|Final Statistics: Alex & Maz||Total distance: 93,550km|
|Furthest Point: Rotorua, NZ||Now settled in Sydney, Australia|
|Final Statistics: Martin||Total distance: 79,698km|
|Furthest Point: Hobart, Australia||Now settled in Bristol, UK|
|Arrive:||Tue 28th Mar 06||Depart:||Tue 18th Apr 06|
|Weekend:||Sat/Sun||Time Zone:||GMT +7|
|Int. dial code:||+856||Language:||Lao|
|Side of road:||Right||Best time to visit:||Nov-Feb or May-Jul|
|Diesel Price:||US$ 0.63||Activities:||Sightseeing, Trekking, Monasteries|
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Diary Entry: 28th March-11th April 2006 - The Hidden Tribes...
Photo Album for Laos
Country Highlights En Route
Luang Prabang is the jewel of Indochina, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. The ancient royal city is surrounded by mountains at the junction of the Mekong and its tributary, the Khan river. In the centre of the city is Mount Phousi with stunning views of the surrounding temples and hills. Luang Prabang is a city where time seems to stand still. Plain of Jars
An air of mystery hangs over the Plain of Jars. Local folklore says that, in the 6th century, the warrior king, Khun Jeuam, brought his army from Southern China and defeated the evil chieftain, Chao Angka. The mighty battle was followed by a mighty feast, at which hundreds of gigantic jars of lao-lao rice wine were consumed. Khun Jeuam was, apparently, as bad at tidying up as he was good at throwing parties, for he left behind all of the empty jars, of which nearly three hundred remain, scattered around the flat plains near Phonsavan, including his own six-tonne 'victory cup.'
The capital of Laos is Asia's biggest village. Busy and hectic in comparison to the rest of the country, it is quiet compared with any other city in Asia. Vientiane, as all of Lao's major cities, is situated on the Mekong river which forms the lifeline of the country.
For Laos, and other countries in this region, the Mekong river is like an important artery, and means life in the jungle. It means transportation, it means water for drinking, washing, and irrigation. It means a disposal bin, playground for children, agriculture, and food. It also provides for a magnificent view of the countryside.
Kuang Si Falls
About 35km from Luang Prabang, the beautiful, multi-level Kuangsi falls are popular with tourists and locals alike. The falls tumble down over 60 metres, through a series of limpid pools, and the spray keeps the surrounding picnic grounds cool throughout even the hottest times of the year.
Pak Ou Caves
People have been climbing into the Pak Ou caves, high above the Mekong some 25km from Luang Prabang, for maybe a couple of thousand years. They were used for the worship of the river spirit until Buddhism spread into Laos along the southern route from India. And gradually, over the 60 decades, more than 4,000 Buddha images – mostly the standing Buddha of the Luang Prabang style – have been placed in them.
Wat Phu Champasak
Considered the most sacred religious site in Southern Laos, the temple site of Wat Phu Champasak dates back to the Chenla Period (6th to 8th centuries) and was later part of the Khmer Angkor Empire (9th to 13th centuries). Although the surviving structures are not as grand as hose near Siem Reap, Cambodia, the surrounding countryside makes a visit to Wat Phu well worth a stop for serious temple buffs and casual travellers alike.
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