Luang Prabang To Phonsavan, Laos and the mysterious Plain of Jars

Luang Prabang Travel Blog

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we drove through rainy, mist shrouded Hmong villages on the mountain ridges
Close to the appointed time our driver appeared in front of the Manoluck Hotel. We completed our packing for the overnight tour and went out to join the driver and his assistant in their white van. Assistant? we weren't told there would be an assistant. Later, we would find out what a valuable service the assistant would provide.

Neither our driver nor his aide spoke English and we didn't speak Lao so explanations were almost impossible. Our first stop after leaving the Hotel, was a small roadside shop where our driver's assistant bought 4 0r 5 packs of cigarettes. Oh no, we thought, a smoker!! Later we would learn how useful these cigarettes would be.

We then commenced our long ascent into the Laotian highlands - home of the Hmong people - At the height of the mountain ridges, the Hmong villages began to appear - usually, a number houses on stilts with  thatched or woven palm frond walls and roofs.
hmong villages rushing by our window. we avoided slowing down because of kidnapping & killing of tourists in previous years.
At the entrance to each village there was usually one or two guards with automatic weapons. When the guards appeared, our driver's helper would roll down the window and throw out a handful of cigarettes in their direction.The cigarettes were obviouxly some kind of tribute for the right to pass through the villages in safety.

Once we understood the purpose of our drivers helper and the cigarettes, we felt a bit more secure. The driver continued driving through the Hmong villages without slowing down or stopping - leaving us with some fuzzy photos- but at least we arrived - alive - at Phonsavan ready to visit the plain of Jars the next morning.
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we drove through rainy, mist shrou…
we drove through rainy, mist shro…
hmong villages rushing by our wind…
hmong villages rushing by our win…
After 5 hours of strenuous driving…
After 5 hours of strenuous drivin…
drive-by photo of village enroute …
drive-by photo of village enroute…
Luang Prabang
photo by: oxangu2