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Laos - The Internet Travel Guide (FAQ) (part 1/2)

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Archive-name: travel/laos-guide/part1
Url: http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos
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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
LAOS - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide
 

Laos is not too well known among tourists, but this is one of the
attractions of this quiet country. Vientiane, capital of Laos, has
a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. Many temples are home to numerours
monks, all of them friendly and eager to learn. Luang Phabang, Laos'
old royal capital, is a UNESCO world heritage site and has some of the
most beautiful temples in the world.


Places
 Attapeu
 Bolaven Plateau
 Champasak
 Don Khong Island
 Ho Chi Minh Trail
 Luang Namtha
 Luang Phabang
 Muang Phin
 Pakbeng
 Pakse
 Plain of Jars
 Salavan
 Savannakhet
 Tadlo Resort
 Vang Vieng
 Vieng Xai
 Vientiane
 Wat Phu
 Xieng Khouane


Transportation
 Flying
 Boat
 Bus
 Roads


General Information
 Geographical Information
 Climate
 People
 Events
 Visa
 Embassies
 Border Crossing
 Getting Around
 Money
 Mail
 Internet
 Food
 Opium
 Health

 
**************************************************************************

LAOS - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide

Copyright (c) 1995 - 2004, Peter M. Geiser

http://www.pmgeiser.ch
http://www.pmgeiser.com
http://www.mineralwaters.org
http://www.dussy.ch

**************************************************************************

ATTAPEU

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/attapeu.htm


Officially, the provincial capital of Attapeu is called Muang Amakhi
Xai, but is usually referred to as Attapeu. Its main attraction are
the numerous beautiful gardens, which made the city known as the
"garden village".

Transportation

Attapeu's location at the confluence of the two rivers Se Kong and Se
Khaman makes boats the perfect vehicle for exploration of the
surrounding area.

The road to Pakse is now very good.

There are weekly flights between Attapeu and Vientiane.

Hotels

The new hotel Ying Sokxai opened in February 2000. It offers 60
rooms.

**************************************************************************

BOLAVEN PLATEAU

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/bolaven.htm


Although not especially easy, it is still possible to take a bus up to
the Bolaven Plateau.

Pascale: There is plenty to see and do on the plateau, just
doesn't look like it from the one highway stop. Go to the market, ask
someone to take you to see the waterfalls (kilometer 36 back towards
Pakse to the west), the Phuu Thevadaa ('God mountain'), the ethnic
burial ground at Kilometer 5 to the east of Paksong. In and around
Paksong there are many ruins from the secret war. Look at the iron
electricity pole going up the road towards the market, there are
bullet holes through it. Ask the local doctor who's wife has a lovely
restaurant at the market to take you to see the shrapnel and bombs and
wreckage of the Thai soldiers who died during the war there. Paksong
is the centre for trade between coffee growers, cattle farmers and
plantation owners. The market attracts locals of many Lao Teung ethnic
backgrounds including the Jru' (Laven), Nyaheun, Oi, Ta-oi, Bru, Alak,
etc. Many languages are spoken there.
Pascale Jacq has very extensive knowledge of the region, and is
willing to answer questions. His mail address is Pascale Jacq
pascale.jacq@anu.edu.au



Hotels

Pascale: There are two guesthouses on Bolaven Plateau. One has
been there since the French, and was restored by the Germans and
Russians and is now being extended by the Lao/Vietnamese owners. It
has a big hall for dining, hot water, a nice view of the mountains and
the little river which runs right up to the guesthouse which is
situated by a weir which once provided all the electricity the French
needed.

Pascale: There is also a local woman Maniwanh who is currently
building a guesthouse on the other side of the weir, and who is an
excellent chef. She is building several ethnic style huts for tourists
to stay in in her sister's coffee garden. We have just built Maniwanh
a big oven out of an oil drum, and when fired up we can cook up a
storm of bread, pizza and cakes.


