For many ex-pats, the need to go on a visa run is a simple fact of life. Yes, it can be frustrating and the bus journeys can be a nightmare, but they can be a fun chance to explore a new town for a little while. In Luang Prabang there are loads of ex-pats choosing the best way to renew their visa – often booking a flight into Vietnam or Thailand, or taking the bus down to the the capital, Vientiane, and then hopping over the Friendship Bridge into Thailand, stocking up at the closest 7-11, and then doing the journey in reverse, back over the mountains to Luang Prabang. A less popular route is to take the bus west from Luang Prabang to Chiang Rai, via Huay Xai, which is what we decided to do.
Luang Prabang is a beautiful city, filled with charm and history. It’s no surprise it’s becoming an increasingly popular stop for backpackers and holiday makers. Whilst the small city is flourishing as a result of the increased revenue the tourist industry provides, there is one less desirable side effect: the rising food prices in the area. As the number of people visiting is increasing, so is the cost of food, making it harder and harder to find a backpacker-friendly meal. After spending three months in the former Royal Capital, here are my top 8 cheap eats in Luang Prabang.
Eating local food is amazing, and one of the reasons I love to travel. The flavours, textures and combinations are new and exciting. Every bite is a party in your mouth, and your tongue us the guest of honour. That is until you fast forward a few months, you’ve been eating rice and noodles every day, and those exciting new flavours become boring and repetitive. Let’s be honest, after you’ve been on the road for a while you just want a little taste of home. Perhaps a burger would settle your tongues needs? Well, you’re in luck. After spending three months in the city, here is my list of the best burgers Lugang Prabang has to offer.
As the new year begins, my time in beautiful Luang Prabang is drawing to an end. I am going to miss this special place very much. From the monks that can be seen everywhere and the sound of their drums at four in the afternoon, to cycling around the French colonial buildings that do shabby chic so well, I can hardly think of a thing in this royal city that I won’t miss. Most people that visit here for a few days will remember the monks, their trip to Kuangsi Waterfall, climbing to the top of Mount Phoisi, Utopia and the night market. For me, though, I will remember some of the things most tourists are unaware of, or lack the time to visit. Here are my favourite parts of Luang Prabang, and the city’s best kept secrets.
When I left the UK with a one way ticket to Australia in March 2014, I didn’t know when I would be returning to the UK. I suppose I thought I’d do the standard one year break, and return in March 2015. Looking back now, I know this was not what I wanted. I just didn’t know if long term travel, with no end date at all, was really achievable. With this in mind, here are my blog and travel plans 2015.
First of all, Happy Christmas! I hope you all had a wonderful day, filled with laughter and joy. If, like me, your belly is too full from all the food and booze consumed yesterday, you’ll be looking for indoor activities that require little to no moving. Say, a spot of reading, maybe? If your dreams of 2015’s big adventure are already filling your thoughts, why not take a look at my top 10 travel blogs of 2014 for a little travel inspiration? Warning: reading any of these blogs may result in a sudden urge to book flights to places you’ve never thought to visit, itchy feet and compulsive day dreaming, AKA wanderlust syndrome.
Our journey to Sapa started with an overnight train from Hanoi, and would end back at the same station a week later. Hanoi station is, to say the least, confusing. Corridors seem to end for no reason and some of the platforms seem to lack any access at all. It was one of these platforms that we needed to find a way to. Leaving our bags in a pile with Helen, Graham and I went in opposite directions to try and suss out the way. I could see the train, with crowds of people loading their bags and finding their carriage: the normal bustle that surrounds a train as it readies for departure, with the addition of chaos that seems to come free with anything in Vietnam. Looking at my watch in desperation, I followed a Vietnamese man rushing to the end the platform I was on, though there was nothing at the end. Which I knew as I’d looked twice already. I watched him as he checked for trains, hopped onto the tracks and across to the other side, arriving at the platform we needed. Hello, Vietnamese shining health and safety considerations, I thought as I rounded the others and we followed the man’s unconventional route.
Travellers are a hard bunch to buy for, whether you are trying to send them something from home or if you’re with them on the road. In Part 1 and Part 2 of my complete guide to Christmas presents for travellers I shared some ideas about presents to send to you friends and family on the road. Here, I’m going to share 6 easy and inexpensive DIY projects any traveller can make and give as presents this Christmas.