A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Richard Indo

Vientiane to Thakhec and back-Days 87-94

Going around in Circles

sunny 33 °C

Well after a couple of days in Vientiane the plan was to head south to Pakse and visit the 4000 Islands,but not wanting to spend 15 hours on bus I decided to break the journey up,so 1st stop was Thakhec 300km south or 6.5 long hours on the bus

Was only staying 2 nights the onto Pakse was the plan but when I arrived and started talking to other backpackers I was told about the "loop" which is 400-600km ride that starts and finishes in Thakhec,so I thought why not,hired a bike and off I went

The loop is an easy ride through the countryside with beautiful views and through small villages where it looked as there way of life has not changed much in millennia,still living in thatched cottages and tending to there rice paddies and chickens/pigs ??

There is a hydro dam which has flooded a plateau and now there are huge plains of silver trunks of dead trees,but the highlight would be Kong Lor cave,it was formed by a river carving through the mountain,so now there is 6.5 km tunnel and you get a long boat through,lots of stalagmites and stalactites

The loop took me 3 easy days and I did a total of 550km so if you get to Laos this is highly recommended,the only problem now is I have just about run out of time on my Visa so am back in Vientiane and fly to Hanoi tomorrow to do the rest of Vietnam before that visa runs out and there is no way I am getting a bus which is 24 horrible hours,hope to do the rest of Lao when I go to Cambodia,but will spend a week in Hanoi before heading south

Posted by Richard Indo 21:50 Archived in Laos Tagged countryside Comments (0)

Vang Vieng to Phonsavan and Vientiane Days 79-86

Wifi what's that

sunny 41 °C

Well has been an interesting few days,traveled from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng which is a little town but full of backpackers.The village is nestled in a valley and is surrounded by stunning sandstone cliffs,spent a few days there ,hired a scooter and did a bit of exploring on the tracks through the jungle which was cool

Then another bus and another 7 hours of bouncing around single lane goat tracks to Phonsavan,the town itself has nothing to do but is the gate way to the "Plains of Jars" between 500BC-500AD the locals are thought to have used the large carved jars to place the dead in until there where only bones left and then burial could take place,and also is one of the most heavily bombarded areas of Laos, this year alone there has been around 18 children injured or killed whilst working in the fields and are unlucky enough to hit a bomb

They are still clearing the areas to make safe but expect it will take hundreds of years if not more before the area is decontaminated,which makes it tough on the locals as this limits the areas that they can crop,there literally huge holes everywhere where bombs hit the ground back in the 60's and 70's,only spent 2 nights there and then it was time to move onto the capital of Lao Vientiane,but cheated and got a plane only took half an hour verse the 10 hours the bus was going to take

Situated on the Mekong and with lots of French influence is a nice place to kick back and relax in the shade because it bloody hot currently the feel temp is 42c and the humidity is 68%,not liking it Jan

Plan to spend another few days here before travelling further south to an area called 4000 islands,before arriving in Vientiane the Wifi has been shocking plenty of signal but nothing happens,well that's me done might go back to the hammock and finish a book off

Posted by Richard Indo 20:57 Archived in Laos Tagged hot Comments (0)

Luang Prabang Laos-Days 76-78

Feeling a bit bombarded

sunny 34 °C

Well a bit about Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of Luang Prabang Province in northern Laos, lies in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Inhabited for thousands of years, it was the royal capital of the country until 1975. It’s known for its many Buddhist temples, including the gilded Wat Xieng Thong, dating to the 16th century, and Wat Mai, once the residence of the head of Laotian Buddhism.

And as I have seen enough temples and shrines to Buddha,I didn't go to any other of them !!and another some what disturbing fact about Laos,From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years – making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history.Laos is 236,800 Sq Km and Victoria is 237,689 Sq Km

So as the temples didn't really interest me i spent the first day just catching up on the washing and finished a book about the Rats of Tobruk, hired a scooter and visited some waterfalls and butterfly park yesterday which nice the water was so cold though,but very refreshing,the Kuang Si waterfall is the best I have visited so far,really spectacular

Tomorrow on another bus to Vang Vieng which should only take about 4.5 hours,plan to spend a few days there before heading to the capital Vientiane at the moment it 31' and the humidity is 70% seem to be drinking an awful lot of water!!

