We visited Laos on a part work/part holiday basis as Mike
was intending to find and inspect the timber needed for
We flew directly to Luang Prabang on the mighty Mekong
River and proceeded to find the worst accommodation left
in the place as the whole town was booked out for New Years Eve!
The next day we found a nice place opposite the river and
enjoyed a few days wandering around.
Luang Prabang has distinctive French architecture and food
but has plenty of local history as well.
There is the magnificent Xieng Thong Wat that stands proudly
by the river that was built here in 1560.
From the river, huge steps lead up to this place and there
are several other similar buildings in the compound including
one that is lined from floor to ceiling with mosaic wonders
and still houses the royal funeral carriage.
You could almost imagine the lavish celebrations when
the royals decided to step out for a day!
All along the river people have their crops arranged in
terraces yet you can see the flood lines so one would
presume they have to rebuild them every year!
The food was great as was BeerLao and we tried some coffee
wine and local whiskey.
They hold markets every night and the streets are full of
beautiful materials and handcrafts of all sorts, one of
the nicest markets we have seen through Asia.
We took a river cruise and the cool early morning mist was
This river is the lifeblood of so many yet shamefully
it seems healthier than our own Murray River in Australia.
We caught a bus south to Vang Vieng through gorgeous steep
hill country and spent one night and day there once again
admiring the scenery then headed to Vientiane for the
timber hunt for Cariad.
The bus we booked was VIP but we were told it was now
full! So we ended up on a local bus complete with armed
guard, locals and livestock!
Vang Vieng is situated on a tributary of the Mekong and
is a delightful place to relax for a time by a cool, fresh
Mike traveled with Des about 250 km’s south of Vientiane
then he stayed himself and ventured further into the bush
on foot with an armed guard.
The timber he saw there was perfect but things as they
are meant that Cariad saw none of it.
No real explanations were given, but money deposited was
lost yet an adventure was had including Mike seeing his
first King Cobra!
Vientiane is a typical busy Asian town and has a grand
feature reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe which was apparently
built from cement from the US intended for a new airport!
It is called “Victory Monument!”
We returned to Thailand over the friendship bridge and were
glad to have had the opportunity to get a small glimpse of
Laos in our travels.