In Asia, says: In Cambodia, they plant the rice, in Vietnam, you sell it and in Laos they listen to it grow. Laotians have so much time that you listen to the rice Grow. Time has little meaning. It shows already at the point of entry at the border of Huay Xai to Thailand, which opens at 8 o’clock and 18 o’clock closes. As a German, you get there for $ 30 a visa for 30 days. Important is the stamp in your passport with the date of entry.
The proverb above, the atmosphere in Laos. A Laotian knows no Stress or hassle. His state of mind is the Serenity, unlike in the rest of Asia. In the Restaurant waiting for half an hour on his drink, because the waiter is asleep. Eventually you get used to it and enjoy the break. So Vientiane is a capital with a rural character. Kuno Paul Old cars in Laos
Stoned tourists disturb the Idyll in Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng North of Vientiane, adjacent to the impressive karst mountains. It offers a nice market, rivers and caves, but is notorious for raucous Backpacker. They are driving stoned and drunk in the inflated inner tubes on the river and to recharge in “supply stations” Lao Whisky. This is not always without consequences, and many a drawing of bloody injuries in the case of the river cruise. And it also comes to fatal accidents and then have to close the one of the numerous Bars. The Person
Kuno Paul, tour guide, photographer and author, lives in Strasbourg and Bangkok. From may to October, he travels with groups through the Alsace and Baden, France, England and the Canary Islands, the Winter he spends in Asia (China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia). Topics: news, travel experiences, and everything about food. All the info is on his Homepage.
Further North, and only twelve kilometers from China, the beautiful place of Muang Xing lies in a wide valley with rice fields and mountain peoples. A week after the light festival in Vientiane, a Festival is held and then it will be right there.
To the Lao slowness a trip on the Mekong river, the lifeline of the country, or rent a motorcycle and goes comfortably from the border to the giant Kong Lor cave in the centre. Kuno Paul With the motorcycle to the Kong Lor cave, 300 kilometers down the river from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang, the boat departs in two days and it stops when people give up on the shore a character. Then the food vendor and the passengers to come to rise.
Luang Prabang, and the unique Mekong
The ancient capital of Luang Prabang is a UNESCO world heritage site, with 32 temples, the Royal Palace and just to the North in Pak Ou the Tham Thing are caves with more than 4000 Buddha. Then the river rushes with a deafening noise about the biggest water in South East Asia cases into the neighbouring country of Cambodia, as he wanted to complain, to Laos to leave. The Mekong is unique. Display more dream destinations there are here! On the North river route upward, after the large cities of Vientiane and Luan Prabang, passing it the ’slow boat‘ leisurely water Buffalo, villages, cliffs and wonderful scenery. Often, this boat is almost empty, because the southern route, the river is down in popularity. During the overnight stop in Pak Beng, the boat lines and laid-back Laos meet-Traveller to celebrate the evening with the loud Party-backpackers fresh from Thailand.
Kuno Paul the Backpacker on the Mekong river
dolphins and 4000 Islands attracting visitors to Pakse
It also goes further by Bus or Taxi from the capital, Vientiane, to the third largest city of Pakse to the 4000 Islands, Mekong falls, Irrawaddy dolphins, to Wat Phou, the Bolaven Plateau, the coffee plantations and stunning waterfalls, as well as the border crossing to Cambodia. This is the main tourist Route for Laos.
The country has no coast on the sea, but the Mekong river. During the monsoon from may to October, it widened to 15 km. Even during the dry season, the water is distributed masses for miles on a plurality of channels between which some of the large, inhabited and countless small Islands. Hence the Name Si Phan Don (4000 Islands). How many are there really, depends on the water level. Many are sand banks with sparse Vegetation. Larger Islands have steep shores, tropical Vegetation and cultivation area for vegetables. In the island world, which stretches over 50 kilometers, there are the Irrawaddy river dolphins and there are around 60,000 people – traditional fishing and now tourism.
Kuno Paul of the Buddha on the roadside.
