After a not so quiet border crossing (or at least, a corrupted border crossing) we arrived at 4000 islands. This place is, as you can guess, a group of islands on the Mekong River (sorry we didn’t count if they are 4000!!!).
Here the River is not polluted (at least not enough to refrain us of swimming); so even if the temperature of the water was quite low, we did some tubing!!! It is really nice, slow and quiet. While lying in the tubing, you have time to discover the place from another angle. For example we saw boats transporting motorbikes, women fishing riverweeds or doing their laundry, kids playing in the water or taking a shower, ducks having fun… By bicycle, we visited the Mekong waterfalls. They are huge and impressive!!! We were especially impressed by the courageous ones (and pro) who did some kayak in it! On the island we stayed, people are also making their own charcoal: they stack pieces of wood together and cover it with clay and straw. They light a fire at the base of this “house” and as the smoke cannot go away, wood is consumed slowly and becomes charcoal. When everything has burnt, the “house” is destroyed and charcoal taken. In Lao, the French influence is still strong and visible ! People play pétanque, how funny is that ?? As kids don’t have the right bowls to play they have invented another version: instead of the jack they use rubber bands, small wood pieces or just “something” and to replace the petanque bowls they use their flip flops. They throw their shoe in order to touch the “jack”! Some of them are really good at it! This venue in Lao is really peaceful and beautiful… We enjoyed spending time in our hammocks in front of our bungalows and smiling at the very friendly population. But after 3 days on “our” island we arrived in Thakhek. This limestone region is well known for its caves. We took a motorbike and drove through a mountainous landscape to discover caves. Some of them only contains beautiful stalagmites and stalactites, some of them contain a lot of Buddha….
Really nice… but not as nice as French caves J
With « very » local transport we moved to Konglor, another place known for its cave.
This one is crossed by a river and measures 9,5kilometres. It connects 2 villages. The cave has beautiful limestone formations but is also the place where the biggest spiders are living (25 centimetres… with the legs of course). Unfortunately we couldn’t see any: we cross in a boat in the dark, with only our headlamps but it is not enough for this huge cavity. Anyway we really appreciated the boat ride!!!