Journeys » Laos (Journeys) » Laos - 2013
LAOS - NEW TO THE MARKET
TRAILFINDERS organized an 11 day trip to Laos, an up-and-coming most charming country.
For the first time, I arrived with a proper camera, a Canon PowerShot, still in the box and lost the recharger. I pestered everybody with unplanned stops to take pictures. I needed to get my money worth of that camera.
MY MAGIC MOMENT
Going up the Mekong River to spend time the tribe children
Luang Prabangang, the former historic capital, is extremely pleased with its PhouSi Hill overlooking the river and its valley. Over 300 steps will bring you to the top where the whole town meets to view the sunset. Watch your bag. Toilets at the top.
A boat ride on the Mekong river, bring a blanket, brought us to the Pak Ou Caves and to the tiny tribal village, for an overnight in the Khamu Lodge,, surrounded by paddy fields. Having given generously to the local school the children decided to light a bonfire, play music and dance for us. What a surprise thank you.
A drive through the chemically bombed hills led us to the Plain of Jars in the city Phonsavan, a US military base of great interest to those that love wars. KEEP to designated trails! Only 30% of the land has been freed from mines.
During our drive through the mountains and Mountain Tribes villages, we stopped at a local school and distributed packs of notebooks and pencils to the village children. It was a treat to see how excited they were.
Vang Vieng, a small town north of the capital Vientiane, on the Nam Song River is the newcomer. It's surrounded by striking limestone mountains and caves. THAT ’s the place to go! A gem of a town, restaurants, cafes, shops, outdoor activities, canoeing, and plenty of young people. Famous for its pancakes! Don’t miss it!
The capital Vientiane is very French, and it has mountains of baguettes for sale everywhere. On the Mekong is at the border with Thailand. Charming city, nice people but very dusty.
WHERE TO STAY
- Luang Prabang, Maison Dalabua, excellent.
- Phonsavanh, Vansana Lodge, not great, but no choice
- Vang Vieng, Thavonsouk, right on the river. But basic.
- Vientiane, Mandala Boutique, in chinese style, very unusual.
- In Luang Prabang, it is nice to eat along the Mekong River.
- At the time food very very skimpy
- The French thought they would open a new road to China through the Mekong river. Once
- In Luang Prabang some restaurants along the river have tables like in Chengdu, South West China, where fish is cooked in large metal pots sitting on fire lit in the middle of the table.
- Visa can be obtained on arrival and is to be paid in US dollars.
- Locals say they don’t know what age they are. Records did not exist.
- Opium is still a problem in tribal camps.
- People believe in spirts. Spirits don’t need food. If they think you are a spirit, you won’t eat!.