**************************************************************************

CHAMPASAK

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/champasak.htm


Champasak (20'000 inhabitants), once being the royal capital, nowadays
doesn't offer much more than being a stop on the way to Wat Phu.


Transportation

The bus from Pakse to Champask costs LAK 600 and the trip lasts 2 1/2
hours. You may get a Tuk-Tuk from Champasak. It costs around LAK 6000,
bringing you to Wat Phu, waiting for you and returning with you.

Since there is no bus back to Pakse in the afternoon you probably have
to spend the night there, walk the 30 km to Pakse, be lucky to get a
ride or go by taxi from Pakse (I was lucky to meet a very nice man
from Pakse, who gave me a lift.)


Hotels

There is only one hotel in Champasak. It has rooms for USD 20 and dorm
beds for USD 5. Ask for the dorm bed.

**************************************************************************

DON KHONG ISLAND

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/donkhong.htm


Don Khong (meaning Khong Island, Khong being the Laotian name of the
surrounding Mekong) is a good place to sit around for a few days.
There are about 55000 inhabitants, mainly concentrated in the two
villages Muang Saen (west) and Muang Khong (east). There is a village
in the north, Ban Dong, and one in the south, Ban Huay.


Transportation

A tuktuk from Ban Muang Sen to Muang Khong costs LAK 5000.


Hotels

Muang Khong

Don Khong Guest House in front of the jetty has nice clean rooms for
around LAK 10000. There is a restaurant attached that serves an
evening meal for LAK 2000. Tell the owner earlier in the day how many
people will be eating and any special food requests.

There is an unmarked house behind the Don Khong Guest House that
offers nice rooms for LAK 7000 to 9000. Inquire at the pharmacy.

(Anna, Jan 96) Turn right at the jetty to Suak Son Guest House.
Travellers gossip says the owner is an 'avaricious dragon woman'.

(Anna, Jan 96) Turn left at the jetty to the luxurious Auberge Sala
Hotel USD 25. Book in advance for the evening meal which is good value
when the French manager is not around.

**************************************************************************

HO CHI MINH TRAIL

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/hochiminhtrail.htm


The Ho Chi Minh Trail is a whole network of paths in the dense forests
running parallel to the Vietnamese border. It was used by the Viet
Minh against the French in the 1950s and later by the North Vietnamese
in the American War. Many remains of the war can still be found.

It is best accessed by Xepon on the road from Savannakhet to Lao Bao.

**************************************************************************

Luang Namtha

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/luangnamtha.htm


Located in the far north of Laos, this beautiful region is not well
explored by Western tourists. There is a national park, the Nam Ha
National Biosphere Conservation Area, which has a lot of tropical
forest with a lot of wildlife. Good opportunity for bird watchers.


Hotels

The Boat Landing Guest House
is located at the Namtha River boat landing in Ban Kone about 1 km
form the airport and 6 km from the main town.


**************************************************************************

LUANG PHABANG

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/luangphabang.htm


Luang Phabang (or Luang Prabang) is the most beautiful city in Laos,
situated between the Mekong and the Khan river. It has been nominated
as a World Heritage Site. It was the royal capital until 1975.
Nowadays it is famous for its many Wats (32 of the 66 before the
French colonialisation still stand), all of them well kept and with
numerous monks. The most beautiful Wat is (in my opinion) Wat Xieng
Thong. Don't miss the sunset over the Mekong! A very good place to
enjoy it is in the Wat Pha Baat Tai.


Sights

Around 4 or 4:30 pm the monks in Wat Ho Siang and Wat That begin to
beat the drum and the cymbals in the drum tower. When I first heard it
I thought there must be some pop festival around. The beat was just
incredible! For somebody that loves a good drum beat it is
definitively not to be missed.

The hill Phu Si, topped with a white stupa, offers an excellent view
of the city. There is a small admission.

The central market is worth checking out, as well as the That Luang
Market near Wat Pha Baat Thai.

