|Luang Prabang, Lao People's Democratic Republic|
We depart from our office and take a short walk to the boat pier. We board the boat and begin our cruise along the amazing Mekong which takes us past idyllic scenes of rural riverside life and spectacular scenery until reaching the beautiful Pak Ou Caves which sit amongst the limestone cliffs where the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers meet. The caves are spilt in two, one named Tham Ting and the other Tham Theung. They are both filled with thousands of Buddha images and statues which have been deposited here over centuries. Pak Ou remains a popular pilgrimage site for Lao people, especially during the Lao New Year in April when the caves become crowded with pilgrims who gain merit by ceremonially washing the Buddha statues. We take time to explore upper and lower caves before stopping for a delicious Lao lunch at a nearby restaurant.
A short distance away from Pak Ou Caves we visit the village of Ban Xang Hai which has for centuries made the clay jars which are used to ferment Lao wine. Nowadays the tradition continues however the village now also specialises in producing a wide range of ‘Lau Lao’ Lao whisky and ‘Lau Hai’ Lao wine. Be sure to try just a little before we head of back down river to Luang Prabang in the late afternoon.