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Temples, buckets & bus rides

Siem Reap to Vang Vieng

Our original itinerary had us back in Vietnam right now, travelling up from the central highlands to Hanoi, but after hearing too many exciting stories about Vang Vieng in Laos – a backpackers party town in the middle of the mountains, where you go tubing down the river, drink at the floating bars along the way and listen to top 40 tunes on repeat (:S)… we decided to make a change of plans.

From Siem Reap we caught yet another nightmarish bus trip to Bangkok. It seems they sell bulk tickets without actually having enough seats for bums and just cram people in where ever they can fit them to save on taking multiple bus loads. By the time there were about 25 backpackers left to board, the first bus was completely filled. We were told there would be a second bus if we waited, which we were happy to do, however they tried to insist we put our baggage on the first bus and meet it at the border, (no way!). Frustrated by our lack of cooperation they started bringing out little plastic chairs trying to get people to take a chair each and pile in down the aisle for the next 8 hours! After little cooperation from most, (seeing as the second bus was already there and ready for us to board), they sent the first busload on their way and sent the extra bus away also telling us if we didn’t want to get on the first bus then there would be no bus for us!
We sat for about an hour ‘in punishment’ before they finally brought the second bus back and we were able to board and get going. Finally we were on the road to Bangkok, expecting the journey to take about 7-8 hours, which it may have come close to if we didn’t have to make a “15 minutes” rest stop every hour at the drivers mothers, sisters, brothers, great uncle’s (you get the picture) shop. In total the anticipated 7-8 hour journey was stretched over an uncomfortable 11 hours.

Finally we arrived in Bangkok though where we spent the next couple nights drinking buckets on Khaosan Road, meeting locals, staying out partying with them until the very wee hours of the morning and waking up nursing pretty horrid hangovers.


Next stop was Vang Vieng. After almost 21 hours in transit consisting of a tuk tuk ride, overnight train, another tuk tuk ride, short bus trip, yet another tuk tuk and a mini van, we made it here ready for some tubing fun :-) It was a little chilly and overcast yesterday (I actually brought out the cardi), so we were babies and decided to spend the day lazing with a couple drinks in the hammock on the balcony of our BUNGALOW (yes that’s right – amazing! And for only $10 a night too!). The clouds seemed to have cleared today and the suns shining a little brighter – perfect tubing weather! Woohoo.


….Backtracking a little bit to Siem Reap . We visited some of the ancient temples, including Angkor Wat at sunrise – beautiful, and the temple of which Tomb Raider was filmed. Some of them were incredibly fascinating with their intricate carvings or structures that had long since been reclaimed by the jungle. We had a few chill out days spent by the pool or wandering through the streets of the Old Town. Made friends with a few more locals, one of which took us to the local night markets where we had a picnic out on the streets, eating cow off the spit, or crickets for the adventurous.. (of course Joel). The locals eat the crickets as if they are peanuts… each to their own haha. We hit up one of the clubs one night with a few English people we met over dinner, drinking a copious amount of liquor (well me at least) and feeling pretty sorry and sore for it next day.


Of course the next day happened to be our last day in SR, and we had planned to visit another temple about 4 hours out of town directly on the Cambodian/Thailand border. The temple, owned by Cambodia has been the center of dispute for years now with the Thai claiming it to be rightfully theirs and fighting over it for years. The Thai were even bombing the area only 2 months ago ..crazy.. so we decided we had to check it out. That said, I was regretting the decision as soon as I got my sorry and sore hungover self on the mini bus and embarked on the 4 hour long journey to the border. I struggled through however (with only one small spew), and it was definitely worth it! The temple is set on the top of a high mountain with spectacular 360 degree views overlooking Cambodia on one side and Thailand on the other.



Posted by Joel-Renee 21:01 Archived in Laos

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i swear your stories get more and more exciting as the weeks go by. This all sounds so amazing!
and the photos are fabulous too!!! i'm sooo jealous of you both xx

by Kaleigh

Loveing all the stories, photos and the very way you guys tell them...keep them coming.. xx

by Joanne

i agree with kaleigh!! definately more exciting!!!

by kimtyack

Thanks guys :)
We really are having a great time.. and it's only getting better the more we experience!

by Joel-Renee

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