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Published: November 27th 2005
In the morning we headed out to the local bus station (which was just a spot on the road) and there were a few nice buses ready to go. But of course, our bus had not arrived yet. Just 15 minutes later, a scary looking bus comes up the road and, you got it, it was our local bus to Phonsovan. Without hesitation, we got on board and perpared ouselves for the eight hour ride through the mountains. The views were again spectacular as were the small villages we drove through.
When we rolled into Phonsovan, we immediately learned it was a small, one town road. A bunch of local tauts greeted the bus and we followed one to a subtle guesthouse and negotiated a $3 per night charge.
After a quick lunch with other bus members, I got a shave (lovin' it) and we went to secure a tour for the next day. As Phonsovan is an area which is littered with UXO (unexploded ordinance), it is not wise to wander around without a guide. Thus a tour is the safest choice. A few tour operators were offering a day trip to the various Plain of Jars (there
are three plains in total that feature lots of jars) but I had heard that once you go to one that is enough. So with our new friend Charlotte in tow, we held out for a tour that offered more. And we found it at the Keong Kong guest house.
The next day we joined eight others for a tour of bomb craters, a small village, a waterfall and the Plain of Jars. It was a great day. Amazing to see the various US bomb craters (different bombs left different craters) and how a local village has made use of the US bombs that did not explode. Strange to be standing here where only 40 or so years ago there were thousands of NVA running around. Then we completed a one hour hike through the jungle to reach scenic waterfalls and, with the weather cooperating, we had wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys and great swimming temperatures. Finally, the Plain of Jars (see photos) was a unique site but left me a bit underwhelmed (I am very glad we did not take the full three site tour).
That night we went to Keong Kong to see
the Laos war documentary but they could not find it so instead we tuned into Star Movies and caught Sister Act. You take what you can get on the road.
It is off to Vietnam tomorrow...hopefully it will work as we are taking the "road less travelled" to a border crossing that was only opened last year.
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