20 Instagrams That Will Inspire You to Visit LAOS

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During my extended travels in South-East Asia, I absolutely fell in love with Laos.

It took me a really long time to get there, and I’m actually really upset with myself that I hadn’t visited earlier.

I honestly have no idea why I waited for so long, but now that I now — I’m always telling people about how amazing Laos is.

If you’re backpacking through South-East Asia, definitely check out my Laos Backpacking guide.  This is a great resource for your future travels.

I’m almost obsessed with Instagram — so check out these 20 posts that will definitely inspire you to visit Laos!


1 )  Kuang Si Waterfalls

Definitely one of the most instagrammed places in the country.  I’m sure you can understand why.


2 )  Sunsets in Don Det

Hakuna Matata.  It means no worries.

It's official. I'm in love with Don Det, Laos

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


3 )  Swimming in The Blue Lagoon

You’ll want to spend all day here…

The Blue Lagoon. A great place to spend an afternoon in Vang Vieng…

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


4 ) Exploring Vang Vieng

Vang vieng, Vientiane Province. By Aaron Geddes #vientiane #vangvieng #namsong #laos #love #Like #facebook #pages #laospictures #laopdr

A photo posted by Laos Pictures ຮູບພາບປະເທດລາວ (@laospictures) on


5 ) The Gibbon Experience

2 or 3 day zipling adventure through the Laos Jungle?  Sounds like a damn good time.


6 )  Monks on Monks on Monks

The Alms Giving Ceremony is a must when visiting Luang Prabang.

Wat sensoukharam, Luang prabang Photo: Massimo De Nino #LaosPictures #Laos #LuangPrabang #Asia #ASEAN

A photo posted by Laos Pictures ຮູບພາບປະເທດລາວ (@laospictures) on


7   Tad Yuang Falls

While exploring the Bolaven Plateau, you’ll see tons of amazing waterfalls!


8 )  Forever Chasing Waterfalls

Khone Phapheng Waterfall.  What a beaut.

Anyone up for white water rafting…?

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


9 )  Motorcycle Adventures

Easily one of the best countries in the world for some two-wheeling fun.

N13 Road Northern #Laos #Asia #ASEAN #LaosPictures

A photo posted by Laos Pictures ຮູບພາບປະເທດລາວ (@laospictures) on


10 ) Hammock Life

I’ll be here all day…

Enjoying the sunset view over Mekong river from my bungalow terrace in Don Det, Laos.

A photo posted by Sasu Loimulahti (@loimuphoto) on

 


11 ) 4000 Islands Bliss

Tranquility.


12 ) Hot Air Balloons in Vang Vieng

Not a bad view, eh?


13 ) Kuang Si Falls

So damn breathtaking


14 ) Just R-E-L-A-X

Don Det is easily the one of the chillest places in South-East Asia.


15 ) Luang Prabang View Point

So charming.

Experience the charm of peaceful life in Luang Prabang. #ThaiAirways #LuangPrabang #Laos #FlyTHAItoLuangPrabang

A photo posted by Thai Airways (@thaiairways) on


16 )  Out for a Stroll

Discovered this gem while randomly exploring Vang Vieng.

I don't ever wanna feel…like I did that day. Take me to the place I love…take me all the way

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

17 )  Patuxai Monument

Not much to see in the capital city of Vientiane, but it definitely has it’s charm !

Patuxai, Vientiane Laos By Yul Kwan #patuxai #vientiane #laos #thailand #asian #asean #asia #love #like #facebook #pages #laospictures #lao

A photo posted by Laos Pictures ຮູບພາບປະເທດລາວ (@laospictures) on


18 )  Seven Waterfalls in One Day

While exploring the Bolaven Plateau, you can see 7 different waterfalls in one day!


19 ) Laos Landscape

It really is incredible!


20 ) Oh, and Beer Laos is AMAZING

No shirt. No shoes. No problem.

A photo posted by Dave ~ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


LAOS IS AMAZING


 

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& Add Me On Snapchat:  JonesATW


The 15 Best Places To Party in South-East Asia

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Looking for the best places to party in South-East Asia?

You’ve come to the right place…

Whether you move over here to teach English, book a short vacation, or embark on long-term backpacking trip — you are going to fall in love with South-East Asia.  The food, the culture, the beaches, the islands, the cities, the hostels…and the epic parties.  This region of the world has it all.

I’ve spent over 18 months in total traveling around South-East Asia, and I’m always down for a good rager.  I’ve always said that I’m happiest when I’m on a tropical beach, listening to good music, and watching the sunset (or sunrise after a long night of dancing).

I’ve put together this list of which I believe to be the best 15 places to party in South-East Asia.  If you’ve been to any of these places, I’m sure you can agree that they are all amazing places to get a little boozy, meet fellow travelers, and have a solid night.  If you’re planning a trip to any of these destinations, feel free to Contact Me with any questions you have.  I’d be happy to help out anyway with any questions.

How many have you already visited…?


1)  Koh Phangan, Thailand

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While most people head to Koh Phangan just for the infamous Full Moon Party — this island actually has so much more to offer.  I like to refer to Koh Phangan as the “Ibiza of South-East Asia”, because there is literally a different party every night of the week.   If you’re planning a trip anytime soon, make sure you check out a website called the Phanganist.com.  They go over all the parties, hostel information, and other useful tips for visiting Koh Phangan.

