A Travellerspoint blog

A breathtaking cruise on the Li River

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We had initially planned to stay a few days in Guilin, but we changed our mind after we realized that Guilin is a big city with all the big city inconveniences. Instead, we made a reservation in a retreat on the Li River near the much smaller town of Yangshuo. What a terrific idea we had! The hotel, overlooking the Li River was fantastic, we had amazing views of the karsts mountains on the other side, and a wonderful beach just a few minutes away. Very relaxing. The next day, we booked a cruise on the Li River, on a motorized bamboo raft boat. It was superb, absolutely on the same league as Halong Bay. Matthias and Oscar engaged in water gun fights with the Chinese tourists (at their great delight), we spotted the sight from the back of the 20 Yuan bill and ended this magical trip in the small but scenic village of Xinping.

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Posted by AlainJacq 09:17 Archived in China Comments (0)

A quick stop in Kunming, China

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After leaving Vientiane, we flew to Kunming, the capital of the Yunnan province, where we had a one-night layover, on our way to Guilin (that was the only way to get a decent price on the plane ticket). I am sure Kunming has a lot to offer, but after 10 days at a very slow pace in Laos, this amount of concrete, noise, commotion and traffic was difficult to bear. Fortunately for us, we left the next morning.

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Posted by AlainJacq 07:44 Archived in China Comments (0)

Vientiane, another unexpected but pleasant surprise


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We left Vang Vieng on a private mini-van for a shorter (3.5 hours) but less impressive drive to Vientiane, the capital. We did not expect much from the city but were pleasantly surprised. It's very laid back, clean, quiet but there is a lot to see in terms of culture and temples, shopping or fine dining... in fact a lot of French restaurants, two of which we tried. mostly because they were also advertising brick oven pizza for the kids. We also got lucky with the hotel, with once again a very nice pool... always important because you cannot drag two 8 year old boys in temples or flee markets all morning unless you have something to bargain with. After another 3 relaxing days in Vientiane, it was time to leave Laos for Yuangsho, near Guilin in mainland China, with a 1 night stop ever in Kunming.

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Posted by AlainJacq 08:53 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Hanging out with backpackers in Vang Vieng

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Vang Vieng is an unusual town. It used to be a peaceful village with beautiful views of the Nam Song river and karsts mountains, but backpackers have made it their mecca! The town is full of little restaurants which play reruns of Friends, Family guy or English Premier League. Backpackers lounge there all day, party all night. The biggest attraction is tubing down the Nam Song while stopping at riverside makeshift bars which sell cheap booze. Well Matthias and Oscar were not yet old enough for tubing+booze, and we were probably a bit too old, so we just cooled off in the city, the swimming pool, visited a cave, enjoyed the view. We had some rain, but overall it was very relaxing. Matthias and Oscar loved it because they spent their meal time laying down, eating pizza and watching episodes of Family Man.

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Posted by AlainJacq 19:06 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

The amazing road from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

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Vang Vieng is a small town along the the Nam song river, that is reached from Luang Prabang by a scenic mountain road that turns and turn for 6 or 7 hours. It's a difficult journey if not done in the right conditions, but as someone said in one of my favorite travel forums: it's a journey one must do once in his or her life. Rather than the regular VIP bus, that does not stop when you have motion sickness, we decided to hire a mini-van with a driver. It was well worth the extra money. We stopped many times along the way, saw a lot of fascinating Hmong villages, and at the end of the day, we reached Vang Vieng, which was welcoming us with a nice swimming pool overlooking the Nam Song, and a beautiful sunset.

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Posted by AlainJacq 10:02 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

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