Laos
Ban Phasak

Here you’ll find travel reports about Ban Phasak. Discover travel destinations in Laos of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

91 travelers at this place:

  • Day12

    Mount Phou Si

    May 14, 2017 in Laos

    For our last day in Luang Prabang we woke up in good time and enjoyed the last free breakfast.

    Due to the heat of the day approaching we decided to head out asap so we wouldn't melt away in the sun.

    We set off to Mount Phou Si which was only a 10 minute walk from our hostel and climbed the 400 steps up. Having experienced such a trek up on our last viewpoint escapade this one was significantly easier and quicker. After 10 minutes we were up the top and soaking in the beautiful views around us. With a nice breeze it made being up top bearable and worth the walk.

    Having been in Laos almost 2 weeks I'm certain many people underrate it and will skip it out if they are short of time. Visiting the country I think this is so wrong and Laos is one of the most beautiful places I've been to on my travels and being so underdeveloped everything is still very natural and undisturbed. I couldn't recommend Laos more and I can certainly say it's exceeded expectations.

    The evening was also a very sad one as it was mine and Simona's last night with each other before we went our separate ways after the best two weeks together. We both couldn't have loved Laos more nor had more of a laugh together and the weeks have flown by. We both agreed though that Vang Vieng was our favourite place (hence the long stay) and felt we could of stayed longer. However we promised each other we would both return another time and relive our week there.

    For our last meal we had the vegetarian buffet again, being so cheap and delicious it couldn't go a miss and seemed very suited to finish on a good food.
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  • Day44

    Luang Prabang, Laos

    February 5, 2017 in Laos

    Luang Prabang is a small quaint town in Laos known to backpackers for years however we didn't know very much about it and wanted to check it out for ourselves.

    Laos was occupied by the French for 50 years up until 1949, which is evident in Luang Prabang through the architecture and modern day relaxed culture. While there were nice restaurants, wine bars and riverside cafes all around town, it didn't quite feel like the authentic Laos we saw traveling, more of a western resort town.

    Although it was nice to have this small town feel we wanted to see a more local side of Laos so we rented a scooter to drive around the outskirts. This is where we saw the true beauty of this country that has rolling mountains and greenery all around. We drove an hour to the Kuang Si waterfall which was even more amazing in person than the pictures we'd seen. It was fun to hike up to the top of the fall where we could walk around in the water and Mitch could show off on the tree swing before accidentally falling in to the watering hole! Thank god it was really really hot so drying off wasn't a problem.

    On the way back from the waterfall we made a few pit stops to enjoy the scenery and to even do some local people watching while taking a break at a roadside eatery where I had to take a picture with the cutest little Laos girl dressed in her traditional clothing. Once we got back to Luang Prabang we enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the river and decided it was time that we take a chance to eat some street food while in Southeast Asia. We scoped out the most popular BBQ stand and enjoyed some pork, chicken and sticky rice. And lucky to say our stomachs were just fine the next day!
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  • Day89

    Kuang Si Waterfall

    February 1 in Laos

    Heute sind wir zu den Kuang Si Wasserfällen gefahren - sind die nicht traumhaft schön? 😍

    Wir waren sofort hin und weg! 💗

    An einigen Stellen konnte man auch baden gehen - Cemil ist sofort ins Wasser gesprungen. 😁

    Da wir bereits gegen 09.30Uhr angekommen sind, waren nur wenige Leute vor Ort - also früh kommen lohnt sich! 😊

  • Day9

    Journey to Luang Prabang

    February 9 in Laos

    Generally the rule in Laos is to buy tickets directly at the bus otherwise you get over charged. Knowing this we decided to try and get a tuk tuk ourselves and then buy the ticket ourselves... Long story short we tried and got ripped off but ah well. We quickly bought a croissant and a coconut muffin each and jumped into the tuk tuk. In the usual Laoish time it set off to the train station. Will was chatting to some of the guys and showing off saying he could cycle without hands whilst gesturing at the same time and he let go of our muffins which flew out the back of the tuk tuk. Disaster! The journey to Luang Prabang was 7 hours (ish) and after our last journey we weren't really looking forward to it but we were more prepared and sat in the seats near the driver to get as far away from others as possible. No one was sick this time but the driver was crazy and my seat was the most uncomfortable seat ever. I got off the bus with whiplash in my neck.