Parties On The Island To Check Out Other Than The Full Moon Party  

  • Merkaba Beach Club — A really cool Ibiza style club with a pool, and amazing underground house music.  Check the FB page for upcoming party dates.  I actually went here one night instead of the FMP!  Located just a short drive away from Haad Rin Beach.
  • Maya — A beautiful and colorful venue in the jungle.  The type of music varies for each party, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
  • Guy’s Bar / Eden — An absolute must attend during your visit to Koh Phangan.  Tucked away in the deep part of the jungle, these are two of the best places to party on the island.  Known for it’s long hours, it’s the party that doesn’t stop.  It’s hard to get to, where you have to take a jungle taxi or boat to get to, but it’s well worth it!
  • The Jungle Experience — Normally happens before and after each Full Moon.  A bit expensive for the entry charge at 400 baht, but it’s a solid party with amazing music.  You’ll meet a ton of people, and see some pretty interesting characters dressed up in crazy body paint.
  • Sandcastle — A small club venue located in Haad Rin that is the best place to party during the Full Moon Party.  It’s not located directly on the beach, but definitely cruise here for a couple drinks.
  • Backyard Afterparty — If you go to the FMP and don’t see the sunrise, consider yourself a failure.  As well, part of the Koh Phangan experience is going to an afterparty.  Go to BACKYARD.  It’s amazing.

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2)  Vang Vieng, Laos

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The hedonistic party capitol of Laos has gotten a bad reputation in the past decade for being a destination fueled by booze, drugs, sex, and irresponsible backpackers.  Several years ago a few backpackers died in Vang Vieng, and the local authorities finally cracked down on the city.

While the current party status of Vang Vieng might be a little bit more tame than “the glory days”…have no fear– this place is still absolutely insane.  If you’re not careful — you will lose your mind.

Tubing in Vang Vieng is an absolute blast.  It’s basically a bar crawl, but instead of walking from place to place, you float down your tube (beer in hand), and get pulled back to the mainland with a rope at the next bar.  The backpacker vibe is awesome.  Everyone is here to meet people, drink, and have a good time.

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One of the bar stops while tubing in Vang Vieng

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When you’re not tubing,  you’ll most likely find yourself paryting at one place — SAKURA BAR.  The motto of this place is “Drink Triple, See Double, Act Single.”  This place gets ridiculous at night, and you’ll definitely love it.  They offer free alcohol every night before 8 P.M, decent drink specials, and sell large laughing gas balloons.

If you happen to find yourself in Vang Vieng on a Friday night — make sure you check out the weekly Jungle Party.  It’s about a 15 minute drive away from the main strip, but there is free transportation available outside Sakura bar.  The venue is really cool, the party lasts all night, and it’s amazing underground house music.  Don’t miss out!  They also sell mushroom shakes there if you’re feeling like taking a trip down the rabbit hole.

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3)  Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

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The largest of the three Gili Islands has been nicknamed “The Party Island” — and for a very good reason.  Gili Trawangan isn’t just one of the most beautiful places in South-East Asia, it’s by far one of the craziest places to get your drink on.  There is a “weekly schedule” on the island for which bars / clubs to go to, and each and every one of them is a pretty damn good time.

As well, Gili Trawangan has two booze cruise parties that are too epic for words.  You join dozens of other young backpackers on a beautiful boat, sail around idyllic islands, and listen to amazing music.  The booze can get really pricey, but it’s all worth it for the experience.  The atmosphere on the boat is awesome, and watching the sunset while sailing around Indonesia with a bintang in your hand is something you’ll never forget.

Gili Trawangan Booze Cruise

Gili Trawangan Booze Cruise

As well, Gili Trawangan throws their own version of the “Half-Moon” & “Full-Moon” Parties.  It’s basically just an all night beach rave about a 20 minute walk from the night market, but it’s hands down one of the best parties on the island.  If you’re feeling like getting a bit more crazy, there are (practically legal) mushrooms on Gili Trawangan that are guaranteed to take your night to the next level.

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4)  Halong Bay Castaway Island, Vietnam

Halong Bay.  Castaway Island tour.  Pure debauchery.  If you’ve been on this tour already — then you know what I’m talking about.  If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam and are keen for an intense 3-day booze bender while visiting one of the most stunning areas in South-East Asia, then you need to book this Castaway Island Tour.  If you’re a budget backpacker, than the price of the tour is probably going to piss you off.  Yes, it’s damn expensive — but it’s honestly a really great experience.

However, I was fortunate enough to go on this trip with an incredible group of people and two awesome tour guides (Shoutout to Emilio & Tom).  But just with any packaged group tour, I think a trip like this ALL depends on the people you travel with.  I think the majority of the time you’ll meet some great people, drink heaps, and enjoy sailing through one of Vietnam’s highlights.  With that being said, not everyone is lucky.

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5) Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

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If people give you advice to skip Koh Phi Phi because it’s become “too touristy”  — ignore them.  Yes, I’m sure visiting Koh Phi Phi 20 years ago was so much better, but it’s definitely still one of the most beautiful places in Thailand!  Oh, and Koh Phi Phi is one the craziest party island in South-East Asia.  

In my opinion, Koh Phi Phi is a backpacker’s paradise.  There’s tons of people everywhere, amazing and cheap food, and really great nightlife.  It’s not a big island, but there’s still plenty to do and explore.  The snorkeling trips are affordable and gorgeous, the view points are stunning, and you can’t leave Thailand without visiting “The Beach”…right?

Favorite Places to Party

  • Slinky’s Beach Bar — This is the place to be when the night comes to an end.  Loud house music, laughing gas balloons, dancing on stages; this place is wild.
  • Ibiza Beach Bar — This starts out as a really chill lounge bar during the sunset and couple hours after, but things start to pick up towards the end of the night.
  • Stones Bar — Located right next to Ibiza Beach Bar, another great option to chill, play pool, and start your night.
  • Banana Bar — Happy hour from 4:20-6:20, Movie’s play every night at 7:00 P.M, then after the movie the party starts with beer pong, loud music, and tons of people.
  • Stockholm Syndrome —  A great place to beer pong, meet people, and party before making your way to the beach.

