This week – well not this week exactly, but week 3 of my trip – marked my last week in Laos, and involved a whole lot of traveling. I believe I left off in Vientiane, so I’ll continue my story from there. The next day we headed to Kong Lor where we stayed for a few days to explore the caves. It’s a 7km cave through a mountain, which you travel through on small wooden boats powered by a little motor. The only light was from the torches on our heads and the drivers torch, so how we didn’t crash I don’t know. Swimming in the river with the locals after was fun as well – they all just jump from the rocks in their jeans and clothes! When we were here, we stayed in the cutest little wooden bungalows on the side of the river, which had the most amazing views.
The next few days were mainly travel – we stopped off in this small French influenced town, where a bottle of rice whiskey was £1.20, so when split between three of us was dangerously cheap. Luckily it tastes horrible so we weren’t at risk of drinking too much at once. The following day was spent in the region of Xe Champone, visiting a number of local tourist spots. The first was Turtle Lake, a local holy place, where the villagers believe that the Turtles are their ancestors reincarnated… second was to the oldest Buddhist library in Laos, home to transcripts from 100s of years ago. It was just a little wooden building in the river, but it’s such a renowned place, we all had to put on special skirts and shoulder wraps before we went in. Shoes also had to be removed, and at 40°C, the ground really burns your feet! Last stop of the day was to Monkey Forest, where we got to feed the monkeys bananas. They’re pretty aggressive towards each other when a banana is at stake, that’s for sure.
Pakse was our next town, where the highlight was a beautiful waterfall – the rainbows around the bottom were just amazing.
From there it was onto Wat Phou, an ancient Hindu turned Buddhist temple. Apparently, back in the 9th Century, human sacrifices were made to the gods there, and the table it happened on reminded me of the Stone table from the Lion, the witch and the wardrobe. Aslan however didn’t show himself this time though.
This was all en route to Don Det, our last stop in Laos. To get across to the island, we were told a ferry would take us and the bus across. I’ve since changed by idea of what a ferry is. Two rusty old boats, wooden slats balanced on top, and a motor took us and the bus across the river, and then some questionable wooden boats took us the last bit. Luckily none of our bags fell in. The temperature has been steadily increasing as we’ve gone south, hitting a high of 45°C when we arrived in Don Det. We all went down to a pool in the town, jumped in to cool off and we’re sorely disappointed when the water was also hot. It’s a bit of a party town, and definitely had a backpacker vibe, which was something thay had been missing for me on the last few days on the Stray route. It was really nice seeing the ‘off the beaten track’ side of Laos, but that did mean we were spending time in places where there wasn’t always much / anything to do. I did learn a few more card games from the Danish guys on our bus though, so silver linings.
Anyway, that finishes my time in Laos!
Cambodia has been amazing so far, so I have to dedicate a new post for my first week here. Sorry for the lack of images in this post too, I’m having issues sending them from my phone to tablet. Hopefully that will be sorted for next time.
Happy Easter – have an Easter egg for me! 😊