Wednesday, 11 March 2015

3 Days 2 Nights Tour of Salar De Uyuni

There is only one reason to be in the desolated town of Uyuni, to go on a tour to see the salt flats and National Parks. If there is one thing in South America I would tell people to never miss witnessing with one own eyes, it would be the salt flats of Uyuni, Salar de Uyuni. Still just because it’s unbelievable does not mean one should fork out whatever the local tour agency ask for.

I arrive early in the morning at 7 am from an overnight bus from La Paz and technically I could have hopped on a tour that morning itself at 10 am if I manage to find a tour agency and slog out the bargaining and price cutting in a mere 3 hours. I decided to get a hostel and slowly scout the vultures. Tour operators after tour operators I went in and asked for the price of the 3 days tour, 1 day tour, 5 days tour and in my mind worked out that the three days tour was the most value for money.

Now I just need to squeeze the cheapest one out, so I continue walking always promising the hopeful salesman/woman that I would return after careful thinking. 900 Boliviano, 800 Boliviano, and the price hover never lowering below 750 Boliviano but I had nothing but time and a full 24 hours to be actively seen lurking around. One shop after I walk out barely 2 feet away the lady came running out and pulled me aside carefully making sure the current customers inside was not aware she was going to offer a special price cut just for me. 700 Boliviano.

I wonder why I even bother to waste time for such small amount of money …. Technically 800 Boliviano was SGD 160 and that was for 3 days’ worth of transport, food and lodgings which means only SGD 53.33 a day plus a tour guide. At 700 it makes it SGD140 …
So the next day I was on a tour for 3 days to be stuck with 6 random strangers on one hell of an amazing tour in Bolivia Uyuni.

3 Days 2 Night Uyuni Tour
I was on a Spanish speaking tour with Spanish speaking people with local South American tourist with the furthest tourist from Spain (apart from me of course) Ola amigos …. Do you speak English? Our group consisted of 4 from Chile, 1 from Peru, 1 from Spain and me from Malaysia. I almost decided to be a lonely soul but thankfully a few spoke English and after a few days into the tour I even surprise them by some in-depth Spanish vocabulary such as “Chika Rico”
Uyuni is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in all my travels so far. The landscape is by far the harshest yet beauty as always thrived when no human is involved.

The Salt Flats
In one word …. Unbelievable. I have seen pictures of these on facebook on one of those post where it says “top 10 something to visit before you die or something”. I thought it was pure nonsense for sometimes amazing photo shoots just wreck in actual sight but if the photos was unbelievable, being there itself was 10 times more unfuckingbelievable.

Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni
What we saw of the sky meet the ground making it look like one is walking in the clouds was not just one direction but all 360 all around and even knowing it was a reflection you could not see the actual ground 3 feet from where you stand without concentrating hard. You have to be lucky thou for if there was no rain for a week there was no water and with no water means no unfuckingbelievable sights.

Go crazy, take photos after photos but eventually you just stand there and look on forever … well till the pain in the bare feet kicks you back in reality for the salt lakes was actually just that … salt lakes. Walking barefoot on salt was painful after a while.
Train Cemetery

It’s amusing how anything can be a tourist attraction given enough idea and concept. Just outside of Uyuni town is a place where trains go to die. Unwanted old junk from long time ago was left there to rust and fall apart with grace. Now it is a major stop for all those on the 3 days tour to have a look at this beautiful timepiece made accidentally and could never be removed for the more desolated and eerie it feels the better for tourist business.
Train Cemetery -Uyuni
Rock Formations, Desert, Lakes, Wildlife
Large parts of the 3 days tours is looking out the window. The driver packed three big containers of petrol on our rooftop and we were on a drive every day from sun up to sun down looking at scenery of the desolated desert. From time to time the driver would pull up at scenic spots for photos to be taken or just a minute to absorb the beautiful landscape.

No roads although the GPS on my phone said we were on a road, it was more of dirt road paved by many tourist 4WD frequent tyres. This was a desert landscape with the snow caped Andes Mountain on the backdrop and lakes that form up from places to places. Naturally with such desolated landscape most of the view point stops were near lakes which vary from clear blue colour to aquamarine and orange slush. The guide explained that the colour of the lakes were due to the microorganism living in it that cause a chemical reaction.
Eventually on the 2nd day we reached the Andean Wildlife Reserved Eduardo Avaroa. Here we saw thousands of cute pink flamingo. If you ever see a flamingo, you will need to see a pack of flamingo fly. It just brings out the kid in me for it look exactly like what Walt Disney portray in classic cartoons. Unfortunately these are one of those see with your own eyes and leave the camera in the pocket event.

Geysers & Hot Spring

Last day of the trip was Geyser visiting and Hot Spring dipping. 4 am early in the morning we were woken up in the cold and grit our teeth to visit the geyser. No spurting columns of water like Indiana Jones but more of spurting columns of gasses. The whole area was steaming off vapour mixed with sulphuric smell which was not that pleasant. I personally felt the cold morning was not worth this blasphemy smell but then there was the boiling molten mud on the ground.
Blub blub … that is one hot melted and cooked earth soup shit was what all I could think of.
Then it was hot springs. It was so cold in the morning, so so cold. Fuck it …. and the guys proceeded to strip down as fast as possible and ease into the pool. The first burn balls in the freezing cold morning was way better than any breakfast I have ever had. Now if only someone could get me food and wine and let me stay here forever so I don’t have to get out into the cold.





No comments:

Post a Comment