The year 2016 was a busy one! We managed 4500 sea miles, 603km by train, 14700km by plane and 3115km by automobiles (including 1065km on scooters!) Have a look at our journey in photos!
Whatever land-locked Laos lacks in beachside attractions, it more than makes up for with stunning landscapes and dramatic beauty. Whether it’s relaxing amid the coffee farms of the Bolaven Plateau or exploring dark caves in an adrenaline rush of excitement; marvelling at giant prehistoric stone jars or trying to catch a glimpse of the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin, Laos has something for everyone!
The countryside hurtled by to the soundtrack of excruciatingly loud music and a blaring bus horn. Landmarks, and local villages, merely a blur as we shot past without slowing, barely missing small children, dogs, pigs and chickens… we didn’t miss the cow. I knew we were about to hit something when the driver hit the brakes so hard I was thrown forward in my seat. Transport in Laos can be an adventure and, for us, that adventure started a few days before the incident with the cow, and continued on for a couple of weeks there after…
In southern Laos, where the Mekong River flows into Cambodia, you will find a spectacular archipelago of islands, rocks and sandbars. This archipelago is called Si Phan Don, which translate to 4000 Islands. Si Phan Don is definitely the place to go if you want the laid-back bohemian lifestyle of backpackers, hammocks, and beer. Many people visit these islands for the type of relaxation that can only be found when the internet connection is so slow you will forgo the use of it to pursue other activities such as river tubing, kayaking, or watching endless episodes of “Friends” at the Friends Bar, all of which can be found here!
The charming Bolaven Plateau, known for its exceptional coffee and dramatic waterfalls, is a place of verdant tranquillity amid the muddy scenery of rustic villages and unpretentious markets. An eclectic array of sights and sounds, coupled with the pungent aroma of the agrarian lifestyle, and the scent of roasted coffee, make the Bolaven Plateau a beguiling destination for those in search of a rudimentary excursion of Laos. If coffee and waterfalls aren’t your thing, there is always tea, trekking or just relaxation.
Have you ever wanted to live a little Lord of the Rings… get in touch with your inner Froddo! Well you can! Visit Konglor Cave and take a boat trip through the mountain. That’s right, through the mountain. Along a river. In a boat. It sounds a little other-worldly doesn’t it? This expedition takes you along a 7.5km river, in a precariously-balanced boat, in a dark cavernous cave, with only head lamps for light and the sound of dripping water. Journey to the centre of the world? It may seem like it, but after an hour of jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, mind shattering cave exploration, you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel…
What could possibly be so interesting about looking at a pile of jars on a plain? Well… they are made of stone, they are big, and there are hundreds of them! So what? I hear you asking. Ok, here’s what’s undeniably interesting. No one really has any idea why they are there and what they were used for. It’s a mystery, and I love mysteries!
“For what purpose, and by whom the jars were created remains, to this day, a mystery. There are, of course, many theories surrounding these ancient jars. Some theories are backed up by partial evidence including Madeleine Colani’s research in the 1930’s which concluded that the jars were associated with burial practices. Local theories include the jars being used to brew rice wine and, my favourite… that they were the cups of giants.”
Once in the cave we took hold of the rope and began to pull ourselves deeper into the cave. Soon all natural light had disappeared. It was dark, very dark and my torch was pretty much useless… I was sticking to Dwayne like glue. I didn’t like the fact I couldn’t see anything and, surprising myself, I was a little scared! Yep me, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t relax, I was almost on top of Dwayne now, holding onto his leg, I just couldn’t get close enough to feel safe….
Kuang Si Waterfall is simply stunning. The turquoise water is at centerstage and when you first see it, it momentarily blinds you to anything else. It is blue! Really blue, not brown, not clear… but blue. I don’t know what it is, but swimming in blue water somehow makes the experience all the more special. It’s true! You don’t see the advertising companies showing you photos of the windy overcast days on the Great Barrier Reef… but believe me they happen!
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