Day 5 – Pak Ou Caves, Luang Prabang

Posted: June 30, 2010 in Sights
Tags: , , ,

We arrived at the travel agent’s office at 7:50am and their doors were still closed, so we went for a fruit shake ( a good excuse as any to enjoy a fruit shake). After a brief brain freeze , we returned to the travel agents and lady agent asked we were from and when we mentioned ‘Malaysia’, she asked if she can exchange some RM ( tips from customers) for kips to buy milk powder for her baby.She had RM16 with her, I guess the Malaysians must have ran out of kips guarrr…

 Our receipt from yesterday was collected by her colleague and he wrote our names on pieces of paper ( boat ticket) and  we ( and other travellers that had gathered at the office)  were told to follow him for a walk to the jetty. The walk  took  about 10 minutes  and we saw more people waiting at the jetty . The boat tickets were returned to us with some sequential numbers written on them, and when your number is called, you get to get on the boat lah.

Felt a bit shabby in my RM10 pasar malam t-shirt as I was waiting in queue behind 2 young  French ladies in Miu Miu and NafNaf sunglasses complete with Fila tank tops and Nike sneakers. Finally our numbers ( 26  & 27) were called and we walk down some stairs to get to our royal barge err.r..i mean boat which sat 8 of us ( plus boatman)

 

On the way, we saw nets being cast.. children swimming  in the river and we even had a brief stop at a river-petrol station for refilling. Fellow passengers ( apart from MiuMiu and NafNaf) include Italian man who build expo sites , i forgot what he looked like but to make some of you envious, i can say he looked a bit like Antonio Banderas (although he is not Italian), in his younger days; an Austrian lady based in Hong Kong whose face reminded me of Ma’am Magdeline Albright.

 

After many many minutes -I lost track of time , maybe more than 1.5 hours ( It got a bit sleepy after the initial novelty of the boat and the Mekong has worn off) we stopped at bang Xang Hai village for a visit , this is said to be a village famous for making lao lao – the local rice whiskey

 Lao Lao on display

 

Apart from rice whiskey, I guess you might want some additional add-ons for that extra umpphhh

 

The production facilities ( the vats kinda remind me of Ali Baba and the forty thieves)

 

There was a temple in the village

 

After about 30 minutes we headed back to the boat and continued our journey on the Mekong. This morniong, we left the jetty at about 8:45 and at 12:30 we finally saw white staircase leading to the  limestone entrance of the Pak Ou Caves , before we disembarked, boatman told us ‘come back 30 minutes’, I was like ‘HUH ? travel for >3 hours and we are only to spend 30 minutes here mehh, how come like that one ?’

The stairs leading to the entrance was narrow and not help by the heavy crowd that was coming the other way. We paid 20,000kip (RM8) for the tickets and get all geared up to be wowed.

There were many many many Buddha statues of all shapes and sizes, all over the cave

 

in various poses…

 

made from different materials 

 

did I mention there were many many many statues ?

In various poses

 

made from different materials

Anyway, the cave was actually quite small, one could probably cover the whole area in 10 minutes. This is the lower cave and it’s well lit in natural light.

 The upper cave is a grueling walk uphill, I didn’t count the steps, but they were rather steep and will take a bit ( I mean a lot) of effort to conquer.

It’s pitch dark inside the cave but fret not as with a small donation, one could ‘rent’ a torchlight at the entrance of the cave.

 Similarly , more statues…( but not as crowded as the statues at the lower cave)

 

Frankly, the Pak Ou Caves was a disappointment for me or maybe my expectation was just too high – I guess I was trying to justify the 3.5 hours journey and I wonder would we have made this journey if we knew but then… I think we still would because we are kaypors that need to see things for ourselves and have  that notion that we most probably not be coming to this country again so, better cover everything lah..

 

Read more about Pak Ou Caves by clicking here :

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