    When we arrived at our airbnb I was so happy, we could do laundry, have a hot shower, the bed was comfy and most of all it had a kitchen so we could finally cook ourselves!! We were both pretty worn out so we decided to cheer ourselves up with a date night 😊 Let's just say we were missing our beloved Theos Pizza and wine, so decided to have a taste of home 😍

    On Saturday we wandered to the market to get fresh fruit for breakfast and ingredients for Laotian dinners. Mushroom laap, fish and watercress salad, I was so excited to make our own dinner! The fish was so fresh it was still alive when we picked it out the bucket. We then wandered to the town, saw more temples, walked along the Mekong River and saw sunset on top of hill in the centre of town before heading back to settle in for our tasty dinner and beer Lao.
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  • Day12

    Final days in Luang Prabang

    February 12 in Laos

    The morning started with a whole fresh pineapple and papaya to make the most of having our own kitchen. Then we packed our stuff ready to check out.

    We went to the local Ock Pop Tock Living Craft Centre where they hand weave silk. It had a really lovely free tour showing us how they make the silk, dye it using various natural colourings and finally how they make it into garments.

    We then checked into our new hostel in the town centre and decided to celebrate our month anniversary travelling by going for lunch at the best place in Luang Prabang and by golly was it yummy! We ordered the Buffalo meat Fondue and Banana Daiquiri and we ate like Kings on the Riverside. It was such a lovely place to just sit and chill out so we did exactly that and ordered a Black Rice beer while finishing up my blog for the day.

    So being a month in I thought I'd take this opportunity to reflect a bit. Honestly, we've only been gone a month and I just can't imagine going back to the hustle and bustle and stress that people have in life. Life is simple here. For a month we've stayed in various hostels of various quality, we've had little hot water, solid as a rock beds, been living out of a small bag with barely any clothing, doing our clothes washing in a sink of cold water and honestly I've got the hairiest legs imaginable (yes and I'm still wearing shorts), yet no one judges, everyone's so happy and so friendly and content with the very little they have. When is the last time you were stressed out about something... Yesterday?... An hour ago when the man in front of you walked too slow on the pavement?... Will and I keep chatting every so often about the craziness of how we get or got stressed so easily. I'm not saying it doesn't happen all of a sudden, but it's very interesting to remind ourselves and reflect. Does it really matter if you're 5 mins late or wearing the same clothes, or even have hairy legs? The other day I was feeling snotty and ill with my hairy legs out walking around the grand Palace. A security man came up to me and told me how beautiful I looked and compared me to a chandelier from Czech Republic. He didn't mean it in a weird random man way we always assume in England if a stranger talks to you. He was just being nice and friendly with no strings attached. Imagine if you complimented one person everyday. What a friendly and happy world we would live in. But maybe people do try but our perception is that these people are clearly weirdos and you can't accept compliments from strangers. Maybe just spend 5 minutes everyday talking to someone about your day, list 3 things that made today a good one.

    Both myself and Will are feeling pretty ill today, so glad we've done most of the sites we've wanted to do. Both full of a cold with stomach cramps. Had a slow morning updating my blog and then we ventured out for breakfast. For those that don't know, Luang Prabang is a town in northern loas which combines classic Laos tradition with a dash of French colonialism. For the past few days Will has been eyeing up coffee and cakes, but has been quite restrained due to us going for fancy dinners. Today Will knew exactly what he wanted for breakfast, a chocolate and almond pastry twist and a creamy coconut cake. I think he's forgotten we are backpackers 😋 While having coffee we met 2 lovely ladies who had a daughter that came to Laos to work in a school, moved back home to Edinburgh after 2 years and fell very ill and unfortunately passed away at the age of 22. The mother and her friend now come once a year to help the local community bringing luggage full of stationary, clothing, shoes and money that has been raised for local schools and hospitals. I think my favourite part of this holiday is when we meet such incredible people.

    We then decided to try and get a boat down the Mekong River to the Pak Ou Caves. Unfortunately the public boat only leaves at 8:30am and after that you have to get a private boat which is a lot more money so we decided to just chill out and sit on the river reading for the rest of the day before watching the story of Chiang in a free outdoor cinema. The film was about filmed in 1927 and is about a family living in the jungle of Thailand. A short and pleasant film to round off the day.

    We've decided to stay one more day as not taking the boat along the Mekong River is probably a crime in this region, plus being full of a cold the thought of packing and moving is rather unappealing.
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  • Day139

    Luang Prabang

    September 5, 2015 in Laos

    Historically the Laos was called 'the land of a million elephants' and still has the elephant as its national animal today. However war, poaching and land encroachment by humans has led to the population reducing to 1600, 500-600 of which are made to work in the logging industry, their great power used to fell trees and carry lumber.

