What a wat!

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February 1st 2019
Published: February 1st 2019
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We have arrived in Pakse. The bus station is fairly close to our guesthouse so it’s just a short tuk tuk ride and we are there.

We check in and leave our bags in the lobby. The room won’t be ready yet but we have a few chores to carry out - first a bag of laundry to be booked in, second bus options for onward travel to investigate, and then to grab some breakfast at the cafe next door.

Breakfast demolished, we book various bus, ferry and tour tickets for the next week and then we are all set for a sightseeing trip in Pakse.

To be frank, there’s not a lot to do here, so we decide to hire a tuk tuk to take us to Wat Phou Salao with its huge golden Buddha that looks down over Pakse from Salao Hill. It’s 10.30am and unbearably hot, so I’m slightly less that enthusiastic when the driver tells us that he can only drop us at the bottom of the hill and that we will have to walk up ourselves. There is a road to the top, but that’s not included in the price...he only tells us this on the way, after the price has been settled - funny that.

We cross the Mekong via a long road bridge and very soon we are at the bottom of Salao Hill. There is a very steep set of steps but it looks do-able. We begin our pilgrimage up to the top.

We have now reached the top of the staircase, but of course...it isn’t the top, is it! There are yet more stairs behind, completely hidden from the bottom. We stop to catch breath and take a few photos of the panorama opening up before us as we continue to climb.

The next set of stairs give way to a steep and precariously slippery track of beaten earth...then, finally, we have made it. A huge golden Buddha is seated on a large concrete platform before us.

From the top of Salao Hill we have fabulous panoramas of Pakse and the Mekong. Well I’m glad we achieved something. It’s getting close to midday and the sun is beating down relentlessly.

After admiring big Buddha and many smaller Buddhas surrounding him, we make our way back down the hillside and back to our tuk tuk. Our driver is lying down, taking a nap in the back.

Back at our hotel, our room is ready so we have a well earned shower and very long siesta.

This evening we decide to eat at an Indian restaurant. It’s a really nice change from the Laotian food. We have chicken tikka masala, potato and tomato aloo, rice and nan all washed down with Laotian beer and a lassi for me.

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2nd February 2019

What a climb v there's no way I could have done that!!!!!! Even at your age!!!!!

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