This is the last entry in our blog posts for Laos. To read from the start of our Laos travel journal, click here
Tad Lo officially wins the prize of the cutest town we’ve visited, and we loved spending our last few Laos days there. It felt special from when we arrived, as we got dropped off down the road from town, and we trekked the 20 minutes in the dark down a country lane, with crickets buzzing around us and thousands of stars overhead.
We tried a hostel but the friendly French lady running the place told us she was full, but referred us to a nearby set of bungalows. The town is mainly visited by people doing a famous motorbike loop, so we were quite odd for staying a few days there, and arriving by bus!
The bungalows turned out to be really gorgeous: after so long staying in bare rooms, we instantly noticed the European flare in decoration (they were French owned too, a hangover from colonisation meaning loads of French people now visit/live in Laos!) There was a bedside lamp, an extension cable for charging, buddha wall hangings, decorative fan, bright bed sheets, four-poster-bed…. these things might sound minor, but we were giddy with how much we loved the room! Pretty sad I know.
We spent our first night finishing some rum and coke we had left over, then drinking beers (and some gross shots of rice whisky with scorpions in the bottle!) – with some French guys at the hostel, exchanging travel tales
The next day we woke up hungover and starving as we’d skipped dinner and found a really great local restaurant run by a very sweet lady, where we ate every day. She served up delicious dishes like Penang curry and spicy beef noodles with fresh shakes like banana and lime, and condensed-milk-sweetened coffee. Gah! Tad Lo’s in a coffee growing district, so we also tried the coffee black to get a true taste of the beans, and it was really good! Who’d have thought great coffee grew in Laos?!
We also took a look around town which was just the most adorable place: a tiny temple sat looking out to a nearby river where women washed clothes; around the temple baby pigs and ducklings criss-crossing roads; goats bleated their way around town and people shuffled from wooden hut to hut, chatting and sitting around doing nothing much at all. It was just idyllic!
After fawning over the town, we visited what the area is famous for – waterfalls! After a brief walk across a bridge and past another fall, we reached stunning Tad Lo waterfall. It was my kind of waterfall – wide, easy to get in and out of, and deserted! There was a big swimming hole surrounded by rocks, and we spent a delightful few hours sunbathing on the rocks, reading, and occasionally jumping in for a cool off. Dreamy!
We headed back to town, drawn by the delicious foods of the restaurants (this time black pepper and garlic beef, STOP IT) and chilled in the afternoon, taking pictures of the hostel’s piglets, playing petanque (so French!) and sunning in the hammock.
All of this relaxation was good as the next day (another travel day, uch!) brought with it yet more stresses as we – whilst trying to connect to our overnight bus to Bangkok – managed to walk half an hour in the blistering heat in the WRONG DIRECTION trying to locate the bus terminal. Perhaps it’s time we stop with the extreme penny pinching and start catching tuk-tuks!
But eventually we found the bus terminal, and spent a fun half hour playing with some local kids; jumping out from behind benches and pulling faces kept them giggling the whole time! Then, one night bus, one night in Bangkok and one flight later, we would arrive in the Philippines!