An interesting place to visit Banpo Village. People there still live
very traditional with many women weaving beautiful emroideries for
bags, clothes, etc. Since this is a closed-knit society there is not
much competition and prices are virtually fixed (but still very low
considered all the work involved.) A silk sarong is about USD 10 and a
silk shawl goes for USD 4. There are rucksacks and pouches as well,
all beautifully embroided.

There are other villages around Lunag Phabang that specialise in
pottery and one is even famous for its cucumbers, another for its
waterfall.

Renting a boat to Pak Ou costs now LAK 25000 (although I also heard of
USD 15). There is a combination of tuktuk and boat for LAK 5000.
Note: Speed boats are dangerous! On 10th February 1999, a boat crashed
on a rock, killing one Japanese and injuring several other tourists.

A tuktuk to the waterfalls is USD 15. Another option is to rent a
motorcycle. Drive downstreams, on the road that runs more or less
parallel to the Mekong. After about one and a half hours, you'll
arrive at Ban Pak Si. From there, the waterfall is some 2 km ESE. It
is possible to ride the last half km on the back of an elephant.

(Sebastian) While in Luang Phabang, we made two excursions. One to the
Kuang Si falls and one to the Pak Ou caves. The falls are not
spectacular at all but still worth a visit. There are some villages on
the way there and there's a lot to see. We hired a tuk-tuk for the
trip (but I forgot the price).  The caves are also not very
spectacular but the way of getting there definitely was. We hired a
speed-boat (with emphasis on SPEED) for 25$ [price has risen, see
above] (six people) and it's quite an experience. You are required to
wear helmets and once you're on your way you know why... By chance, we
stopped over at a village where they were celebrating a marriage. We
got invited and had to drink a lot of lao lao. (Our speed-boat driver
too and I was even happier for the helmets afterwards than I had been
at the beginning...)

The Silversmith Thid Pheng on the Boulevard Phabat-Tay (main street)
has the best reputation in town. During weekdays, his factory is open
to visitors and prospective buyers. It seems that his products are
also available at other shops, often cheaper.


Transportation

To rent a four wheel drive car with driver cost about USD 100 per
day.
A motorcycle cost USD 9 for 24 hours, or USD 7 for 8 hours (fuel not
included).
Bicycles cost USD 1.50 per day, or USD 1 for 6 hours.

It is now posible to make independent treks through the country.
Another possibility is to take part in guided tours. Philip Paspaporn
offers 3 nights / 2 days treks for USD 35. The treks are for 4 - 6
people and include 2 guides. Sung Ka Roak Village, House Number 100/1,
Unit 16, Luang Phabang. Tel (71) 21 25 22


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/luangphabang.htm.

Restaurants

Make sure you eat at Villa Santi Hotel
(formerly La Villa de la Princesse), where you get a wonderful Laotian
dinner for a couple of USD only. The cuisine is royal style, with the
chef being the daughter of the last king's personal chef. If you are
early (around 6 pm) you'll be able to get one of the tables made from
the trunk of a tree on the terrasse overlooking the main street (no,
it is not noisy; even main streets in major towns in Laos are quiet.)
When I was there they served the following dishes:
  Keng Phar (vegetable soup)
  Phat KinKay (chicken, ginger, coconut milk)
  Kao Lons mit (fried traditional vegetable)
  Nuat Sen Lone (steamed vermicelli)
  Salad Phar Nam (water cress salad)
  Season fruit for dessert (bananas)
  Coffee or tea
Of course there are also a la carte dishes.

Good Lao food is also available at Maly restaurant, although it
recently has been transfered into a tourist place. It is worth trying
the delicious 'Vin Lao', a special wine made with black rice and
lime.

Just opposite the Rama Hotel is a small restaurant with friendly
service and an English menu.

The Luang Phabang restaurant on the same street as the Rama Hotel
serves excellent food and has live (traditional) music in the
evening.

There is a new bakery on the main street. It is jammed with Westerners
each morning eating baguettes and muesli. Although rather pricey, but
tasty and safe.


**************************************************************************

MUANG PHIN

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/muangphin.htm


(Anna) Walk down highway 23 to spot aeroplane remains.


