For those Laos purists who are scoffing at us for barely having left Luang Prabang, let us reassure you we did venture out into the stunning countryside for day trips. This included day treks, river cruising, kayaking and a disappointing elephant 'trek'. Tours in Asia rarely live up to their billing. Customer safety and satisfaction don't always seem as important as cranking out bodies.
With the elephants, we sensed they weren't especially well treated---it seemed like monotonous pony riding for them. But neither of us had done it before. We have few pictures of it because we tipped over in our kayak on the Mekong River, losing a minor fortune in clothing, stashed cash, sandals, misc. Our fault for not storing everything in the dry bag, but the river had been serene until an unforeseen series of eddys. Of course our guide was nowhere to be seen. Another kayak attempted a rescue but they too tanked. We learned that this is a common occurence among tourists. We were given no instruction, support, or heads up. The kayak would be fine if we were paddling in an oversized swimming pool.
The water pulled us apart as we watched our valueables float away. They weren't anything that couldn't be replaced and no one was hurt. Eventually we righted the kayak, and the guide pulled Trish who drifted off but, was super cool throughout, to shore.
Had we been anywhere less blissful, had we not had 2 superb weeks in a row, had we not been without a few short weeks home, we might've been more upset. Just another priceless memory. By the way, did we mention how much WE LOVED LUANG PRABANG?
Last shots of Luang Prabang:
Kuang Si waterfall:
(elephant skin is like tough old leather, with thick prickly hairs)
Seaweed farming (the seaweed is dried, and sold to be fried as a snack):
Sunset on the Mekong River:
Kayaking the Nam Ou River:
Next: Chiang Mai, Thailand