Amazing Laos (Part 3)

Adventure, laos, Luang Prabang, YouTube

Luang Prabang

Our final destination in Laos was Luang Prabang. A very laid back town which used to be the capital of Laos. Rich with buddhism culture and it is very common to see monks here.

Check out our Luang Prabang video here Luang Prabang

Ban Xang Hai (Whiskey Village)

  • About 45 minutes bike ride from Luang Prabang.
  • Bike rent cost around 100,000 Kip (USD 12 / MYR 54).
  • You could take a slow boat tour from Luang Prabang.
  • Villagers normally sell local made silk, home made alcohol (Lao Lao) and various alcohol medicine with snakes, lizards and scorpions in it.
  • You can easily Waze (GPS Apps) yourself here.
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Aerial View of Ban Xiang Hai Village (Whiskey Village) 

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Mekong River 

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Kid from the village. 

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Slow Boat

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Michelle 

Elephant Sanctuary

  • Take another 15 minutes ride up north from the village, you will find an Elephant Sanctuary.
  • We plan to visit it at first but then we came across few elephants with their caretaker while on our way.
  • They allowed us to take picture with them and have a closer look at the elephant.
  • Basically, we get to see these elephants for free.
  • Elephant Sanctuary Tour would cost a lot here in Luang Prabang depends on your activties. The price can go up to USD150 per person.
  • REMINDER : DO NOT RIDE THE ELEPHANT
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Road to Elephant Sanctuary. 

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Khun, the elephant. 

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Shandra 

 

Mount Phousi

  • People normally come here for sunset & sunrise view.
  • It cost 20,000 Kip (USD 2.50 / MYR 10) for the entrance fee.
  • Do come early if you want to have good sunset view spot.
  • Normally it will get crowded during sunset.
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Golden Wat Phousi

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Instagrammable Spot. 

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Sunset View 

Ban Xang Khong (Crafts Centre)

  • About 20 minutes ride from Luang Prabang.
  • Entrance is free.
  • You could go behind the handicraft shop and witness various local craft handmade by these talented Laotian.
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Paper Making (Handmade) 

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Different type of silk. 

Kuang Si Waterfall

  • About an hour bike journey to this amazing waterfall.
  • Cost 20,000 Kip for entrance (USD 2.50 / MYR 10).
  • The Sunbear rescue centre included.
  • There are plenty waterfall section but only the lower portion of it that open for public to swim.
  • You could trek up to the top of the waterfall for about 25 minutes.
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Road to Kuang Si Waterfall. 

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Entrance for Kuang Si Waterfall

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Kuang Si Waterfall Map. 

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Sun Bear Rescue Centre. 

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Picture Perfect Instagram 

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Kuang Si Waterfall. 

 

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Top of Kuang Si Waterfall. 

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Local Kid

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Kiddo from the village. 

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Harvested Paddy Field. 

Monk School

  • We came across these monk school nearby the bamboo bridges at Nam Khan river.
  • Decided to have a peek at their school.

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Bamboo Bridges at Nam Khan River (5000 Kip / USD 0.60 / MYR 2.3)

Night Market

  • Always bargain for the best price.
  • There plenty of local goods for sale here.
  • Skip the vegetarian buffet if you love hot and warm food. Unless you are on tight budget, this buffet definitely for you.
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Night Market. 

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Tips when traveling in Luang Prabang

  • Bike Rent normally cost around 100,000 Kip – 120,000 Kip (USD 12 – USD 15 /MYR 54 -MYR 65) per day.
  • One full fuel tank would cost around 30,000 Kip  (USD 4 / MYR 16)
  • There are couple of nice restaurants here in Luang Prabang, I would suggest you to go to Le Cafe Ban Vat Sene for breakfast, brunch or lunch and Cafe Toui for dinner. Both restaurant offer excellent Laotian food at a decent price.

 

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Cafe Toui

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Banana Cake Smth Smth. 

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Le Cafe Ban Vat Sene

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Try this! 

  • Look for Laos Trip Advisor. They had tons of information and speak fluent english. They can help you out with your trip in Laos. We are very lucky that they located right beside our guesthouse.
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Laos Trip Advisor. 

  •  
  • We stayed in The World Guesthouse (Newly listed in Airbnb). The place look great and customer services were moderately good. They offered free pick up and drop off to and from airport or the bus station in Luang Prabang. They provide free breakfast as well. However, we encountered very bad experience while sending our laundry here as we got our clothes still moderately wet. We gave it back to them to re-dry but still got it back wet. You can find better laundry services elsewhere in Luang Prabang.
  • Alms Giving Ceremony happen everyday earlier in the day.
  • Do try their Laotian Massage nearby the night market.  Perfect way to end the trip it cost around 60,000 Kip (USD 7 / MYR 30)
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Laotion Massage. 