    We hoped being in South East Asia would give us an opportunity to see these beautiful creatures up close and perhaps even ride one. There are many places in Laos and Thailand you can do this but with varying degrees of how the elephants are treated by their owners. We are very keen to not engage in any tourism that does not properly care for animals so after talking to Keo, he recommended 'Elephant Village', just outside of Luang Prabang.

    The village rescues elephants from mistreatment and provides employment for locals previously poaching or working in the logging industry. The village has 14 females and 2 babies (they do not keep a bull in the camp as it would be too aggressive to safely manage). Each elephant has a 'mahout' who has worked with her for years; riding, training and caring for her.

    Rescuing an elephant can cost as much $20,000, as even old elephants have value (their meat) and their care is high maintenance, each requiring at least 250kg of food and 80 gallons of water a day. It may not be the wild, where ultimately elephants should be, but the village appears to give them as much freedom as realistically possible (they still have to be chained by a foot when taken out of the village to feed as otherwise they wander off and eat a local farmer's livelihood).

    We began by learning how to climb up and sit upon an elephant and give basic commands in Lao to manoeuvre it. Accomplishing this, we headed out on a 3km trek with a mahout, Hueng, to help guide us with our elephant, 43 year old Hamkoon. Hueng first took Hamkoon up through a steep narrow trail into the rainforest, Hamkoon's huge feet squelching into the reddish brown mud to leave deep prints. We swayed above on her back, titling backwards and forwards at 45 degrees or more to face the forest floor or canopy. Upon clearing the ridge line of trees, we gazed out across the Nam Khan River to the lush green mountains of Laos. Once through this difficult terrain Hueng allowed us to take turns riding Hamkoon for ourselves. Our hands on top of her broad grey head, feeling her powerful muscles move under our legs as we plodded onwards.

    Back at the village we fed Hamkoon bananas by way of thanks and then took all the elephants (Kim -Hamkoon, Alex - 40 year old Sinook) down to the river to bathe them. The elephants dipped their heads under the water to leave us nearly waist deep and spray water back at us with their trunks. We used pails and scrubbing brushes to clean their wrinkled course skin, dotted with thick black hairs.

    We visited the 2 baby elephants, kept in a separate enclosure on the other side of the river, who appeared playful and interested in us, if only at the prospect of being fed more bananas. We travelled further along the river to the Tad Sae waterfalls, which unlike the Kuang Si falls yesterday were much clearer and safer to swim in. The water a never-ending cascade of white water over multiple tiers of sandy rock. We wandered waist deep between the top and middle levels of the falls, the shade and the water cooling us after a day under the hot sun with the elephants.

    It was a brilliant day, one of the best in fact and one we will never forget...
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  • Day138

    Luang Prabang

    September 4, 2015 in Laos

    In the morning we went to a small gym that we found when walking back to our hostel yesterday. No wider than the open shop front accommodating it, the equipment was set upon rose tiling with desk fans to slowly push the humid air around. Posters of 'Farlang' bodybuilders decorated the walls and birds chirped in small cages hanging below the awning outside.

    The absence of other clients highlighted how the concept of exercising in gyms is foreign in the developing world. Although when passing by later on we noticed some men (possibly government or NGO desk warmers) using the gym, for the vast majority the day-to-day task of labouring to eat is costly exercise enough.

    We ate lunch at the same food stall where we had sheltered from the rain yesterday, the young women smiling at our attempts to order in fragments of Lao. The prevailing French colonial influence in Luang Prabang means that baguettes and even pate are readily available. This meant for the first time in weeks we ate bread rather than rice; warm baguettes filled with chicken and avocado, garnished with salad and mayonnaise, washed down with ginger tea as town life passed us by. It was delicious.

    In the afternoon we took a mini-van with Anna and another Stray guide, Chris (who we haven't mentioned before but who has also accompanied us with Keo as he is training - you will notice him in the pictures from Ban Pak Nguey) to the Kuang Si waterfalls. Passing a vista of bright green rice paddy fields that contrasted with the darker green of rainforest, we could see a thunderstorm threatening off a distant mountainside.

    Under the entrance gate and before the falls, we walked through a sanctuary for bears, rescued from smugglers or illegal ownership and unable to return to the wild because of their exposure to human contact. We read how upon arrival the bears are often in poor physical and emotional condition and pioneering neurosurgery was successfully completed on one to restore her to a healthy and happy state. Good bear story.

    The roar of the waterfall steadily increased until we could see the torrent of brown water for ourselves. The heavy rains washing the mud off mountainside down through the falls to give it this colour. We had hoped to swim in the waters at the basin but even there it was too high and strong to be safe. Further up the water crashed through seating areas and platforms, where at drier times of the year tourists would be. There are positives and negatives to travelling in the low/wet season and this was one of the down sides. Nevertheless it was still an impressive force of nature to witness and we stayed to watch until the rains arrived to drive us back to the shelter of the mini-van.

