Jan 19. to Jan 21.
I spend my birthday this year in Vang Vieng with a motorbike I rented for 5 days. I really enjoy riding the 150cc Hongga dirt bike (Chinese brand). My birthday present is a little bird I find trapped in an evil bird trap in the jungle – an about 10m wide nylon net put over a river. I destroy 5 more such nets on the way back and when I ask my host about it in the evening he says “This is our culture! You want some monkey soup?” Either he tells me that the nets are controlled once a day anyway so the worst the birds have to suffer for 24 hours. People here seem to be as much Buddhist as IS in Syria seem to be muslims – not at all!
Next day morning I jump on the bike to ride to Luang Prabang wich is less than 100km north but at least 190km on the road. I choose to take the longer way going there which is about 250 leading over some mountain passes taking me up to 1500m above sealevel several times – its fucking freezing on the bike. The road is pretty mindblowing amazing – one curve follows the next so my average speed is a little below 50 on the small bike. The battery charger of the bike has a problem and I recognize in the evening I have no lights. I did this one time in the Himalayas on my Enfield and I promised myself never to do it again. Riding mountain roads full of bump holes left hand side a wall right hand side an abyss in the dark without light is not funny!
I manage to get down the last pass and find the first guesthouse after 100km just as the last light is fading. I am freezing like a tiger in the arctic when I discover a huge 25l bucket in the bathroom. The water heaters here only produce a small amount of water at a time so it is not really enough to have a satisfying hot shower (the more water the colder it is). I slowly fill up the bucket with nearby boiling water to have the best bucket shower ever in my life. I love bucket showers but a 25l bucket is enough to heat up the whole body. After showering I go to the restaurant next door to get some food. This is, even though only 25km away from Luang Prabang an absolute not touristic area. The food is spicy as hell and I only get Sticks to eat it. I never had such spicy food before – not even that one time at the Indian highway when the chef wanted to fuck me and made something for me that he didn’t even touch when I asked him to show me that he is eating this. Locals have several good laughs at me sweating like a waterfall and still trying to eat with sticks. After I have eaten a quarter they have compassion and give me a spoon. Still I can only eat half of it as it is just too hot. After food I make a little walk through the village and get the best shave all over southeastasia from a very cute girl. Enjoy!
Next day I go to touristic Luang Prabang but I promise myself to do my best to be back here in the evening. After breakfast and massage (my shoulders desperately need one after the cool bike ride) I ride 25 more km to the Tat Kuang Si Falls. Arriving there I pass a butterfly park 300m before the car park at the waterfall. I am asked to pay for parking at the waterfall so I turn around to park the bike at the butterfly park. The small park is run by a dutch couple who created an amazingly beautiful place here. I enjoy the park a lot, try a fish spa (for free once inside) for the first time as I see fish that are well kept for the first time. Its amazing! Ineke has great coffee and cake for me and even some time for a little chat. When I look at my watch I realize I had spend way too much time here already (not enough still) and hurry up to go to the waterfall. For the first time in Laos I have the feeling the admission fee for waterfall and butterfly park is well invested. The butterfly park is amazing anyway and at the waterfall area they take care of bears rescued from poachers. The waterfall itself is incredibly beautiful with all the blue pools and nice cascade. The main fall is just breathtaking (but no swimming here). I take a quick shower in one of the small cascades and then have to hurry already to get back to the guesthouse in time. After another very hot shower I have another very hot meal and again everyone is laughing about the waterfall that springs from my face. I love this tiny village – here and at the Butterfly park I feel real hospitality not only for the money for the first time after I left Bangkok.