It’s been a hot minute since I shared some of my travels, so I thought I’d recap what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks.
In early December, I started travelling throughout Laos with my best friend and two other friends. We started in Vientiane, which is super chilled.
There are a couple of tourist sights but we mostly just had massages and ate some good food.
We learned about all of the unexploded bombies in the country. I had no idea that Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world. From 1964 to 1973, during the Vietnam War, there were 580,000 bombing missions – equivalent to one mission every eight minutes for nine years straight. 30 per cent of the bombies (around 80 million) failed to detonate, and most are still out there. It’s pretty scary stuff!
I can handle my spices pretty well (I have been known to eat whole chillies and snort wasabi, haha) but Laotian food is probably the spiciest food I’ve ever eaten. One night, the food was so spicy we all had tears running down our faces and couldn’t actually finish the meal.
Food highlights in Viantiane were Naked Espresso, a totally hipster and western coffee shop…
…. and La Patisserie de Jeremy, an incredible bakery that seemed straight out of Paris. We went back every day.
Most tourists go to Vang Vieng, as that’s where the parties are. We all went too hard on our first night and were complete wastes of space for the rest of the time there.
We went tubing one day, which led to me unfortunately contracting a parasite. I must have had a cut somewhere on my body, and I was exposed to the parasite by entering fresh water. For the rest of the trip, I had itchy skin, a fever and an upset stomach, but I just put it down to the usual joys of travelling in Southeast Asia.
The day we left Bangkok I noticed I had two nasty gashes on my leg, and the following day I developed one on my mouth. I saw a doctor but there’s nothing they can really do for another six weeks at so, when the parasite will start laying eggs in my liver. Lovely! Treatment can take anywhere from a few months to a few years (!) and I still have a horrible infection on my face. It’s just my luck that it happened to me and none of my friends!
We found an awesome burger place there called Whopping Burger. That cured everything.
Then, we headed to Luang Prabang. My bestie and I were chucking our guts up the whole bus journey. Later that evening, when we were walking through a food market, I looked at a mango – of all things! – and it set me off again!
Luckily, I got over it and was able to enjoy lots of yummy market food. A whole fish was $3!
I was pleasantly surprised by how cheap everything was in Laos. An hour massage is about US$7 and a meal for four is about US$20.
We all got hooked on these chocolate and banana pancakes that were soaked in oil and fried in butter. Mmm.
We also went to the Tad Sae waterfall. It was beautiful but too cold for swimming!
One of our friends bid us farewell in Laos, and the remaining three of us flew over to Bangkok. Clearly, we didn’t learn our lesson the first time, as we went too hard on the night we arrived.
We were staying in a beautiful, insanely cheap brand new hotel. It was still partly under construction, which meant I woke up to someone drilling the wall next to me, when I was dealing with what was possibly the worst hangover of my life. I lay on the floor of the shower, actually crying.
Catherine and I got pretty sick after that so the rest of our time in Bangkok was spent getting massages, manicures and pedicures.
We stayed on Khao San road, so right in the very thick of it.
My favourite restaurant was a vegetarian place (!) called Ethos.
Our hotel had a rooftop pool, which was lush in the heat.
We went to a Thai cooking class, which was super fun. It was a lot of food, even for me.
We also had some bomb Indian food.
And loads of coconut ice cream.
The final highlight was buying all this knock-off make-up for less than $50.
It was my first time in Laos and Thailand. I’d definitely go back to Thailand but the whole parasite thing soured my experience in Laos. Oh well. It was not a bad place to spend December, especially considering everyone in Paris is currently freezing their butts off.
Have you ever been to Laos or Thailand? Have you ever done a cooking class?