Day 6 – 4 Apr: Luang Prabang-Pak Ou Cave-Vientiane
After breakfast we enjoyed a cruise upstream on the Mekong River with beautiful views of the tranquil countryside. Our destination was the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, which are well worth the climb and are crammed with thousands of Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes, some as old as the 14th century. About 2000 years ago the caves were animist and passes by would stop to pay their respects to the water spirits to ensure a safe journey. Then a king decided they were buddhist caves, and put lots of buddhas there. Then they were lost & found again by a frenchman in 1865 (?looking for garlic). Along the way, we stopped at the village of Ban Xanghai, where local rice (white & red) wine and whisky is made. We tried 3 kinds – of course & saw a naughty chicken eating the rice. We may have bought a souvenir for Curtley. We also stopped at the village of Ban Xang Khong, well known for its hand weaving and paper making. We liked an ebony Buddha “calling rain” that a carpenter was making and waited for him to finish it (about an hour) during which time we saw some silk worms, & natural dying and weaving.
After a short flight back to Vientiane, we had a walk to the central square. We fly back to Shanghai on Saturday, so that’s all from Laos!
Other interesting stuff:
4 April is International Mines Awareness Day, so Thomas did his bit by wearing a MAG t-shirt.
MAG = Mines Awareness Group