ngok ngok means “cheers!” in laotian. we learned this over beer lao bottles and homemade rice whisky with our tour guides in hongsa, laos. i also learned the hard way that the combination is a sure way to a mean hangover in the morning…
but hangover aside, the night we spent in the tiny town of hongsa en route to the mekong river was one of those real, honest times when you feel less like a tourist and more like a houseguest. it’s these kind of moments that really make me so happy that i’m able to take this trip and to really interact with the people i’ve met along the way.
i booked a two day package in chiang mai that would take me to the northern laotian town of luang prabang along the mekong river. the small group in the tour included two girls traveling together from ireland, and michelle and claus, both from denmark, but each traveling solo. the ride from chiang mai to the border was somewhat uneventful, but as the ride went on we were hot, and as comfortable as you can be when sitting all day in a minivan traveling at warp speed around some major curves and hills! but that was a piece of cake compared to what awaited us on the laotian side of the border!