Cambodia & Laos 2016

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Another episode in our adventure packed lives - from Siem Reap to Luang Prabang

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We stopped overnight at the Wine Hotel in Villefranca before flying from Barcelona to Singapore and from there on to Siem Reap: did have our own seat despite a very cheap economy class ticket . Stayed in the Sala boutique hotel there - our room was an authentic old Cambodian house, reconstucted here with 11 others
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We travelled on to Battambang & its fabulous Bambu Train: adored whizzing along on this! Visited a few temples too - including one with 8000 skulls: 1970s Killing Fields
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Then to Banteay Chmear, a near derelict, unvisited, temple site that rivals Anghor Wat. Then to Preah Vitear, World Heritage : made some fun Korean friends here

Our guide in Cambodia was Ohm [ picture below with our driver Sak and the elephant, outside the general's hotel] ; his father had been professor of Fine Arts in Phnomh Penh, exterminatd by thr Khmer Rouge in 1975. We must watch "First they killed my father" when it is released later on in 2016.

After Preah Vitear, Ohm and Sac handed us over at the border to Det, our guide in southern Laos for 4 days. Then to the first of several laotian waterfalls before we had a boat ride to Don Khone Island,
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& a room in the old colonial French Hospital, enjoying the hotel's riverside restaurant and having a tour of the island by sidecar, visiting
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more waterfalls and seeing vestiges of the old French Colonial Railway, yes, an old engine as well as an old bridge

 

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On to the long tailed boat above to reach luxury at the River Resort: here we spent a relaxing 2 nights- apart from seeing the sun rise over Wat Phu Temple -
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including a massage and a sunset cruise, with tapas & vino, just like being in Moraira! Also made to stir for the sunrise over the Mekong from our balcony - will admit

 

 

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it was impressive! On to the Bolaven Plateau, another waterfall & lunch at the Sinouk Coffee Plantation.Then to an ethnic village -& this one had concrete elephants!
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A night in Pakse -the hotel had an elephant theme. Next day to Don Khor & saw the largest Buddha in Laos en route to Thakek, beside the Mighty Mekong once again.

 

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How's this for a colourful tuktuk? Travelled out into the country for a hike through the caves- easy for us, not for others! - to lunch in a casita on the lake, with friend Louis
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Next day more adventures in the 7 km underground Kong Lor cave. Difficult to get in & out of the boat, some great stalagtites, great scenery. Pity about the seedy hotel!

 

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Amazing what they made out of jettisoned B52 fuel tanks! Monks near the bombed Buddha and the stupa looted for its secrets

 

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On to Phonsevan & the Plain of Jars, bombed relentlessly in the 1970s & still littered with a massive amount of UXO amongst its unusual ancient burial containers

 

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Standing Stones on the way to freezing Sam Neua & its chinese hotel. But worth being cold for those
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incredible Vieng Xay caves of the Pathet Lao: they even left a tank for us to play on & we met Steph.

We then travelled on to Nam Et for an overnight safari - to HUNT the TIGER!! Boy, were we excited!!

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But, 24 hours later, just crestfallen - no one has seen a tiger there for a generation at least. But, even so, it was a nice experience

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despite a rainy journey & losing a propellor enroute: a good show watching it being retrieved! Very, very dark but we did see a deer & a linsang. Had our own bed- for a
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photoshot! - and the campfire nosh was great: just that promised tiger that was missing. Then on to more comfort at Nong Khiaw

 

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Followed by a civilized boat trip down the Nam Ou -giving a lift to a couple of Buddhist hitchhikers- a wander round a remote village and a picnic lunch on the river shore
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And what luxury at MuangLa! Three days of bliss- degustastion menus!- super attentive staff, massages, thermal baths, swims, hike into the hills[ more food], and, not only

braziers, but sky lanterns as well!

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Not sure if that is how you spell effelumps - but we did see them! A night at Pakbeng and then a super luxury 8 hour trip to Luang
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Prabang, visiting a village & Buddha stuffed cave, and gorging on top quality local food

 

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Hid ourselves in the Rive Droite hotel, fun boat trips across to the city until the water level fell- but then a bambu bridge crossing: wow! more fun than 100 temples!

 

Boyzz' Travels 2016

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