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6)  Bali, Indonesia

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The “Island Of The [Party] Gods”.

Bali is one of those destinations people visit once, and will keep going back for another stint in paradise.  There’s a little bit of something for everyone, and that includes those looking for an epic night of partying.  There are basically two main areas to party in Bali:

Kuta, Legian, & Seminyak Area

Sky Garden — This legendary mega club is a place you need to party at least once during your time in Bali.  There are so many different areas and rooms, and there are often big name DJ’s that stop by and play.  If you get in early, there can be ridiculous drink deals as well.  Insider tip: Try to rooftop buffet for dinner…it’s incredible and affordable.

Potato Head Beach Club — This probably needs zero introduction.  Potato Head Beach Club is one amazing venue in Bali, and is definitely the best location for a bit of Bali day drinking!  It is probably one of the most expensive places in Indonesia, but sometimes you have to forget about the budget, and “treat yo self”.  The pool is the perfect place to have a few beers, watch the sunset, and chat up other travelers.  I’d recommend eating before you go there, because the food is heaps expensive.

Jenja — If you’re in Bali on a Friday or Saturday night, this is where you want to go for a night of excellent house music.  This is a much fancier and more elegant venue than the majority of other clubs in Bali.  So dress in your finest, be ready to pay an entrance fee, and prepare for a quality clubbing experience.  Check out their Resident Advisor page for upcoming DJ appearances.    

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Uluwatu

Saturday Night Parties on Padang Padang Beach — Every Saturday locals, travelers, and head down to Padang Padang beach for an awesome night of live music, followed by DJ sets playing some commercial house tunes.  Who doesn’t love a beach party…?

Sundays Sessions at Single Finn — The absolute best party on Bali is found every Sunday night down at the beautiful Single Finn venue.  Perched at the top of Uluwatu Beach, this is the ultimate place to enjoy dinner, drinks, and the gorgeous Uluwatu Sunsets.  Around 9-10 P.M the place gets absolutely packed with beautiful people, and everyone dances to some top-notch electronic music.  You won’t be hearing any obnoxisous EDM here, just quality deep and tech house.  Definitely have a few drinks before you go in, because it can turn into a pretty expensive night.      


7)  Boracay, Philippines

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While Boracay might not be on the typical South-East Asia backpacker route, it’s hands down one of the best places to party in South-East Asia.  For starters, you have to experience The Boracay Pub Crawl.  It’s an absolute blast, and really does “Turn Strangers Into Friends!  ”

After that, you need to check and see if there is a party at Area 51:  Top Secret Party Facility.  It’s an amazing venue away from the all main action, but there are only parties twice a month for the full moon and half moon parties.  If this place isn’t having an event during your visit, then check out what EPIC Nightclub has got going on.    

There’s tons of bars and nightclubs in Boracay to discover; it really just depends on what you are into and where the night takes you.  Check out this Ultimate Guide to Boracay’s Nightlife  for a more comprehensive look at all your options.

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8) Koh Rong, Cambodia

“Nothing Can Go Wrong on Koh Rong” is the motto of this Cambodian paradise.  What is awesome about this place is that it can be exactly whatever you want it to be.  If you want to relax, do nothing, and forget about all your worries; that’s definitely possible.  But for those looking for a good time, Koh Rong has a lively and active party scene.  If there was one place to get to soon in South-East Asia, I would recommend Koh Rong.  Things are changing quickly on the island, but it currently still has it’s authentic charm.

Partying on Koh Rong is simply, all you have to do is walk up and down the main street, and follow the crowd.

When I was there, I spent a good amount of time at Vagabonds.  Definitely swing by there for a drink or two, and then see what else is going on.  The main stretch on Koh Rong isn’t large at all, so it won’t be too hard to find where the party people are at.  As well as the above two islands, Koh Rong does offer it’s own version of the Full Moon Party.  There’s no body paint or neon tanks, but there’s a party tucked away in the jungle with amazing underground house music.

No matter whether you want to party or not, just make sure you get to Koh Rong.  It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in all of South-East Asia!


9)  Langkawi, Malaysia

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Two words come to mind when I think of Langkawi:  TAX FREE.  Yup, Langkawi is a “duty-free” island, which makes the price of alcohol extremely cheap compared to the rest of Malaysia.  During high-season, this place is packed with budget backpackers and vacationers looking for a good time.

While there may not be heaps of options of party locations, that doesn’t really seem to matter here.  There are a few beach bars located on Pantai Beach which can be a great place to start the night with a few cocktails.  My recommendation would be to grab dinner and drinks at Yellow Café.  It’s a popular spot on the island, and should be visited at least once during your time on the island.

After grabbing dinner and a few drinks, you pretty much one have option — Sunba Retro Bar.  This is where you will be doing the majority of your partying when you’re on Langkawi.  This is pretty much the only club on the island, and it’s a damn good time.  It’s not the biggest venue, but the music is excellent, and it’s a great atmosphere inside.  If you’re not feeling like heading inside the club, just check out the bar right next door to Sunba.


10)  Koh Tao, Thailand

While backpackers normally flock to Koh Tao for the affordable PADI Scuba-Diving courses and rich marine biodiversity, that is only one of the aspects that make this island a must visit during your travels in Thailand.

Koh Tao nightlife is serious business — and you’re in for a couple crazy party nights here.  For starters, you can’t go wrong the Koh Tao Pub Crawl.  This is a great way to see some of the best bars on the island, attend a Lady Boy Cabaret, and meet fellow travelers.  The pub-crawl guides always do an excellent job of keeping everyone entertained, there are drink specials at each stop, and you’ll be looking good rockin’ a “Koh Tao Pub Crawl” singlet.  Don’t miss out.

