Monday, October 2, 2017

Wat Phou and Hue

In early September I finally got to visit Wat Phou in southern Laos.  Wat Phou is the 2nd of 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Laos (Luang Prabang town is the other).  Wat Phou is part of the Khmer trail of which Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the most famous.  

We had a company meeting for all staff in the southern city of Pakse, and included an outing for all to the temple about an hour out of Pakse.  The complex has waterways and ruined buildings.  The climb to the temple itself is a killer.  I raced up wanting to get there before the other 120 people in our party (they took the longer official approach route to get the steep steps while I went the shorter way after organising everyone’s tickets Smile
wat phou2
wat phou1

Getting to the top I sat for a few minutes to get my breath back  Smile  But it was worth it to see the site in relative quiet.  And I managed to get on the 1st bus back to town - one NOT playing karaoke.  Lao love it.

The next day a small group of us got on another bus and went on a study tour to Vietnam.  

It is only 370km from Pakse to Hue, but we left at 7:30am and arrived in Hue about 5pm.  The border in the middle adds 30 minutes at each end and there are mountain roads.  But main contributor to the length of journey was due to the bus driver not driving over 80km at any time.  When we returned to Laos, we noticed he immediately put his foot down and drove at the speed limit.  But fair enough he was being careful, particularly when the police target foreign drivers.

We saw a lot of trees as we drove, but we also visited a MDF factory, a wood-chip factory, and a port.
vn1

Hue itself was a nice Vietnamese town.  And the food, as always, was great.  The Bun Bo Hue (Pho with a lemongrass and shrimp paste influences) was fantastic. 
vn2

After visiting the port we had a seafood lunch at the beach.  Most of the local staff had never been to the sea-side before – one of the downsides of living in a poor, land-locked country.  They loved swimming in the sea.  One was heard to ask ‘so how far out does the water go?…

At the end of day 2 we had an hour at the main tourist site in Hue, the Citadel (old palace).  it was enormous and a great walk to end the day.

vn citadel

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