16/5/07 32 °C
Will have to back track a few days as I have not been near a computer for the last few days. After sadly leaving my beloved Cambodia I flew to Vientiane, the capital of Laos and spent one night ( more than enough) in this sleepy rather uninspiring town. My highlight was my first cup of the wonderfully strong Lao coffee before boarding my bus for the mountains and the small town of Vang Vieng set among the stunning limestone cliffs on the beautiful Nam Song river. The town has become a backpacker mecca in recent years. I opted to stay out of town, up river, on a delightful organic farm. What a find! A picture perfect spot. My room was a mudbrick bungalow on the edge of the Nam Song...the clearest water I have ever seen. I would wander town in the early evening to bath with the local people and even washed my hair ( organic shampoo of course) in the pristine water. The farm established by Mr T and his wife is a wonderful example of sustainable living. He is passionate about protecting this stunning enviroment as well as running many community based projects. I picked mulberries, went to visit the local school and tried my hand at making mudbricks discovering that I am quite the country girl afterall!! I also spent a remarkable day with a local guide, Om, who took me on a day of adventure. Om is part of Green discovery, the biggest adventure/Ecotourism agency in Laos (could not recommend them more highly) We drove in an old jeep some 20 klms up the river and kayaked down stream through the rapids and crystal clear waters. We stopped to explore caves by candlelight and trekked through the beautiful rural scenery. One of the caves we visited served as a bunker for the locals during the war and has been named the sleeping cave. The caves were filled with beautiful stalactites and inside it was like a starry, starry night. Om made me a picnic Lao style bbq lunch on the side of the river ( all served on a banana leaf) before we continued our kayak. Once I returned to the farm I joined the many other travellers floating down the river in huge inflated tractor tyres. The locals have bars set up along the way and stretch out long bamboo sticks for you to grab on to as you float by so as to stop off for a drink...it was loads of fun. I met lots of people and soon we were all floating along in convoy...this is just one of those things you have got to see to believe. We were on the river until sunset and then I returned to my organic hideway. After a couple of days chilling out on the farm and eating lots of mulberries and organic veggies I made my way through the mountains north to what I perceive to be the jewel of SE Asia...Luang Prabang.
Phop kan mai x