Maya Beach Club —  The only bar on Koh Tao that has real DJs every night and a “NO CHEESE” music policy, top shelf cocktails and an imported wine list.  Both local and imported DJs spin tunes every night from sunset till late from a variety of genres that aren’t crappy remixes.

The Castle —  Probably the most well-known and respected venu on the island, The Castle is where you go for a quality night of dance music.  It’s about a 10-15 minute drive from Sairee Beach, and they host events about 2-3 times per week.

The truth of the matter is that you really don’t even need any advice about partying on Koh Tao — it’s as simple as partying hopping up and down Sairee Beach.  There are so many different venues playing a variety of different styles of music, fire jump roping (be cautious), and heaps of people to meet.  It’s a damn good time.

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11) Sihanoukville, Cambodia

The main beach area of Cambodia “snookville” is definitely one wild and crazy party destination.  Start your evening with dinner & drinks at one of the many beachfront restaurants on Serendipity Beach.  Enjoy a beautiful sunset, a game or two of pool, and few pints of delicious Angkor beer.

The Two Main Party Hostspots in Sihanouvkville are the Dolphin Shack & JJ’s Playground.  There are several other bars and places to hang-out, but if you’re out partying in Sihaouvkille, there’s a 99% chance you’ll end up at one of two of these bars.  They both play similar music of EDM, hip-hop, and throwback classics.  The beers are cold, the drinks are cheap, and the backpacker vibe is amazing.  You’ll  drink, meet people, and will have one epic party night.

Both the Dolphing Shack & JJ’s Playground offer their own Booze Cruise — which I highly recommend.  Is there anything better than drinking while on a boat?   

12) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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The capital of Malaysia might not be the most popular place to party among South-East Asia backpackers — but this is one incredible city with an abundance of amazing nightlife options!  I’ve spent a decent amount of time in Kuala Lumpur, and I’ve had some really great nights out partying in the city.

Bar 51:  Welcome to your Kuala Lumpur starting point for the night.  Bar 51 is an upscale restaurant and bar located in the heart of Changkat Bukit Bintang, the main nightlife area in Kuala Lumpur.  There is one reason you come to this place — 5 MYR MOJITOS.  Yeah, that’s right.  You can get delicious mojitos for only $1.25 USD.   This special ends at 9 P.M every night, but you can order as many as you’d like right before the time ends, and they’ll keep bringing them out to you.  It’s an amazing spot, perfectly located, with very friendly staff.  If you’re going to Kuala Lumpur and fancy a delicious and cheap mojito, then definitely cruise over to Bar 51.

Heli Lounge This was once a helipad, but they turned it into a bar with amazing 360 degree views of the city.  Pretty cool concept, yeah?  While it might not be the best place to spend your entire evening, it’s definitely a must-visit during your visit to KL.  Go to the top about an hour or so before sunset, enjoy the views during the day and the night, and then head out for the night.

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Reggae Mansion Rooftop BarFor all the backpackers out there, this is definitely one of the most popular hostels in all of South-East Asia.  The rooftop bar is a perfect place to spend a night drinking, even if you’re not staying there!  There is a DJ playing some fun dance music, a pool table, and decent drink specials.

Zouk KL 

UnderNINE:  For underground house and techno fans — this is where you’ll want to go.  The crowd is really great, the music is excellent, and the venue is pretty cool.DSC_0805


13)  Pai, Thailand

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Haven’t you heard…?  Pai is incredible!  When you’re traveling around Thailand, it will be pretty damn hard to find someone who doesn’t think Pai is absolutely amazing.  That includes me.  The whole city is so relaxed and chilled out.  It’s truly a backpacker / hippy’s paradise.  While many will often claim that “Pai is not what it used to be” or “Pai has changed so much” — the Pai that I visited was still pretty awesome.  These were some of my favorite spots in Pai.

  • Pai Pub — A really great spot.  Decently priced beers and mixed drinks, a cool outdoor patio, a well kept pool table; a perfect place to spend a couple hours and start the night.  Located just a couple minutes away from the night market, you can’t miss the giant Kangaroo out front.
  • Sunset Bar — This a great place to chill and spend a few hours.  You’ll most likely encounter some people enjoying a joint, or maybe see some people tripping on a mushroom shake.  It’s a cool place, good music, and you’ll definitely enjoy having a drink or two.  It’s also a great place to watch the sunset (obviously).  Located on a quiet street about a 10 minute walk from the main area of Pai.
  • Don’t Cry Reggae Bar — This is the “after-hours” bar that does not close until really late at night.  When all the main bars and pubs close in Pai, the party crowd all flock to this one venue.  Awesome music and vibe, including a campfire — you’ll love ending your night at Don’t Cry.
  • Moon Parties — In the past few months, Pai has been throwing their own version of the full moon, half moon, and black moon parties.  They don’t happen all the time, but if you’re there, you should ask around or check online and see if there is one happening.

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14) Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia

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While the Perhentian Islands aren’t really a destination people normally visit for it’s crazy nightlife — there are still opportunities for amazing nights out drinking.

Perhentian Kecil is known as the “backpacker island”, and that means that it’s pretty damn easy to meet fellow travelers.  The last time I visited I only planned on staying for 4 or 5 days, but I ended up staying 10.  I met an amazing group of people, and practically every night we went out drinking!

 

What’s nice is that it’s just very simply to party here because people only really go to 2-3 different spots.

  • Panorama Bar:  Probably the most lively spot with a really great atmosphere.  They also have AMAZING PIZZA that you should try at least once.  They are kind of expensive at 25 MYR, but definitely worth it.
  • Monkey Bar:  This is just across the street from Panorama bar, and where I bought the majority of my alcohol.  You could buy a bottle of rum, cups, ice, and two mixers for 45 MYR — which is a really great deal there!
  • Pirates of Perhentian:  This is where the fire-show is held every night at 10:30 P.M.  The entertainment is really great, they play great music, and this is where pretty much everyone who is going to party for the night will be.  You sit down on the beach, order some beers, smoke some hookah, and watch some extremely talented people play with fire.

