May 19, 2011

Laos - Pakse/Kong Island

From Vang Vieng we headed to the south: there is a Unesco World Heritage temple 40 kilometres away from the city of Pakse. Once in Pakse, we looked for a guesthouse to spend the night. When we asked some questions about this temple, the owner of the guesthouse told us that it would be easier to stay at Champasak, the closest village to the temple. So we took a bus for fourty minutes that left us in front of a river. At that point, we understood we had to cross the river. We asked a fisherman for a ride. And there we were in Champasak.. not quite! The centre of the village was three kilometres away and to the temple eight kilometres more!

Champasak boat cross

Not much remains of the Wat Phu temple, the first capital of the Khmers. The incredible thing is that the temple is located in the middle of nowhere! It was also a tiny introduction to what expects us in Angkor, the later Khmer capital.

One can see at the site the international involvement in Laos development: there are three different excavation projects next to each other in the complex, financed by three different countries: India, France and Italy. 

Wat Phu Complex

Wat Phu Sanctuary

View from the top of Wat Phu Complex


Our last stop in Laos, right next to the border with Cambodia: the 4.000 Islands! We chose to stay in the biggest island, Kong Island. On this huge island (for the region) of eighteen kilometers length and eight kilometres width are located four small villages, one in each direction. Kong Island is covered with rice fields:

The one kilometre long village of Muang Khong with its dozen of guesthouses and hotels seems to live only thanks to tourism. Here life takes a very slow path! The charm of rural life! The funny thing of this village is that there are no restaurants. Every guesthouse and hotel offers a terrace over the Mekong River and more or less the same menu with only small variations of prices...

Muang Khong

To enjoy this peaceful place, we took a boat to leave the island...;) A day trip on the Mekong to explore the 4.000 Islands! Most of them are only tiny bushes:

We went for a boat trip with the six other tourists staying in the village at the moment! ;) It is pretty amazing. Nature here looks so untouched by Mankind.

Big meeting point at Don Det (island)

Don Khon (island) riverside

The boat stopped so that we could go and see the biggest waterfall in Southeast Asia: Khone Pha Pheng waterfall. For Lao and Thais this waterfall has a spiritual significance: they believe it acts as a spirit trap.

In Laos we saw people eating a strange fruit that we called between ourselves "the hairy litchy". So we bought some to try and it does not taste like litchi at all! And the pit which looks like an almond is not actually eatable...

Like in the other countries we crossed, we tried some of the typical Lao dishes. Well, Luis tried them because vegetarian food is not widespread here. The two main dishes one have to try when visiting Laos:

Pad Thai (fried noodles with vegetables, peanuts and lemon) with chicken

Steamed fish in a banana leaf
The estimated time for preparation of this plate is one hour and a half!

After openning the banana leaf


Lao bus. Look at the luggages in the top of the bus, indeed there are some scooters... 
And they take them up by hand!!


  1. What do we miss the most?
    A washing machine (Luis), French cheese with a glass of red wine (Axelle).

    hmm? hmm!

    What about mum and dad and Regnéville?


    PS is it you Axelle in the rear view mirror on the scooter?

  2. They are fine, thank you! ;) And yes, it is Axelle indeed!

  3. então primão, estou a ver que te safas. e julgava eu que era aventureiro por andar de moto4 nos montes. isso sim, é aventura. já vi que estás bem e também a tua namorada. grande abraço e que corra sempre tudo pelo melhor.
    Primo Pedro