AsiaLaosPak Ou

Whiskey in the jar

Pak Ou Travel Blog

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Barbecued kebabs on a riverine beach. Served with a bit of baguette, some fried rice and a little bag of chili sauce. Oh yes
Best thing about Luang Prabang: a kayaking trip down some tributary of the Mekong river. I'd never been kayaking before; none of the eight or so people on the trip had. The introductory talk off our Lao guide lasted about two minutes and we launched our kayaks from a riverside wat.

I wasn't crap at it. Took a little bit of time for me to learn to paddle without shifting my grip on every stroke, and a bit longer before I could manoevre the thing without crashing into other people. But I got there, surprisingly enough. And we paddled downriver. It was fun. The river was fairly fast - too fast to paddle upstream - and there were some very, very easy rapids; the guide bombed around, showing off and splashing people with his paddles. We stopped on a beach to eat a barbecued meal while some local kids gawped at us; a gang of boys were somersaulting into the river, showing off.
Our guide successfully sells us some Lao rotgut
We floated past a colossal wall of limestone, hundreds of feet high, before being washed into the Mekong itself. The current took me into the very centre of the confluence, muddy water lapping at my kayak and the banks a hundred yards in every direction. It was spectacular.

Our destination was the Pak Ou caves, but this was a journey-not-the-destination thing. The caves were lit only by sunlight and the flash of westerners' cameras; locals hung round outside selling birds in cages for you to release. It wasn't all that interesting. I'd seen a lot of Buddga images by now.

Paddling on, we reached Pak Ou a small village where a van picked us up. There was time before that to visit a little still where the villagers make rice wine and whiskey for the passing tourist trade. We tried some of this grog, still warm from the still. Not as rough as you'd think. I bought a little bottle of it, wrapped in wicker, which I never did get around to drinking. It just sat in my backpack, leaking very slowly, so that for weeks afterwards every time I put clean clothes in my bag they'd come out smelling of booze.
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Barbecued kebabs on a riverine bea…
Barbecued kebabs on a riverine be…
Our guide successfully sells us so…
Our guide successfully sells us s…
Inside the Pak Ou caves
Inside the Pak Ou caves
Kids on the riverbanks
Kids on the riverbanks
Limestones cliffs dwarf our canoei…
Limestones cliffs dwarf our canoe…
A rather crap picture of the masse…
A rather crap picture of the mass…
A riverboat passes by. The Pak Ou …
A riverboat passes by. The Pak Ou…
Pak Ou
photo by: tj1777