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The Floating Villages Of Tonlé Sap

A Photo – Essay

Floating Village of Kompong Luong, on the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Floating Village of Kompong Luong, on the Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Tonlé Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, a sight itself. But even more striking are the villages around and on the lake.

Approaching Tonlé Sap, we felt propelled back into the Neolithic Age. The small river running along the road towards the lake is lined with dwellings that look like giant spiders. On endlessly long, thin stilts, sit huts made of bamboo mats. Often these walls and roofs were in a disheveled state, some people were able to afford corrugated iron. Those structures looks so fragile you would expect them to crash any minute into the swampy ground deep below. Continue Reading →

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Meeting Two Survivors Of The Khmer Rouges’ Killing Machine

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Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, Phnom Penh

A must-visit when in Cambodia is to “Security Office 21” or S21 (Torture Prison) of Tuol Sleng and to the Killing Fields in Choeung Ek, each extremely depressing and haunting experiences. These two places display without filter one of the darkest and most gruesome page of History, the Killing Machine of the Khmer Rouge. Continue Reading →

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Grand Escapades’ Travel Guide To Laos

Asia’s Most Relaxed Destination

Hmong New Year's Celebration - Phonsavanh

Hmong New Year’s Celebration – Phonsavanh

Itinerary And Time Of The Visit

Our two trips to Laos could not have been more different from each other. In June 2008, during our Round The World Trip, we spent one month in this charming country. We crossed the border from China on foot and started in Luang Nam Tha, where we trekked Luang Nam Tha National Park, then headed for popular Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng & Vientiane. Some of the lesser-known places we visited were Phonsavanh & the Plain of Jars, Kong Lo Cave, Pakse & the Bolaven Plateau and last but not least 4.000 Islands.

In November 2014, Gilles accompanied his father on his “Bucket List Trip” during 10 days in Laos, focusing more on well-trodden paths: Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Phonsavanh and finally Luang Prabang.

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Budget Guide To Laos

Still Cheap But No Longer Cheapest

On the way to 4.000 Islands

On the way to 4.000 Islands

Type Of Travel

Our two trips to Laos could not have been more different from each other. In June 2008, we were on a Round The World Trip (one year), and therefore on a somewhat tight budget (between Backpacking and Flashpacking). In November 2014, Gilles accompanied his father on his “Bucket List Trip”, which meant a pleasant mid-range type of travel. And this becomes clearly visible in the very different expenses we had on each trip …

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Siem Reap On & Off The Beaten Track

Or how to discover (many) Angkor Temples around Siem Reap without the crowd and without straining your budget!

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Angkor Wat from a Hot Air Balloon, Siem Reap

Seldom have we experienced such strong contrasts as in Siem Reap, the hub to visit the stunning Angkor Temples… On the one hand, the city itself and unfortunately the most famous temples like Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom & Ta Prohm have turned into a congested tourist mess and now represent mass-tourism at its worst. On the other hand, as soon as we headed a bit further afield, we could enjoy beautiful temples almost void of any visitors… Continue Reading →

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Why Is Siem Reap Worth At Least 7 Days?

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap

Ankor Wat is only one of many temples in Siem Reap, but certainly the most famous temple in an area plastered with religious buildings. A visit to Cambodia is often seen synonymous with a visit to the largest religious building in the world! But there are a lot more other temples in and around Siem Reap than Ankor Wat! Continue Reading →

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Laos – A Selection Of 43 Pictures

Pha That Luang, Vientiane, Laos

Pha That Luang, Vientiane, Laos

Our two trips to Laos could not have been more different from each other. In June 2008, during our Round The World Trip, we spent one month in this charming country. We crossed the border from China on foot and started in Luang Nam Tha, where we trekked Luang Nam Tha National Park, then headed for popular Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng & Vientiane. Some of the lesser-known places we visited were Phonsavanh & the Plain of Jars, Kong Lo Cave, Pakse & the Bolaven Plateau and last but not least 4.000 Islands.

In November 2014, Gilles accompanied his father on his “Bucket List Trip” during 10 days in Laos, focusing more on well-trodden paths: Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Phonsavanh and finally Luang Prabang.

Continue Reading →

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Championship of Pétanque – Lao Style!

Competition of Pétanque in Luang Prabang, Laos

Championship of Pétanque in Luang Prabang, Laos

The most unexpected is always the best… This can even prove true in a Tourist Ghetto like the Old City of Luang Prabang. No, Luang Prabang hasn’t changed since our last visit in 2008: it is a maze of Restaurants, Travel Agencies, Massage Parlors & Hotels.

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Hmong New Year ’s Celebration

A Photo-Essay

Hmong New Year's Celebration - Phonsavanh, Laos

Hmong New Year’s Celebration – Phonsavanh, Laos

We arrived in Phonsavanh in the midst of the Hmong New Year’s celebration – to our great surprise!  This event seems to be widely unknown amongst Western visitors. On the first evening we missed the Bull Fights, so the next day we were determined to see the Festival on the edge of town. After a rough 12 kilometer drive, we reached what seemed to be a fair-ground, with various games going on, like throwing darts. Needless to say that serious karaoke singers were trying to out-do each other, a must at every social gathering in Laos. Again, no lack of food stalls serving cheap and delicious local food. Continue Reading →

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UXO – The Aftermath Of America’s “Secret War”

UXOs or Unexploded Ordnances, Phonsavanh, Laos

UXO or Unexploded Ordnances, Phonsavanh, Laos

UXO stands for “UneXploded Ordnance”. Of the estimated 2 million tons of bombs, including 280 million cluster bombs dropped onto Laos between 1964 and 1973, about 30% did not explode! These have killed no less than 14.000 people in Laos in the last 30 years and crippled 44.000. The province of Xinuang Khoung, with its capital Phonsavanh, was especially targeted during the bombing raids. The USA suspected this northeastern province to be the hiding place of the communist Pathet Lao. Continue Reading →

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