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15) Bangkok, Thailand

Last but not least, how could I write a post about partying in South-East Asia without mentioning “the Big Mango”.  Bangkok is the “Gateway to South-East Asia”, and there’s never a dull moment when you’re exploring the city, and the nightlife is guaranteed to make you come back for another round.

Khao San Road:  Street food, shopping, and tons of amazing restaurants and bars.  Partying on Khao San Road is something that every South-East Asia backpacker must do before the end of their trip.  You’ll drink towers of Chang Beer, listen to loud electronic music, and meet fellow travelers from around the world.

Sukhumvit:  This major road / district in Bangkok is your best option for when it comes to a good night out partying in Bangkok.  There are tons of different clubs in Sukhumvit , it’s almost intimidating trying to choose which one to go to.  My advice would be to check out Resident Advisor Thailand  to see if there are any special events coming up.  A few clubs I have been to and would personally recommend would be BASH, Insanity, and Spicy.

While you’re in Bangkok, make sure you visit all the temples, various shopping markets, and hit up a rooftop bar!

These are the Best 15 Places to Party in South-East Asia!!

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Agree?  Disagree?  Think I missed a certain destination?

Let me know in the comments sections!

SHARE THE PARTY!

Laos Backpacking Guide: Itinerary, Budget Tips, and Highlights

Laos is an amazing country filled with spectacular landscape, friendly people, and tons to explore.  Backpacking Laos is guaranteed to be a highlight of your time in South-East Asia.  

In this Laos budget backpacking guide I’m going to go over a Laos itinerary, country highlights, and travel tips.    

Laos Visa Cost — $35 USD Visa On Arrival — Valid 30 Days  

Sunset on Don Det

Laos Itinerary:  

Proposed Time:  Two – Three Weeks  (Use all 30 Days of the visa if you aren’t one a strict time crunch).

Laos easily has one of the easiest and most straight-forward routes in South-East Asia.  The most important thing to understand is that is best if you travel from North-South or from South-North.  

This means you need to start in Luang Prabang or Don Det, and work your way through these destinations.

Luang Prabang — Vang Vieng — Vientiene — Pakse — Don Det

Luang Prabang:  A charming and small city in northern Laos that should undoubtedly be on every backpacker’s list.  Definitely check out the Kuang Si Waterfalls, stroll through the night market, and maybe go on a hike and explore the wilderness.  

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Vang Vieng:  The hedonistic party capitol of Laos has gotten a bad reputation in the past decade.  Backpackers flocked to go tubing in Vang Vieng which resulted in many deaths due to drug and alcohol consumption, and poor safety regulation. Although it isn’t as wild and crazy as it used to be, it’s definitely still worth going to Vang Vieng.  You can check out the beautiful Blue Lagoon, go on a cheap hot air balloon ride, and relax in the cafes and restaurants during the day.  

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Vientiane:  The capital of Laos, Vientiane is kind of a boring city, but you’ll most like have to stop here during your travels in Laos.  This is the transportation hub in the middle of the country that connects the north to the south.  It is possible to skip this city entirely (recommended if you are crunched for time), but it isn’t the worst place to take a stroll around the city.  There are a few cool buildings and statues to explore, but not too much else.      

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Pakse:  Pakse, as a city, is nothing impressive — but it’s the starting point of exploring The Bolaven Plateau, which is absolutely stunning.  The Bolaven Plateau is the perfect place for a motoryclce adventure in Laos, and you will be rewarded with some the biggest and stunning waterfalls you’ll see in South-East Asia.  There are two options for explroing the Bolaven Plateau, the small and big loop.  It’s definitely one of the highlights of traveling through Laos.  

Read:  Tad Tayicseua Waterfalls & The Bolaven Plateau; Pakse, Laos   

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Don Det:  Don Det, Laos is one of the 4000 Islands — and it’s one of the chillest and relaxing places in South-East Asia.  Seriously, the minute you step foot on the island you forget about all your stress.  Between going for a nice relaxing tube ride (nothing like Vang Vieng), exploring stunning waterfalls, beautiful sunsets, and an incredible backpacker vibe — Don Det has a strange power that will you keep you there longer than expected.   

Read:  Don Det, Laos:  The Chillest Place in South-East Asia

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Transportation:

Laos is incredibly ready to get around!  The entire route is well connected with busses and mini-vans.  The night busses are comfortable, you might have to share a small bed with a stranger.  Night busses can be great to save money on a night of accommodation.  Most of the journeys will cost between $10 – $20, depending on how long of a journey it is, and company you use.    

Laos Adventure Tip:  Buy a Motorbike and do the whole country on two wheels.  *Only recommended during Dry season

Laos Budget & Tips:  

Laos isn’t the cheapest place in South-East Asia, but it’s also not crazily expensive.  Depending on the activities you decide to do, and the amount of alcohol you drink, you won’t have to spend too much money here.  You could easily get away with spending around $25 per day, but if you plan on drinking Beer Laos often and booking rock climbing, hot air balloon rides, and eating at expensive restaurants, make sure you budget more appropriately.  

Check out this awesome blog posts about the cost of travel in Laos.    

Download my FreeE-Book:

77 Amazing, Helpful, Money-Saving Tips for Backpacking South-East Asia

My Favorite Instagram:

I was able to snag some amazing shots while traveling through Laos, and it’s hard to pick just one — but here it is.  This was taken on a bridge in Vang Vieng, and I’m just really happy happy how it turned out.

