Day 170 – Wednesday 2nd March – Don Det & Don Khon (Si Phan Don – 4000 islands)

An hour and half longtail down the Mekong brought us to the island of Don Det. It’s the 4000 island’s answer to Vang Vieng as Don Khong is to Luang Prabang. Although both are on a much smaller scale there were the usual bedraggled hungover backpackers in their tubing vests, saggy hotpants and cigarettes hanging out their mouths loitering. Can’t complain too much. Although our bungalow is basic and has a shared bathroom I am getting up-to-date with the blogs whilst lying in a hammock on the balcony with 180 degree views of the Mekong and across to Cambodia, and Matt’s snoozing in the hammock next to me....

April 3, 2011 · 2 min · karen

Day 168 & 169 – Monday 28th February to Tuesday 1st March – Don Khong (Si Phan Don – 4000 islands)

Is it really March already? Unbelievable. Where does the time go when you’re having fun travelling around Asia? Monday’s journey consisted of a 20min long boat from the bottom of the garden of Souchitra guest house (opposite our guest house) across the Mekong to Ban Muang, then a minivan for 90 mins down to Hat Xai Kun, followed by a 10min small longtail back across the Mekong to Muang Khong on Don Khong island....

April 3, 2011 · 2 min · karen

Day 166 & 167 – Saturday 26th to Sunday 27th February – Champasak – Wat Phu Champasak

After a nice lie-in, the first in a while, a good banana pancake for brekkie from the local Indian, also a first in a while, and an excellent cup of coffee we jumped in a “remork-moto” to the new market (Talat Dao Heung) bus station. There have been many different designs of tuk-tuk in Lao and this was our first sat aside a motorbike in a 2 person carriage that looks like it might from a ferris wheel....

April 3, 2011 · 3 min · karen

Day 164 & 165 – Thursday 24th to Friday 25th February – Green Discovery Tree Top Explorer 2 day trek

Don’t know where to begin with the last two days. Out of this world is one way to describe them. Tree Top Explorer is a new venture run by Green Discovery that has only been running 2 months. Our trek begins 90mins outside of Pakse at a village south of Paksong in the heart of the Bolaven Plateau famous for its coffee. We stop at a house with a woman roasting coffee beans in a wok over a low fire and where thousands of coffee beans are drying in the backyard....

March 5, 2011 · 6 min · karen

Day 163 – Wednesday 23rd February – Tha Khaek to Pakse

Got our backsides in order today and got out of bed and to the bus station in time for the 9am local bus to Pakse. This was the busiest bus we’ve been on so far in Laos. Only 1 mile after starting out there were more people than seats so the plastic stools once again came out and by the time we arrived in Pakse 5 hours later the aisle was full of people sitting on stools (or the floor and leaning on stools trying to sleep) with at least 4 people standing at the front....

March 5, 2011 · 3 min · karen

Day 161 & 162 – Monday 21st to Tuesday 22nd February – Savannakhet – Eco-guide Unit homestay & trek

It’s now 16:30 on Tuesday and just got back from a 2 day spiritual trek around the local area with a night in a homestay at a local village. It started at a salt factory about 18km from Savannakhet. The Japanese had drilled for oil and instead found salt water which is pumped out of the ground and either dried in the sun for 2 to 3 days or boiled in big vats....

March 4, 2011 · 6 min · karen

Day 160 – Sunday 20th February – Tha Khaek to Savannakhet

Our bus journey from Tha Khaek was quite an interesting one. They played an array of cheesy music videos. Some young kids prancing around. And one old guy. Well say in his late 50s, singing four or five different songs that all sounded the same and for each video he was wearing a shirt and tie and was either stood at the side of a main road with the limestone cliffs in the background or in a field dancing like your dad....

March 4, 2011 · 1 min · karen

Day 158 to 159 – Friday 18th to Saturday 19th February – Tha Khaek

Tha Khaek is a funny one. There’s not much here but every guesthouse was full on Friday evening. After trying 4 different guesthouses we ended up in the dodgy Khammouane Inter Guest House next door to the Karaoke, with a single bed masquerading as a double bed. I use the word bed in the loosest of terms as the mattress was rock hard and sunken in the middle. There were no curtains on the rails and the wooden shutters were covered by torn mossie nets....

March 4, 2011 · 3 min · karen

Day 157 – Thursday 17th February – Vientiane – Admin day

Had a very constructive day doing admin type stuff. Picked up our passports from the Immigration office and we are now permitted to stay in Laos until 10th March. Arranged a way of leaving Vientiane (bus to Tha Khaek tomorrow). As lovely as it is 5 nights is enough when there is so much more of Laos to see. We have been staying at Mixay Paradise Guest House so long now that we were eligible for a free coffee and muffin this afternoon!...

March 4, 2011 · 2 min · karen

Day 156 – Wednesday 16th February – Vientiane – Pha That Luang, COPE centre, bowling & Matt gets a haircut

Hired bikes from the Youth Inn. Very Parisian with their little wicker baskets on the front. Went back to the Immigration Office to renew our passports. It takes 24hours so we’re in Vientiane for a couple more days. Most temples and museums are shut between 12:00 & 13:00 so we sat under the Patuxai (Arc de Triomphe) with a beer & a water to shade from the midday sun. Monday & Tuesday were overcast....

March 4, 2011 · 5 min · karen