Before I checked into the Seng Aroun Hotel in Pakse I had experienced quite an eventful day.
I left my home in the village at 6am on the dot, got 10 minutes down the dirt track before remembering I had forgotten my camera. By 6.30am I was back where I started after finally locating it!
The trip to the Chong Mek Border crossing took two hours and was pretty uneventful with just the one stop for a take-away breakfast from the side of the road consisting of some BBQ chicken. In most larger towns and cities where ever there is meat being cooked on coals then little packets of sticky rice will also be for sale at five baht each. I asked for one and she looked at me strangely so I asked again and this time she said yes and scurried out the back. She had been gone more then a minute when I remembered where I was (a tiny little village) and that all her customers would already have their own sticky rice with them! Just as I thought, when she returned she had a plastic bag filled with part of her own families daily supply of sticky rice! It would have been 5 x more then what you would get anywhere else and it was so very kind of her. The stray dogs at the border also thanked her when I fed them 90% of it because I could not finish it!
The Chong Mek border crossing is slowly being upgraded and brought into the 21st century and it was quite noticeable this time with it only taking 15 minutes to exit Thailand with a lot of the process streamlined but as per usual it took about 45 minutes to get into Laos.
Swapping onto the right hand side of the road I enjoyed the relaxing drive into Pakse. Just before I got to the bridge across the Mekong river I noticed a large Buddha statue up on the hill to the right and a road snaking it’s way up there. Never noticing it before and figuring it must offer some great views I followed the road that was still being built and made my way to the top.
The place is still under construction and according to the internet it is some kind of tourist park that they are building. The views were well worth it although it was quite hazy but that is normal at this time of the year.
I crossed the Japanese Bridge across the huge Mekong river swung right bypassing down-town Pakse and headed towards the town of Paksong up on the Bolaven Plateau. I love it up there as it is always so much cooler being 1,000 metres plus above sea level. Traffic was light and I made good time into the rather ramshackled town.
I will save Pakson, and the return trip to Pakse and Thailand for my next blog.
View Big Buddha in a larger map