Happy Memorial weekend to those of you in the States.
Well it's time for another travelblog. Some of you received a miniblog a few days ago (if you would like to be included on this list please let me know and I'll add you - mini blogs are sent via emails).
It is time for me to be moving on so I wanted to write about a recent trip to Phongsoli, Laos. It had been a couple of years since I was in Phongsoli and I wanted to do a trek to an Akha village. phongsoli hasn't change much (if at all) in two years, still no ATM machines though "they" said there will be one in a few weeks. I think they said that last time. There is one decent guesthouse which is next to the tourist office - 60k kip/ight. There are some other options ranging form 30k kip on up. Restaurants, again not many choices, a few Chinese restaurants that have the exact same menus - I'm still trying to figure out what the heck "ants on a tree" are. One thing that has change are the prices of trips - they've doubled and run about
400,000 kip per day for two or 500,000 kip for three. It is almost impossible to get to a lot of the villages without a guide/tour. With that said, you can rent a motorbike in town and drive to a few local villages which is what I did along with a few other people. Get a copy of the local area map which includes the 700 year old tea trees form a "travel agent" on the main street. There is a travel agent on the main street which also rents motorbikes. Drive out to the old tea trees and take the "side road" to the right that goes to an Akha Amu village. We made a few wrong turns and got there just as it was getting dark so I didn't get any good shots. It was a traditional village with lots of curious locals who got a kick out of Justin trying to syphon gas from one of the bikes. I met a couple who hiked to this village on their own and spent the night there. Ok, enough about travel tips, on to my trip.
I met Sam and Laura on the bus from Udomxi to
Phongsoli and we decided to do a two day trek called the "jungle trek" which included an overnight in an Akha village. The trek, from my point of few was somewhat difficult. There were a few steep up hill sections and the weight of my camera gear didn't make them easy. After lunch we came across a man who had walked from Phongsoli and he made a gesture like, "that is one steep hill you gotta climb". Our guide said, something like, "don't worry, he's an old man". I said, "how old is he" and our guide asked him, his reply was "51".
We got to the second village where we would be staying at about 4pm so there was still light to take some shots. We showered at the communal water spigot which sure amused the locals. We had a slight delay with dinner after the chicken (Charlie) we bought from a local escaped and couldn't be caught so our guide had to go in search of a new one. Of course rice wine was served with dinner but not with breakfast this time. Compared to the trek I did two years ago this village was way more
"advanced". There was electricity and tvs as well as a track to drive a motorbike up. The villages off the Namu river are more primitive fyi. Here are some more photos from the Phongsoli are Here are some shots from the Muang Sing area in Laos
So tomorrow I will be leaving Laos, only problem is I don't know if I will be heading back to Thailand or to China.
Until next time,
Dave / Yogi
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