I don’t ever wanna feel…like I did that day. Take me to the place I love…take me all the way

A photo posted by Dave Anderson (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

If you have any questions about traveling through Laos, please contact me.  I’d be more than happy to help you out plan your travels.  

BACKPACKING LAOS

The 5 Best Places To Trip on Magic Mushrooms in South-East Asia

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You might be surprised to find out that Magic Mushrooms are pretty common in several destinations around South-East Asia.

This hallucinogenic party drug shouldn’t be taken lightly though — the powerful components in these mushrooms can send you off on a wild and crazy experience!  I’m a firm believer that if you take these in good company and in comfortable setting (and don’t take too much), you’ll have an amazing time.  I’ve always said that mushrooms basically just turn you into a retarded baby.  Everything is hilarious, you’ll feel euphoric, and things just look much more vibrant and colorful.  With that being said, drugs effect everyone differently.  If you’re unsure, than maybe it’s best you pass on this recreational drug activity.

I’m not here to educate people on the drug, or convince people to try them.  I just want to inform those people who are interested in some recreational hallucinogenic fun.

If you’re curious about the these drugs, take a read through this thorough Beginner’s Guide to Mushroom Tripping.

“The Mushroom Shake”

Before I had backpacked around South-East Asia, I had never heard of people consuming magic mushrooms in “shake” form.  This basically just means that they blend the mushrooms together with ice, various fruits, and sometimes Coca-Cola.  Each place you’ll buy them at has their own special recipe.

Fair warning — these typically don’t taste too great, but sometimes you’ll find a person who can make them actually enjoyable.

So Where Can You Trip on Magic Mushrooms in South-East Asia?


1) Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

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When it comes to magic mushrooms in Indonesia, there’s no better place to take a trip than on the island paradise of Gili Trawangan.  Grab a couple friends, head over to the sunset side of the island, and chug down a delicious Mushy Shake.  Okay…they’re not delicious — but the experience you’re about to embark will be something you never forget.  The sunsets on Gili Trawangan are some of the best in the entire world — add the hallucinogen affects, and you’ll be feeling magical.

As well, when the feeling starts to wear off — you’re in one of the best party destinations in South-East Asia .  You can continue the party at one of the many bars and clubs, meet fellow backpackers, and share your stories with others.

Where to buy mushrooms on Gili Trawangan? 

You can buy mushroom shakes at tons of different places on the island.  While you walk around the island, you’ll probably see a couple signs advertising the mushrooms.

Check out the bar opposite Rudy’s Pub, Sunset Bar, or simply ask a local bartender (they can point you in the right direction).

Cost:  150K – 200K ($13-17 USD)






 (2) Koh Phangan, Thailand

Most widely known for the location of the notorious all night beach rave, “The Full Moon Party” — Koh Phangan is definitely one of the best places to trip on magic mushrooms in South-East Asia.  There is literally a venue nicknamed Mushroom Mountain!

Head down to Haad Rin beach and walk all the way to the left.  You’ll see a staircase leading you up to this hippy paradise bar.  There’s tons of comfy seating overlooking the beach, chill music, and is decorated really funky.  Even if you don’t want to take any mushrooms, this is still an amazing spot to check out during your time on Koh Phangan.

This is often a highlight of people’s visits to this epic party island, and shouldn’t be missed!

Cost:  500 Baht ($15 USD)


3)  Vang Vieng, Laos

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This party capitol of Laos has gotten a somewhat bad reputation in recent years for being a hedonistic destination ruined by drunken debauchery.  Well, I completely disagree.  Yeah, Vang Vieng is definitely a top party destination, but it’s also one of the most relaxed and beautiful places in Laos.

Vang Vieng will definitely be a highlight of your time backpacking in Laos, and it’s also a pretty perfect spot for a little bit of hallucinogenic fun.  The vibe in this town is really relaxed (in certain spots), the shakes are strong, and you’ll be surrounded by like minded travelers looking for a good time.  Read about this guy’s experience taking mushrooms in Vang Vieng .

Where to buy mushrooms in Vang Vieng

Definitely check out the Jungle Party every Friday.  Some friends of mine bought a shake there and had a wicked trip

Cost: 100K -120K Lao Kip


4)  Pai, Thailand

This hippy backpacker paradise in Northern Thailand is one of the most relaxing places in South-East Asia.  The whole town is super chilled out and slowed down.  Your days can be spent exploring the countryside by moto, chilling by the pool, or bathing with elephants.  Every night you’ll wander through the night market, eat some delicious (and cheap) food, and have a few beers at the various nightlife hubs.  There are plenty of things to do in Pai  , and taking a little mushroom trip can easily be done.

ReadA Backpacker’s Guide to Pai

Where to buy mushrooms in Pai?

Simple — Sunset Bar Pai.  It’s an awesome bar with plenty of seating (including hammocks), colorful decorations, a pool table, and friendly staff.  An awesome place to sit back, relax, and expand your brain a bit.

Cost:  500 Baht ($15 USD)






5)  Gili Air, Indonesia

While most backpackers searching for a good party head over to Gili Trawangan — taking the quick 10-15 minute boat ride over to Gili Air in search of a fun mushroom trip will definitely leave you satisfied.  This honestly might be the better option between the two islands, because it has a much more relaxed vibe.

When it comes to the Gili Islands:

Gili  Trawangan = Party  //   Gili Meno = Honeymoon // Gili Air = Mix of both

The best way to enjoy a mushroom trip on Gili Air is to start out on the sunset side of the island.  Take them about 30 minutes before sunset.  There are tons of beachside restaurants and bars with plenty of comfortable seating, cheap drinks, and delicious Indonesian food.  I’d definitely recommend taking a stroll around the island, some stargazing, and maybe a night swim if you’re up for it!

Where to buy mushrooms on Gili Air?

