I booked a day bus from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, it was about 8 hours trip. I reached a bit early and was waiting at the bus terminal and met one Dutch lady who was also waiting for the bus with her daughter, we introduced ourselves and started talking, her daughter had been to India last year so she was talking about it that she liked the experience, we spoke at bus stops, Lady had PhD and her research was in signal processing and she told me stories about her research, how she took a different approach in the field and raised her children while completing her thesis. She liked Asia because she said people are happy here and live in the present. I always thought people in west live in present, it was an interesting conversation.
Next day morning I was walking towards the cafe for breakfast and I bumped in to the Chinese girl (L) from sleeper bus couple of days ago, she said “Hey! remember?, we travelled together” and Korean guy (K) was also with her. We exchanged hellos and asked about stay at Vientiane and then I continued towards the café. Café was not very big and I was lucky to find the last empty table and while I almost finished my breakfast, K walked into the café and since no other table was empty, he joined me. We exchanged travel stories and he asked me about the plan for the afternoon and I said I don’t have one, he told me that he is planning to go to a nearby waterfall and I was welcome to join. We walked towards his hostel and negotiated price with one tuk tuk driver for the ride. Waterfall was a bit far away from the town, about 45 mins ride, Tuk – Tuk driver told us he will give us discount if we are able to find more people, K tried to ask people at his hostel but all of them had already visited. Finally we were four in the tuk tuk, one american girl (B) which the driver overcharged, Korean guy (K), Chinese girl (L) and myself.While walking on the streets before we started for waterfall, I stopped at one of the hotels and asked about the different tours, the guy working there gave me a book which had all types of tours, various days of hiking, camping, staying with villagers, playing with elephants in every combination from one day to ten days. When I showed interest in elephant tour he showed one video on his phone where he went to the chained elephant, unchained him and then took him to jungle, it was not very pleasant, then I had read about ill treatment of elephants by these tour companies and they portray something else on the social media campaigns and sadly people still support such companies. I decided not to do any such tour. I remembered something once my couchsurfing host told me that if you pay for something you encourage it and the words have since stuck with me.
Tuk-Tuk driver wanted more people so he stopped at a big intersection and started asking random tourists if they want to go to waterfall and pointed to his tuk-tuk with four us waiting in it. Another tuk-tuk driver on the other side of the street signaled to come to his tuk-tuk and he will leave immediately, then I signed him about money, how much will he charge? He signed with both his hands in the air three times meaning 30K and I signed back 20k, it was bit of fun while we were waiting. Finally our driver was able to convince one Israeli couple and we were on our way to the waterfall.
Waterfall was fun, while four of us were waiting initially we introduced ourselves and was kind of a group by the time we reached the waterfall. Our tuk-tuk driver asked us to tell him the time when we will be back to the parking lot and we agreed on a time with the Israeli couple and they were on their way. Our group was slow and started strolling towards the waterfall. K got excited on seeing people bathing and swimming under the waterfall. Area had one big waterfall and on the lower level number of small waterfalls and had small pools as well. K decided to go swimming in one of the pool and B, K and I continued hiking towards the top of the waterfall. We started on a trail but after about 45 mins we went off trail and got lost in woods, there was no particular trail and no people in sight, we thought the path we took will join the trail but it didn’t happen for a hour, L was getting nervous and scared and I was teasing her telling that we need to spend the whole night here and B was like she has crackers and Oreos, L was not enjoying the jokes, we were increasing her nervousness. We were trying to find the lost trail and finally after hour of struggle, following the water stream, sound of waterfall and everything else.
When we were about to get out I was in the front, then L and then B. They both were stung by bee(s) or bug(s) and got rashes on the arms and L was stung multiple places and was about to cry. We met K as well on top of the waterfall and he also tried his best to console L but it didn’t help much.
One the ride back I asked the Israeli couple about their experience in India and I was surprised that they have spend more than six months in India and still plan to return and have seen most of India and knew about the regions, cultures pretty well, it was impressive.
Later we all went to dinner together and I resumed my project about asking questions and gave a tough time to L, it was lot of fun.