Solo Travel: Fact or FictionTuesday, April 19, 2011
When you're on the Banana Pancake trail (the Lonely Planet trail that every Southeast Asian backpacker is following), when you always meet a fellow traveller on every hostel/bar/restaurant you go to, when all roads lead to the backpacker district of that city...it makes me wonder:
Does anyone ever travel solo anymore?
I started traveling solo in Ha Noi, Vietnam, Lois and Hutch were off to Sa Pa to see the famous rice fields of Vietnam and I stayed in Ha Noi to spend 2 days on a Halong Bay boat cruise. You could say I was now on my own. I was finally traveling solo!
Can I now cross it off our 30 before 30 list? Was I really traveling solo?
Here's a recount of my day as a 'solo traveler' in Luang Prabang, Laos and you decide:
Any day in Laos should always start with a fresh baguette for 10,000 LAK (1.25 USD) and Lao coffee for 6,000 LAK (0.75 USD). I go to my favorite vendor on main street: Mama, who's so sweet she reminds me of my Lola Ludz.
I head back to Spicy Laos Hostel, one of the cheapest places I've been to where dorm rooms are only 4 USD/night (172 PHP). Yesterday, I made plans to go the Kuang Si waterfalls with Randy, an American guy I met on the balcony of the hostel.
'Waterfalls, Waterfalls. Now! Cheap, cheap. We give early price, best price!"That was our chant all the way across town. It took us 10 minutes to find a girl outside a travel agency (wearing a bikini under her top!). Her name was Hamilton or Amy, she was French and traveling for close to 3 years.
From 75,000 LAK, we now got the price down to 50,000 LAK.
We weren't done yet. Amy was even more adamant to get more people on board to reduce the fare further. Now, Amy and I were both shouting:
'Waterfalls, Waterfalls. Now! Cheap, cheap. We give early price, best price!"After 15 minutes, 2 Americans took the bait. Lance and Eleana, a brother and sister traveling duo, didn't have anything planned for that day so our insane shouting for 'Waterfall' sounded good to them.
From 50,000 LAK, we now got the price down to 35,000 LAK.
strangers became not so much like strangers at all.
Lance and Eleana had to leave for Chiang Mai that night so Randy, Amy and I decided to meet up for dinner at the night market food stalls. You can have all-you-can-eat buffet of noodles, veggies and fruit for only 10,000 LAK.
We were joined by more people from Spicy Laos: Jon from England, Dima from Germany, Stuart from the U.K. (who I also met in Halong Bay) and Christian from America.
Beer and alcohol followed next at this amazing chill-out place called Utopia. Everyone in Luang Prabang almost always ends up in Utopia and there's a reason for that: great food, garden setting, a deck on the river with mattresses you can lie or sit on and cool music. The place was aptly named Utopia.
|A little monkey-stranger we met who liked Beer Lao!|
Go BOWLING, of course!
|Where a bottle of local whiskey is cheaper than bottled water!|
|Johanna and Caroline from Sweden joined the bowling game!|
|We baptized the little monkey, Ling Lao Lao.|
|And he ends up in someone's skirt (probably too much whiskey)!|
I climbed into bed at around 4 am. Before I slipped off to dream land, I realized that this was the only time I've been truly alone in the past 24 hours.
*This post is part of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers blog carnival series. This month, all pinoy bloggers answer the question "Solo Travel". Nina Fuentes of justwandering.org hosts this month's blog carnival.