Day XX, Laos, Ban Don Chai – FAV

Where we took a leap of faith having found not a single photo of the place on the Internet. Turned out to be an awesome experience. One that could not have been planned.

Local bus ride to Ban Don Chai, the kind where they dump your bags at the top of the mini bus. We arrived early but still didn’t manage to get seats for all.

The plastic seat in the centre which you can read all about on the internet.

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Long and Tam amazed at how I slept on with my head hanging out. Somehow I sleep really well on bus rides 😛

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Was seated next to this local lady who kept tapping my arm then smiling at me. After like 5 times, she finally said hi and to my amazement she spoke English. Perhaps she was trying to figure out if I speak English. Chatted a bit, she’s an English teacher, teaching at Luang Namtha and was going somewhere to visit her sister. Didn’t chat much cause I suck at small talk =X

Checked into the only house in the “village” with it’s own power generator. Which they used for lights for about an our, 7 – 8pm for dinner and we’re back to being in darkness.

Our really simple room. Best sleep ever. Maybe cause it was like completely dark, unlike in Singapore where you hardly get to sleep in complete darkness.

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Where we watched the thunderstorm in complete darkness later on in the night. It was really the best experience ever. Almost exactly like the thunderstorm stage in PVZ, where the lightning struck every few seconds, lighting up the entire area. Ultimate coolness. Sat there in the dark, gave up on candles as the wind was too strong, counting fireflies and singing super old KTV songs, national day songs, nursery rhymes and whatever songs that came to mind. Reminded me of Ophir when the 6 of us squeezed in a tiny tent singing random songs at night. =D

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The view.

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Explored the place a bit. Chased some ducks.

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Ducks crossing the road. Which is what they do all day. Perhaps suicidal? One succeeded but there was no duck meat at dinner.

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Tic tac toe using my charcoal pills

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Being weighed like a piece of meat with RA vcds displayed behind me.20110826-093323.jpg

Village across the road which disappeared completely into the dark.

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Paddy fields and the long and winding road.

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Kids returning home from school.

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Was hanging around the only shop that was open, which also belonged the owner of the “guesthouse” when the female owner invited us to a game of Petang using a limited number of English words.

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Game ended as the sun started to set and we joined a couple of the locals who went to fish for dinner.

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Tam giving fishing a shot.

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Made quacking noises together with the kids as we tried to approach the ducks. Apparently it works.

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Sunset through my sunnies.

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Pro-ness. Guy crossing the river on a bike based on his memory of  a rocky path slightly below the water.20110826-093740.jpg

Superhero poses by the sunset.

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The coolest thing about the meals there is that we didn’t get a choice of food, instead, we would inform them that we would like dinner and ate whatever that was served.

While it doesn’t sound that exciting, it was truly a simple but awesome experience for us, being able to interact with the locals, observe their culture and watch a thunderstorm in the mountains. At this point, we were getting very used to sleeping when the sky turns dark, in complete darkness hugging a torch and waking up when the sun is up.

Really glad that we made the choice to stop over at Ban Don Chai on our way to the Gibbon Experience instead of the safer choice at Houay Xai, which we did stop by for about an hour, to purchase boat tickets to Chiang Rai. More on that next.

Just read a post by this couple who went for the Gibbon Experience in 2006, where apparently the treehouses did not have any bathroom facilities. I must say I’m quite glad I went this year. =P

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