Cars, Boats and Bikes and a lot of rain and mud!

Trip Start Oct 04, 2011
Trip End Nov 29, 2011

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Champasak,
Saturday, October 15, 2011

98% humidity in the room this morning - I guess that means the washing I did last night wont dry too well today!

4,000 Islands today - got a boat from the island at 8am to Ban Muang - another garden chair on a wooden platform sort of boat but at least it wasn't raining this time. However that didn’t last. By the time we had driven to   Ban  Hatisikhone   to get on another smaller boat to take us to Khone Island , the largest of the 4,000 islands it was pouring down. But even that didn’t spoil an amazing boat ride past lots of tiny forested islands, boats laden with all sort of cargo - one had four water buffalo and one six large wardrobes complete with full length mirrors. All the little children were playing on the river bank and waved as we went past - they seem to have such a happy carefree life.

We landed at Khone Island  and then picked up bikes to take us to Liphi Waterfall - the track was incredibly muddy and full of potholes so it was a challenge to keep moving but we got there in one piece and saw some very spectacular waterfalls - but not as spectacular as they would be in the dry season - the lower part of Mekong was almost up to the top of the falls so there wasn’t such a big drop. On the way back it started serious tropical rain which made it great fun to cycle. Luckily we stopped at a local café for lunch and missed the worst of it and it was just drizzling again when we set of. I was getting quite confident on the bike by now and thought I’d try to video a little of the scenery - we went through some amazingly green rice paddies. However I must have not watched which route the guide took round a particular set of pot holes and the one I chose to ride through was a lot deeper than I thought and my bike stopped in the mud. In an attempt to stop myself falling off I put down both feet and they immediately sank to past ankle deep in the mud - I couldn’t move! Luckily a passing French tourist took pity on my and helped pull me and the bike out of the mud  and I spent the rest of the day with sopping wet feet and several pounds of mud on my shoes. T

The French had built a railway on Khone island  in 1905 to allow them to transport goods up and down the Mekong from China to Saigon - avoiding the waterfalls which made the river impassable at this point. All that’s left is a couple of rusting engines  - the railway closed in 1949- but for a train enthusiast that was just wonderful!

We then went to Khone Phapheng waterfall - the largest volume falls  in SE Asia - again the drop was a lot less than it should be but they were very impressive and wild.

The journey today was through bright green rice paddies with water buffalo and small thatched huts - absolutely beautiful. There were also herds of cows roaming about and sitting in the middle of the boat - cars simply drive round them and they just sit there and watch!

Back along the road to Ban Muang  and back on the garden chair boat - this time in the pouring rain - it’s a shame we couldn’t have got a photo of us - two people in bright red rain ponchos sitting on bamboo chairs holding umbrellas sailing down the Mekong!!
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Gill Ashby on

Hi Judith, fabulous blog, I have just caught up with it. I love the pics and your descriptions, makes me very envious except for the rain and the mud!

What a wonderful time you are having.

dwmjmm on

Glad you are enjoying it! We are having a wonderful time and I am really enjoying writing the blog - I think I must be a frustrated travel journalist!

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