Therefore, the number 4000 appears again and again
The number 4000 is not chosen randomly, it comes from the Buddhist symbolism of numbers, and says the perfection of the four worlds between the emergence and disappearance. Each of the four worlds has a thousand Buddhas. Therefore, the caves have 4000 Buddhas, and the Mekong 4000 Islands. The symbolic number appears everywhere, where Buddhists and they are also found in Tibet, China, Cambodia, and Thailand.
Laos was part of French Indochina, and the French wanted to use the Mekong as a trade route from China to South Vietnam. The rapids South of the 4,000 Islands, which are accessible during high water, but the Khone waterfalls in Pa Pheng and Samphanit with a height of 15 meters. A 1920-built narrow-gauge railway should bypass the waterfalls, which failed however. Kuno Paul rocks in the middle of the Mekong river in a boat-journey dangerous, you try to defuse by blasting the rocks, the rapids, and to facilitate the ship travel Today. Diversions for irrigation and large dam projects, as well as the threat of melting glaciers in the Himalayas threaten the livelihood of the people at the river.
mountain temples and Chill out on the Mekong Islands
Don Khong is one of the largest Islands. With the wheel you can drive along the shore, past rice fields, villages and pagodas. Monks are waving. Water Buffalo grazing in the water. On Don Khon, a Buddhist is Monastary on a 1000-year-old Hindu Khmer sanctuary. In the case of the ancient Royal city of Champassak, the mountain temple of Wat Phou, the first capital of the Khmer Empire, long before Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Kuno Paul On the river Bank of the Mekong river to graze cattle, The quiet island of Don Det offers Bungalows with hammocks on the banks of the Mekong river. Here you can also ride a Bicycle to experience the island. When it is hot, the Mekong cooling. Easy the river by swimming, and on the many small Islands and sandy beaches to relax.
Mysterious jars and dangerous US bombing in the East,
Phonsavan in the East of the country, the famous plain of jars, whose origin is not clear and one of the great mysteries of the country is. The city, however, has a large Problem due to unexploded ordnance from the Vietnam war. A small throw grenade contains enough explosives to kill five people. Bombs are everywhere. In fields, rivers and mountains, the explosives come with the monsoon top. Nowhere in the world there are so many duds in the ground, such as on the plain of jars. Half of the country is home to around a Million tons of bombs.
“are duds, dangerous, be careful, don’t touch them, move them not, because when they explode, there are Dead and wounded”, is a children’s song in Laos. 260 million bombs were dropped by the USA between 1964 and 1973, 80 million of them are still in the ground. Cluster bombs are very sensitive and can detonate upon contact.
Laos was the “free-load area” for surplus bombs, which were dropped in Vietnam. Since it was dangerous to land with bombs, and dropped them on Laos. Huge cluster bombs, filled with hundreds of IEDs, the ‘ Bombies called, caused the 20,000 explosions in 40 years. Of the Thousands dead, over half were children. Men without hands, children without legs and women with one Arm are a common sight in Laos. Children hold the round balls for a toy, a Farmer working in the field, injured, and grazing animals occur sometimes on a bomb.
UNESCO world heritage site in front of the phallic mountain
Eight kilometres South-East of Champasak, Wat Phou is the most important sanctuary of the Khmer outside of Cambodia. In 2003, she was appointed a UNESCO world heritage site and is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. The mountain behind the Shrine has the shape of a Phallus and is reminiscent of the Shiva-Lingam. As in Angkor, there is a Baray, the large artificial water-basin. The whole complex consists of three levels and the view stretches to the Mekong river.
Kuno Paul Friendly villagers for the rice harvesting At its most beautiful in Laos, the many small villages are, however, often hard-to-reach and little-developed, but here in Laos, you can experience and understand. The hospitality of the locals makes the stay easy: You pay for the Overnight stay and meals with cash or exchanged for food, consumer goods, alcohol or cigarettes.
FOCUS Online/Wochit In these countries, you come up with English on no green branch in Laos