One of Laosâ€™s treasures which for the moment seems to be off the beaten path for large masses of tourists is Si Phan Don near the countryâ€™s southern border with Cambodia. We made the journey to Si Phan Don from Luang Prabang in the North by flying to Vientiane in the evening, staying overnight and flying from there to Pakse early the next morning. We then continued by bus to the main island of Don Khong. Our next destination was Siem Reap, Cambodia and, since I personally dislike backtracking while traveling, we wanted to find a way to cross the border and continue on by land or by river without taking the bus back to Pakse for the direct flight to Siem Reap.
We left Luang Prabang Tuesday evening and were about to catch a flight to Vientiane when the power went out at the airport. Now, call me petty, but I think but I like to have my airports all wired 24/7. While I was entertaining all the possible catastrophes of this little episode, all of the airport staff, vendors and tuk tuk drivers were leaving for the day. It was, after all, past 8pm already! After a small delay, we finally took off to Vientiane where we spent a short night in a deserted strange looking hotel. Very early the next morning, we caught a flight to Pakse, the main getaway to the south of Laos. This time there was no power failure at the airport but rather a HUGE airplane size roach walking around the â€œsecurity checkâ€ area.
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Today is Christmas and it feels like any other day here in Laos with the exception of a few trimmings. Xmas music is played everywhere and Lao waiters and waitresses are almost all wearing Santa Claus hats. Otherwise, it’s sunny, in the 70′s, and not much else is going on in the way that it does in back in New York on Xmas.
After a very nice breakfast by the Nam Khan River, we checked out of our guest house. We then climbed the small Phousi mountain to get a good view over the city around noon. The rest of the day has been spent in several cafes with wi-fi where we alternate between blogging and doing Internet research for the trip while the other person goes and gets massage. It’s so hard to share one computer between the two of us!
In a couple of hours we fly to Vientiane where we’ll stay for a night and then fly to Pakse in Southern Laos. From Pakse we’ll be on the move to Si Phan Don (4,000 islands in the Mekong River). Since we’ll be in transit, it’s hard to know when or where the next Internet access will be.
We’ll really miss Luang Prabang for sure but we feel like we’ve just discovered something new to come back to again. Hopefully it will retain its charm in the years to come.