Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Merempat Trip Part 4. Luang Prabang and Lao-Thai Border

7th July 2018

If you have read my previous post here. (click to read) We decided to go with minivan from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang since they said its faster than bus. And it was proven to be right since it was super fast that if you have faint of heart, i wont encourgae you to go with the minivan. Trust me, the road is not very good but the driver was super reckless that i feel like i'll have a heart attack soon.

Btw we arrived at Luang Prabang around 7pm and was dropped infront of the night market. We booked the guesthouse earlier on Agoda and we manage to get cheap guesthouse with breakfast and a walkable distance to the night market and Mount Phousi as well (we have a plan to hike early morning tomorrow. Again! yes. hihi). However, the Agoda gave us the wrong location that it took us about an hour to find the supposed to be 8 minutes walk guesthouse. What make it worst is that, non of the local actually know the exact location of the guesthousebecause tried asking the local around and they end up showing us the wrong guesthouse. Finally we met this uncle who also bring us to the wrong guesthouse but the guesthouse he pointed is actually just next to our real guesthouse. YEY!

The Guesthouse: Villa THony1 Guesthouse1

The guesthouse is an old guesthouse with private old toilet and old bedsheet and everything is old actually. Good news is, it was clean so we don't really mind. The owner was very friendly and there's wifi too plus the guesthouse included breakfast so it was pretty cool (to be honest i'm not really picky about where i sleep as long as the owner is friendly and easy to talk to). And we met Marco who live next door and he's been living there for 6 months! He said it was a cheap guesthouse with nice breakfast!

8th July 2018

I woke up at 5 am that morning to get ready because we plan to go hiking at Mt. Phousi but it was raining badly and its so cold too. With a sad heart we decided to forget about the hike and go back to sleep. So, we don't really get to see mt.Phousi. a lot of our plan in Luang Prabang was cancelled due to weather.  We woke up again at 7 and its still raining but we went to order breakfast anyway with the hope that the rain will soon stop. At the same time i read it through the internet that duirng raining season the falls could flood and its not goona be turquoise but brown. Unfortunately July is raining season for Laos. All these things really discourage me to go to the falls actually. We talk about it and Stacy said she will agree with all of my decision so i was thinking at the balcony while praying for the rain to stop. suddenly, Marco who just wake up came out and we had a little chat. So, i asked him if the falls are going to be flood in that kind of weather and he said "No, i don't think its gonna be flooded. Its just that you might not gonna be able to swim there because it's gonna be so cold". So it give me a lit of light to go with our plan A. So i told stacy to get ready because we are going to the waterfall in that rain. lol. At 10 am, the rain seems to stop for a while and then it was raining and after a few minutes but we went out anyway. As soon as we reach the main road, there's the tuk-tuk waiting offering us 200KIP/return trip but we can't afford that so he then settle for 160 kip=rm80/return trip and he also promise to drive us to the terminal after we're done with the falls. 

The Kuangsi Falls. 

After an hour on the tuk-tuk finally reach the falls and thank God its there's no flood! Upon arriving we were greeted by the cute bears at the Bear Rescue centre and we spend a few minutes there before headed to the falls. 
The falls is just magnificient exactly like you see in google photo if you type "Kuangsi Falls". 
However some of the falls area is sacred that we can't swim there. But there are plenty of beautiful area where we can dip ourselves. 
meet the bears

Most of the tourist just came to take picture and then left because of the rain but i still wanna go swimming in the turquoise water so... yes i happily dip myself into the cold beautiful falls and swim excitedly.  Too excited that, Stacy finally gave up and decided to join the excitement. lol.

hepp. Ada katak melompat!

After an hour or two, it was still raining and we are getting cold, so we decided that its time to go back home. But on the way to Luang Prabang the sun shines so brightly so we feel betrayed by the sun! Ceh! mau balik baru ada matahari. 

The Bus to Laos-Thai Border. 

Just like Vientiane, there are 2 bus station in Luang Prabang, Northern and Southern bus station. 
Initially, we wanted to buy bus ticket from Luang Prabang straight to Chiang Rai. So, the uncle promise to take us to the Southern Bus station which is near to our guesthouse. The uncle really did send us to the Southern bus station before we headed to the falls but we were told by the worker there that there is no bus to Chiang Rai that day. Turn out that bus is not operating everyday, only on certain day. If i'm not mistaken its on Tuesday and Friday. It was sunday that day and we don't want to spend 2 days in Luang Prabang so we must go to Chiang Rai today. So, i asked the lady at counter if there's any way we can go to Thailand border that night. She suggested us to go to the Northern bus station and buy night bus ticket to Bokeo (Laos border). I told the uncle driver that we wanted to go buy ticket first but he promise to take us to the Northen bus station after we came back from the falls. 