The majority of bars on the sunset side of the island can arrange mushroom shakes.  If you are near Matahari Lodge…walk down the street (away from the beach) towards the other side of the island, and there’s a bar that play PsyTrance.  Get them there!

Cost: 150K – 200K ($13-17 USD)


Magic Mushrooms Tips & Advice

  1. Take mushrooms in a small / medium group of people that you know and trust.  You want to feel comfortable and safe around your fellow trippers.
  2. Stay away from crowded bars and clubs.  If there are tons of strangers and loud music, it might spark some negative vibes.
  3. Music is essential to a quality mushroom trip.  If you can, find a quiet area to hang out where you can play your own music — or chill out a relaxed place with tunes you like.
  4. Always watch the sunsetIt’s magical, and the best way to start your hallucinogenic journey.
  5. Stay hydrated.  Drink some water, but don’t be scared to knock back a beer or two.
  6. Don’t eat prior to taking mushrooms.  This will lessen the effect of them.  Definitely have some food in your stomach, but don’t have a big meal, and then consume your mushroom shake.  It will be a waste of money.
  7. Eat some dark chocolate to intensify the effects.  I don’t think this is scientifically proven, but it’s a common theory that “cacao is an excellent synergist… most known is combining with psilocybin mushrooms.”
  8. Stay calm.  If your new to recreational drug use, then the feelings of mushrooms might be very intimidating at first.  Relax, breathe, and enjoy the feeling.
  9. Start with 1/2 a shake if you’re nervous.  You should still feel some minor effects of the drug, and will help you feel more comfortable with taking another half.
  10. Only take Magic Mushrooms if you’re happy.  You shouldn’t take these if you’re feeling depressed or going through a hard time.

If your backpacking South-East Asia and find yourself in one of these popular destinations, then definitely think about embarking on magic mushroom trip.  It’s actually pretty common among backpackers, and be a really amazing and memorable experience.  You’ll laugh a lot, things will look cooler, and you’ll feel pretty happy.

SAFE TRAVELS AND ENJOY YOUR TRIP

“TO THE MOON AND BACK”

Disclaimer:  Drugs can affect everyone differently.  Proceed with cautin.  I’m not writing this article to convince people to take drugs, I’m simply informing people who are interested in the topic. 

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Magic Mushroom in South-East Asia!

The Ultimate Travel Resource Guide for South-East Asia

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I’ve spent over a year living, traveling, studying, and working around South-East Asia.  When it comes to travel resources, these are my absolute favorite websites and tools for finding the best accommodation, cheap flights, awesome communities, and more.  For those planning a trip around South-East Asia, these will all make a big difference and save you time and money

Accommodation

Agoda.com — This has been my go-to recently for everything.  They’ve got great prices on hostels and hotels, and is a great and easy platform.

Hostelworld — My favorite for booking hostels.  Really easy to use, great user reviews, and you can always find a cheap place.

Hostelbookers — The alternative to the above.  It’s good, and sometimes you can find a cheaper price online.

Booking.com — I used this one a lot in Europe, and still check it often for price comparisons out in South-East Asia.  It has tons of options, and is still a great resource for booking a place to sleep.

Hotels.com — I just love this site because you get a free night for every 10 nights you book.  Yeah, it does not add up to much, but it’s still cool.   I’m the type of guy to eat at a place just to get his stamp card stamped.

AirBNB — Great for when you’re traveling in a group, and need to find an apartment.  You can find some amazing villas in Bali, or cheap apartments in Chiang Mai.  Definitely a great site to use once or twice.

Budget Airlines

Skyscanner — Rule of thumb: before you do anything…check Skyscanner.  Amazing platform, and you can figure out the best options.  My favorite aspect is being able to search from one city (or country) to another, and view prices for a specific day or entire month.

AirAsia — My FAVORITE airline in the world.  I’ve flown AirAsia at least 15 times in the past year.  They constantly have promotions, sales, and extremely low fares.  They are also the largest budget airline, and have won a ton of awards.  I couldn’t recommend them enough.

NokAir // Thai Smile — These airlines are particularly great for domestic flights in Thailand.

Malindo Air // Firefly — These are are flights for domestic flights in Malaysia.

VietJet — A decent budget airline for flights for getting to Vietnam, and domestic flights.

Cebu Pacific — The main budget airline for travel throughout the Philippines.

Communities

Couchsurfing — If you don’t have an account already, you should definitely start one.  This is listed under the communities, but can also be a place for free accomodation.  It can be great when you are traveling solo, and want to go to a CS meet-up in a city.  Lots of expats and travel lovers are active all over the world.

Trampolinn — This is a new website that offers a cool mix between Couchsurfing & AirBNB.  Definitely worth looking into, although I haven’t used it yet.

Facebook Groups — Whenever you travel to South-East Asia, look for backpacker groups, expat groups, and other forums for fellow travelers.  It’s a great resource for asking questions, recommendations, and meeting other people abroad.

Helpful Websites

Travelfish — This website is full of incredible useful information for South-East Asia.  It goes over just about everything, and you can definitely get lost on the website looking through all their content.

Tripadvisor — This website needs no introduction, the “Bible” of top things to do, hotel reviews, and so much more when traveling.

E Visums — A great website that goes over all the visa questions you have when traveling to SEA.

Lonely Planet  — Another awesome website that gives great detailed information, active user forums, and can provide a ton of useful information.

Man In Seat 61 — This is the specialty when it comes to overland travel.  This will go over train and bus schedules, fares, and information on how to book online.

Vietnam Tours — Really great website for tours especially for Halong Bay.

Travel Insurance

World Nomads  — The number one provider of traveler’s insurance.  Don’t leave home without it.