Posted by Richard Indo 21:35 Archived in Laos Tagged laid_back Comments (0)

Dien Bein Phu to Luang Prabang -Days 71-75

Go away humidity

sunny 36 °C

Well it was an interesting bus trip from Dien Bien Phu to Laos,the bus pulls up to the hotel and it is absolutely packed ,not much I can do so get jammed in there like sardines and of we go,tried sitting for a while on a bag of something,no seats left by the bus got to picking me up,but that's to uncomfortable so I stood up and that was how I travelled for the next 5 odd hours head bent so not to knock it on the roof as we crawled through the mountains and into Laos,thankfully the bus stopped about every 1 hour or so be it for the border crossings or just to let every body have a break,literally people we sitting on top of each other-worse bus trip ever!!

So finally got to my 1st destination,Muang Khua with the plan to get a slow boat down the Ou River to Luang Prabang but some bugger has decided that that this river would be a good spot for a dam,so stayed a night and next morning with 14 other backpackers we get another boat down river some 70km to another village Muang Ngoi

This village until recently had no road access or mains power,but no has both but the roads are dirt and is very layer back,so nice and relaxing decided to stay for 3 nights,so just kicked back had a few beers,read a few books and did a bit of exploring with a couple of Israel backpackers,all in it was good to stop and rechart the battery's,very limited wifi which made for even less distractions
But alas it is once again time to move on ,so onto another boat for a short hour trip down to Nong Khiao and another bloody bus to Luang Prabang,thankfully this time I got a seat!! And after 5 hours to cover the 120km we made it the bus station in Luang Prabang,plan to spend 4-5 days here plenty to look at and do,so see you all in a few days when I have some more tales to tell !! The weather hasn't been to bad with the odd shower/storm around,but the humidity is shocking I am walking around and leave a trail behind me of fluid,temps must be in mid 30's still,that's I am out of here need more water!!

Posted by Richard Indo 20:26 Archived in Laos Tagged humidity Comments (0)

Sapa to Dien Bein Phu-Vietnam Days 69-70

War is bad

sunny 35 °C

Well spent most of yesterday (4/10) on a bus from Sapa to my current destination Dien Bein Phu,the bus was packed with locals and and they goods literally jammed in like sardines,the route crossed the highest road in Vietnam then dropped back into the valley and we basically followed a couple of rivers for a while before crossing another mountain pass before once again dropping into the valley to Dien Bein Phu

Glad I took a bus in the daylight to do the trip,we were truly in rural Vietnam,small villages and there inhabitants going about there day to day life,pulled up few times and the look on some people's faces when a westerner jumped off the bus was pretty funny,got asked to have my photo taken a few times and also again today,must be getting off the backpacker loop a bit ,been a struggle to find English speaking people,so have been using the phone and Google Translator quite a bit !!

Dien Bein Phil is quite important to the people of Vietnam ??,as below.
The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was the decisive engagement in the first Indochina War (1946–54). After French forces occupied the Dien Bien Phu valley in late 1953, Viet Minh commander Vo Nguyen Giap amassed troops and placed heavy artillery in caves of the mountains overlooking the French camp. Boosted by Chinese aid, Giap mounted assaults on the opposition’s strong points beginning in March 1954, eliminating use of the French airfield. Viet Minh forces overran the base in early May, prompting the French government to seek an end to the fighting with the signing of the Geneva Accords of 1954.,the Geneva accord basically split Vietnam into North and South and this led to the Vietnam War which Australia got dragged into late

That is really short version,worth googling it to read a bit more,tomorrow bright and early catching another bus into Laos ??,so that is me done catch you in a couple of days when I find wifi again !!Weather is hot and humid must be mid 30's add the 76" humidity and feels well in the 40's

At the A1 hill which is one of spots where the Vietnamese dug in and today is a bit of museum,couple there getting wedding photos taken,thought that was strange as the scenery was not that nice !!

Posted by Richard Indo 02:13 Archived in Vietnam Tagged hot Comments (0)

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