Coming down the home stretch. As we left Hi Chi Minh (formerly Saigon), we decided to fly this time. A little to far to take the bus. Going in we had heard and read that the capital of Laos was more of a laid back city.
They weren’t wrong, nothing like the other cities we had been to. Granted they had their one big market. The night life was almost non-existent. The tutt-tutt were here. A little more power than the previous ones we have used.
Admiring The Sights
Beautiful temples and parks abound. Probaly the most popular sight would be the Patouxai, an arc modelled after France Champs Elysees. Built in the 1950’s. Come down Xang Avenue. Pretty impressive sight.
Probably the most we’ll remember about it is the ride out there in our tutt-tutt. We bounced all over in the back of the tutt-tutt. Out side the park sat a man playing a flute blowing out through his nose. Pretty clever and of course if you wanted him to play just drop a bill or some coins into a pale and he would play and you could take pictures.
Your Have Two Choices
Had a good evening at the Aussie pub. On our way home one night Jeanette wanted to try a a street venders pastry (who would bring his cart to the same spot each night) that everyone was lining up for. Even cars pulled-up awaited.
You had two choices with or without the egg. Jeanette chose without. He pulled out some dough and commenced to flatten it out. Added some bananas and folded it into a 6×6 inch square. On his hot plate he could cook 3 at a time. Non stop ..the man had talent.
Back on the Bus
Only spent a couple days here in the capital and prepared to head up north to Luang Prabang. Granted we could of probaly flew up there in about and hr. or so (just as cheap as the bus fare) but as a fellow British gentleman traveller said “we do it for the experience.”
Crazy, but true. Some places that jeanette and I took a bus or the train I wouldn’t do again. This trip if I could go the other way I would. Told you it’s crazy, especially since it took 11hrs. 15 min. Also we were all in agreement that the drivers looked like they were both 20 yrs. old.
It was a V.I.P. bus and they could handle it. The mountain passing were a little touchy now and then, and the time we left a French couple running along side and pounding on the bus. Jeanette and I made friends with a couple of Swedish girls that we continued to run into throughout our stay in town.
About the British Gentleman
He bailed me out of a situation. Every couple hrs. The bus would stop to stretch and use the bathroom which cost 20 Kip. I had 10 and some big bills 8000Kip= $1 U.S. dollar. The Brit loaned me the remaining 10 k, pennies.
Visiting Rice Wine Distilleries
Our stay here took us on the Mekong River through a village that not only had their own rice wine distilleries, 55 proof….looked like a moonshine setup, but bottled, labeled and sold it themselves. Don’t really know about that part though.
Actually got to drink some as it was coming thru the pipes after cooking. Drinking it straight out of a pepsi can.Bought some and had to mix it with a slush later that night. Couldn’t sip it, had like a vodka taste. Had fun in Whiskey Village though.
The Monks of Pal Ok Caves
The tour continued on to the Pal Ok Caves. The best known are Tham Ting (lower), and Than Phoum (upper caves). The lower caves has been filled with damaged or old and+ unwanted Buddhas I think our guide said their are hundreds of Buddha’s in the cave. As we exited the lower cave Jeanette and I headed up the stairs to the higher cave. Got to the top with only two breaks, Jeanette took 5.
Looked around and as were heading back down the steps about 4 monks are climbing up. Just as we are about to pass them one monk throws up his arms says something to the others and turns around and heads back down. He looked a little bit bigger that the other monks. Was pretty funny how he did it.
Got back in our personal boat and headed back to town to trade it in for a van and head out to the Kouang Si waterfall. Swimming it was to cold, though some of the younger kids did get in the water. Water was a crystal clear blue. They say during the monsoons, it’s really beautiful.
Got back to town and what was earlier a functioning car road is being transformed into a night market. Their selling a little bit of everything. It goes on every night till 10p. If we get up early (5:15 a) enough we can watch the monks going around and collecting all the donation from the people.
Jeanette and I took the ferry across the river to a small village, negotiated a price for a tutt-tutt tutt and took us a 3 hr. ride out to see a home business of pottery making and another waterfall. Got to watch some construction workers and traffic work together.
Water fall was nice but met a really cool guy that had a set of horns. Longest horns on a bull I’ve ever seen. Just a lot of fun this town had to offer. It’s becoming well know in the western world. It has been said at any given time there are more tourist than locals.
See you soon!
XOXO – John