Blog Posts

The Ultimate Guide To Backpacking South-East Asia — Migrationology

South-East Asia Travel Tips — Nomadic Matt

Planning a Trip to South-East Asia – Goats On The Road

Motorcycle Adventures in South-East Asia — NOMADasaurus

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you book through these links I will receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you.  This helps with the cost of running the site, and basically just help me buy my next beer along my travels.  : )  

Tad Tayicseua Waterfalls & The Bolaven Plateau; Pakse, Laos

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Meg & Eliza (the two English girls I was traveling with) and myself had rented our motos, and began our journey on the “bolaven plateau loop” in Pakse Laos.  Well, I should say that only me and Eliza rented moto’s.  Meg was going to rent one, but while in the process of teaching her how to ride one, she realized she was not up for the challenge.  You should have seen her face as she attempted to learn; it was hilarious.  Pure terror.  So she hopped on the back of my scooter, and we began our journey.

We rode 50 KM to the small town of Paksong, and got checked into our hotel.  Upon entering the town, we saw a carnival that was going on, and decided to check it out.

It was a really cool carnival with different games, gambling, live music, and food stalls.

Desert I tried at the Carnival

Desert I tried at the Carnival

While we were eating, we were approached by some fellow travelers.  One of them actually had been living in Laos for over two years, and started his own non-profit organization and coffee company called Jhai Coffee House.

We sat there and chatted for awhile about the projects he had worked on, and then began giving us tips for our upcoming adventure.  He ended up telling us about these waterfalls that were actually two hours out of the way of our route, but after showing up some pictures, I knew we had to go.

Tad Tayicseua Waterfalls

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We woke up early the next morning, stopped by the Coffee Shop for one of the best cups of java I’ve had in awhile, and began our moto journey to the waterfalls.

When we got there, I didn’t realize how easily it was set-up.  There are actually seven waterfalls surrounding this area, and you can access all of them just by parking at the top.

We only had time to visit 3 of them, but they were all pretty awesome.

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Fair warning:  if you come here, expect to do a fair amount of hiking and trekking through the jungle.  I was not expecting that at all, and had to harness my inner hobbit and do it all barefoot (because my sandals were too flimsy).  It’s not the most intense hiking you’ll do, but it does get pretty intense at times.

After a several hours of hiking and exploring the waterfalls, and swimming in the lakes, we continued our journey back to Pakse, but with a couple stops along the way.

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Overall, it was an amazing day filled with beautiful scenery, and really made me wonder why I had not made a trip to Laos before.  It’s such an amazing country with so much to offer, including all this waterfall porn.  Check out the little video I made of our time exploring the Bolaven Plateau on a moto.

 

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Don Det, Laos: The Chillest Place in South-East Asia

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After landing in Vientiene, I had no intention on heading to the south of Laos at all.  I had only planned 15 days in the country, and I figured since I’m flying in, checking out the 4000 Islands, Pakse, or Thakek would not really be possible.  After posting on Facebook my travel plans, multiple people commented and sent me messages explaining that the south was their favorite part of visiting Laos.

While traveling, sometimes you need to deviate from your plan.  And I couldn’t be happier with my decision.  

I booked my sleeper bus ticket down to Don Det, and had arrived in what I would have to say is the chillest place in all of South-East Asia.

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When you walk around the very small “city center” of Don Det, and I put it in quotes because it’s basically just two or three streets with restaraunts, a few bars, and various bungalows, guesthouses, and a couple nicer hotels.

It only took me a few minutes to quickly slip into the “Don Det Lifestyle”, which basically means to care about nothing.  Seriously, all your troubles, worries, and stress just seem to melt away on this little island.

There’s not much to do besides Eat, Drink, Smoke, and watch Friends.

Other than the above statement, there are a few activities you can do on the island which can make for an exciting day.

1.  Rent a Bike and Ride to Don Khon Island

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The ride is really nice and will give take to a great lookout point.  It only takes around 40 minutes total to get from the center of town to the end point.

2.  Swimming and Dolphin Watching

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The above photo was taken on our dolphin watching tour.  I was with a group of 4 people total, and we each paid 30,000 KIP to go out on the boat with the local.  It’s also a nice place to stop for a swim!  There is a big kayaking and dolphin watching tour that you can book in town, but I decided against it.

3. Tat Somphamit Waterfalls

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One of the highlights of visiting Laos was marveling at the beauty of these waterfalls.  The entrance fee is a little steep at 30,000 KIP but it is well worth it.  It’s also one of the best places to watch the sunset!  Don’t believe me?  Check out my photo below.

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4.  Tubing

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Now when most people think of “tubing” + “Laos” together, they instantly think of the craziness of Vang Vieng.  But this isn’t VV, this is DD.  Tubing was just an extremely relaxing experience where you extremely slowly float down the river in your tube until you float down to a set of stairs and you walk back to town.  To rent a tube is only 10,000 KIP, and a great way to spend a couple hours.  There’s even a giant rope swing from one of the trees you can stop at along the way.  Definitely recommend doing it because it’s some good fun.

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Nightlife

One of the most fun aspects of heading to Don Det is experiencing the nightlife (or lack thereof).  Everyone makes their way down to one bar right by the ferries, but it closes down around 10:30 – 11:00.  After that, the people who want to keep the party going start a bonfire.  At times, it almost seemed a little too “hippyesque”.  People with dreads, smoking weed, playing guitar, and just really realxing.  It was cliche everytime they played “Wonderwall”, but who am I to judge?  I had some solid nights at these bonfires though, and was amazing just to meet a bunch of fellow travelers who fell in love with Don Det just as much as I had.  [divider]

Overall, I could not have been happier with my decision to make my way down south, and then work my way up to northern Laos.  If you plan a trip to this amazing and relaxed country, definitely make a stop at Don Det!  (Just bring plenty of cash, because there are NO ATMS!).

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