Laos
Houay Phadam

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3 travelers at this place

  • Day164

    Slow Boat Laos

    January 17 in Laos ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Von Chiang Rai aus geht es nun ab über die Grenze nach Laos🇱🇦. Hier fließt der Mekong River. Beginnend in China (Tibet) über Laos und komplett Vietnam, einer der Längsten Flüsse der Welt🤓. Natürlich Bietet sich hier eine Bootsfahrt an um mehr oder minder gemütlich von A nach B zu kommen😄. So ging es also los, mit dem „Slow Boat“ die ersten sieben Stunden Flussabwärts nach Pakbeng😍. Sitzplätze gab es zwar nicht mehr, jedoch schufen die Gepäckstücke im hinterem Teil des Bootes eine nette Abhilfe👏🏼. Bevor es am nächsten Tag wieder weitere sieben Stunden in Richtung Luang Prabang geht, wurde der Abend feucht fröhlich in netter Gesellschaft und mit diversen LaoBeer (Hauptexportgut Lao‘s) ausgeklungen🇱🇦🍻😊.Read more

  • Day136

    Stray - Huay Xai to Ban Pak Nquey

    September 2, 2015 in Laos ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    To get to our next major stop, Luang Prabang, we took a privately chartered long wooden 'slow boat' along the Mekong River. The journey was split over 2 days with us staying in a riverside village, Ban Pak Nquey, overnight. You can go overland by bus but it is a gruelling 14 hours along winding, poorly maintained, road. By river you can take a public 'slow boat' in similar time to our journey but you are crammed in with many people and livestock. There are speed boats that make the distance in 6-7 hours but these can be dangerous. We watched a number rip past, the drivers and some passengers wearing crash helmets, clinging on against the wind and spray.

    The night's rain had blissfully cooled the morning air and the wide brown waters of the Mekong ran strong and high before us as we carried our bags down the dock to the bowing gangplank onto the boat. The engine steadily rattled and thumped as we moved away and set a course up the river. Mist rolled off the mountain tops and a green carpet of farms and rainforest rolled down to the muddy banks. We past villages of coloured corrugated iron, streaked in rust from the heavy rains and humid air. Fishermen sat in boats so low they appeared to be in line with the water's edge.

    By mid-afternoon we arrived at Ban Pak Nquey, climbing up the bank and through the wooden and concrete buildings to be greeted by the village chief. Chickens and dogs roamed about and faces appeared in windows to see the arrival of the 'Farlang' (meaning French or White Person from the time of the country's French colonisation).

    We visited the village school as in Huay Xai we had brought school books and pencils as a gift. The children were ecstatic at our arrival, the older ones shouting 'Farlang! Farlang!', shrill with excitement whilst the younger ones shyly held back, uncertain of the tall white creatures.

    Assembling outside the school building, they sang the national anthem, nodding and smiling gratefully when receiving their book each. It was a humbling experience and Kim was almost brought to tears as the children sang their song. The children's behaviour a contrast to that of many children back home in respect to material gifts. They used their imaginations to create games with little or nothing. Kim and Anna playing with the girls, who had created a large skipping rope by connecting elastic bands, whilst Alex and Keo played football with the boys using a tired ball.

    After saying goodbye to the children we went to the home where we would spend the night. This consisted of a a single concrete room, used as a living room and bedroom, and a wooden annex where a kitchen and squat toilet were located.

    Sitting on plastic chairs around a small table lit by daylight cast through the open door we tried cooked buffalo skin and home-made rice whiskey before a dinner of green vegetable soup, pork with ginger, chicken with bamboo shoots and sticky rice.

    As darkness and silence descended in the village, its elders began to arrive at the home. Collectively we sat on the straw mat floor of the concrete room, around a small silver and gold shrine placed at its centre.

    Lit by a single electric light, we received blessings for our stay and future travels, everyone touching the shrine and those who could not reach, holding the backs or t-shirts of those who could. Rice whiskey was shared around the room until the small bottle was emptied. The elders moved between us, tying bands around our wrists as they quietly hummed prayers on barely open lips. Their soft dark eyes set in tanned aged skin.

    After the ceremony, as conversation and tiredness traded places, the elders melted away into the black void of the open door, leaving us to reflect before bed.
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Houay Phadam

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