Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kips Don't Lie : Adventures in Laos - Part 3

Sunday morning I awoke to the beat of drums from the nearby temple.

Surprisingly I felt fresh and decided to get up early and see the monks again.

This time I went to the other street.

What are you looking at?

These monks had brownish robes. Wonder if that indicates anything.

Later I walked to the main street in search of breakfast and stumbled on the morning market, off the food alley.

Tiny garlic bulbs. I think.

Bamboo shoots. Boiled. I think. A lot of dishes based on this.

These looked like maggots. Tiny white ones. Crawling. Alive.

Bamboo shoots. Fermented? Pickled? Not sure, but the smell was quite overpowering.

I think these are dried and smoked fish fillets of some kind.

In KK I can only find these in Merdeka supermarket.

Dried and cured buffalo skin.

Fermented whole fishes.

Fermented/pickled fish of some kind.

Belacan. Eaten with raw side salad. I tried it with the long beans. Tasted the same like our belacan.

Noodles again for breakfast.

After breakfast I felt reenergised and decided to walk up Phou Si Hill. It's also referred to as Phou Si Mountain. It's more of a hill.

Huff and puff - this is just about half way where you buy a ticket. I like the use of the word 'still' here :). Entrance tickets 20,000 kips.

Arrgh. My legs were getting wobbly.

Turn around and you can see the Mekong.

To the right there is an old temple, Wat Pha Huak, interesting intricate details, though faded.

Finally reached Wat Chom Si, the landmark temple, right on top of the hill.

View to the right from the hill. Khan River, I think?

Through the door : Black cat. Wat Chom Si.

Through the window : Offerings. Black cat. Wat Chom Si.

As you walk around the Wat, offerings are a plenty here and there.

I continued walking wherever the steps took me - there are a number of Buddha images and after a while I realised they 'represented' (?) the days of the week. They were not in sequence though. There was also a large reclining Buddha.

Sunday Buddha.

Wednesday Buddha.

Thursday Buddha.

Monday Buddha.

Saturday Buddha.

Tuesday Buddha.

Friday Buddha.

A painted layout map of the hill - seen from the Phou Si side.

Then I came to a temple grotto - that has a small cave. I thought hard whether I wanted to go inside - since I was alone, it was dark and I'm a mild claustrophobe. I stepped in, hesitated and thought again. Silly, you know what was going through my mind? Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark! Haha. I shrugged off my doubts, took a deep breath and just continued to walk in.

Wat Tham Phou Si. If I'm not mistaken.

Buddha outside the cave.

Wall paintings depicting Buddha's life.

"5.1.1958. Entrance The Cave."

You have to duck. It looks dark from the outside.

As my eyes got used to the darkness, I saw where the altar was. There was a small light/candle.

And I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw an old man sitting there. Phew! It was a sculpture/figure/statue that looked kinda real. And I think he was smiling. (?) Made me feel creepy...sorryy...

Figures in a small garden.

Silver and black dragons 'guarding' the steps and wats.

Golden ones just opposite.

Another stupa on the way down.

The way down? Again?

After hundreds more of steps I finally reached the spot.

The foot imprint is inside.

Can you see it? It's quite big, looks like the imprint of the left foot, more than two feet long and a foot in width.

Another smaller foot imprint nearby.

It was a good workout going up and down the steps on Phou Si, I slowly made my way back and rested at the ticketing point.

This bodhi tree was donated by the government of India in 1957.

Little chirpy birds for sale, to be released.

After Phou Si, I walked back to my guesthouse to take a shower and a short rest. On the way I found a tuk-tuk man who was looking for guests to go in a group to Kuang Xi Waterfalls, so I booked a seat with him. We left on time and reached the waterfalls in 45 minutes sharp!

The main entrance - fee was 20,000 kips.

Layout plan. You have to walk in about 5 minutes or less.

First you will pass the Bear Rescue Centre. There were some bears lazing around and sleeping.

Learn about the types of bears.

Another four here.

The waterfall has a few levels or sections, so I just walked through first before deciding where to bathe.It felt very cooling under the shades. There were many people already there, including locals, all trying to escape the dreadfully hot midday.

My favourite spot. Although it wasn't a designated swimming area. The rocks were sharp and slippery so one has to be very careful. But so worth it! The water was deliciously cold!

Why is the water turquoise like that? I don't know. The riverbed was a little bit sludgy in some places.

A nice, naturally formed 'pool'. The daredevils jumped off the tree, swinging from a rope, tarzan-style.

I swear this guy looked like the younger brother of Fernando Torres. :P He jumped in with style and put on quite a show.

I can't say the same for this silly girl who almost drowned after she jumped off. She was struggling after coming up to surface and luckily someone noticed and started shouting. Wrong place to show off, stupid risk to take if one is not a strong swimmer.

Approaching the last level where the main waterfall is.

The main waterfall. I like the sound of waterfalls. But maybe not Niagara-sized ones.

Facing the waterfall. Got someone to snap this. Was waiting for my hair to dry.

By mid-afternoon the tuk-tuk driver was waiting for us at the gate, and we reached town at about 3:00 pm. I had a quick lunch at Nazim's, got back to my guesthouse, packed and got ready to return to Vientiane on the overnight bus.

Back to Vientiane on the long winding road. Another epic bus ride!


  1. yucks, the fermented bamboo shoots. I remember them being so dizzingly stinking when I was in Vietnam. Hehe. But jeez, these are just the kind of places that I want visit. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to the next post. :-)

  2. Jipp - it has a very strong smell, kan? Very off-putting.