I was woken so early by the cockerels and the pigs and basically every animal that roamed around the village. I thought I’d woken up in good time but it was actually around 5am… Breakfast was served around 8 and it was eggs with bread. We were given some boiled water for the day which tasted like chicken as they hadn’t washed the pot out, and were told it would be a nice 10km hike again.
We walked into two different villages and again there was no interaction but it was really nice to see how they differed, these were much greener and had water. One of the villages had less families but were larger. There was also a large school where kids from other villages could stay to get an education. We were told that they use to have many many animals roaming around but the village became really smelly and gross from all the droppings so they reduced the amount that roamed free and kept some in pens. The walks to the villages were quite easy with no steps to climb or steep uphills or downhills and we thought we’d have a nice easy day. We were so wrong! After eating our lunch with our hands, which was vegetables out a plastic bag and a handful of sticky rice (with added ants), we were told we would be taking a new route back. This route meant we would be going up, around and down a mountain and then crossing a river. We all agreed to taking this route but were really weary about how high the river would be once we reached it, as it was wet season it could mean we have to swim across. None of us were prepared for this and had no dry bags and hoped the water would be shallow. This hike was really difficult, we were on a small winding path which was overgrown with plants which scratched you. We went upwards for some time, got lost had to go back a bit and then climb over some gates and rocks, and then had to most awful time going downhill. It was so slippery and rain was looming towards us so our guide was going at such a face pace. It’s quite tough on your legs to go downhill when it’s steep and I was getting tired quite quickly, we all knew we had surpassed the 10km point and we actually ended up hiking 18km. I was so pleased to reach flat land, it was definitely an adventure and quite the challenge so I enjoyed that part but I wish we had gone a bit slower to take in our surroundings more and enjoy the landscape. Our guide was also happy to reach flat land as he hadn’t taken this route before and was struggling with getting us all down before it was going to rain and he had to chop down a ton of plants to clear space for us to walk through. The crazy thing was he did the whole thing in his flip flops and we were struggling to avoid slipping in trainers!
At the end we came across the river and thankfully the water was clean and not dirty brown, and also it only went up to my knees so I was super happy. It was quite refreshing! Would have been nice to be forewarned about crossing the river by foot but I think it comes with the adventure. I thought it was an excellent way to see how the ethnic minorities (or majorities as they are more than Laos people) lived in villages away from modern life. There is of course the fact that tv and electricity is becoming more popular and the kids are now being able to see what else is in the world. Many of them can speak Thai fluently because many songs and tv shows are in Thai, which I think is great opportunity for them if they ever wanted to travel to their neighbouring country. This adventure totally proved to me that the landscape here is just fantastic and just so stunning. It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised when visiting a country you previously didn’t know much about.
That evening was chilled at the utopia bar where I treated myself to a Oreo shake and burger, then had a nice early night.