Published: July 25th 2009July 26th 2009
Post Islands and in need of a culture injection we headed to Champasak to see the Ancient Khmer ruins of Wat Phou.
Pre-Angkor in age, this impressive ruined templed complex sits in a sparsely populated province in Southern Laos.
We arrived the day before visiting the temple at around 3 pm and found (as it often the case in Laos) 'you have to wait til tomorrow to go temple'. Slow buses and short opening hours for the countries attractions play havoc with those on a tight schedule....
So we relaxed and rode push bikes up and down the one road provincial capital town, which could have been a country village in the south of France. Crumbling colonial houses stood next to farms and children played in the road with little traffic for interference.
After the best nights sleep in weeks we headed out on our ancient 1 gear bikes to the temple. 10KM each way seems so much longer when it's 35 degrees and your seat springs feel likes they have permanently embedded themselves into your arse.
The temple itself was pretty impressive. An interesting mix of Hindu and later Buddhist design similar to that of
Angkor Wat in Cambodia was overgrown by vines, trees and lichen. The view from the top of the complex was beautiful and we strolled around for a couple of hours before hunger pangs and rain forced us back onto our 2 wheeled-rustbuckets and back to our guesthouse.
Wat Phou was a nice and scenic diversion for us before undertaking our toughest trip yet. 3 days trekking in the Xi Pian National Protected Area.