    Every night in Luang Prabang a night market opens along the main street, which becomes closed to traffic. Sheltered by tarpaulin and lit by electric lamp, hundreds of stalls sell clothes, bags and souvenirs whilst down side streets other vendors sell food. Smoking barbecued meats, sizzling crepes, bubbling soups and freshly cut papaya, pineapple and melon salads. We moved through the narrow walkways and the sensory treasure trove they contained to sample a selection for our dinner.
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  • Day141

    Luang Prabang

    September 7, 2015 in Laos

    The sleepy humidity was catching as we wandered between the river and shuttered colonial buildings. Through the quiet lanes, not a breeze stirred and only the rasp of distant tuk tuks accelerating echoed on the air. We stopped at a food stall to eat hot sweet crepes whilst lazily watching fresh baguettes being delivered in wicker baskets.

    Our lethargy was in part due to the heat but also a sign that we were ready to move on from the quaint boundaries of this little city. Early tomorrow morning we leave to head further east and south through Laos so we took the time given to work on more plans for this. Reliable Wi-Fi, air conditioning and a Spotify soundtrack keeping us productive (https://open.spotify.com/user/somebodyalreadyhasit/playlist/1bc9Xg9FwIqxWQyD8StztV) -

    Ten Walls - Walking With Elephants
    Jamie T - Zombie
    Cody Chestnutt - Love Is More Than A Wedding Day
    Jack Savoretti - Home
    Average White Band - Pick Up The Pieces
    Martin Gaye - Ain't No Mountain High Enough
    The Beach Boys - I Get Around
    Aretha Franklin - (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone
    SRTW - We Were Young
    Al Green - Let's Get Married
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  • Day103

    Luang Prabang

    January 3, 2015 in Laos

    OK, we haven't been writing in a while so first of all, happy New year to everybody! We did recover from our colds in time to be able to celebrate new years properly! Great thing was that Nancy and Perinne from Brussels are on vacation in Thailand and Laos and made it to Luang Prabang for new years aswell, which was great!

    So together we went in the evening to eat Lao style BBQ in the lovely Lao Lao garden who welcomed us with a free shot! After downing that one and a couple of beers, we continued to the utopia bar which is a great place to relax during the day. For the party they turned their volleyball field into a dance floor and had a giant burning man some time after midnight. So that was cool! At 3ish we decided that we wanted to go sleep now but where held up at a private party in a shop of like 20 people with the host being super excited to have so many guests! That was really fun and we ended up in bed around 4.30.

    So naturally, we didn't do much on the first!
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  • Day137

    Overnight the heavens opened their doors and a flood of rain water spilt out over the village. We lay on the floor, listening in the dark to the countless drops thrash against the tin roof in a roaring echo.

    Leaving in the early morning light, we slid our way back down the muddy river bank to our boat that had lain moored overnight. Saying goodbye to the villagers, we reflected on how our stay had been an emotive experience for us both, with it bringing back memories for Alex of his time volunteering in similar communities.

    We chugged along the Mekong, past flotsam carried by its strong current, made only stronger by the rains. Thick rainforest towered steeply down onto us, through mist obscuring the mountain peaks. Our boat just a small speck in the wide brown river.

    Further along the bank we saw an elephant standing chained with its owner, just as you might pass a dog walker back home. Laos has an elephant population of 1600 with many kept as working animals by the local population.

    We stopped at the Pak Ou Caves that contain 4000 images of the Buddha and a host of bats within its caverns. It is a site of religious significance to the local Buddhist population, the belief that it contains a number spirits that can protect fishermen on the Mekong waters. Climbing the steep steps we entered the cathedral halls filled with statues of varying sizes and colours. The drop of water on rock and the echo of our voices the only sound upon the stale musty air. In the upper cave we put on our headlamps and could see the sleeping bats high above us.

    After arriving in Luang Prabang we wandered through the small streets with their memories of French colonialism. Wooden shutters on the windows of European style buildings built at the start of the 20th century and shops selling pastries and jewellery. All mixing with the traditional and ornate design of Buddhist temples, together framed in the green of palm trees and kept gardens. It appears to be a beautiful and popular city with UNESCO World Heritage protection from big development.

    As the night market was being set up for the evening, the rains quickly arrived to drive heavily into the ground and scatter everyone to cover. We sat under the cover of a food stall, drinking ginger tea and banana smoothies as we watched the water from overflowing storm drains gush down the road.
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Ban Phasak

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