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Amazing Laos (Part 2)

Adventure, Kayak, laos, Travel, Uncategorized, YouTube, Youtube Channel

Vang Vieng, Laos.

Found out about this place from a travel blogpost by Yoga Wine Travel. Check out Flo’s blog if you wanna travel to Vang Vieng. This is definitely my favorite destination in Laos.

Check my video here to know why What to do in Vang Vieng

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Vang Vieng Aerial View

Mount Pha Ngren Viewpoint

  • 30 – 35 minutes hike to the viewpoint.
  • 10,000 Kip (USD 1 / MYR 5) for the entrance fee.
  • Make sure you have a proper hiking footwear (Goes very rocky towards the summit).
  • Do come here for the sunset view.
  • Enjoy your Tuk Tuk ride (50,000 Kip / USD 6 / MYR 27) to the starting point of Mount Pha Ngren viewpoint. 

 

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Peak of Mount Phangern 

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This is the aerial view of Mount Pha Ngren Viewpoint. If you do not bring any water or snacks along, you can always buy it from the snacks lady on top of Mount Pha Ngren.

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Getting a Guided Adventure Tour in Vang Vieng

  • There are plenty of tour agents here in Vang Vieng.
  • Always compare and bargain the tour price with multiple agents before you make the booking.
  • Buggy ride tour here is a bit costly around USD 50 per ride.
  • We highly recommend this adventure tour agent. (Picture below)
  • This agency run by two brothers and they offered us a cheaper price.
  • We took (Tubing in Than Nam, Elephant Cave, Kayaking in Nam Song River and Blue Lagoon). All these for the price of 100,000 Kip (USD 12 / MYR 54)

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Talk to the owner (The guy with yellow shirt) for lesser price. Very kind and easy going gentleman.

 

One Day Adventure Tour Itinerary

Tubing in Tham Nam (Water Cave)

  • You will get pick up by their Tuk Tuk driver.
  • Journey to Tham Nam (Water Cave) gonna took around 20 minutes drive from Vang Vieng Town.
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Briefing by our local guide, Sai. 

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Walking through villages to Than Nam (Water Cave)

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Water Cave Entry Point (Than Nam)

  • However, we felt that the tubing was a bit rushy as the guide kept asking us to pull the rope along till the end. You will need to paddle yourself on your way out from the cave (Only for a few metres). Water get very shallow at some point and you have to carry your own tube and walk.

Elephant Cave

  • Moderate cave with Elephant lookalike stone wall.
  • If you are not into religious visit, I would suggest you skip this cave. Do not hire a Tuk Tuk just to visit this cave. It’s not worth it.

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Kayaking at Nam Song River

  • Tuk Tuk driver will drive you to this kayak/tubing starting point (About 15 minutes drive).
  • Guide will brief you about basic rules of kayaking (Beginner friendly).
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Kayaking Starting Point 

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Remember to chill here when you do kayaking as plenty of restaurants and bars blasting dance music.

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Locals having fun in the middle of the river. You can literally walk across the river as the water are very low this season.

 

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Michelle & the guides. 

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The views

  • About 45 – 50 minutes kayaking along Nam Song River (You do not have to paddle hard as you will be kayaking with the river streams).
  • Do visit their riverside bars.
  • The view is to die for. (Not literally)
  • Highly recommended
  • Skip tubing (Not as happening as before and lesser bars to party with)

Blue Lagoon

  • One of the most famous tourist spot in Vang Vieng.
  • Blue Turquoise River and icy cold water.
  • It is normal to see flocks of  Korean tourist here (Korean Variety Shows took place here)
  • Get pretty crowded in the late afternoon.
  • If you prefer less crowd,  go to Blue Lagoon 3 ( We did not go there as our time in Vang Vieng was very limited)

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The best part of the tour for me was kayaking along Nam Song River. Ditch the river tubing cause it is not that hype anymore and only couple of bars are open. Finally, we were dropped at our hotel feeling satisfied that late evening.

Cycling along Vang Vieng Countryside

  • We rented bicycles for the day (15,000 Kip / USD 2 / MYR 8)
  • Do ride along the country side because it’s very instagrammble.
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Michelle and her pink ride. 

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Cross this wooden bridge to the other side for free

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Perfect

Tips when travel in Vang Vieng

  • If you are into adventure and nature, please stay here for at least 3 days. You will fall in love with this amazing lively backpackers town.
  • Always compare and bargain tour prices with agent.
  • It might get quite chill if its rain or in the early morning.
  • This place is backpackers heaven.
  • If you love to party, there are several bars that are available. Do check them out in Trip Advisor.
  • Do try their sandwiches (Any streets sandwich vendors will do as they all taste amazing).

