I'm finally out of Laos, back in Bangkok.
Phonsavanh was interesting, Indochina war relics everywhere. Old missiles, guns, machinery...the hillsides are full of pockets where bombs dropped, and the landscape itself is interesting; no trees can grow where a lot of chemicals were used so you have bare patches, then patches of trees, etc. So eerie.
The Plain of Jars, where these huge boulders (up to 6 tonnes) have been carved out was really beautiful, glad I did it.
Another loooong bus ride and I was in Luang Prabang. On the bus there, I suddenly had this very strong feeling that I wanted to be in Myanmar, as soon as possible. More than Laos. So I got to Luang Prabang and started trying to see what options I had. It was a lovely town though, beautifully laid-out with palm trees, old colonial buildings, lovely cafes, and wats (temples) EVERYWHERE.
I spent 2 nights there and decided to take an overnight bus to Vientiane, wait a few hours, then another bus to Bangkok. So here I am.
Laos was good, but it was so different from what I expected. Long known to be the least touristed place in Southeast Asia, but that probably became the appeal, and now it's full. It's possibly more full of tourists than Borneo! There were some amazing landscapes, great friendly people, and good food - so overall a good time. Glad I went, and excited to see more of the region.
Myanmar, I really can't wait for - I hope it is what I am expecting (I've read more han 5 books about it recently - see below) and will report, once I am secure that I won't get arrested for saying stuff :)
Great books to read:
From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thwe
Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin
Burmese Days by George Orwell
Letters from Burma, and Freedom From Fear both by Aung San Suu Kyi
Animal Farm and 1984 by Orwell are thought to have been heavily influenced by his time in Burma - in fact, both books are now banned in Myanmar.