Of course trusted him so after we arrived Luang Prabang from the falls the uncle suddenly stop somewhere in the city. He then told us that he cannot go to the Northern bus station because its so far from the town like 10km and ask us to pay him 200 kip if we want to go to the bus station. Such a bluff! i didn't trust him because i googled it before and i remember its not so far from the city. So i took out my google map and guess what? its only 3 km form where he stop. Like only 5 minutes drive! He just want us to pay more. After bargaining with him, we finally decided to pay him 180 kip but with a condition. He need to send us to our guesthouse first because we wanted to get our backpack. That's when i realize that internet is essential if you are planning to use local bus to avoid being scammed.

We were lucky because there are plenty of seat on the 6pm sleeping bus for 130kip/person/. We arrive at the bus station at 3pm and we decided not to go anywhere and just stay there until 6pm (Because we don't want to get cheated again)
the Laoian sticky rice is a bit hard but nice! i finish mine. Minta tambah lagi.

The best way to go to Chiang Rai from Luang Prabang?

I wanted to share this because, i can't really find the info about this via online before. The cheapest way to travel Luang Prabang to Chiang Rai is via bus. i tried the airlines and the cheapest i got is RM400/person=usd100. Being a cheapskate, we couldn't afford that! So, i decided that we should take the straight bus from Luang Prabang to Chiang Rai which will take about 16 hours! 

But then i think we are really lucky that there's no straight operating bus that day. Because as i remember from my reading way before our trip, the bus from Luang Prabang to Chiang Rai is not a sleeping bus. It's a reclining seated bus. That's mean you'll have to seat for 15-16 hours.  Here's the post i read Luang Prabang - Chiang Rai via night bus . But Luang-Prabang to Bokeo bus is a sleeping bus. Even better than the bus we took from Hanoi to Laos! Like a very comfortable one compare to the bus i saw in that post. When you reach the Bokeo bus station there will be Tuk-tuk waiting to tranfer you'll to the border for 12kip/person. And then after you cross the border. There are plenty of bus to the Chiang Rai you can choose and 3 hours later, wa-la, you're in Chiang Rai! The cost is even cheaper than the straight bus but of course the only cons is that you gonna have to transfer from one bus to another a few times but we don't really have problem with taht since we both only have small backpack but then again if i have more backpack i think i'd rather do that for a good sleep on the bus! hehe. 
Sleeping bus to Bokeo

9th July 2018.

That morning we arrive at the Lao Border around 7pm and we went to the Lao counter as soon as possible. unlike the Vietnam-Laos border, its more modern here and not crowded.

The Double stamp.

We almost got into trouble while crossing the Laos border to Thailand. When the Laoian officer ( If i remember correctly, his name is Oriavanth Panyathong) checked my passport he claimed that i have 2 entrance stamp from the Viet-Lao border!
Gosh! i did checked it before leaving the Viet-Lao border and i though everything is okay but the second stamp is not with the vietnam stamp, its on the previous page. Lol.( tidak terfikir la pula sy mau cek page-page sebelum ni sebab ada stamp sudah di page yang last bah) so, i was like wtf? when did the officer stamp two page of my passport? Both of us got panicked when the officer told us that we cannot cross the border. So,we tried begging the officer to cancelled the stamp. We told the officer that the stamp has the same date and there's no way i could've enter Laos two times at the same date! Then the officer said he cannot help and said we need to go back to the Viet-Lao border to cancel the stamp which took more than12 hours on the bus! The officer told us to wait since there are other people lining up.

After some time he call us again and said he cannot help but then he told us to wait again as he go and ask his bos. Then he came back with good and bad news.

1. He can help us to cancel the stamp
2.with condition that we need to pay him money.

so, i asked him how much money we need to pay because i thought that it was some kind of procedure. Then he asked "How much do you have?". Both of us look each other. that point we already know that he is asking us to bribe him. We said we are willing to pay for 100 baht but he was like laughing and then asked for 50USD=RM200=1600BAHT.  But we explained to him that we don't have much money. we can only pay him 1000 baht at most. Initially he refuse but after a while, he finally agree with the amount.

I feel a bit angry and annoyed at that time but now that i think again, part of it was my fault. i should've checked all the pages of my passport. so, LESSON LEARNED.


We arrived Chiang Rai around 10am and i'll blog about Chiang Rai in my next post.

s o p h i e l o u i e

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