day in Vientiane [read full post *here*]
we took a 4-hour bus ride from Vientiane to Vang Vieng.
One-way trip costs RM25 in an air-conditioned though somewhat rattly bus.

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Couldn’t help taking a pic of all the blonde + brown heads!
Look at all the white people heading to Vang Vieng!
Clem would hate it :p
He hates going on holiday in SEA if lots of white people flock there too haha.

Vang Vieng is famous for being a backpacker town,
and the NZ Herald has quoted: “If teenagers ruled the world, it might resemble Vang Vieng”.
Apparently it’s filled with lots of tourists aged around 20 who just get trashed a lot.
I must say… i wasn’t looking forward to that sort of vibe,
cos i think i’m over my party-till-i-pass-out days.
But it wasn’t peak season when we went so the town was nice and empty.
PHEW!

 

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I thought Vang Vieng was really pretty (not the town so much la)
but the surrounding nature.

Ripe green fields, clouds you feel like biting,
hills that jut out of the earth,
mist flowing in between the hills in the morning,
giant waterfalls bigger than most i’ve seen in my life.

Well, we’ll get to those pictures later!
First things first – FOOD!

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I was so hungry i walloped most of my green curry before even thinking of taking a picture   :xsilly:

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There’s a ready supply of ham and cheese sandwiches…

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And because of the French colonization, a good number of bakeries selling huge varieties of donuts, pastries and the biggest cookies!
I felt pressured when everyone bought a giant cookie,
so i got myself a cinnamon bun (which happened TO ROCK MY RED LOCKS later that night!)

 

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The thing about Vang Vieng that draws such a high number of young backpackers is the sale of weed, shrooms and opium.
They can be bought at every other bar in Vang Vieng.

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They even have special menus for it,
separate from the food and alcohol menu:

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100,000 kip = RM35

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The four of us shared a mushroom pizza,
but nothing (much) happened.
It was just kinda hard to play cards, that’s all!
Think our first mistake was eating it AFTER we’d had a meal so it took a lot longer to digest.
The second mistake was sharing one hahaha.

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High five!

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We were staying much further down the road, in a more peaceful guesthouse called Thavonsouk Resort,
so we stocked up on grilled rice patties and siew yoke(!) from the hawker stalls in the middle of town.

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One side of our room

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Our GARDEN! HOW AWESOME IS THAT

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We hung out to watch the sun set   :xheart2:

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This is Pipette, my new blow up zebra with pink ears i adopted in Vientiane.

Tried playing cards when it got dark out.
We did sit on the grass for awhile, but all the mosquitoes attacking me made me run in.

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Jess, Tianna, Steph

Because i’m a Dove choc ambassador, i took advantage of the free chocs i get by bringing a box of 10 bars with me.
The girls were really happy, especially Steph.
And i returned to KL with 1 bar and a dissatisfied boyfriend because we didn’t save him any :p

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Pipette: CAMOUFLAGE!

Lastly, and you SO SHOULD WATCH THIS!
A wonderfully done video by Jess of our whole trip ala a music vid!

 

I have to commend her for semangatly taking vids while we’re
bicycling / hiking / tubing !
Think i’ve watched it 5 times already   :xshy:

Laos, Day 1: Vientiane

Before i blog about Vientiane, i gotta write down how we almost missed our flight…

We checked in on time and went to buy food to eat on the plane   :xshy:
I couldn’t decide between a McD’s apple pie and Ipoh kaya butter toast, so i got both.
The 4 of us split up when we went thru immigration
cos Tianna and i have Malaysian passports,
but not Steph and Jess.

Ti and i went straight to the gate after that cos we knew we were running a bit late.
Lady at gate told us if other 2 don’t show up within THREE MINUTES she’d just HAVE to close the gate.
I don’t blame her la… our flight was at 3pm, and we were at the gate at 2:50pm :p
(i know the plane should be on the runway by then, but i think the long queues made lots of others late too)
We called their phones at least 10 times each but frustratingly,
noone picked up arghhhhh

I dropped my bags with Tianna save for my phone,
and RAN ALL THE WAY BACK UP to outside the x-ray area.
I ran so fast my bloody top flew up, and i flashed my bra at people, before hurriedly pulling my flying top down -_-
I scanned the crowd lining up to put their bags thru the x-ray
planning to scream at them to just CUT THE LINE
DO WHATEVER IT TAKES
cos we’d MISS THE FLIGHT OTHERWISE!!!

Couldn’t see them.
Almost peed my pants in kancheongness.
FINALLY got them on the phone
Turns out the IMMIGRATION had a system jam so the line hadn’t been moving since they started queuing!
I called Tianna who spoke directly to the airline steward at the gate to let them know it was a system problem.
Then i begged Jess and Steph to just excuse themselves and jump the line!
Saw them appear at the x-ray area,
got them to jump the queue there too,
and we RAN back to the gate
and got on the flight 30 minutes after it was supposed to take off  :p

Luckily we weren’t the last on the plane…
there were some men who got on after us cos they were stuck in immigration too.

