Saturday, March 5, 2011

We woke up well rested and refreshed and headed outside for a wonderful breakfast by the pool. Catherine ordered pancakes with cinnamon butter that were amazing. We met up with our guide and drove down to the Mekong River for a quick boat ride over the river to the village (Xieng Men) and temples on the other side. As usual, Aman delivered big time. While the boat that took us across the river looked like all the other boats, it was very well appointed inside with a huge, cushy lounger and nice upholstery. There was even a washroom on board!

The trip across the river only took a few minutes and then we made our way across makeshift bamboo bridges to the river bank. We were surprised to have to pay a small toll to use the bridge system.

Once on dry land, we walked over to a locked cave. Our guide picked up a key from one of the villagers, grabbed some flashlights and took us inside. There were a number of buddha statues inside but the highlight was the impromptu cave tour that one of the village kids took us on. He took us deep into the cave through a series of passageways and up and down several slippery steps showing us various rock and stalactite formations along the way. It was awesome.

With the cave tour over, we went to visit Vat Long Khouan. The wall murals inside depicting the life of buddha were impressive. We then took a small walk through Xieng Men to get a sense of village life. It was fascinating!

At the end of the walk, we crossed back over the river and made our way back to Amantaka for a swim, some sun and lunch. We couldn’t resist ordering the fresh spring rolls again and followed this up with a mushroom puff pastry dish and chocolate croissants. It was all delicious.

Well rested and with our bellies full, we headed back out on the Mekong for a trip up to the Pak Ou caves. It took just under two hours to get there. The boat trip was fascinating, scenic and very relaxing. We arrived at the Pak Ou caves and climbed the two hundred steps to the upper cave. Inside this cave were hundreds of broken buddhas relocated here from old temples. This is their final resting place. We both selected bamboo sticks with numbers on them that corresponded to our fortunes and were pleased to hear that our futures were bright!

We walked back down to the lower cave and went inside. This cave contains over 4,000 buddhas, many of which are very small. It was amazing how the buddhas had found their way into all the nooks and crannies. With our cave tour over, we re-boarded our boat for the trip back to Luang Prabang and were treated to some fabulous snacks (including fresh spring rolls and river weed) and some red wine. What a great and special way to enjoy the sun setting on the Mekong!

With all the food consumed today, dinner comprised a selection of desserts with homemade creamy ice cream being the clear favourite. We are set to wake up early tomorrow (5.00 am) to offer alms to the monks so early bed tonight. Might be a challenge to get to sleep given the wedding party that is happening on the school basketball court behind us!

Comments are closed.