A Travellerspoint blog

Adventures in Lao

To describe the temperament of the people of Lao, I was told by a monk I met, hanging out his robe to dry... "The Vietnamese people plant the rice, the Cambodian people watch the rice grow, the Lao people listen for the rice to grow."

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Drying Rice Cakes

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Cafe on the Mekong

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One of the many Wats in Luang Prabang

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Remnants of the French Occupation

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Luang Prabang turned out to be one of my favorite places.
The people, the food, the waterfalls and caves, the life along the river were all fantastic.
I will definately be back!

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French/Lao post office. Everywhere the Lao flag hung, so did the hammer and sickle.

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The Barber Shop Where I Got My 20,000 Kip ($2) Haircut

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Elephant Dung Paper Menus

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Out Of Work River Boats
Due to the low water levels.

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Another Incredible Wat

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Friendly Local Kids
These little girls followed me around for an hour. Every time I'd turn around to talk to them they would just stop and giggle.

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My Usual Lunch Stop....Spring Rolls and Beerlao!

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Something You Don't See Everyday

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The Smoke Made Everything Surreal

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Very Low Water Levels in the Mekhong

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Taking Advantage of the Water Levels

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Across the Bridge to the Village

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This Bridge!

Ok, so I got Lost in Lao for a week! Ted drops me off at Chiang Khong on the Lao border, absolutely beutifull! The one problem was I'm the only idiot that didn't know you could get a visa ahead of time in Thailand. We wait at the border for 40 minutes in stiffling heat for my Lao visa, and all the locals are askin' why we're just sittin' here and the bus driver keeps pointin' at me! Not comfortable in more ways than one. So none of the river boats are runnin', we get on the bus and fifteen hours later I'm in Luang Prabang. I have to say one of the most magical places I've ever been. Imagine A quaint French Colonial village with a beautiful waterfront, nestled along the Mae Khong river with some of the most beautfull scenery stuck in the middle of one of the most remote places on this planet. Oh, and the monks and temples are everywhere! The only problem was every day the smoke from the burning of the fields got worse and worse and by the 6th day it wasn't even worth jumpin' on the mountain bike and toolin' around as you couldn't even see across the river. Went to the caves and waterfalls, but not so spectacular as the water is way down. So I jumped on a small turbo prop Lao Airlines plane (those things jump around ALOT!)and highhtailed it back here to Chiang Mai, which is smokey as well, which is why tomorrow I jump on another plane for Koh Samui in the south, an island in the Gulf of Thailand with excellent diving and fishing. The rest of the Tour of the North will have to wait for another time. The nice thing is you can get plane tix for anywhere within 500km for around 85 bucks. Gonna take a boat ride down the Ping river today, go to the Chiang Mai Zoo and Aquarium, and then probably catch the local rock band doing the unitelligible version of Smoke on the Water....which seems to be a big hit!

Dave.

ps. Martin, the XXL was the biggest they had, and it barely fit me.

Posted by ikombazana 20:04 Comments (5)

On The Border

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A Wat in Chiang Khong on the Lao border

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Sunrise on the Mekong, from my balcony, looking across to Lao

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My trusty steed pulled up to the gate of yet another amazing Wat

Spendin' two days here in Chiang Khong before I head down The Mekong into Lao for a week. Rented a mountain bike, and the guy at the guest house says "wait I get you map". Comes back with a hand drawn map of the entire border area complete with descriptions and distance in kilometers. That's how I found the Giant Catfish Museum. Spent the rest of day one ridin' along the river, goin' for a swim, talkin' to the locals about fishin' and travelin' along the river.

Oh, and some local river shrimp and Singha.

Bought a great Thai Silk aloha shirt on the border for 3 bucks, and it's green! Anybody want one? Hope everybody's doin' fine, I'll post from Lao,

Dave

Posted by ikombazana 20:48 Comments (2)

And Away We Go

Wat outside Chiang Saen
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The now defunct Mekhong Giant Catfish Museumlarge_1IMG_0851.jpg

Guesthouse Restaurant along the Mekhong
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My Humble Abode
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Not gonna make it to Cambodia...too pricey for me, woulda been an extra $600.00 to fly in and back to where I needed to be. Bo and Kent are flying home out of Ho Chi Minh city so it's on the way for them, it woulda been way out of the way for me. Ted's pickin' me up tomorrow morning and droppin' me off at the boat pier on the Lao border, and then a two day river boat trip down the Mae Khong river to Luang Prabang. Two days there bikin' to the waterfalls and Pak Ou caves, then I'm jumpin' on a small plane (Yikes!) back to Chiang Mai and head up to Mae Hong Son province for more caves, and some river yakkin' at Cave Lodge. (www.cavelodge.com). On to Pai and back up into the mountains. They're really burnin' the rice fields right now so it's kinda smokey in the river valleys. Looks like an LA sunset! When I get to Laos I'll try and find a way to post photos. Everybody's splittin' up at this point to go our seperate ways. Ted and Nattaya to honeymoon in Bali, Bo and Kent to Cambodia, Tom and Carrie to Bali to meet up with Ted and Nat later, and me to Laos. I'm gonna meet up with Ted and Nat in Bangkok on the way home. We've had a great time together, but it's hard to fit seven people in a Tuk Tuk......

