Laos will be remembered for its rainforest rivers and peaceful villages. Starting in Luang Prabang, my highlight is taking a boat on the Mekong River.
My journey along the Nam Ou River continues aboard an early morning boat from Muang Khua. This time, going to the port village of Hat Sa.
The expansive river valley at Nong Khiaw makes this the most beautiful village I see in Laos.
Vieng Thong is a village about midway between Sam Neua and Nong Khiaw (my actual destination that would have been a twelve hours bus journey). By staying overnight in Vieng Thong, I split the journey over two days.
At Sam Neua's bus station, this is the local transport to Vieng Thong (before the driver changes the sign). It seems to double as a delivery van. The driver securing cargo that will later include my backpack.
Walking down from the hilltop bus station, this is my first view of Sam Neua – about one to two kilometres downhill.
From Luang Prabang to Phonsavan, the choice is normally bus or mini-van. A bus takes longer but is more steady on the winding roads. Like many travelers, I choose the mini-van. Bad idea! The narrow roads are very winding. In a vehicle filled to maximum capacity, it becomes nauseating. Fortunately, I happen to sit beside the only open window. With the wind in my face, I retain a semblance of civility.
Phonsavan (pronounced with a silent ‘h’) is a town with an exceptional fresh food market located off the main road. It sells a variety of food including meat, fruits and vegetables. In the meat section, ladies repel flies with plastic bags tied to canes.
Luang Prabang is remarkable for its rainforest rivers. Running on one side is the magnificent Mekong River.
My first impressions of Luang Prabang are the rainforest rivers and orange clad monks.