IndoChina Adventure 2009 - Week 04 Chapter : 14 Oct ~ 20
We all welcomed Laos on our journey as a place of peace
and serenity. With a population one-tenth of Vietnam’s,
this week brings a special calm to our riding experience.
Buddhism is everywhere in Laos, and in Luang Prabang, we
even get to take part of the dawn march of the monks. Every
morning at 6AM, they collect offerings of food from tourists
and locals alike, mostly sticky rice.
We visit Whisky Village and the incredible Buddha Cave on
the shores of the mighty Mekong River. Our hotel is right
on the shores of the river and every breakfast is enjoyed
in the open-air restaurant overlooking the Mekong.
Our journey takes us south from Luang Prabang, passing over
some of the tour’s best vistas. The weather is perfect,
which makes for some beautiful pictures of the green hills
and distant mountains. Small primitive villages, filled with
kids and pigs and chickens along the road, remind us that
we are very far away from home.
As we reach the capital city of Laos, Vientiane, we are on
flat land, and so it will be to the end of our journey. The
twisty mountains roads that we have enjoyed for the last
weeks have been replaced with beautiful open roads surrounded
by rice fields. We will be following the Mekong River on
our way south towards Cambodia. Just across the river is
Thailand and on the left, endless fields of beautiful green
Enjoy the stories and pictures from this week, and travel
safe wherever you are.
Helge Pedersen, Founder
Day 22 - Luang Prabang, Laos
- Frank Baughman
This trip continues to delight, challenge
and inspire . . . .
The Lao people are some of the friendliest, most humble,
and therefore, truly delightful people with whom to spend
The geography of the country include many mighty rivers in
addition, of course, to the world famous MeKong. Their great
mountains of the North are truly that . . . Great! They are
the Alps of Southeast Asia, only covered with jungle.
Moving into the lower lands toward the South, the ready-for-harvest
rice fields portray a varied quilt work of shades of yellow
and green. Outstandingly pastoral as well as beautiful.
More than on any of our tours, our
GlobeRiders travels in Southeast Asia are the most exotic
journeys on our menu, literally!
Among the many splendid meals consumed on this journey, one
evening will always be in my memory and I believe that the
rest of the group will agree with my assessment.
The whole experience from the time we entered the Blue
Lagoon Restaurant in Luang Prabang, Laos, in had a special mood to
it - we felt welcomed and special. Service was first-class
and the dishes were outstanding, from the starter to main courses
and deserts (three!). For each course, new dishes were served
by seven waiters who came marching in from the kitchen, carefully
placing individual servings in front of each of us.
I could not resist taking some pictures of the many dishes
served that evening, and here are some samples, enjoy the meal.
A perfect introduction to Laos was a big mud hole at the
northern border from Vietnam.
For the next nine days I was smitten by the absolute charm
of this truly unique place and the wonderful people who live
here. It’s possible that, to many visitors, Laos could
be considered a place of disadvantage: landlocked with an
average yearly salary of USD$455.00; a 100-year history of
war with the dubious claim to being the most bombed country
on Earth; a literacy rate of only 75 %; a corrupt communist
dictatorship political system; a Human Development Index
rank of 133 out of 179 countries; the list could go on.
Yet what I learned and experienced in Laos just makes me
want to return again someday . . .
A wild remote mountainous north country, a place of
spectacular natural beauty. Vertical limestone karsts,
cloud draped thick jungle.
Challenging dual sport roads that were not so busy
that you couldn’t enjoy them. Throw in some narrow
bamboo bridges and a personalized ferry. No horns honking.
no question Laos gave me the best rides of the trip.
Simple but colourful hill people, seemingly untouched
by the outside world, unaware of all its dysfunctions.
Fabulous coffee, maybe some of the world’s finest,
brewed to rich, thick perfection, enhanced with sweet condensed
Hundreds of cleanly uniformed children holding umbrellas
as they ride their bicycles to school in the morning.
Inexpensive and thirst-quenching Beerlao in the big
The serene and exotic town of Luang Prabang, a world
heritage site. The morning procession of Buddhist monks
and the night market. The temples. The vibe.
The mighty Mekong River, stretching 1,800 km through
the country, nourishing the people and providing a major
Fabulous food that spans two great culinary cultures:
Vietnamese and Thai.
The most polite, laid back people of Indochina, living
in a low population density paradise, following peaceful