Dave

Posted by ikombazana 18:34 Comments (0)

Kok River

Longtail boat trip from Tha Ton, near the Myanmar border to Chiang Rai.

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Everybody Onboard!

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Local Hangout

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Restaurant On The River

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Our Pilot

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Kent Playin' The Longtail Boat

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Ted, Thom, and Carrie Leadin' The Way

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Had to get out and walk around at a couple spots due to low water levels.
And have a beer.

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The Slow Part

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The Fun Part!

Posted by ikombazana 16:31 Comments (0)

Chiang Mai To Myanmar

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The Old Wall
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The White Wat
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Street Life in Chiang Mai
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Naga lined stairs to yet another incredible Wat, Mae Sai, Myanmar Border
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Myanmar Border
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Looking Back into Thailand
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Checkin' In
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Street Life in Tachiliek Myanmar
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Local Transpportation
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So we got into Bangkok, took the overnight train to Chiang Mai, which was a kick in the pants! Hung out for a couple days in the walled city, hired a car and went to Chiang Rai. There were two wedding ceremonies for Ted and Nattaya, one in her village, and the other in the swankiest resort on the Kok River with two swimming pools and absolutely amazing food delivered by many a cabana girl. Drove up to Mae Sai and over the border into Myanmar. Lotsa guys with Russian machine guns walkin around. Good food, great beer and I found a Gibson J200 for fifty bucks. Chinese of course! Yesterday we went down to Haad Chiang Rai which is the beach on the bend in the river. Drank a couple Chang beers and ate some really interesting food along the river, took a swim and hung out with some of the locals. Needed VIDEO for the food! Today we're off to take a river boat up to Tha Ton and see the Buddist Monastery, many temples, and stay for the night before taking the river boat back here to Chiang Rai. After that it's on to Laos, and I think Bo, Kent and I are going to fly to Cambodia to see Ankor Wat.
Ya'll have fun, Dave

Posted by ikombazana 19:26 Comments (3)

Ted and Nattaya's Wedding

Well we've had a great time so far, Ted and Nat got married this morning, the ceremony was fantastic. Everythings good, we're taking a little break at the guest house before the reception tonight at a resort on the Kok river. Hope everybody's doing well, Ill post again soon.
Dave

On Our Way To Ban Lao. Me, Ted's friend Linda, and his stepson Eli from Florida.
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Friday Night Pre Wedding Dinner
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Yum! As in Tom Yum Goong. Spicy Soup
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Morning Ceremony, Nattaya's Parent's House, Ban Lao
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More Morning Ceremony, Nattaya, Mom, and Puh
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Reception Later That Night
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The Food And Reception Were Incredible, Rim Kok Resort
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Posted by ikombazana 23:18 Comments (0)

On the Road

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Takin' off for Thailand in a week. Time to batten down the boat for a month! The loose itinerary goes like this, Bangkok on Feb 14th, overnight train to Chiang Mai 16-17th, Chiang Rai 18th -21st for Ted and Nattaya's wedding. 21-23rd Mae Sai to Tachileik Myanmar. 23rd-27th Tachileik to Chiang Khong/Huay Xai to Luang Prabang Laos, kayaking the Mekong River. 28th- Mar. 1st Luang Prabang Laos to Doi Mae Salong Thailand and then on to Tha Ton, Fang, and Chiang Dao caves til the 4th or 5th. From there to the Pai Valley, and then on to the Mae Hong Son loop. Three days in the mountains of Thailand through Mae Sariang and end up at Doi Inthanon National Park and the highest peak in Thailand at 8500 ft. From there back to Chiang Mai on the 8th or so, catch a plane or take the train back to Bangkok on the 9th or 10th. Spend a couple of days around the islands south of Bangkok with Ted, Nattaya, and her brother and family, and then fly home on the 15th.

Well......that's kinda the plan anyway, I'll keep you posted.

Dave

Posted by ikombazana 10:57 Comments (0)

Nice Glass

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Took this wanderin' around Pioneer Square, Seattle

Posted by ikombazana 10:35 Comments (0)

Wheelo

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Sunset from the back of the boat, while the wildfires were raging in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Posted by ikombazana 16:41 Comments (0)

Partington Cove

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Posted by ikombazana 20:27 Comments (0)

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