Tag Archives: river

World’s longest Underground River

6 Jun
Did I tell you I went to the underground river?

Did I tell you I went to the underground river?

After a shakey ride in my almost private SEAir propeller jet (read here) I arrived in Puerto Princesa – the capital of Palawan Island. One phone call later I had a room in the Banwa Art Guesthouse – a bamboo affair with ethnic art smothered all over the place. Upon arrival the lady of the house told me about their package trips to the world’s longest Underground River, which was on my list of things to visit – so I jumped on the occasion and saved myself the hassle of finding transport and permits and all myself in exchange for 1500 Peso.

Having to be towed to salvation by another boat

Having to be towed to salvation by another boat

The road to the sea-side was only partly sealed – and partly a ‘massage road’… (nice way of putting it). Then was a boat ride to the entrance of the cave, where we changed to a paddle boat with guide (and funky fluorescent orange life vest and helmets) for a ride through stalagmites and tites. The trip on the river was a bit like a pre-recorded message (repetitive jokes inclusive) – but on the way back the engine of our boat broke down, so we were floating on the sea for an hour before another boat came to rescue us.

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Kayaking down to Vientiane

5 Mar
Kayaking into town...

Kayaking into town...

I was on many buses, trucks, boats, cars, mopeds, bikes and planes already, but when I saw it was possible to kayak down the river from Vang Vieng to Vientiane, I definitely wanted to give this a go. It sounded a bit like ‘kayaking to work’ or ‘going shopping by kayak’ – never t-done that before. I basically just signed up in one of the travel agencies (after bargaining the price down to 170000 Kip (17 euro)). Going by bus would be half the price, but this would include lunch, company and fun (sort of).

Having bought into one of these activities also meant that I was going to be thrown together with other people that booked the same trip, which in itself is an interesting experiment. Continue reading

Vulgar Vang Vieng – Tubing or not?

5 Mar
This is tubing - better and lazier than a trek

This is tubing - better and lazier than a trek

I had planned to stay only a two or three days in Luang Prabang, but ended up staying 6 nights. LPB is a very pleasant city, nice to get lost in – and then I met nice people, and lost track of time. I definitely slowed down in my travels, not rushing around anymore. And “Lao PDR” (which stands for ‘please don’t rush’) has a very soothing effect – you just want to take things easy here…

But on the other side there is rough and rowdy Vang Vieng – a magnet for everybody that wants to get high – either on outdoor adrenaline adventures or on booze and happy shakes. Average age probably 22. I was veeeeery skeptical about going there and join in the tubing (see below) or kayaking experience, but then enjoyed it to the max!

Did you ever “tube”?

22 Feb
Ever heard of tubing? Great experience

Ever heard of tubing? Great experience

I’ve only seen this in Laos so far, but it could become a big hit in all countries where the water in the rivers is not toxic or polluted (that probably rules out most of the countries) and preferably warm enough. Basically, tubing is a water activity, in which you take the inner tube of a truck, and get dropped somewhere on a river: you, yourself and your tube. And then you float down the river, till you reach your destination.

What happens between the drop of point and the final destination is basically up to your creativity. You can  Continue reading

Muang Khoa river town

16 Feb
Muang Khoa of all places - besides the river nothing much there

Muang Khoa of all places - besides the river nothing much there

After a bone braking trip in the Songthew, we arrived in Muang Khoa, that is, on the other side of the Nam Ou river, which we had to cross by long tail boat because no bridge available. I just crashed in the first guesthouse I found, overlooking the river and ‘port’ (read ‘improvised cemented boat landing’), with fever. I decided to be my own doctor and wrote me a sick-cert for a few days: no strenuous activities allowed.

Anyway, in the little town, there was not much to do, besides walking up and down the main road (that was being rebuilt – a heaven sent gift – but for the moment it was still a path of rumble) and cross the river over the shaky cable suspension bridge to practice my Lao language skills (limited to Sabaidee at the moment = hello) with the school kids of the village down the other side… Continue reading

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