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9. February 2018 07:03
by Rene Pallesen
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Water fall - Laos

9. February 2018 07:03 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

Just outside Luang Prabang there is this amazing waterfall cascading down a limestone creek.We decid
Just outside Luang Prabang there is this amazing waterfall cascading down a limestone creek.

We decided to get up early to go a take photos, so that we could be there early before all the crowds arrived.





















At the entrance to the park there is also a Bear rehabilitation centre. They rescue bears from captivity and keep them until it is safe to release them back into the wild (if ever). The bears have a big area and seem to love climbing and sleep in the hammocks provided.



8. February 2018 22:03
by Rene Pallesen
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Our kids - Laos

8. February 2018 22:03 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

Our kids had a blast of a time in Laos. They loved each other company (for the most part) and someti
Our kids had a blast of a time in Laos. They loved each other company (for the most part) and sometime looked like real little travellers.








They were respectful at the temples and even offered a prayer.





At other times they behaved like animals and should be lock away in a cage.





But for the most part they liked exploring things that us adults wouldn't see such as this crater from a crash landed U.F.O.

8. February 2018 22:03
by Rene Pallesen
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The kids and families of Laos

8. February 2018 22:03 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

What I especially remember from my last trip to Laos was the kids. One of my most cherished photos i
What I especially remember from my last trip to Laos was the kids. One of my most cherished photos is one of two little girls holding a bouquet of flowers that I took 20 years ago (it is on this blog if you look for it through the search function).

The children are still there. They are still very shy, dirty and smiling.











They make up their own games such as these kids at a school playing marbles with tamarind seeds.







These kids were playing a game where the kid under the table had to poke the feet of the kids above the table.



And some things never change, kids teasing each other.





The girls in the school yard 'hang out'.



Visiting a local school was great for our kids to get a glimpse of how other kids live.







Along the road we stopped and a family was outside with the mother breastfeeding her son in their outdoor living room. This is where everything happened such as the cooking, washing, feeding etc.





The chicken were running around freely



Here is a rare shot that Kim took with my camera in it.



It is a very family oriented life they live








7. February 2018 21:03
by Rene Pallesen
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Catching local transport - Laos

7. February 2018 21:03 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

For getting around the towns in Laos we mainly used Tuk-Tuks. These are small motorbike powered mini

For getting around the towns in Laos we mainly used Tuk-Tuks. These are small motorbike powered minibuses and the experience can be very mixed. Most of them are generally good, but some have bad brakes have a plume of smelly two stroke engine smoke trailing behind them. We could easily fit our two families into one and I'd joke that there would even be room for another couple of adults.



The kids loved the tuk-tuks and have the fresh air blowing in their hair while riding.



The only downside is that you'd never quite know what the fare would be until you started bargaining and from town to town the fares seemed to be very different. Even though I believe I am reasonable proficient at bargaining, I'm still confident that we paid more that the locals would be paying for the same trips.











For the longer trips we would catch either local buses (mini vans) or in some instances it was worthwhile us hiring a private bus as we were enough people to fill it.

From Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang we hired a private van taking us across the mountain pass at Kasi. Last time I went through here it was in an open bus and at the pass it was raining and really cold. This time round we had a beautiful clear day with a great view of the valley below from the top.





The week before they had a lot of rain and a landslide had taken out large parts of the last section of road (I read in the local newspaper a few days earlier that the road was closed). Our little van was struggling getting enough grip and our driver had to reverse to get enough of a run-up in the next attempt to make it through the steep and muddy section.

The larger trucks were really struggling getting through.



6. February 2018 16:03
by Rene Pallesen
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Morning Markets - Laos

6. February 2018 16:03 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

The morning markets are interesting. This is where the locals still go to buy their fresh produce an
The morning markets are interesting. This is where the locals still go to buy their fresh produce and all kinds of specialties are being sold here. It would be easy to go here and get the ingredients for some really delicious food.

There are also some unusual things that we don't see in our western kitchens. such as:

Dried Squids:



Fresh fish - of cause, but this have sharp teeth.


A protein and herb table that would make most chefs (and diners) salivate:






The Chillies in Lao are more hot than in Thailand - We loved the heat.


A pig:


River crabs:


Beetles:


Dried rats:




Caterpillar - these are yummi when fried:


Frogs:

River snails:


Dried squid, shrimps and fish:






5. February 2018 16:03
by Rene Pallesen
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Silk - Laos

5. February 2018 16:03 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

They still manufacture silk they way they used to. It was interesting for the kids to see the proces
They still manufacture silk they way they used to. It was interesting for the kids to see the process from small caterpillar eggs that hatch to worms to the production of the silk itself.