Hotels

(Anna, Jan 96) There is a hotel on the south side of the road that
offers rooms for 2000 kip per person. It used to be barracks for
Russian military advisors.


Restaurants

On the north side of the road is a good trucker's restaurant.

**************************************************************************

PAKBENG

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/pakbeng.htm


Pakbeng is a very small town upriver of Luang Phabang at the juncion
of the Mekong and its smaller tributary the Beng River. It is a good
place for an overnight stop on the boat trip from Luang Phabang to
Huay Xia. It is a very quiet and delightful place. There is a nice
market and two Wats.


Hotels

The Soukchareun Sarika Hotel is about USD 6. Perched high up on the
bank of the Mekong and built completely out of wood, it has toilets
and washrooms outside on a platform extending over the river,
accessible only by a steep wooden ramp. Of course, there is a chamber
pot provided!

There is a new hotel under construction next door of the Soukchareun
Sarika Hotel.


Restaurants

There are several restaurants, none with an English menu.

**************************************************************************

PAKSE

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/pakse.htm


Pakse is a good starting point for many excursions in south Laos, for
example to Champasak and on to Wat Phu, built during the Angkor
period. It is the second largest town in Laos, having 60'000
inhabitants, and quite is quite pleasant.

Definitively worth a visit is the market. Watch out for the jumping
fish (the fishes in the tubs are kept alive by only a very small
quantity of water so they cannot really swim. But from time to time
one of them manages to gather enough energy to jump right out of the
tub onto the dirty ground of the market. Of course the lady had her
hands full to put them back in.)

In Pakse there are also some nice Wats.


Transportation

A tuktuk from the Thai border to Pakse cost LAK 1000. It is another
LAK 1000 to cross the river.


Hotels

The Phonsavan Hotel has rooms from LAK 4000 to 7000. The hotel is not
too nice, but the people are very friendly. They speak good French.
The latest travellers' messages can be found in its cafe.

Sebastian also spent a night at the Pakse Hotel which once used to be
a theatre or cinema. The rooms are a little nicer and it's probably
the better place to stay. Anna paid LAK 6500 for a quiet, spacious and
clean double in Jan 96.

If you're prepared to pay 20$ and more, the Salchampa guest house is
the place to stay (incidentally, it's right next to the local
prison...).

The Bounome Palace has been converted into a luxury hotel. It looks
very beautiful, but a bit expensive.


Restaurants

The restaurant just across from the Salchampa serves absolutely
delicious Vietnamese spring rolls in the evening! A bit further down
the road towards the market, you'll find the Sedone (spelling?)
restaurant which has an English menu and is geared (a little) to
tourists' needs.

**************************************************************************

PLAIN OF JARS

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/plainjar.htm


The Plain of Jars contains huge jars, the biggest as high as 3 m with
a diameter of 30 cm and weighing up to six tons. Their origin is not
known, although archeologist mostly agree that they have been made by
megalithic Austronesian people.

Unfortunately, many have been heavily damaged by heavy bombing by the
Americans.

The plain starts 4.5 km east of Phonesavan, extending as far as
Lat Sene, some 30 km to the south.

The Mines Advisory Group and the Mennonite Central Committee have a
project going on, destroying unexploded US bombs dating back to the
Vietnam War that lie on or just under the ground everywhere. The whole
area is covered with bomb craters and many buildings have been
constructed using shell casings.


Hotels

The Vinhtong Guest House in Phonsavan is quite ok. They will organize
tours for you.

**************************************************************************

SALAVAN

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/salavan.htm


This small, laid back country town of 40000 inhabitants does not see
many tourists. People are friendly. It doesn't have any real sights to
offer, and only the post office remains from the French colonial aera.


Hotels

(Jan 96) The Saise Guest House offers rooms for LAK 4500 to 10000. A
tuk-tuk from the bus station should be about LAK 400.


Restaurants

There are several cafes and restaurants around the central market.

