In the fields rice was being harvested. ‘In the old days it was done by hand,’ Phim remarked, ‘but now they use machines.’ Ten kilometres of flashing sickles later we decided this must still be the old days.
|Our day's journey from the city of Vientiane to the hamlet of Sala Hin Boun|
|Wat Phabat Phonsan|
There is no evidence the Buddha ever visited Laos but devout Buddhists have managed to find his footprints all over the country and the Sim behind the unusual square stupa stands over such a footprint.
|Sim, Wat Phabat Phonsan|
|Painted interior, Wat Phabat Phonsan|
|A tributary on its way to the Mekong|
|A line of dried fish stalls along Route 13|
Our eye was caught by a small temple with an outsize Naga Buddha. This popular image commemorates a time when the Buddha was meditating beneath a tree and a storm blew up. Mucalinda the seven-headed king of the serpents came up from the roots of the tree to shield him from the rain.
|Coffee shop, Paksan, now hiding behind our minibus|
|A cup of coffee and a glass of tea, Paksan|
We asked Phim where we were. ‘Bolikhamxai,’ he said. My map has a province of that name, but not a town. I think we were in Paksan, Bolikhamxai’s small capital – not to be confused with the much larger Pakse 450km further south.
|Monk buying his groceries, Ban Ton Na Mae|
|Roadside eatery, Junction of Route 13 and Route 8|
|Good noodle soup - and a chilli to nibble|
|Jagged mountain to the south|
|Bomb boats on the Kadding River|
|My Dr Strangelove moment by the Kadding River|
|Across the plateau to Sala Hin Boun|
The entrance to the Auberge Sala Hin Boun was a little way
beyond the gap. At the end of a short drive was a selection of wooden buildings on stilts, not all
in the best condition, sitting among trees and unkempt grass. The place had an air
|Premium Lao Whisky, Sala Hin Boun|
Thailand and Laos
Part 1: Bangkok and the Train North
Part 3: Across Isan to the Lao Border
Part 14: Following the Mae Klong to Samut Songkhram and the Gulf of Thailand
Part 15: Cha Am and the Thai Way of Beach