Monday, February 1, 2016

River Trip

Just a year ago we did a week-long cruise, mostly on the Mekong, in Cambodia and Vietnam. The Mekong goes through Luang Prabang, too, and we did a short cruise on Sunday.  We rode bikes over to the dock; it would have been a longer walk than we wanted. It was a fairly big boat -- could probably take up to 35 or so but we were only nine -- 2 German, 2 Canadian, 5 American. We took off a half-hour late as there was some problem with the pump. They borrowed one from the ship moored next to us and eventually we took off.

The first picture is looking down the steps to the boat. The lower part consists of packed mud with some boards to help form the steps. I was glad for my sticks!

Inside the boat there were tables and benches. It was open -- no windows. There was a nice deck up the steps you can see. It was a bit cool when we took off at 10:30 with the river breeze, but not uncomfortable. The sun came out around noon and it was pleasantly warm the rest of the day.

This is the same tree I admired the day before -- what a nice shape!

There were a number of nice-looking homes along the river.

There were many rocky places. Most of them had a cement pillar like the one below, helpful when the river is in flood stage -- which I think happens many rainy seasons.

When I first saw this boat, I thought "Noah's ark!" But it is a cargo boat on which the owner and family live.

This is our guide/tour leader (although he didn't guide us when we got off, just told us when to return). He was very interesting. He did his degree in French in Vientiane but it is very difficult to find jobs here. The economy in Laos is very poor.

Our first stop was a village known for weaving and for distilling Lao Lao, a local liquor. This photo shows the still with the liquor dripping down the pipe into the large jug.

This woman was prepping some weaving while her baby slept happily in the hammock.

A sign explaining about how the liquor is made.

There were several dozen stalls where a woman was weaving and had scarves and shawls for sale. The fabrics were all beautiful.

I walked around the village a bit and enjoyed seeing the very nice temple there.

Looking down from the village to our boat.

The terrain around here is hilly, with interesting formations unlike any I've seen elsewhere.

The Pak Ou caves are one of the well-known tourist sites around here. They aren't limestone caves like we are used to in the US, but rather hollowed out from the rock by the river. They have become places of worship and there are hundreds (thousands?) of Buddha figures set up inside. 

The second cave was a good distance above the first one. I went up about halfway. As you can see, the steps were very uneven. Dan went up but said it was just as well that I didn't make it all the way.

After the caves, we headed back downriver to Luang Prabang. We were served a very nice lunch, which I'll put in the next post.


  1. Continue to follow your interesting itinerary and experiences. Your word pictures match your photos.


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