The Loop in Laos

October 10, 2008 at 6:13 pm 1 comment

My last night in Vientiane i wanted to thank my couchsurfing host so i decided to cook dinner. On the way back, when we were trying to charter a tuk tuk, no one would agree to our price. One guy said, “i have no money” and showed us his empty wallet. Then he said “i need money for food.”

Awesome. And we invited him to join our dinner party in exchange for driving us for the price we wanted. He agreed.

The plan was to make a salad and noodles and i started with the salad. 15 min in he joined us in the kitchen and took up peeling of the cucumbers. After that… he pretty much cooked the whole meal. It tasted really good!

The next day i left Vientiane. The plan was to go to a village called Khun Kham and spend a day there, and go to the 7km long cave in Tham kong Lo the next day. After that, i wanted to go south to Savannakhet. But we missed the bus the first day and decided to go to Pak Kading instead. But then we missed our stop and showed up in a small highway village called Vieng Kham. The next day we tried to take a bus to Tham Kong Lo, but again a few mishaps and we missed the bus! So we went south instead to Tha Kaek…a town along the Mekong on the border with Thailand. Here we decided to do “the loop,” terminology travelers use to describe the trip from Tha Kaek throughout central Laos for 3-4 days.

The first night it got dark before we reached the village where we planned to stay, so we asked around if anyone could offer the 3 of us a place to sleep. No one spoke English so communication was based on hang signals. Hands together and to the side of the head for ‘sleep,’ hand to the belly or to mouth for ‘food.’ We found a family and spent the night with them. They were quite poor, as most of the villagers were, without tv or running water. They had electricity though. In the evening we ate a simple (and small) meal of sticky rice, papaya salad, and bamboo soup. Then we played with the children who were really excited by my lonely planet book. I regretted not buying Lao children’s book’s from Big Brother Mouse when i had a chance in Luang Prabang. We slept out on the balcony underneath a mosquito net.

The next day the kids were up at 5am. From inside the hut, their singing woke us up. It was still dark. An hour or two later, we ate breakfast with the family (same as dinner, but some fish plate instead of the bamboo) and the children set off for school. Lao school children wear special school uniforms so it’s easy to recognize them). They were still in front of the house when we left.

They canoo trip through the cave was interesting. It was very dark and it was leaky. Once we got to stop and explore inside. I didn’t see anything living. It took about half an hour to go through it.

From here we went to Lak Sao and from there back the 150+km to Tha Kaek. The road was bumpy and difficult and we spent the night in a guesthouse along the way. There is a lot of contruction going on (dams, roads).


Now we’re back safe and :)



Entry filed under: travel. Tags: , .

Roaches Pakse

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Dina  |  October 11, 2008 at 9:52 am

    This is the best story of all you have here.


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