Laos Kingdom of a Million ElephantsGreat Places, Great Adventures
Si Phon Don, also known as Four Thousand Islands was relaxing. Our home had many hammocks but only electricity from 7-10pm. When we arrived by boat, a water buffalo was in the water next to us. Southern Laos was HOT HOT HOT! so we enjoyed a few days of tubing and staying cool in the water. From Pakse, we went to the Boulevan Plateau and saw tea/coffee plantations and 2 amazing waterfalls, Tad Fane and Tad Nyenag. We also went tubing for one day in VANG VIENG. The karst formations that we could see from our balcony were INCREDIBLE but the restaurants full of tourists watching FRIENDS from am to pm was ODD!
What the WAT
Luang Prabang was the capital and is a World Heritage Site. We saw so many amazing Wats (Temples) all over Laos and so many monks in orange dress and MANY with Umbrellas. My favorite mosaic was the tree of life on the back wall. The Wats of Laos have stenciled art in silver and gold, very different and very beautiful.
We also went to Champassak where we went to Wat Phou, a World Heritage Site. This vast and Ancient Hindu temple complex dates back to the 5th-11th centuries. It was built next the Holy Mountain Phou Khao which is topped with a naturally formed Lingam dedicated to the god Shiva. There was a road connecting Cham Wat Phou with the Khmer Angkor Wat.
In Vientiane, we saw Pha That Luang, which is one of the main symbols of Laos. Covered in gold, it is really stunning. We also went to the Laos’ arc’ d triumph.
Helping the People
Check out the organization called “Stay Another Day” in Cambodia/Laos which has great information about how to help in both countries. One of our favorites was at the Tat Kuang Si Waterfall, the Bear Rescue Center, you can find more info at: www.freethebears.org.au You can volunteer there for a week and feed the bears! The waterfall was beautiful and the bears are AMAZING. They climb and eat and sit in a hammock!!
Other important organizations are Child Safe which works to stop sex tourism and Heifer International which gives animals to rural families to help them raise their standard of living. All of these organizations would welcome your donations and are really helping the people.
March 15-29, 2009
Loving Life in Laos
the border from Cambodia into Laos with several Russians, it was interesting to learn that they do NOT need a visa to come into this country…every country has different rules!! We had our visas…and did have to pay the “extra” fee to cross of $2.00 each (we think it is the border guards drinking fund.)
75% pf people live on less than $2/day in Laos. The French who were in Viet Nam and Cambodia as well as Laos…said “the Vietnamese plant the rice, the Cambodians watch it grow and the Laos listen to it grow.” Laos is very mellow!!!
There are 49-143 ethnic groups in Laos depending on who is counting! They are all affected by the new hydro-electric dams built in China. We hope to learn more about it when we get to China on April 21st. There are many problems with water flow and fish but it is an energy source!
We are in Northern Thailand for SONGKRAN! We return to California from Mongolia on June 23rd. We look forward to catching up with everyone this summer!
For all Campers:
I hope to see you July 6-30, 2009 at FIREFLIES and ZEBRA STRIPES camp! details: email me or www.scienceisntscary.com
Happy Spring Break and Spring Holidays!
Lisa and George
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