After spending a month in Thailand then heading into Laos we knew we would be going back to stay in Thailand for more than a couple months so we figured it’ll be best to apply for a longer visa than the regular “30 days on arrival” you usually get when entering the country.
This meant applying for a Double Entry 60-day Tourist Visa. This visa can only be obtained outside of Thailand and, for us, the easiest place to get it was in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.
When looking at the options to get from Chiang Mai in Thailand to Luang Prabang in Laos we weren’t keen to spend 2 full days on the Mekong river taking the usual 3 day/2 night option via the busy Chiang Khong/Huay Xai border crossing so when, by chance, we passed a tour operator with a notice of a 2 day/1 night option to get to Luang Prabang which was also slightly cheaper at 1750Bhat (about £30) and only spends one day on the river. This is a new route option which goes through the Thai/Laotian border crossing of Huaikone (or as it’s spelt on Google Maps – Huai Kon) and Muang Nguen (or Nam Ngen on Google). The package included all transfers, private en-suite accommodation and breakfast. OK cool, let’s go!
As with our travel motto from the start we’ve never made plans for where to go next on this journey, we’re still continuing to find new places on the advices from the people we meet on the road. This way of travelling has liberated us from all the pre-planning stress including arranging accommodation/bus/train tickets etc. We just turn up at a bus/train station on the day of travelling and book the next available seats to our next destination. Sure, sometimes this attitude has lead us to not so great transportation/accommodation options due to high season or demand but we have managed OK so far and end up having the most amazing memories regardless. So, the latest of these journeys was our last minute purchase of the train tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai which put us on a slow sleeper train that took 18hrs to arrive (instead of 16!). It was a long, exhausting train journey but later we agreed it was well worth the journey for what we experienced in Chiang Mai after our three weeks there…
We took a slight detour from our plans to go to South East Asia and both headed home for a month to spend some time with our families after our South American adventure. This was a both a good and a bad thing; good because we were able to spend some downtime with the folks, get in a lot of home cooked meals and try digest what we had been thorough during those incredible 5 months through the fascinating continent that is South America; bad because you quickly become comfortable in your own bed and forget that soon you’ll be back on the road always alert, always wondering where you’ll be sleeping that night or even when your next meal will be. I think I miss my parent’s fridge more than anything… but then you start packing again and that über excitement comes back and before we knew it we were back in London for a crazy weekend with mates then on a plane to Bangkok for the beginning of the SE Asia leg of our round the world trip!
Feeling fresh, clean shaven and prepared for Bangkok is one thing but without ever visiting this city before one can never be fully prepared for what it’s really like. And I loved it!