Whirlwind ASEAN Day 5: Pak Ou Caves and Mt. Phusi

I was looking for something to do this morning and I happen go pass by the All Lao Travel Service. I booked the 8 AM ferry to Pak Ou Cave (80k LAK) and the 130 PM minivan to Houang Si (50k LAK). On the way to the drop off point, I met Naoki, a Japanese who also took the same ferry. I found it interesting that the “banana boats” used to get passengers were so long but only carried 6-7 people at a time.

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Banana boats

We were the second group to set of for the caves but lucky me, it broke down within the first 30 minutes. We were taken to the banks of the Mekong while our boatman removed water from the boat. I was hoping that this set back would not affect my Kouang Si trip at 130 PM. The  boat was fixed at 920 AM  to  much applause and we arrived at Pak Ou Cave at 11 AM (20k LAK). This cave had the largest assortment of Buddha statues I had ever seen! There are 2 caves, one immediately at the dock while the other required a trek upward (as well as flashlights). We left the cave at 1150 AM and headed for the whisky village. After trying out their rice wine (lambanog-like) and whisky (stronger than sake according to Naoki), we left the village and returned to Luang Prabang.

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(Fisher)man's best friend

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Pak Ou Lower Cave

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Pak Ou Upper Cave

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Pick your poison: rice wine, whisky, or poisonous animal in alcohol?

We arrived shortly after 130 PM so I missed the Houang Si trip but I had it moved to Oct. 1 instead. I also bought my Chiang Mai ticket for the same date while I was at the travel agency (330k LAK including tuk-tuk transfers).

Thanks to Naoki’s guide book, we were able to try some amazing Khao Soy (Luang Prabang’s noodle soup) at Subara Khao Soy and Coffee (12 LAK) for lunch before heading back to our guesthouses for some rest.

In the afternoon I walked around Sisavangvong Road as they were just about to set up the night market. A few stalls were already being opened but most of the vendors hadn’t arrived yet.

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The charming streets of Luang Prabang

I met up with Naoki at the foot of Mt. Phusi and after paying the entrance fee (20k LAK) we climbed the steps to the top. At the top you can see both the Nam Khan River and the Mekong River enclosing the old quarter of Luang Prabang. Of course there were people already waiting for the sunset but as it approached a steady stream of tourists started arriving, jostling for the best position to take photos. The view was incredible as the sun sank slowly behind the mountains, bathing the Mekong in an orange glow.

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Overlooking Nam Khan River

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The mighty Mekong River

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Clearly the sun is a star

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After a few more photo-ops we descended Mt. Phusi and browsed around the night market. I was surprised at the number of stalls that had been brought up in the hour that we were enjoying the views! The road was packed! It’s a good thing I’m not much of a shopping person or I would have regretted not including a budget for this.

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The night market along Sisavangvong Road

For dinner we tried one of the many 10 LAK buffets along one of the side streets. If you’re a vegetarian or really love noodles this is a steal. Meat eaters will have to pay a little bit extra for barbecued chicken, pork, beef or duck they may want to sample. To cap the night we had a cold bottle of Beer Lao before going back to the hostel.

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10 LAK buffet!

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One thought on “Whirlwind ASEAN Day 5: Pak Ou Caves and Mt. Phusi

  1. Ma

    love the pics and this line: “The view was incredible as the sun sank slowly behind the mountains, bathing the Mekong in an orange glow.”

    Reply

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