Muang Sing

A bit further north-west and we came to Muang Sing, a dusty little town that was once the location of the biggest opium market in the Golden Triangle. According to my Lonely Planet guidebook, there are still over a thousand opium addicts in Muang Sing (the crop was outlawed only nine years ago), a remnant of the days when the region produced four to five tons a year. Mel and I must not look like smokers, though, because no one tried to sell us any.

As far as I could tell, the town was basically one long-ish street of shops, restaurants and guesthouses, with a surrounding area of surprisingly large residences. There was also a temple on the main road that Mel kinda liked. She also liked the rambutans.

(note the English-language poster advising tourists not to smoke the local opium, among other things)

We were staying at the Puiou 2 Guesthouse, one of the few places in town that was bungalow-style. The set up was really nice with the rooms surrounding a grassy area with trees and simple landscaping. Very pleasant. And for nine dollars a night! What was not so nice, as we came to find out, were the rock-hard beds in the room. ROCK HARD. I’d read on various travel blogs that beds in Laos were notoriously uncomfortable, but wow. I pounded my fist on the mattress at one point, and it was like hitting a wall. I swear, there was a block of wood in that mattress casing.

We took the quilts off the beds (we weren’t using them anyway – too hot), folded them into thirds and placed them on top of the mattresses for extra padding, which gave us about 14 inches of width to sleep on, but was clearly better than nothing.

It did help, although Mel woke up the next morning covered in bug bites – fleas, most likely. Yikes. Did I also mention that Muang Sing’s only nightclub was located just behind the guesthouse? And that it played Thai pop all night long? Man.

Luckily, I found great humor in the bathroom situation, with a shower head that pointed straight at the toilet. I could shower sitting down!

Chalk it all up to experience.

Muang Sing, you weren’t my favorite.

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