The Journey from Cambodia to Laos

Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
Trip End Jan 12, 2010

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sompong kindly gave us a lift from Yaklom Hill Lodge down into Ban Lung town ready for the 7.30am mini-bus to Stung Treng, which finally left at 8.30am with our bags (wrapped in their fluorescent yellow waterproof jackets) on the roof. The dirt road was bumpy and slippy from all the rain, we saw a coach leave Ban Lung with chains around its tyres, but our mini-bus had no problems, even loaded with people and goods, we made it to Stung Treng in 4 hours.

A quick stop for lunch and a chance to get to know our fellow travelers. We found it quite funny to overhear that the two stoned Irish boys had just traveled 12 hours from Phnom Penh to the Laos border only to find that Laos visas can only be bought in Phnom Penh, they were waiting for the bus to take them 12 hours back to the capital.

Minibus number 2 took us up to the border. we drove around Stung Treng town for a bit picking people up, which we are used to now, but the Russians sitting behind us got a little annoyed. We keep saying that traveling in Cambodia is loads easier than Vietnam, but part of that is because we're much more chilled out.

At the border we showed our Cambodian visa and gave the border control man 4000 Riel ($1) and then walked 50m to the Laos checkpoint where we filled out a health questonnaire, showed the man our Laos visa and gave him $2. UK Passport control men are missing a trick here !

Mini-bus number 3 took us from the border along a very bumpy dirt road to Ban Nakasang where we got on a little put-put boat to Don Det. all of the other travelers got off here and we gave the boatman $2 extra to take us to Don Khon, a more relaxed less 'traveler-dude' island (with less 'Happy' shakes and 'Happy' pizzas).

9 hours, 1 car, 3 mini-buses, a walk between border checkpoints and 1 boat later and we are in sleepy Laos. We're staying in Auberge Sala Don Khon, at $20 a night it's the most pricey and classy place around - we don't feel like backpackers - and we've been able to wash all our trekking gear !

The restaurant over looks the Mekong and has the perfect sunset view. Don Khon is one of the 4000 islands in the Mekong, which is at its widest here at over 14km wide. A large bottle of beer Laos is 90p (640ml). This is heaven on earth.

We're sad to leave Cambodia behind after almost 2 months. The people are all smiles, the countryside is beautiful and eco-tourism is starting to take off here which is good. The shadow of the Khmer Rouge can thankfully only now been seen at S21 and in the killing fields and the history that does shine through is of the powerful ancient Khmer civilisation. Cambodia has it all, jungle, hills to trek through, beaches to lie on, temples to tour, rice paddies to cycle through and a lively capital city. I cannot recommend a trip here highly enough - I love Cambodia !

Best bits of Cambodia:
(Unfortunately we don't have any travel stats - today is day 138 and we are too chilled out to record them!)
National Museum in Phnom Penh - beautiful building crammed with Khmer artifacts
Temples at Angkor - we saw them all in 7 days
The people - smiling, waving and kids shouting 'hello' !
Seeing the nearly extinct Irrawaddy doplhins near Kratie.
Cloud 9 bungalows in Sihanoukville - away from the hawkers - great views of thunder storms rolling across the bay
Watching the sun set in Kep.
Khmer curry at Friends restaurant in Phnom Penh
Treking through minority hill tribe villages in Ratanakiri - how different people's lives are here.

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Where I stayed
Auberge sala don khon
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danielbevis1982 on

...that sunset is incredible!

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