The Home of Irawaddy Dolphins
Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
298Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
I never understand how people can leave an entire meal just because they find a stray hair. Were European, we have clean water and a high level of hygiene, I small hair is not going to contaminate my entire meal with anything! You found it though
08:29 I've come several km up the river to see the Irawaddy freshwater dolphins in the Mekong. This, apparently, is THE place to see them what with there only being about 70 left. I got on a boat with a couple from Liverpool and because we were 3(not 1 and not 2) we paid $7 instead of $9, which worked out nicely. As we set off on the boat the Mekong is very full and very fast flowing. As we potter along further and further across, we realise that the expanse must be at least 5 miles wide, it's incredibly wide during rainy season at least. There's a whole area where we went through trees in the water and wonder when they must be on dry soil.
10:23 We hunted for about an hour for the dolphins and eventually found around 5 who occasionally dipped above the water and blew before going down again. After 15 min or so we were joined by 3 other tourist boats. We did the hard work of finding them and the others just rocked up. They were charming to watch and the nearest they came was within about 10 metres. Having found burst mode on my camera I was able to hold my finger down and take hundreds of pics which I can delete down later to what you see here as my best ones!
12:50 On the way back from the dolphins I stopped in at a wat/monastery on a hill. I climbed all 360 steps to the top of the hill which was hot and tiring! Whilst up there I met a girl called Angela from Italy who told me that her bus ticket to Laos was $5 cheaper than mine! So I found out where she was staying and went back and asked my driver to take me to the guest house she was staying at where the ticket was cheaper. The Star guest house which serves all manner of western and Khmer foods was a nice little place and also does rooms for 3,4 and 5 dollars! I asked if I could see the rooms thinking I'd swap, but they're full. Damn. She also paid 2 less for the motorbike today! Double damn! However we're going to travel together a little and room share so I hope to save a little money. Good.
14:46 What with Angela having no antimalaria pills we went to the pharmacy where we asked for malorone- never heard of it, then doxycyline, she did have this -30 doxycycline - 7500 riel! Don't bother buying in England that price is £1.14 per box. For a laugh I asked if she had any Valium, she handed me a box of diazepam which only cost 8000 riel! Stock up here if you want something that will make you sleep!
15:12 Spent several hours chatting with Angela, Rosa and Michael in a local bookshop before taking some local transport (ie a boat) to Koh trong island for 1000 riel with local people
19:33 After getting back from the island we walked down to a few hotels beyond my hotel to the Balcony hotel, a very nice place with a huge balcony that everyone sits on, and found Rosa and Michael. We whiled away the next 4 hours talking, drinking, eating together and laughing, which was wonderful. I also discovered I'm not the only person that has never had a kebab!! My 3 companions have also not, and they are also over 30, and well, Angela is just Italian so has more taste!
The rain and lightning came again whilst we were there, but mostly the sort that flashes in the sky lighting it up over the Mekong river and trees around, rather than making a racket over our socialising.
Best: dolphins and meeting a travel buddy!
Worst: early mornings :(
Beautiful: inside the temple