Tom's Trip to South East Asia

Out of the 'Boat for a few months of tropical travel. No lease, No Dog, No work, No snow, might be the best time of my life to do something extreme. Watch from your office as I soak in sun and culture in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam this mud season.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I arrived in Luang Prabang tonight after three days of travel from Chiang Mai. This city is very relaxed and small and I think might turn out to be one of my favorite stops on my trip. It is an old style French colonial city with temples dating back to the 1500's. I haven't explored much but it has a wonderful feel. No one hassles you at all and my accommodations are cheap, 5 bucks, with clean rooms comfortable beds and western baths including hot water. It is located right off the main strip down a quiet foot and moto lane lined with trees. I just had my first Laos meal, vegetarian Laap, a dish with tofu cilantro, lemongrass and a taste I couldn't identify but reminded me of gorgonzola. It cost 1 dollar as did my tasty Laos beer.

Speaking of food my last day in Chiang Mai was my cooking course. I learned how to make spring rolls, green papaya salad (similar to cucumber), a chicken and basil stir fry which had a good bit of chili heat to it, a medium spicy green curry, pad Thai (fried Thai noodles), and a banana toffee dish. The course was fun and informative, and if your adventurous I'll make some of it for anyone who wants. Chiang Mai was a fun town with a real thainess to it and was a good departing note. Maybe I'll get some more time in Thailand if I don't spend too much time in Laos.

The trip to get here was a long time traveling but not too bad as an experience. The first day we had a mini bus to the border town of Xiang Khong, where we stayed at a packaged guesthouse for the whole bus. The group stayin there was good fun with a bunch of crazy Irish and some fun Canadian girls. Most of us headed out the next morning to cross the Mekong river into Laos and get on the slow boats to Luang Prabang. The boat fit about 75 passengers, mostly falang (foreingers). Our seats were tight but everyone did there best to stay comfortable with constant seat swapping and socializing. One guy had a guitar and entertained the crowd as a couple of the Irish got rowdy on there first taste of Beerlaos, the local brew with a nice taste. That night we stopped just before sundown at a tiny village that seems to exist for the sole purpose of housing boat traffic between Thailand and Luang Prabang. The next day was more of the same on the boat, although I should mention that the scenery made the time well worth every minute. I'll probably stay here at least there days before heading south to Vang Vien. This is the first stop for me that hadn't been booked in Bangkok, so I am on my own schedule now and pleased for it. I'll write again before leaving her as internet is widely available. Pictures forthcoming, no camera with me now and trek pictures failed to upload twice before I gave up.


At 6:05 AM, Blogger mom said...

is hot water a perk?
Your menu sounds a little adventurous, but maybe you could adapt for the less tasty among your family.
Glad to hear your trip continues sucessfully, with good times and interesting people along the way.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

Jack and I love green papaya salad--we discovered it a year or so ago and now get it every time we go to our favorite Thai restaurant. I also love the chicken basil dish, and Jeannie is the pad thai girl. So if the chance ever arises, we'll go for the tasty meal offer! I have read great things about Luang Prabang. Your trip sounds super!


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