**************************************************************************

SAVANNAKHET

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/savannakhet.htm


Savannakhet is the fourth largest town (45000 people) in Laos. It is
an important city on the route between Thailand and Vietnam (the road
going to the border town of Lao Bao.)

The best thing in Savan (the short name of Savannakhet which is often
used) are the nice monks of the Wats.

The temple festival of the That In Hang is one of the four largest in
Laos.


Transportation

A tuktuk from the bus station to the centre is LAK 1000.

(pmg) I was able to get a tuktuk at 2 am (my bus was due to leave at
3 am). Of course it was more expensive than normal (perhaps twice or
even thrice as much), but I was quite happy not having to walk,
especially so since there were some stray dogs running behind us for
some time. They were even more aggressive than the ones in Pakse!


Hotels

The Santyphab Hotel (formerly named Sensabay) is cheap (LAK 3000 to
LAK 5000), but is not very nice.


Restaurants

There are not that many restaurants, bus quite a number of food stalls
serving both, Laotian and Vietnamese food.


**************************************************************************

TADLO RESORT

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/tadloresort.htm


Tadlo Resort is next to the Tat Lo waterfall. There is a pool
underneath the waterfall in which great swimming is possible.

It is possible to ride an elephant for LAK 3000.


Hotels

(Jan 96) The Saise Guest House asks LAK 10000 for a double with
uncomfortably short beds. It is just next to the Tat Lo waterfall
and offers a great view.

(Jan 96) The luxurious Tadlo Resort Hotel offers doubles for USD 25.
It has an expensive, but good restaurant.

**************************************************************************

VANG VIENG

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/vangvieng.htm


Vang Vieng, located about halfway between Vientiane and Luang Phabang,
is a convenient stop on the long overland journey. The nearby
Song River adds to the charm of the small town. The main attraction,
however, is the beautiful karst landscape with its numerous caves.


Sights

Many caves spread enough that you can easily get lost within them. So
make sure that you hire a guide or better two (for safety reasons).
Two guides cost LAK 1500. Also, bring something to drink and to eat
with you, since there is nothing available at the caves. A torch
certainly will also come handy.

Just accross the river are "La Grotte Rouge" and "La Grotte Phapouak".
Some 30 minutes leasurely walk from the hotel Nam Song is Tham Sia,
the Tiger Cave. Ask at the Vang Vieng Resort, some 2 km from the town,
is the Tham Chang.

A group of caves can be found near Ban Naboua, some 5 or 6 km from the
town. You will have to buy tickets from the Nai Ban (chef du village)
who will also give you the keys to Tham Poukham, Tham Phaboua, and
Tham Papouak. He will also describe the way which is about 10 minutes.
Just inside the cave is a beautiful buddha.

Along the road to Luang Phabang, there are several caves. About 15 km
to the north, just bevor the village Phatang, cross the bridge to Ban
Kor Sat. After the school on the right side of the path, take the
first path to the left, where, some 500 m further, you cross the
bridge to the village of Ban Tham Xang. From there it is about 10
minutes to the cave Tham Sina Say. There is a buddha just inside the
cave. Some 30 minutes walk inside the cave will lead you to a
underground source of very clear water. Just nearby is another cave,
Tham Xang Thong.

Some 7 km to the West of Vang Vieng is the Hmong village Naxom.

About 3 km along national route 13 towards Vientiane is Ban Viangxai.
This is a good place to buy some textiles and to taste rice wine.

Some 15 km south of the town is the beautiful Lake Nam Ngum.

One of the stranger attractions is a bamboo bridge halfway accross the
river. Starting and ending in the water. It costs 100 LAK to cross the
bridge. If you want to save even this little money, you can also walk
the very shallow river.


Transportation

There are bicycles for rent, costing USD 1 per day.


Hotels

The Sivisay Guesthouse, directly at the main road, has rooms with hot
water all day long for USD 6.

The Hotel Nam Song overlooks the river and has rooms for USD 40.


