Laos Travel Part 2 Phonsavan
On November 5,2011 we flew Lao Air QV 401 to Xieng Khouang from Vientiane. If I remember correctly the cost was about $100US/pp. Since we had called the ANOULAK Hotel a few days before to make a reservation for 2 nights, the hotel van was waiting for us at the airport.
The cost at ANOULAK was $25/night and I’ve done a review”The Place to Stay” 4/5.Thanks to Helen for mentioning it. The town is small……there isn’t much to do except the Jars and the people are extremely friendly. It didn’t take long to settle in and the first order of “business” was finding a tour for the following day. Interestingly, we discovered that we and a few others were the first wave of tourists “in season”. No one on the main drag quoted a group tour. Since we were a “captured” audience, we had no choice but to take a private tour at a cost of $71 for the two of us.(Supporting the economy). We ultimately booked thru the hotel.
We were fortunate to have Mr. Tey as our driver/guide for the day. His driving was excellent,his English was good and he was funny and personable. His e-mail is: email@example.com and his phone number is: 020 2294 6979.
Tey picked us up at 5 AM and we headed to the HMONG MARKET. We got there in the dark, but the place was bustling. The morning market is only on Wednesday and Sunday This was a Sunday and supposedly the better day. Vendors were selling ordinary clothing; there were national dress stalls; animals were being sold and the produce was gorgeous! The veggies are all organic. Only one other couple showed up after us.(European). Everyone was SO friendly, including the children. Even at this ungodly hour in the AM there were LOTS of smiles.
Afterwards, Tey took us to the Hmong Village close by. Probably about 50 families live here. The dwellings were one story, there was satellite for TV, thatched roofs are replaced each year and there is also a school. Did you know that the windows of the dwelling are tiny or non-existent to keep the spirits out?
Arrived back at the hotel for breakfast. We were not overwhelmed,but so be it. Tey showed up at 8:45 AM and off we went to site 3. Loved the countryside…..the road is something else.It makes the road to CHACO CANYON in the US smooth and pleasureable. After a while we headed to site 2A and 2B. We both responded to 2B more. We stopped for lunch and that was noodle soup. That fortified us for the ride to site 1. OMG……the roads!!!!! Once we got our bearings, the lower level site impressed us.
We ate at CRATERS both nights. I did a review: “Convenient” 3/5.
On Monday, November 7 we headed to Luang Prabang by mini-van. We booked this too through the hotel.($15US/pp). There were only 5 of us in the van so the space was fine. Laos is, indeed, beautiful. However, the road is winding,winding and winding. It seemed never ending. In retrospect, I know this trip was preparing us for the Mae Hong Son loop in Thailand, with it’s over 1800 curves! If you are prone to car sickness, DO think twice about doing this. Phonsavan to Luang Prabang is a bit over 6 hours. Our driver was NOT a slow poke.
With the memories of Vientiane and the Plain of Jars deep in our “data bank” we could only look forward to more of Laos and Luang Prabang: our home for a week.
Look for Laos Travel Part 3 Luang Prabang