4/28/18: Vegan Travel Isn’t Always Pragmatic (Trekking In Northern Laos, Day 2)

I woke up in the homestay at 7:30, and was pretty much the first one up.

Everyone headed over to the breakfast area around 8:15. We saw bananas out on the table, so we each had one. We didn’t see anyone cooking, so we thought that’s all we were having for breakfast and were kind of upset. But then, a few minutes later, the host family’s wife came and pulled out bowls of noodles from a cooler. Thank god!

My guide made sure my noodles didn’t have eggs, which was really nice.

We set off on our trek around 9:30. We got on the boat and rode a few minutes to the jungle. The tour agency had told us it was a BIG trek that would take 2 to 3 hours, so I was prepared for a challenge.

Pet (our guide) bought this puppy for 7 euros
Pet and our boatman
Setting off for the day!

The first part was a lot of just getting leeches off our shoes. We each got a wooden stick and would pick them off with it every time they leeched on. It eventually got better because we got better at spotting them on the ground and avoiding them. They are so gross though— they just wiggle around in the air, desperately trying to cling on to anything they can.

Buffalo that looked like a pig
Actual piggie!


We got to a cave 30 minutes later, and then climbed down to the beach to get back on the boat. I was confused why the trek was so short since we were told it was hours long. I’m not sure if it’s because the guide was hungover or if the agency just didn’t tell us the truth, but it was strange nonetheless.

We rode an hour or so to the village that would take us to Mok waterfalls.

We trekked on flat paths for a while, and then got to a river. We climbed up the river to get to the main waterfall.

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Mok waterfall trek

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Crossing the river
First waterfall


Reaching the main waterfall

It was beautiful and the water was so fresh. We all got in and bathed for a while. We stood directly underneath the fall, which gave us a good massage. It was super reinvigorating.


Our guide gave us sandwiches that our homestay has prepared. He gave me a special one without eggs, which I really appreciated. It had mayo, but I ate it anyway. I wrote a bit about this on my Instagram post, which you can read below. 


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Ate this sandwich at a waterfall while trekking through northern Laos~ Ok now real talk: this wasn’t 100% vegan. It had mayo in it, but I ate it anyway. Our guide brought sandwiches prepared by our homestay hosts, and this was my only option for lunch. I know some of you are thinking that I prob could have not eaten it and bought something else for myself later, but that’s not what I did. Why? Because our guide went out of his way to make sure my sandwich didn’t have eggs because he knows I don’t eat them. Because it would have been wasteful if I didn’t. Because I was hungry. I try my best to be vegan while traveling, but sometimes it’s just not pragmatic. And that’s the truth. #vegantravel #waterfalleats #laos

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We relaxed for a while longer and then got dressed and hiked back to the boat.

Hiking back

The boat took us to a kayaking area– the itinerary included a 2-hour kayak trip back to Nong Khiaw– but just as we were getting on the kayaks, it started to rain. Our guide told us that if it started down-pouring, we could get back on the boat.

Buffalo hanging by our kayaks


It was definitely down-pouring. We kayaked for about 20 minutes in ridiculousness. We looked so funny just paddling our hearts out in the Nam Ou river, completely drenched like pathetic wet dogs.

The boat stopped on the side of the river, and our guide motioned to us to get back on. We all climbed back in, absolutely soaked.



Adrian and Marius
Pouring rain

The rest of the ride we all huddled in the back, cold and wet.

We got back to Nong Khiaw at 3. The group all gave me their Facebook names so I could create a group chat so that we could meet up later, exchange pictures, etc.

Adrian and I checked into our bungalow and then I took a really nice warm shower. I was cold for the first time since trekking in Sapa a couple months ago, and the hot water was much appreciated.

I took some time to check social media and email since I didn’t have WiFi for 2 days.

Caught up on all my internet stuff, I had a beer with Adrian, Falco, and Mateus before meeting Melanie and Marius at Q Bar for their 2 for 1 cocktail special. Our plan was to go there and then go to Coco Home for dinner because it was finally open. We had tried going there every day since coming Nong Khiaw, but it was closed every single time.

Adrian and me
Adrian, Mateus, me
Adrian, Mateus, Falco, me

At Q Bar, Adrian and I got gin and tonics, plus some fresh spring rolls because we were starving.

We met an American couple from Boston. They had met Falco and Mateus at the bungalows while the rest of us were trekking. They had met on tinder and were only dating for 4 months before they started traveling the world together. Insane but also pretty amazing. I typically only meet couples in super long-term, serious relationships, so it was cool meeting a couple that was still getting to know each other.

Adrian and I got another cocktail just before happy hour ended, and by the time we all left for dinner it was 9:30.

Coco Home was amazing. The waiter was the friendliest, most polite man ever. I got red curry, a beer, and then we all got a bottle of Lao Lao for the table. The group was me, Adrian, Falco, Mateus, Marius, Melanie, and two people Melanie knew. One was French named Caroline, and the other was German named Hussein. Mateus and I were the only ones who weren’t German or French, which is pretty representative of the tourists in Laos– most of them are either French or German.

We all had 3 or so shots of Lao Lao and were all decently tipsy by the end of the meal.

Before our first shot, I lifted my glass and said, “Shall we?” Then everyone lifted theirs and started saying, “Shall we? “Shall we?” enough that the two words blended and started to sound like a new word for cheers: shallwee. So then the next round we all said cheers, Prost, kampai, shallwee.
Hussein, who was sitting at the front of the table, didn’t hear us when the shallwee joke began, and started saying shallwee too as he lifted his shot glass too, thinking that it was another word for cheers. It made me so happy.

The boys only ordered appetizers for some reason, and had really small portions. Contrarily, my curry was really good and big and I was quite full by the end.

My curry
Marius’ sadly small soup and 3 pieces of bread

We stayed there until the waiter had to essentially kick us out, telling us the police would come if they didn’t close down in a few minutes since it’s against regulation. Crazy!!

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