The highlight of our trip in Laos was a day trip of 12 miles of hiking, riding an elephant, and visiting the villages.
We wanted to do something like this in Chiang Mai but didn’t have much time and we had heard that the landscape in Laos is gorgeous; besides we were hanging out with the locals in Chiang Mai and was enjoying ourselves.
I am not sure what company we had gone with but the day before we had looked around the town comparing prices and had settled with one for $45US.
Our day started with us walking to Le Banneton Cafe. Apparently they were known for the best chocolate croissants and according to Jasmine, they were. Our time management was not good and we had to be back at the hostel within 10 minutes and the restaurant was too far. The owner was nice enough to give us a ride. During this 2 minute ride, we learned that the owner grew up in France but moved back to Laos due to family. So for authentic French pastries, check this place out.
It was a private tour and I was thankful for that. Our tour guide spoke English and honestly, I didn’t know we were going on a 12 mile trek through the jungle. I seriously thought it was going to be some easy simple trek. Of course, I brought my hiking shoes for this purpose and ended up wearing my free runs (which I later forget at the hostel :/).
The first half of the tour was pretty much hiking in the country side. Pretty gorgeous.
During our hike away from the city, we saw a different lifestyle for the people that lived out in the country. Homes that were built with just twigs and pieces of wood. Baby cribs made of bamboo, locals barefoot working in the hills to make new rice fields, and more of an elders crowd.
There are three different types of “regions” that each Lao person falls under and we were supposed to see one where its dynasty was more of the farmer life; however, no one was around. After lunch, I actually slept and so did my tour guide. We had our heads down and passed out while Jasmine waiting an hour for us. Ha!
We had sticky rice and steamed fish and vegetarian fried rice. Sticky rice and steamed fish wrapped in banana leaf is a traditional meal in Laos.
A part of the tour was to see beautiful waterfalls and ride elephants around it while they splash water on us. Well, there was no water and no elephants to spray water on us on our hot sunny day. But hey, I got to ride an elephant in the wilderness. That was pretty cool. Several time I thought I was going to fall down. It’s pretty cool, I didn’t know elephants can understand small obedience tricks like dogs.
Ha, I forgot that our tour guide caught this bird and since it was New Year’s, he kept it to give as a gift to his brother in law for driving hours away to his family’s house that night.