After two fantastic weeks on my Tucan Travel tour around South East Asia I have put together a list of my top insights in to Laos.
1) It is not as scary as you thought it would be.
Before getting on the plane, I was starting to get nervous. I was heading into what felt like the unknown having never travelled this far before! I ensured I had every safety measure covered including having the correct jabs and worrying about the ones I didn’t have! I soon realised that I felt safer in Thailand and Laos than in London. In fact there were times, mainly after a few beers in Laos that I felt safer.
2) Because today’s snacks are too mainstream, try something new!
Before I left for my trip, I was asked what kind of things I wanted to experience. My main aim was to try as much streetfood as possible including indulging in the insect delicacies. After a few drinks for dutch courage, I tried a scorpion. Some of the others in the group were more adventurous trying cockroaches and crickets. However I found the scorpion to be quite filling tasting a bit like very crunchy chicken skin!
3) Haggling in the Vientiane Markets
After only three days on the tour, I ran out of space on my memory card. I made the cardinal sin of photography by not packing a spare. I set off to look for a shop where I could buy a new card. I tried all of the iPhone shops, Samsung shops, but with no luck.
That night we went to explore the famous night markets of Vientiane. Casually looking at all of the stalls I spotted a tech stall which happened to sell memory cards in all different shapes and sizes. Finding the perfect fit I asked for the vendors best price.
I was told the 8GB costs 150,000 kip which is roughly about £11.10. I knew from having a quick look on my phone that they cost about £5 in the UK and this is what I offered.
The salesman started laughing at the offer and I began to walk away. Thankfully he called me back. At this price I bought two. I really recommend haggling in at these kind of markets regardless of whether you are on a tight budget or not.
4) My favorite place, the Blue Lagoon Vang Vieng
I was expecting the Blue Lagoon to be a quiet and tranquil place with not many people around. Wow was I wrong. When we pulled up in the tuk tuk, it was like ‘Spring Break’ . There were people of all ages enjoying the atmosphere.
Everyone seemed relaxed and to be having a great time. The tree swing was in full use and impressively people were back flipping off the top branch of the tree.
I had to have a go. I tried to convince myself that it’s not that high and when you climb the steep rickety ladder to the top you know all eyes are on you along with cameras. Luckily Scott, our Tour Leader was in front of me. When we stood at the top, my legs turned to jelly. At Scott’s jump, the tree branch began shaking as much as my legs. I slowly walked further to where Scott was standing, thinking why am I doing this? . I heard people screaming Three, Two, One and with that I jumped… I slammed in to the water. It was such an adrenaline rush I didn’t really feel it until the group pointed out how red my legs were!