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Laos - Pakbeng

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Our first foray into Laos has to be one of the easiest and relaxing ways to cross a border.
Taking a very comfortable two day slow boat along the Mekong River out of North Thailand in to Laos stopping at various places along the way.
The boat was large with only a few people on board so plenty of room to move about and delicious fresh food cooked on board. (And as much coffee or tea as we could drink!)

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It was truly charming to simply just watch the world go by, with stunning views of jungle and mountains and basking buffalo. The odd motor boat here and there carrying people from one place to the next as our ferry snaked around the rock formations protruding from the river’s surface.
Our first stop off was to visit a hill tribe village about thirty kilometres out of Pakbeng.

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A very humble place that was home to very poor people. As soon as we stopped on the river bank we were swarmed with children trying to sell us wrist bands that they had made.
We made our way up the bank and in to the village. A surreal experience that felt uncomfortably a little like a human zoo.

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However, our guide was happy to translate any questions we had to the locals which gave us a revealing insight in to the lives of the people that lived here.
And the children appeared to be happy to see us as they followed us around the village.
After about an hour we hopped back on board our boat to head on to Pakbeng.

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We arrived about an hour before sunset and made our way up to our hotel. We were setting off early in the morning so wanted to have a little explore before the light disappeared.
Pakbeng village is quite rural and undeveloped. The people here live a very simple life. We made our way up a hill where there is a temple that afforded striking views down over Pakbeng to the River Mekong as the sun set over the mountains in the distance.

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Shortly after we headed back down through the village for some food as we had a very early start in the morning.
The following day while drinking his obligatory coffee Scott witnessed the daily alms giving to the Buddhist monks. The owner of our hotel knelt opposite her establishment and gave each of the young monks some rice she had prepared then they blessed her and her business.
Then it was back to the boat for the second leg of our boat trip.

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After a couple of lazy hours we stopped at another hill tribe village. Following our experiences yesterday we decided we wouldn’t partake in this excursion, it simply didn’t feel right. So we wandered the open river banks taking photos of the surrounding scenery.

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The final stop before we landed in Luang Prabang was to a cave temple called Pak Ou Caves. Here was home to thousands of Buddhist statuettes squeezed on to any flat surface that could hold them. A strange sight to a westerner but apparently a particularly holy place for Buddhists.
On the final stretch of our boat trip our guide pointed out a building that was a prison for VIP mafia criminals. Apparently less of a prison and more of a holiday home that they couldn’t leave!

Welcome to Laos!

Link to our Luang Prabang gallery here.

Posted by philosipha 06:46 Archived in Laos Tagged mekong_river cave_temple ferry_trip

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