I had always wondered where the colour blue (Indigo) came from. I knew it used to come from a seashell, but I was fairly certain that this wouldn't be the case here. It turns out that they use a special leaf from a plant that when mixed with water and left fermenting/oxidising turns into a blue dye.





They also use plants for most of the other colours.





After they spin the thread they use traditional weaves to make it into pieces of garment. These days the silk garments are fairly expensive - hundreds of dollars, but it used to be really cheap.

5. February 2018 16:03
by Rene Pallesen
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Bamboo Bridges - Laos

5. February 2018 16:03 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

During the dry season the people of Luang Prabang builds traditional bamboo bridges across the small
During the dry season the people of Luang Prabang builds traditional bamboo bridges across the smaller river. This saves them a lot of time (and cost) to cross directly into the centre of town rather than a long detour to the other larger bridges.

It also earns them a small income to charge foreigners a small fee to cross the bridges.







4. February 2018 22:02
by Rene Pallesen
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Pak Ou cave - Laos

4. February 2018 22:02 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

A two hour boat ride north of Luang Prabang is the Pak Ou cave. Since we were traveling two families
A two hour boat ride north of Luang Prabang is the Pak Ou cave. Since we were traveling two families the best way to get there was to hire a slow boat just for us.



The flow boats are long narrow boats that are ideal for navigating the Mekong River. This part of the river is full of underwater rocks but the boats seem to navigate these treacherous waters with ease.

Having the boat for ourselves gave us more flexibility with regards to how long we wanted to spend at the cane and also meant that we have more room to move around.



The front of the boar is where the captain sits and steers the boat. After this there is a section for the passengers followed by a small pump toilet and then the living quarters for the captain and his family. Out the back there is a small kitchen for them to do the cooking.

The cave is upstream into an area full of limestone mountains.



The many boats moor at a long and wobbly floating bamboo bridge that takes you to the cave itself.





The cave itself is not big but it is full of small Buddhas that have been put there over hundreds of years. You can tell that this used to be an important place of worship.





Now however the place is so crowded with tourists (guilty here too) coming in on boats that it is hard to move around. I could not stop myself from taking this photo of Buddha holding up his hands to stop more boats arriving.



At the top of the hill the hill there is what I think is a more 'pleasant' cave. It is equally interesting and much less crowded because most tourists don's make it up the many steps to the top.

4. February 2018 16:03
by Rene Pallesen
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Lao Lau (rice whiskey) - Laos

4. February 2018 16:03 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

The traditional Lao Lau is still being made. Just north of Luang Prabang on the river there is a lit
The traditional Lao Lau is still being made. Just north of Luang Prabang on the river there is a little village on the river called Whiskey village whos main income is from the production of Lao Lau.



When I was there two decades ago this is what the locals were drinking (now they drink beer instead). I still remember the foul taste from the home brew that was distilled in large oil drums after having been fermented in large clay pots. Whenever I see it I always wonder if distilling strong alcohol right next to an open flame is the wisest of ideas!?!?





The process itself hasn't changed, but these days most of the whiskey is sold to tourists and I tastes a lot more pleasant that it did back then.




3. February 2018 15:03
by Rene Pallesen
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Food - Laos

3. February 2018 15:03 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

The food in Laos is good. It is traditional cooking mostly still cooked over an open fire.You see th
The food in Laos is good. It is traditional cooking mostly still cooked over an open fire.





You see them start cooking the food well before sunrise in big pots.

The food itself is mostly a fusion of Thai and Vietnamese. It has all the noodle soups from Vietnam, but with the more street food and spice of Thailand. The picture below is a typical noodle soup with a traditional cube of coagulated blood.





We were eating a lot from small street type restaurants following the rule that is had to be popular with the locals. The logic behind this is that the locals would know what is good and would also be choosy regarding the quality of the food, so chances are that it would be fresh and not cause food poisoning (none of us or the kids had any issues on the trip).






There are some dubious food there, such as some of the meat BBQ where they sometimes have the meet cooked earlier on the side of the BBQ and then just re-heat it when you order it.







Also be careful with some of the food stalls where the food may have been sitting there for most of the day and often from the day before.





From a 'snack' perspective there are some personal favourites that I absolutely love such as the BBQ fried squid - the packet stuff is just not the same.



Also the Bamboo and coconut fried rice is delicious - they sell them at bus and train stations and especially the purple rice one is yummi!



The freshly made puffed breads over an open fire - they will use two rakes to flip them until they are done.