I tell you, the moment we sat down in our seats and buckled up,
Steph and i looked at each other and went PHEW!!!!!
Can’t believe we almost missed the plane because… we wanted to buy food.   :xwhatevah:

What a close one.
What dismay if we had missed our holiday flight!
Thank you Holiday Godddddd

Initially my regular 4 girls and i were planning to go to Laos.
But Aps had a wedding to attend.
Cammy accidentally bought tix to Paris for her pre-wedding holiday with Kenny.
And Dhanya has to rehearse for Dreamgirls (showing in Istana Budaya next month!)
Then there were two – Steph and i.
We decided to invite Tianna and Jess along with us,
which was perfect cos they were looking for somewhere to holiday at too.

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Brief history of Vientiane:
11th-12th Century – Laos and Thais migrating from Southern China settle in area
1354 – was important administrative city in  the kingdom of Lan Xang
1563 – made  capital of Lan Xang to avoid Burmese invasion
1707 – Lan Xang fell apart, Vientiane became an independent kingdom
1779 – conquered by Siam
1827 – Vientiane was looted and burned to the ground by Siamese armies
1893 – under French rule, became capital in Laos. They rebuilt the city and temples, and left colonial buildings behind.
1953-75 – Laotian Civil War broke out.
1975 – Vientiane achieved liberation.
[source]

Our plan was to explore Vientiane for one full day,
before moving on to Vang Vieng for 4 nights.

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Vientiane is a pretty small city,
and one can easily explore most of it via cycling for a day before moving on to other areas in Laos.

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We stayed at Avalon Hotel
a bit further from the Mekong river cos it’s cheaper
and not that big a difference to us anyway.

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We landed in the evening, and after washing up at the hotel,
ventured out to find dinner yay!

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We were so lucky to stumble upon a local night market.
The best and cheapest introduction to Laotian food!

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Grilled rice patties

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Pork noodles

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I got weirded out by how they twisted the chickens in the soup…

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Laos food is pretty similar to Thai and Vietnamese food (yums!)
Well they are all in the same region…
pork / beef soup noodles, sticky rice, fresh veggies on the side…
one thing they have around a lot more are soups.
We got huge bowls of fish soup for RM4 a bowl (had to share it, was too big!)

Walked further down the market after dinner,
and discovered there was a funfair going on!

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Was a lot bigger IRL

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I love that Laos is not ageist like Jakarta!
They allowed the 4 of us big monsters to enter the play area for 5,000 kip / RM2 each!
Not many pictures cos i kept my camera to jump around   :xlaughing:

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Next morning we rented bikes for really cheap
(i love Laos! Everything is cheap!)

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We were so excited when we all got on our bikes that we started singing Queen’s Bicycle

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Maurice my mouse sat with me

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Went to potter about the local market

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Love the traditional stitching of animals on large cloths

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I had extra toy cars in my bag from Sri Lanka,
so handed them over to these two boys…

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I didn’t go near them much cos they had snot running out of their noses.
Unless its snot that holds my genes, i’m not wiping it…  :xsilly:

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Waiting for lunch – Maurice with all our new toys from the market!

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Tianna’s Ducky and my Wilson

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Alcohol in Laos is cheappppp.
Don’t bother buying any in the airport!
A big bottle of Beerlao can be as low as 8,000 kip  / RM3 !!!

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The necklace below caught my eye as we were cycling past the shop,
so i rang the bell to make everyone stop cos i wanted to have a looksee

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I would’ve bought the necklace if it wasn’t so huge,
the ring could fit TWO of my necks!

That shop turned out to be a great stop!
We all got little antique trinkets and accessories.
I got some great authentic Hmong tribe bangles and necklace i can wear to events  :xlaughing:  
(for cheaper than anywhere else in Laos, as we discovered later)
Everyone bought something and congratulated me on my shopping radar.

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Next door was a shop where Steph and Tianna tried to bargain for hairpins

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After all that hot cycling, Ti and i went for a massage (RM40 an hour)
which was well worth the money.
When the lady was done and walked away,
a voice in my head went no! where are you going? come back!

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It rained while we had our massage.
Yummy smells all around.

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I got hungry between lunch and dinner (as i always do…)
so the girls stopped to teman me makan.

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These noodles with fried pork skin was amazingggg

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The spiderweb of telephone lines are just as intriguingly messy as Chiang Mai

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Returning the bikes

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We had dinner at Khop Chai Deu Restaurant & Bar,
a 10-year-old restaurant set in an old French colonial villa.
The fact that it was filled with locals assured us there was good food!

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I had this massive meal called Laos Discovery:

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A big plate of mince chicken with fresh herbs (lower right),
big bowl of sour fish soup (square bowl in middle),
sticky rice (next to soup),
green papaya salad (lower left),
green rice jelly on crushed ice (dessert came later),
and local Laolao whiskey.

All for 75,000 kip / RM26

The girls helped me with the soup,
but i think i whacked most of the rest myself…

After breakfast of toast, eggs and fruit,
lunch of green curry chicken and rice,
tea of pork noodle soup,
and a dinner like that,
i definitely overate on my first day of holiday   :xwhatevah:

I was holding my tummy while walking home thinking
now i get it why pregnant people hold their stomachs!
IT DOES HELP to hold up the extra weight!

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