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  • We stay at Laos Haven Hotel & Spa. Highly recommended. About 5 minutes walk to Vang Vieng main street.
  • This time, we took the minivan which pick us up directly from our hotel to Luang Prabang. I would suggest you to leave day time because the scenery along the ways is just so breathtaking. The journey was so calming and therapeutic.  Overnight bus would take 8 hrs instead of 4 hrs for normal day time ride.
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That smile is a guarantee. 

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Amazing Laos

Adventure, laos, Uncategorized, Vientiane

Vientiane, Laos.

First leg of my trip in South East Asia started with this very beautiful city. From Kuching, we did overnight in KLIA 2, Kuala Lumpur for our early morning flight to Vientiane.

Vientiane videos on my Youtube Channel (Please subscribe to my channel)

Click Here Vientiane, Laos (Part 1)

Click Here Vientiane, Laos (Part 2)

Patouxay (Landmark)

  • 20 minutes walk from the city centre or  you could take a Tuk Tuk.
  • Do visit early in the day or during evening time as it could get very hot later in the day.
  • 10,000 Kip (USD 1 / MYR 5) to get to the top of the Patouxay.
  • There are plenty souvenir shops on your way up to the top.
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Patouxay (Vientiane City Landmark)

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View from the top of Patouxay

Hat Don Chan Beach

  • Look for this Hat Don Chan Beach (Not exactly a sea side beach but it is by the riverside) when you strolling at the night market.
  • Make sure you come here for the sunset overlooking the border of Thailand right across the Mekong River.
  • Plenty of activities such as paragliding, ATV riding and some aerobics taking places by the riverside.

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Paragliding with beautiful sunset background along the Mekong River.

Temples at Pha That Luang

  • Free Entrance
  • Tuk Tuk ride from City Centre to Pha That Luang cost around 30,000 Kip (USD 4 / MYR16)
  • Pha That Luang located right beside this temple & entrance cost 10,000 Kip (USD 1 / MYR 5)
  • There are plenty of temples around here including a sleeping Buddha statue.
  • Pha That Luang was on renovation when we were there.

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JOMA Bakery Cafe

  • If you love coffee and cakes, this definitely a place for you.
  • JOMA Bakery are very famous for its huge portion of salads and local coffee.

(P/S: We didn’t know until we were in Luang Prabang, that’s why we ordered a burritos)

COPE Centre (Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise)

It’s a visitor centre that educate the public the relation between people with disabilities that got affected by unexploded ordnance (unexploded bombs). US had been dropping millions of bombs from 1960s to 1970s. Many of these cluster bombs still remained in Laos Jungles and had affected the locals.

  • Free Entrance
  • Tuk Tuk from the city centre to COPE Centre cost around 30,000 Kip (USD 4 /MYR 16)
  • Do watch documentaries short provided by the staff here.

Khop Chai Deu Restaurant

  • We came to this restaurant after checking its high review on Trip Advisor.
  • Definitely recommend this restaurant if you wanna try local Laotian food.
  • Remember to ask for less spicy if you are not into spicy food.

Hor Kham (Presidential Palace)

  • Beautiful Presidential Palace right at the traffic light junction.
  • We are not sure whether this place are visitable but the view at night is just amazing.

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Tips when traveling in Vientiane, Laos

  • Always bargain with your Tuk Tuk driver.
  • Ask your hotel staff / locals about the estimated price for the Tuk Tuk ride to your destination.
  • Pricing for the intercity buses varies slightly but it always more expensive to purchase bus tickets at your hotel.
  • They will do pick up for you at the hotel by Tuk Tuk to the bus station (only within 2KM radius)
  • If you plan to go to Vang Vieng or Luang Prabang after visiting Vientiane, there are plenty transportation available. Especially the VIP buses and Minivans. VIP bus cost moderately cheaper than the minivan. I would highly recommend you to take the Minivan instead. We took VIP bus from Vientiane to Vang Vieng. Took us longer than expected as the bus would stopped randomly at some places. Minivans are more comfortable and you will arrive at your destination sooner.
  • We bought VIP bus ticket here (Vientiane to Vang Vieng – 45,000 Kip / USD 6 / MYR 25)
  • We stayed in Hemera Hotel (15 minutes walk to city centre) and walking distance to Patouxay.
  • I would highly recommend this hotel as well. Spacious room, super helpful and friendly staff.
  • There is money changer that right in front of Hemera Hotel that offer higher exchange rate than the rest.

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Email me at lionelbenangchai@gmail.com

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