A Travellerspoint blog

Laos

Pakse, 7 April 2009

You can get overland from the 4000 Islands area in Laos to Siem Reap in Cambodia. You can leave at 08h00 and go by minibus to the Cambodian border and then transfer to some other Cambodian transport. People heading for Siem Reap then travel all day and stay the following night somewhere before heading of to Siem Reap the following morning, where they are due to arrive at around midday. I checked out the web and came across a couple of blog entries where things had not gone to plan !! ... ... and so we decided to reserve a Lao Airlines ("You are safe with us"!) flight from Pakse to Siem Reap. (The flight is currently $110 as opposed to around $35 overland).

We may be able to compare notes with a French Canadian couple who set out the same morning as us overland! Our trip turned out to be easy enough: we left late morning, boat back to the landing stage, 2 and a half hour minibus ride to Pakse, where we spent the rest of the day and overnight for an early morning flight.

Pakse is the major town in South Laos and seems quite a well off without having a great deal to look at. Its pleasant down the Mekong for a beer at sunset. No photos worth uploading.

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Don Khon, 4000 Islands, Mekong 3 - 6 April 2009

We took the overnight sleeper bus 700 kms down to Pakse, which is the main town in Southern Laos. The guidebook used words like "cumfy" and "slumber party" to describe the trip ... However, it turned out to be the most uncomfortable overnighter we have experienced - and we have been on quite a few in our travels. The coach is kitted out with bed areas (upper and lower) - the problem is that these double bed areas are made for local people who are much smaller than westerners! We just about squeezed into our area (happily at least "upper" rather than in the depths!) but had to remain in various (coordinated) semi phoetal positions to survive the trip (from 20h30 to 06h00)! There was quite a lot of metal work around to define the sleeping areas - could be rather unpleasant in the event of an accident! We did see what looked rather more comfortable arrangements in another bus next to us in the Vientiane bus station, but when we discussed with another couple later and mentioned the company (King of Bus) they said they caught that bus at it had bed bugs!!!

From Pakse we caught another VIP bus (with nice cumfy standard reclining seats) for a further 3 hours practically down to the Cambodian border, where there is a lovely area called 4000 Islands - there's loads of islands in the Mekong at this point. Two islands next to each have started gearing themselves up for travellers (Don Det and Don Khon). We headed for the less developed Don Khon - a little boat takes you from the landing stage where the bus dropped us off - and stayed in some beautifully located floating bungalows. There's currently only electricity by generator in the evenings and no real access to internet. A delightful spot.

Apart from sitting in deckchairs next to the water in our "floating studio" contemplating the scene, reading, relaxing, deciding which little place by the water to eat/drink ... there are decent waterfalls, and rare Irrawaddy (freshwater) dolphins (seen but no photos), to visit/spot nearby. We got quite active a couple of days when we hired bikes to go round the two islands ... lovely way to get around ... but best to avoid the midday sun as its fearfully hot.

Superb. A few days more there would have been easy ...

Floating Studios 1

Floating Studios 1


Floating Studios 2

Floating Studios 2


Floating Studios 3

Floating Studios 3


Floating Studios 4

Floating Studios 4


Floating Studios 5

Floating Studios 5


Floating Studios 6

Floating Studios 6


Floating Studios 7

Floating Studios 7


Around Don Khon 1

Around Don Khon 1


Around Don Khon 2

Around Don Khon 2


Around Don Khon 3

Around Don Khon 3


Around Don Khon 4

Around Don Khon 4


Around Don Khon - Local Shop

Around Don Khon - Local Shop


Around Don Khon 5

Around Don Khon 5


Around Don Khon 6

Around Don Khon 6


Around Don Khon 7

Around Don Khon 7


Around Don Khon 8

Around Don Khon 8


Boat transfer - Don Khon to  Ban Nakasang

Boat transfer - Don Khon to Ban Nakasang


Boat transfer - Don Khon to  Ban Nakasang  2

Boat transfer - Don Khon to Ban Nakasang 2


Landing Stage - Ban Nakasang 1

Landing Stage - Ban Nakasang 1


Landing Stage - Ban Nakasang 2

Landing Stage - Ban Nakasang 2


Landing Stage - Ban Nakasang 3

Landing Stage - Ban Nakasang 3


Big Waterfall 1

Big Waterfall 1


Big Waterfall 2

Big Waterfall 2


Big Waterfall 3

Big Waterfall 3


Trip to spot freshwater dolphins 1

Trip to spot freshwater dolphins 1


Trip to spot freshwater dolphins 2

Trip to spot freshwater dolphins 2


Trip to spot freshwater dolphins 3

Trip to spot freshwater dolphins 3


Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 1

Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 1


Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 2

Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 2


Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 3

Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 3


Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 4

Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 4


Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 5

Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 5


Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 6

Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 6


Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 7

Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 7


Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 8

Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 8


Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 9

Cycling round Don Khon and Don Det 9


Cycling round Don Khon - Waterfall 1

Cycling round Don Khon - Waterfall 1


Cycling round Don Khon - Waterfall 2

Cycling round Don Khon - Waterfall 2


Beer whilst watching sunset from resto

Beer whilst watching sunset from resto

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Vientiane, 30 March - 2 April 2009

Its over 9 hours to do the 400 km journey from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. The "VIP bus" was better than we had expected, but the road is very windy through the mountains through the first half of the trip. No worries - sick plastic bags handed out to everyone! Some superb scenery but very hazy due to burning off large amounts of the countryside.

