After Ice 2013 Laos Trip


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Asia » Laos » South
November 3rd 2013
Published: November 4th 2013EDIT THIS ENTRY

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http://www.copelaos.org/index.php
Another trip to South East Asia to warm the bones, see new sights and expierence new cultures after six months in Antarctica. i spent a little less than a week in Bangkok, Thailand relxing and having a bit of fun explorng places I had not been before and and places I had been. I desided to participate on a Stray Tour of Loas. http://www.straytravel.asia/

Stray Travel is a great way to tour places off the beaten path. My tour was the Tang Tai Pass. Ten days of relaxation and new cultures. Although the price of the pass is $610.00, Stray does on occassion offer discounts and specials as I got my trip fr $425.00.

A description of the trip is below.

Head to the Stray office in Bangkok in the early evening to collect your ticket and information on where to meet the group in Laos. Then catch taxi to train station which Stray will pay for if you ask them. Where I boarded a comfortable overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Nong Khai. In the morning we crossed over the Friendship Bridge to Vientiane.

Non Travel Day: Kong Lor (7 Km Cave)

This morning you’re free to
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COPE was formed in 1997 by agreement between the Ministry of Health of Lao PDR and a group of non-Government organisations including POWER, World Vision and Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics. COPE was created in response to the need to provide UXO survivors with the care and support they required, namely by way of orthotic and prosthetic devices.
head down to the Cave (or Tham Kong Lor to the locals) and venture deep into the 7 km abyss. For a small fee one can ride a traditional motorised canoe and take in the amazing rock formations, swim in the cool waters of the cave entrance. I hiked a bit into the cave for free. One also has the chance to travel to Ban Tabak village and take a ride in a 'bomb boat'! These are made from the metal fuel casings of B52 bombers, dumped on Laos during the Secret War. I stayed at a comfortable guesthouse with spectacular views of the Karst Mountains and just a short 10 minute walk from the cave. Over night stay about $10.00.

Kong Lor (7 Km Cave) to Thakek

Today is a short travel day, which includes a stop to view the “Great Wall of Thakek” before heading onto Pha Tam Kam, home of some of Southeast Asia’s best rock climbing and amazing lush, jungle scenery. We all stayed at the Mekong Riverside Guesthouse for $12.00.

Thakek to Xe Champhone (village stay)

This is what Stray is all about, getting totally off the beaten track! We head
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COPE was formed in 1997 by agreement between the Ministry of Health of Lao PDR and a group of non-Government organisations including POWER, World Vision and Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics. COPE was created in response to the need to provide UXO survivors with the care and support they required, namely by way of orthotic and prosthetic devices.
into Xe Champhone wetlands - an area so remote that occasionally Stray buses can't access it. We had to hike in! Along the way we visit Old Wat Taleow, a beautiful temple bombed in 1969, then onto Turtle Lake where you might spot soft-shell turtles. Our last stop for the day is the 200-year-old Hotay Pidok Buddhist library. Once here we spend the night with the friendly locals in the Monkey forest, a sacred place and home to hundreds of wild Rhesus Macaque monkeys. Basic village stay including accommodation and meals $17.00.

Xe Champhone to Pakse

Driving south this morning we head for the bright lights of Pakse. From here, you can check out the Bolaven Plateau with its cool climate, coffee and tea plantations, and spectacular waterfalls. Guesthouse with fan or air-conditioned rooms in the centre of town surrounded by everything you need $8.00 to $10.00.

Pakse to Don Det (4000 Islands)

An early start takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer temple. Since I was the only one on the trip that wished to explor the temple, I gave in and did notentr the temple complex. I
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Swimming and Camping at Tad Leuk, which is the most popular destination in Phou Khao Khouay, but it is by no means crowded. It is ideal for relaxing, swimming and camping, or as a starting point for trekking in the surrounding forests. As someone put it: “What a paradise here! If I’d knew it before, I’d come here for more than just a day.”
say take the time and exploreWe’ll explore the site and climb to the mountain top temple, before heading south to the 4000 Islands area to experience its laidback lifestyle and natural beauty.

Don Det to Bangkok

We leave Don Det early by local mini-van towards Pakse and then on to the Thai border and Ubon Ratchathani, where you board the overnight bus. Your Stray journey finishes when you arrive in Bangkok early the next morning.


Additional photos below
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http://www.trekkingcentrallaos.com/html/possibletrips_tadleuk.htm
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The most accessible and developed place inside Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area is the locally well-known Tad Leuk waterfall along the Nam Leuk, one of three major rivers of the reserve. With its 6 Meters height, the waterfall itself is not a spectacular one, but the whole landscape aroud Tad Leuk is simply beautiful and invites for a retreat from the stress of travelling or works in the capital Vientiane, and can easily be visited all year round.
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http://ecotourismlaos.com/phoukhaokouay/tad_leuk.htm
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Fresh caught fish for dinner, what a treat.
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Travel and sight seeing from Tad Leuk to Kong Lo Cave.
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Travel and sight seeing from Tad Leuk to Kong Lo Cave.
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National Park entrance to Kong Lo Cave.
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Tham Kong Lo Cave, hidden deep in the Phu Hin Bun wilderness of central Laos, is one of Southeast Asia's geological wonders. Other-worldly stalactites, spooky limestone formations, and ceilings over 300 feet tall make this flooded cave a highlight and bragging-point for many travelers in Laos.
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http://goseasia.about.com/od/laos/a/tham_kong_lo_cave.htm
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Looking out fom inside Kong Lo Cave.
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Monks crossing a bridge near the Kong Lo cave. Great place for a swim, water was refreshing and crystal clear.
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Children returning home from school near the Kong Lo cave national park.
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Tobacco is grown duringthe dry season and rice during the wet season.
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Overnight stay at the Mekong Hotel in Thakek.
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Exploring the city of Thakek, Loas.
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Exploring the city of Thakek, Loas.
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Exploring the city of Thakek, Loas.


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