An enchanted forest in Lao's Long Story Within.
Up at the crack of dawn I awaken to some dull weather, so off to breakfast and a couple
of large mugs of coffee.
Then back to the guest house for a shower and finish packing.
At 9.30am Khamphong, my driver and I are off on the road again.
The drive to Luang-Prabang is very slow as we gradually climb to an altitude of 7000 metres above sea level.
Amazingly enough, the road is in very good condition, but is steep with many winding
I carefully watch the speedometer as we travel; our speed ranges from 30-95 kilometres
an hour, there is very little traffic, but many very sharp bends.
We pass through many little villages along the way, each and everyone is the same as the previous one.
The mountains are beautiful and there are many deep valleys, however the roads are narrow
And carved into the mountainsides.
One thing that I noticed was 4 Australian World Vision outposts along the road to Luang-Prabang.
May I just say: - “ONYA AUSTRALIA” I am proud to be associated.
I also noticed a French Red Cross outpost.
Entering the city of Luang-Prabang is no different to entering one of the many little villages along the way.
however, entering the heart of the city tells another story altogether.
Suddenly one is aware that the French were here by some of the beautiful old architecture that remains intact.
The World Heritage Council are at this very point in time, restoring these buildings as a
reference to the past!!
Another noticeable factor here is that unlike Ventiane and Vang-Vieng, there is a far greater presence of mature tourists and a lot less backpackers.
The high altitude seems to have increased the humidity levels, with the added heavy rainfalls during the monsoon season.
The locals are a lot less fluent with the English language than in Vientiane, they often use this to their advantage when it comes to quoting and charging.
Today is my rest and observation day, gathering information for a day out tomorrow to some of the well known sites around here.
I had breakfast at 6.30am, did a little recognisance of the area, purchased a map and about to study it.
Although this city is old and deteriorated in many parts, it is thriving with tourists from around the globe.
The shops, markets and stalls are catering for the tourist and there is an abundance of the local art work for sale, most is made by the various village tribes
I am living in a Lao guest house, all the wood work in the rooms and all furniture is teak and they have some amazing designs.
Le Tum-Tum is the name of my guest house; it has a very spacious indoor and outdoor restaurant, the chef in on duty from 6am till 11.30pm so no need to rush back for a meal.
The menu is international with English, American, French, Italian, Lao and Thai meals.
Prices are reasonable and a meal costs between $1.40 and $5.00 US and a air-conditioned room with fridge and TV can cost $10 - $15.
A days touring in a minivan per day costs $25.
One thing I have not yet seen in an Internet café?
Well I am off walkabout.
Day 2, up at 5.30am, breakfast shower and off to meet my driver for the day, to my surprise
he has invited 8 of his friends to join us.
A few stops here and there to collect foodstuff for this group.
Wow, I cannot believe the amount of food for the driver and eight of the friends.
We are heading for the Kouang Si Waterfall.
The road through one of the villages has more potholes than a rice colander, but soon it smoothes out.
It is approximately 35 kilometre drive, before we start our walk into this dark forest heavily wooded with very tall teak trees, ferns, creepers and magnificent tropical plants.
Suddenly we arrive at an opening with a few very large cages, the first has Asian black bears, the next local tigers, two foundations collecting funds to save the bears and tigers, a quick donation to each and we are off again.
Soon the sounds of beautiful music created by cascading waters, to cut a long story short, about five hours later, we made our exit out of the forest of magnificent waterfalls and returned to our so called minivan.
This area is unlike an enchanted forest in some amazing fairytale, it is AWSOME!!!
I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Lao.
Will upload some photos on FC Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon!!!
From the waterfall, I visited another Hmong village and fell in love with a young Hmong business woman, oh yes I did!!
She is five years old and can sell ice to Eskimos and speaks fine English, but most of all she is so cute.
Of course I had to purchase two items from her, before she would allow me to photograph her!!
Well that should bore the living daylights out of you all, but I have to make some attempt at communicating with you all!!
On Wednesday day I am flying to Hanoi, and should be in Vietnam for a month, a few days In Singapore and back to Perth West Australia.
Walkabout-John. Luang-Prabang Laos.
Well I have tried to upload this story and photo’s for several days unsuccessfully and am now in Hanoi.
So best wishes from Vietnam.
Sabine KöllnXX 06/12/2007 7:56Hello John -
I was so touched seeing this picture - we, my Mum and I have been at this place! It was as wonderful as you describe it, no wonder the driver took so much food there because its a place with picknick-places because the lao like to go there with their families at weekends. And nice to see something from you again - but yes, there is an internetcafe in Luang Prabang, I've been there - and also some young monks who used the internet. My desire to visit Luang Prabang again is definitly increased now - and my morning starts well thanks to your story - Khob khun kha!
Have a good time and take care