Restaurants

The Sivisay Guesthouse has a good restaurant, complete with a pet
monkey.

A new restaurant is run by Phone and Bob, a French Canadian, who have
moved there from Vientiane. They have good coffee.

**************************************************************************

VIENG XAI

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/viengxai.htm


The caverns of Vieng Xai, the City of Victory, have been opened to the
public only recently (May 1997, with the official opening ceremony in
December 1997). Located some 650 km northeast of Vientiane, they were
used by Pathet Lao during the Vietnam War to escape the extremely
heavy USA bombing (in more than 500000 sorties over 2 million tons of
bombs were dropped).

The system of about 100 caves is very difficult to reach, and nearly
invisible. The caves became a troglodyte city of 25000, with caves
that served as schools and factories, with sports areas, and even
nightclubs. It contained a hospital, complete with operating theater,
where you still see empty bottles littering the floor. The senior
leaders each had seperate caves, complete with meeting rooms and
living quarters. Air-tight chambers had their own air system, so that
a gas attack could be survived.

Living was very primitive and dangerous in these caves. People would
go out during the night to farm and harvest. Often, the bombs found
their way into the caves.

After the war the caves were used as re-education camps for about
40000 officials and soldiers, including King Savang Vatthana, who died
in the caves, of the former government.

**************************************************************************

VIENTIANE

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/vientiane.htm


Pronounced Vieng Chan, the capital of Laos is a slow paced, clean
city. People are wondeful and the general athmosphere is relaxing.
Only the pavement is badly in need of some repairs. And when it rains
some streets are flooded.

In Vientiane (and in Laos generally) there are many monks. They are
very friendly and often speak good English. All of them are eager to
learn, so it is very probable that you'll get invited to a chat (and
some tea or Milo (chocolate milk)). They do not expect presents, but
they are happy about them (and used to them, at least from the local
people), especially since they are not earning money and don't get
support from the government. English books make good presents, it
enables them practice that otherwise would be far too expensive.


Sights

The main attractions are Wats, Wats and then some more Wats. And
finally there are some Stupas (called That).

Pha That Luang
The Great Sacred Stupa dates back to 1566. It was built on the site of
a much older That. In the 17th century it was covered by some 500 kg
gold leaf.

Wat Si Saket
Wat Si Saket is the oldest monastery of Vientiane, built in 1824.
Inside the wall surrounding the main temple are niches displaying
buddhas. It is said that there are ten thousand buddhas.

Don't miss the Morning Market. There are all kinds of goods from Laos.
Especially recommended is a closer look at the silk and cotton
weavings. There are also many "antique" stands, selling supposedly old
and original artifacts. Many small food stalls sell a wide variety of
food. You don't need to be an early bird to enjoy it, since the
burning down of the Evening Market, the Morning Market stays open all
day.

A new old attraction is the Vientiane Theater, once named and still
called by many the Odeon Rama Theater. This cinema, managed by young
Saychareounsouk Pathammavong, seats 974 and shows again the latest
movies from both, Western and Asian studios. It was built in 1968 in
the center of the entertainment district Chanthabuli by his family.
However, recent reports have it that it already closed again.


Shopping

There is an excellent bookstore, Raintree Books, just opposite Lao
Aviation. They have a good variety of English books and they also buy
books. They are not exactly cheap, but then you don't really have a
choice and English books are a rarity there.


Transportation

The Wattay International Airport is only about 4 km from the town
center, and a taxi costs about USD 4. You can also take a Tuk-Tuk for
LAK 1500.

It is possible to rent motorbikes for USD 10 per day from the Lao
International Guest House.


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/vientiane.htm.

Restaurants

A good place to eat typical Lao food, drink Lao beer (a two liter jug
for LAK 1200, half a jug for half of it) and relax for a beautiful
sunset is the Mixai restaurant on the Mekong.

There is another restaurant and several nightstalls on the riverbank
further up the Mekong well worth trying.

Another good place for a beer is the bar at the fountain in the center
of Vientiane. This is also a good place to meet ex-patriats.

