Countryside, villages and warm welcomes
17.10.2011 - 20.11.2011 23 °C
We set off in a minibus to Mong Nohi its around4 hours.. we stopped off on route to the bus to buy snacks.. we didn't find anything that appertising but some apples and Kate decided to brave the fried coconut cake which she liked! Our bus was full of French people and two of them decided to speak French the whole way.. hmmm suprising how much I have forgotten since school! Mong Nohi is stunning, right on the river with breathtaking 360 degree views of cliff faces and mountains and a totally different pace of life.
We have a quick lunch there before getting a long tail boat to Muang Ngoi, a smaller village 1.5 hour up the river. Long tail boat is the only way to access this place.. perfect! The boat is low to the water, not very wide but long, 2 people can sit opposite each other just. We were both excited to finally be on the famous long tail boats of Laos! We passed white and black buffalo swimming in the water, villagers going about their daily life on the river and kids playing in the water..amazing! I was wondering if there was any crocks in the water.. I guess not but I didn't fancy jumping in to find out!
On arrival to our little paradise we are greeted by Penny ands her sister who run a guest house over looking the river, after some negotiation we agree on 40,0000 kip 3 pounds for a room for both of us. There are hammocks outside the room which I quickly jump into and start to listen to Penny's life story
We spend the rest of the day chilling out at the guest house sampling the excellant fruit shakes, made with coconut milk mm and eating the recommended pumpkin cirry which is amazing! Every main dish in Laos is served with sticky rice which is a staple in Laos. I presumed it was just overcooked rice but its actually made from a different rice plant and tastes sticky but firm just like the rice we are used to.
The next day we went to explore the village and get some breakfast. We realised that just behind where we are staying was a beautiful wat, past the wat was a one street village catering for tourists but not at all over developed, although I am sure it has changed a lot and it will change a lot more in years to come. Right now chickens and cows own the street just as much as the locals do!!
The english here is very poor and gives us some laughs as we attempt to decipher the English menus! We end up in a river front place that is family owned. They have 2 children a girl of around 8 and a boy of 2, they are both very cute and as soon as we finish we start to play with them both. They love the camera and take many photos of us all playing. We share no common language and there are no words but we end up having such a blast with them! They love Kates games from her teaching and join in quickly with the rules!
After brunch we head off on a short trek, much to my amusement we seem to adopt a dog along the way who takes us all the way to the cave and waterfall! He never lets us out of his site and waits expectantly for us when we stop. We arrive to a really nice waterfall and impressive cave, we chill for a bit and ss the susnsets we head back making a plan to go there tomorrow.
That night we talked and shared a massive pancake with a couple who are also staying at our place, their English is excellant and we spend the night debating life ans globalisation and the impacts on the world, it gets quite emotional but its a lot of fun.. we dont do this enough in everyday life anymore due to TV's and intenet a good debate is always such a great way to spend an evening!
The next day we walk further past the watefallthrough lots of muddy forests through lush paddy fields with men and women in triangular hats bashing the rice plants for the rice to fall out and through a village.
The village is a hive of activity mainly we see children playing together with flip flops! The best games we see is race the flip flo down the plank of wood which is a great source of entertainment for the 2 boys we pass!
We cross styles and streams and paddy fields and we end up next to a river with a small waterfall. We stop there for a while to take a dip and cool off! It is really hot in the sunshine so this is a refreshing break.
On the way back we stop off in the village we passed on the way at the 1 restaurant! It is ran by an old women and turns out most of the menu isn't available, she cook us up a storm anywayand we sit down hungrily in the most spectacular setting ever to enjoy the delicacies she has prepared! Underneath where we are eating is a stream duck and geese are playing in the water along side the local children the pace of life here is wonderful! We bid goodbye to the grandmother and family and walk back to the main "town" just before the light fades!
The next day after a quick breakfast we head back in the first long boat of the day surrounded by locals, tourists and fresh fish that have been caught that morning. The only bus leaving the station at that time is an open air pick up truck, it looks a bit uncomfortable for a 4 hour journey but space and nothing compares to the transport I was taking in Tanzania so we hop in and leave shortly after. We end up having a great time in the truck, the locals find it very ammusing we are taking the local bus rather than an ac mini van and all wave at us a long route. There is a really cute family grandparents and grandson travelling with us too as well as other tourists and 2 monks.
After a fantastic time in the country and villages we make a safe return back to LP..