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Wat Phu Champasak

Wat Phu Champasak, Pakse

Wat Phu Champasak, Pakse

A visit to Wat Phu is more than paying tribute to Laos’ most impressive archaeological site. It is above all a fun trip. The best part is definitely the crossing of the Mekong, either in a tiny roll-on ferry, made of two canoes linked by a few wooden planks or on the “regular” ferry, where you can observe local women trying to sell just any food to passengers: noodle soup, coca-cola, cooked bananas and what not… After the heavy rain recently, the Mekong was spreading as far as the eye can see. Continue Reading →

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Heidi – Kong Lo Cave

The Journey Is The Reward

On the way to the (floaded) 7 kilometer long Kong Lo Cave

On the way to the (floaded) 7 kilometer long Kong Lo Cave

After arriving in Khoum Khan late in the evening, I found a place to sleep and good company on top: a few Australians who also had arrived that day and wanted to go to Kong Lo Cave the following day. I was really relieved since my biggest worry was that I would have to pay for the entire transport to Kong Lo village and for the cave alone. Continue Reading →

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Laos – My Most Favourite Bus Ride

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On the way to Kong Lo Cave

“Quick, quick” said the lady when I asked for the bus to Khoum Khan at Vientane’s southern bus station and pushed me into a bus that was pulling out of the station. Gilles refused to join this excursion, but had set my mind and heart to visiting the spectacular 7 kilometer long Kong Lo Cave. Not just another random cave, but to see the cave, you take a boat along the river that goes all the way through the cave to the other side of the mountain… Continue Reading →

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Gilles – Pakse: Boomtown Down South

On te way to Wat Phu Champasak, Pakse

On te way to Wat Phu Champasak, Pakse

Since we wanted to visit different places at a different pace, we decided to travel our own way for the next week. It was also time for each of us to be a little on our own: we have been sticking together non-stop since Chile, which means 7 months! I decided to skip the area around Tha Khaek, which also meant giving up traveling the “430 kilometer Loop” on motorbike. But considering the many times I have been sick over the last 4 weeks, it simply was more reasonable. So I flew directly to Pakse, 680 kilometers further south. Continue Reading →

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Vientiane’s Gourmet Reputation

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Vientiane – Food Stalls along the Mekong

The Lonely Planet describes eating in Vientiane as “dollar for dollar the best in the world”. After more than two months of eating Asian food, we could not wait to explore this city’s highly praised restaurant scene. Of course, there are always places that offer “international cuisine” or what is thought to be such, namely burgers, spaghettis, pizzas or burritos. BUT these dishes are often prepared far from what you would expect: for instance, pizza made of sweet dough, spaghetti cooked into a mash or tacos that were actually crepes! So our hopes were up high to sample REAL international food at reasonable prices here. Continue Reading →

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Vientiane – The Most Quiet And Relaxed Capital

Dragon, Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan, Vientiane

Dragon, Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan, Vientiane

This capital of a nation of almost 6 million people rather reminds of a busy village. Its 300.000 residents enjoy a city without skyscrapers and a few major streets that are ploughed by a couple of brand new pickup trucks and scooters. What a difference to the crazy traffic jam, noise and pollution in other bigger towns in Southeast Asia, not talking about what we experienced in towns large and small in Latin America! Continue Reading →

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Caving And Tubing Around Vang Vieng

Tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos

Tubin in Vang Vieng, Laos

Nay, we could not resist the “tubing ritual”, but resourcefully made it part of a day trip that also took us to various caves, and needless to say an ethnic village, which always seems to be part of an itinerary. Of the four caves we visited, Tham Nam, the Water Cave, was the best fun. This cave filled with water reaches far into the mountain and its accessibility depends very much on the water level. Continue Reading →

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Vang Vieng – Laos Very Scenic Party Destination

Vang Vieng's Limestone Karsts Landscape, along Nam Song or River Song

Vang Vieng’s Limestone Karsts Landscape, along Nam Song or River Song

Vang Vieng is a small town about four hours north of Vientiane, surrounded by the most amazing landscape. After what we had heard and read about this place, we arrived with a lot of prejudice expecting heavy drinking, loud partying and god knows what. Continue Reading →

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Phonsavanh And The “Plain Of Jars”

Plaine of Jars, Site 3, Phonsavanh

Plaine of Jars, Site 3, Phonsavanh

Our favorite so far in Laos, because it is genuine… What a relief after the hyped-up Luang Prabang! Phonsavanh is a quiet little town with a tragic history that is evident at almost every corner. Apart from the mysterious jars scattered around at three different sites, it was the more recent history that captivated us: Xinuang Khoung Province was among those areas in Laos most heavily bombed during the “Secret War” between 1964 and 1973. An incredible 1.36 millions tons of bombs were dropped on the northeast and southeast of the country, making it the most heavily bombed place on this planet. A war on a purely civilian population that officially never happened! Continue Reading →

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Luang Prabang

Tourist Mecca & Tourist Rip Off

Royal Palace Museum, Luang Prabang, Laos

Royal Palace Museum, Luang Prabang, Laos

The former royal capital without doubt must have put an irresistible spell on foreigners arriving here 10 to 15 years ago. The lush exotic vegetation, a small city wedged between the Mekong & the tiny Khan River with green hills all around it, this image itself is already idyllic. Now add about 30 “wats” and the countless monks that come with them and you have a very special place.

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