For good Lao meals try the Dong Palan Night Market. It can be found on
the east bank of the Nong Chan ponds, a bit south of central
Vientiane.

For a small snack try the many roadstalls. The one at the junction of
Thanon Khun Bulom and Thanon Heng Boun is very popular with the Lao
for the rice and manioc steamed in bamboo and the chicken and fish
kebabs. Rice and chicken will cost you about LAK 2800.

For people being for some time in Asia, the stylish Italian restaurant
L'Opera at Namphu Circle, will provide a welcome break from the Asian
food. They serve excellent pizza and pasta in a very nice surrounding.
Absolutely worth a visit, even if it's a bit pricey. Tel 21 5099,
Fax 21 6294.

At the Scandinavian Bakery at Namphu Circle, Sune Wissmar offers fresh
bread, sandwiches and pastries. Tel 21 5199, Fax 21 5231.

There is a Japanese restaurant, Suki Yaki at 100 Luang Phabang Road,
Km 2 Ban Khoun Thatong. They also serve Lao, Thai, Chinese and
European dishes.


Internet

The first Laotian cybercafe, Malic Cafe, has opened it's business on
1 Luang Phabang Road.

V&T Business Services Centre at 482/2-3 Samsenthai will give you a
mailbox while you're in town. Their e-mail address is
laocom@loxinfo.co.th.

**************************************************************************

WAT PHU

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/watphu.htm


Wat Phu is one of the main attractions in the area. These ruins of a
Khmer temple some 40 kilometers south of Pakse are definitely worth a
visit. The earliest remains date back to the 6th century. The main
temple was built by King Jayavarman IV in the 10th century. It is
thought to have been linked to Angkor by a road, marked out with
stones.

Originally a Hinduist temple, the site is still in use as a Buddhist
temple. At the full moon in the third lunar month, a three-day
Buddhist festival, the Boun Wat Phu, is held. It is one of the four
largest temple festivals in Laos. At the full moon of the 7th lunar
month there is a water buffalo is sacrificed to the local earth spirit
on the Crocodile Stone.

It seems as if Wat Phu sees very few tourists. When I was visiting
there were no other tourists and only one or two local people, which
gave the place a deserted and slightly spooky feeling. It is a very
interesting, beautiful and impressive place, definitively worth a
visit.

Entrance fee is LAK 2000.


Transportation

You may get a Tuk-Tuk from Champasak. It costs LAK 4000 to LAK 6000,
bringing you to Wat Phu, waiting for you and returning with you to
Champasak.

Another possibility is to rent a bicycle at the hotel in Champasak and
enjoy the nice 8 km ride.

(Sebastian) Unless you hire a boat, the trip is almost impossible to
be done in one day. If you have enough time, take a public boat to
Champasak (3 times in the morning) and look for the Khmer monuments
office. The man working there is able to organize private accomodation
for about 2000 kip/night. There is also an official hotel in town but
it costs 20$.  Then go and explore the temple during the late
afternoon hours when the light is a lot better than at noon. (Don't be
daunted by the steep stairs, the nicest bit is all the way on top!)
The following morning, you can take the public boat back to Pakse. (It
is not necessary anymore to register with the office before you go and
visit the temple.)  We didn't have much time so we hired a small boat
for the day which cost 15000 kip and had space for six people.


**************************************************************************

XIENG KHOUANE

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos/places/xiengkhouane.htm


The Garden of Buddhas is about 26 km downstream (east) of Vientiane.
Laid out in 1970 by a monk, with donations from the Buddhist
community, it covers several acres and displays many statues. The main
attration (the one you see on a lot of postcards) is a reclining
Buddha some 15 m long. There is a round three-storey structure where
you can climb through the three levels of existence.

**************************************************************************

LAOS - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide

Copyright (c) 1995 - 2004, Peter M. Geiser

http://www.pmgeiser.ch
http://www.pmgeiser.com
http://www.mineralwaters.org
http://www.dussy.ch

**************************************************************************

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