- Published on Monday, 18 March 2013 09:16
Si Phan Don, or The Four Thousand Islands as it is known, lies on a very wide section of the Mekong River just North of the Cambodian border. With its many islands of land rising up from the river's waters (hence the name) and the relaxed friendly nature of the fisherman and farmers that inhabit them, little goes on here. It was just the place I needed to unwind for a bit after a couple of hard days on the road and an even harder sixteen hour journey on the bus I took to get here. Showing up around 10am my first order of business was securing a bungalow ($50,000kip) on the river's edge and getting some well needed rest.
- Published on Thursday, 14 March 2013 13:55
In Tha Khek I had arranged to rent a motorbike for a three day two night journey with a hand drawn map into the Eastern rural countryside of Laos. My champion was a 125c.c. Zhongshen Chinese made motorbike. Not really my American made 2008 Harley Davidson Fatboy with a 96 cubic inch engine (that's 1,584c.c. for those counting) but it would do the trick. My journey would take me on a 405km circular loop of various roads through spectacular countryside ending back in Tha Khek. The destination - Konglor Cave. A massive subterranean system etched in the limestone mountains accessed only by an underground river. But on a trip like this, it is not really about the destination is it?
- Published on Thursday, 07 March 2013 07:44
Leaving Phonsavan behind on the local bus ($95,000kip) I entertained myself on the eight hour journey by looking at the mesmerizing scenery of jagged limestone jungle covered mountains on the winding road. The winding road however also led to a number of children getting sick all around me. I again was entertained. Sounds strange, but you have to do something to occupy yourself on these long bus rides. My destination - Vang Vieng. The legendary backpacker party village all centered around tubing down the Nam Song River. Anything used to go here. You could do and get anything. That was until 22 tourists died last year and countless others before that. The Lao government torched all of the zip lines, jump platforms, and bars on the river. The party does still go down in town, but I had other things on my agenda.
- Published on Monday, 04 March 2013 01:42
At the crack of dawn (seems most all buses in Laos leave from 6am-8am) I made my way to the terminal in Luang Prabang and purchased a ticket ($95,000kip) for the eight hour journey East to Phonsavan, or locally known as Xieng Khouang. Located in the North Eastern Province of Laos, close to the Vietnamese border, the rolling dusty valleys pegged in by mountainous jungles are home to some unique ancient archeological sites and the friendly Hmong hill tribe peoples. Unfortunately due to the strategic location and the events happening in the late 1960's and early 1970's this area of the planet was subjected to the largest and most intense aerial bombardment in the history of warfare and certainly in the history of mankind. All in a nation that was declared neutral by the Geneva Conference and was supposedly off limits to both the Vietnamese and the Americans. I had come here to see the legacy my people had left behind in the shattered wake of a so called necessary war to stifle the political ideologies of other nations.