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Friday, November 4, 2011

25 Days of Laos (Part 11)

This is a journal of our 25-day trip around Laos on a rented Honda FTR that we fondly called Mustafa. It starts with a long bus ride from Hanoi to Laos and ends with a longer bus ride back to Hanoi.

Day 13: Phonsavan to Muang Sui (or Nong Tang)
Before hitting the road the next day, I took some pictures of the decorations in the Kongkeo Guest House. It was quite creative how they used these old weapons and ammunitions as decorations. They even turned a shell into a flowerpot.

Craters Bar and Restaurant

The night before, we read about a beautiful lake around 48.7 kilometers away from Phonsovan. So, we decided to get some sandwiches from Craters Bar and Restaurant and have a picnic by the lake before heading to Luang Prabang to complete our loop. 

Muang Sui or Nong Tang (in the GT-Rider map) is a beautiful and peaceful town. We found a place to sit by Nong Tang lake and had our late breakfast. While we were eating our sandwiches, we read about a Buddha cave in the vicinity and we talked about staying there. When we found out that bungalows were being rented by the lake for 60,000 kip we got tempted to stay for a night. 

Nong Tang Lake

The Bungalow We Stayed In

After putting our bags in the room, we headed to the Buddha Cave -- Since it wasn't a popular tourist destination, we were the only ones there. After paying for the entrance fee (around 20,000 kip), a guide accompanied us to the cave. The cave was well-lighted -- They've installed some lights in it. The good thing is that the lighting enhanced the beauty of the cave. And, it was one of the most photogenic caves I've ever seen. The shapes that the cave walls made resembled abstract sculptures.

This Massive Buddha Greeted Us At The Entrance

The Joss sticks beside the Buddha can tell your fortune -- You might need to have someone interpret it though.

Paintings On The Cave Wall

Tiny Headless Buddhas

An Elephant

According to our guide book, the Buddha figures were hidden in this cave in order to protect during the Haw Invasion. This cave has also been used as a hospital by the North Vietnamese Army during the Indochina War.

The Buddha Cave wasn't the only place we thought of visiting while we were in Muang Sui. We also thought about checking out the Tham That which contained an old stupa ruin and the coffin cave. But, because the paths are poorly marked and there wasn't a proper guide who can help us find our way around, we weren't able to see these places. We decided to do some reading instead.

When lunch time came, we found it a bit difficult to find a place to eat. We found a place that served some tasteless noodle soup. After that, we decided to look for a small store that sells snacks. When we found one, I filled up my bag with snacks. It was a good idea because when night time came, we didn't feel like walking in the dark (since the area didn't have any street lights) so we ended up having the snacks that we bought instead. 

Quick Travel Tips:

If you're thinking of heading to Muang Sui or Nong Tong, you should pack some food in your bag. Otherwise, you might end up going hungry.

The Journey Continues:

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