After checking into our hotel and a short break in Pak Beng, our guide escorted us to a restaurant he suggested for dinner. The village itself is quite small and tourism is very much essential to the local economy.
Here is part of our group at the restaurant below. We were given a sample of bamboo soup (on the bottom left) – interesting but not terrible. On the right below, John had water buffalo steak. Let’s just say his fork bent trying to cut it!! Either he had a very flimsy fork or a very tough steak or a bit of both, which gave us a few laughs. I had something familiar like sweet and sour chicken with rice, which was fine. Our host is holding up water in the picture, but later he bought our table a bottle of rice whiskey. It tasted awful! but somehow thanks to a drinking game we were also introduced to, the bottle of whiskey was emptied and we had quite a memorable night. This is where it was really good to be part of a group as had we been on our own we would have been less adventurous and probably had a croissant or something at one of the local bakeries.
Our hotel room for the night, which was included in the boat trip package. The bed was on the hard side, which was probably made more bearable by the rice whiskey!
The next morning was overcast, lightly raining and quite cold. We bundled up with blankets as we continued on the journey.
Before lunch we were at our second village visit in Laos.
Feeding time by the river.
The children were again waiting for our arrival. This time they held up some of their local weaving. I was glad we had a way to contribute to their village in exchange for being allowed to view their way of life. ( I chose the red and black scarf on the left.) There is some timber in the background and a slight glimpse of the handmade teakwood furniture they also make here.
The ladies too had their handcrafts out on display. In the villages we visited we saw mostly women and children and very few men. I can only guess that the men must have been off working somewhere but where? I didn’t realise this until too late to ask.
Below some scenes around the village. There was also a temple up the hill (where the monk is) from the main living area.
Back on the boat and a few scenes of local life along the Mekong. We saw a number of peanut farmers putting in their crop as in the first photo.
In the afternoon we arrived at Pak Ou Caves. The two caves are well known for their quantity and variety of collected Buddha sculptures. You can see part of the stairs below, but they continue on quite a ways up the hillside.
One of the first group of hundreds of statues you see in the caves.
The beautiful setting across the river. Not too much longer, 25 km approximately, and we would soon be at our destination of Luang Prabang.
An enjoyable 2 days and an unforgettable night on the Mekong, and again we would definitely recommend booking a journey with Nagi of Mekong.