View our location map in Phitsanulok

It took us 2 attempts to leave Laos this time.  Our first attempt was interrupted when we got to the train station in Vientiane – we had decided to get the train to Bangkok and then to Chiang Mai and then the bus to Chiang Rai – only to be told that the flooding in Thailand was so bad that the trains weren’t running.  Flooding in Thailand?  The complete absense of TV or checking any news websites had left us oblivious to the fact that 20 people have died in Thailand and Cambodia because of the worst flooding in 15 years – and with more rain forecast and water running into the lowlands from the hills, they were predicting the flooding would get a lot worse before it got better.  So what to do?  We could either cross the border and figure it out once we got to Thailand, or go back to Ben and Christerine’s house and use the time there to do some research on the internet about the flood affected areas and make a plan from there.  Since a 14 hour bus ride to Chiang Rai from the Thai border sounded very unappealing, we opted to accept Ben and Christerine’s kind offer to stay the night at their house so we could figure out what to do next.

We decided to get a bus from Vientiane to Udon Thani in Thailand, and then change buses to Phitsanulok, and then depending on timing, change buses again and go to Sukhothai, an area in Thailand that we both wanted to see anyway and a good mid-point to stop off on the way to Chiang Rai.  As it turned out, we didn’t get to Phitsanulok until 1.30am so opted to stay the night here.  Once here we realised it’s quite a nice place, and so we’ve decided to stay another day or two here before going to Sukhothai.

So far the ultimate highlight has been just being able to wander around the streets without being covered head to toe in dust, many trees around, and general green-ness which is a welcome relief from Vientiane.  Laos was the most awesome country of the trip so far but we are definitely not sad to have left dusty Vientiane.  We found some ruins just on our street and spent some time soaking up the joy of just being able to be outside without melting from oppresive heat and being covered in dust.  We even got to see the most beautiful rain storm we have ever seen… yay for Thailand!  We love this country.  Our photos are here.