Vientiane is pleasant enough without having a great deal of interest. Its just like a small provincial town - difficult to think its a capital city. There's a few wats to see, quiet streets to stroll around, and the Mekong - but the river is not too pretty at the moment as its very low and there is an enormous digger carving out much of the riverbank just now.

A relaxing few days ...

Heading to the deep south (of Laos) next where there may be problems with internet access ... ...

Luang Prabang to Vientiane by VIP bus!

Luang Prabang to Vientiane by VIP bus!


Luang Prabang to Vientiane by VIP bus 2

Luang Prabang to Vientiane by VIP bus 2


Luang Prabang to Vientiane by VIP bus 3

Luang Prabang to Vientiane by VIP bus 3


Luang Prabang to Vientiane by VIP bus 4

Luang Prabang to Vientiane by VIP bus 4


Vientiane Street   our hotel (right)

Vientiane Street + our hotel (right)


Vientiane - Champs Elyses?!

Vientiane - Champs Elyses?!


That Luang

That Luang


Wat somewhere

Wat somewhere


Wat Sisaket

Wat Sisaket


Wat Sisaket 2

Wat Sisaket 2


Wat Sisaket 3

Wat Sisaket 3


Wat Sisaket 4

Wat Sisaket 4


Wat somewhere else

Wat somewhere else


Wat somewhere else again

Wat somewhere else again


Wat Pra Kheo

Wat Pra Kheo

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Luang Prabang, 26 - 30 March 2009

We flew from Bangkok to Luang Prabang in Laos on Bangkok Airways - "Asia's boutique airline" (!) - in a propellor job. It was Lindsey's birthday and ... they served wine with the meal and were generous with refills !!! Our first wine since the plane to India on 13/2/09!

After the hussle and bussle of India and Bangkok (in their different ways), Luang Prabang was an absolute delight. Beautiful setting next to the Mekong, relaxed and friendly people, tranquil wats, great night (handicrafts) market, excellent food at restaurants on the banks of the Mekong, two great trips: out to the Kwang Si waterfalls (wonderful swimming in the pools below the falls), and on a relaxing boat trip up river to some really characterful caves with hundreds of Buddhas.

Lovely.

Bangkok Airways - Asia's Boutique Airline !

Bangkok Airways - Asia's Boutique Airline !


Luang Prabang - Mekong

Luang Prabang - Mekong


Luang Prabang - Night Marketand main street

Luang Prabang - Night Marketand main street


Luang Prabang - Night Market

Luang Prabang - Night Market


Luang Prabang - Night Market 2

Luang Prabang - Night Market 2


Luang Prabang - Main street

Luang Prabang - Main street


Luang Prabang Side Street

Luang Prabang Side Street


Mount Phousi

Mount Phousi


Sun setting from Mount Phousi

Sun setting from Mount Phousi


Luang Prabang - Mekong 2

Luang Prabang - Mekong 2


Kwang Si Waterfalls

Kwang Si Waterfalls


Kwang Si Waterfalls 2

Kwang Si Waterfalls 2


Kwang Si Waterfalls   Lindsey

Kwang Si Waterfalls + Lindsey


Kwang Si Waterfalls 2

Kwang Si Waterfalls 2


Kwang Si Waterfalls 3

Kwang Si Waterfalls 3


Luang Prabang - Mekong 3

Luang Prabang - Mekong 3


Luang Prabang - Wat 1

Luang Prabang - Wat 1


Luang Prabang - Wat - Monks at prayer

Luang Prabang - Wat - Monks at prayer


Luang Prabang - Wat 2

Luang Prabang - Wat 2


Luang Prabang - Wat 3

Luang Prabang - Wat 3


Boat Trip up Mekong to Pak Ou Caves

Boat Trip up Mekong to Pak Ou Caves


Boat Trip up Mekong to Pak Ou Caves 2

Boat Trip up Mekong to Pak Ou Caves 2


Boat Trip up Mekong to Pak Ou Cave 3

Boat Trip up Mekong to Pak Ou Cave 3


Boat Trip up Mekong to Pak Ou Caves 4

Boat Trip up Mekong to Pak Ou Caves 4


Pak Ou Caves site

Pak Ou Caves site


Pak Ou Caves site 2

Pak Ou Caves site 2


Pak Ou Caves boat landing

Pak Ou Caves boat landing


Inside Pak Ou Caves

Inside Pak Ou Caves


Inside Pak Ou Caves 2

Inside Pak Ou Caves 2


Inside Pak Ou Caves 3

Inside Pak Ou Caves 3


Mekong Fisherman

Mekong Fisherman


e1

e1


Sunset beer by the Mekong

Sunset beer by the Mekong


Sunset by the Mekong

Sunset by the Mekong


Evening dining by the Mekong

Evening dining by the Mekong

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

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