Wednesday, July 25, 2012

mekong meandering

I am currently sitting in a little cafe in Pakbeng - a one street town in North Western Laos. I arrived here last night after a 7 hour boat ride down the Mekong which would have been incredibly scenic if it hadn't rained non-stop. But in a slow-boat full of mostly gap year European backpackers it was anything but boring.

I was glad to finally get out of Bangkok. It didn't really feel as if I had started my trip.

I flew to Northern Thailand to a small city called Chiang Rai for just a couple of days en route to the Laos border. Being monsoon season and rainfall unpredictable I decided to forgo the trip into the mountains for the scenic dawn view!

One of the other recommended sights was Wat Rong Khun aka The White Temple. An odd blend of modernist Thai construction and Disney, it was however quite striking after having visited many of the bog standard Thai temples.

white temple

white temple

white temple

white temple sculpture

Another highlight of Chiang Rai was running into a couple of 'randoms' (term for chance meetings with strangers).
One was a French guy who chucked his job 15 years ago and started global roaming. He's lived in Tokyo and New York and is once again off backpacking for 6 months or more.

The other was a young Aussie (24) on his first o/s trip. He flew to Hanoi, bought a motorbike and then proceeded to ride all through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and had just completed Thailand. He was about to ride back through Laos from the north to Vientiane the capital to sell the bike! We all met in a cafe and hung out together until I left yesterday.

chiang rai clock tower

bug food

more bugs

and more bugs

night bazarre

Before I left Chiang Rai I went in search of some mozzie repellent - found one tube in a local pharmacy which stated on the front "repels mosquitos and snails". My mind boggled a bit.

Pakbeng, this little town out in the middle of the Laos jungle is the halfway point of the boat trip. It is probably one of the only reasons for it's existence.

Tonight I should be in Labang Prabang.

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