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The Emerald Triangle – , Laos, Cambodia, Thailand: some photos

A selection of photos from our current Emerald Triangle tour of Laos and Cambodia; – the picturesque region where Northeastern Thailand, Southern Laos and Northern Cambodia meet being sometimes referred to by this evocative name. Itinerary had to be changed at the last minute due to the UK Foreign office’s Thailand flood warnings (see article here) so we ended up skipping much of Northeast Thailand’s Issan region and making our way down overland on the Lao side of the Mekong from Vientiane.

Excellent noodle soup lunch in the old Chinese Quarter of Vientiane
Excellent noodle soup lunch in the old Chinese Quarter of Vientiane

The Lao capital’s always interesting though with visits including the excellent C.O.P.E¬†visitors centre and the unusual Buddha park (see below), but more on both those in upcoming posts.

The whacky 'Buddha Park'
The wacky ‘Buddha Park’

Big plus of our long detour, courtesy of the FCO, was the chance to include the Hin Boun region of Central Laos’s Khammouane Province with a highly scenic mountain drive, an overnight stay at the charming Sala Hin Boun and a visit to the spectacular Konglor Cave.

View from Sala Hin Boun
View from Sala Hin Boun

 

...and Jim kicking back enjoying the view
…and Jim kicking back enjoying the view

Our visit to Konglor Cave – and that incredible site will be featured in an upcoming post of its own – was followed by an excellent country hike through¬† one of the most orchid laden forests we’ve come across in Southeast Asia!

Emerging from Konglor Cave
Emerging from Konglor Cave

 

Our hike was joined by a few stragglers we picked up on the way
Our hike was joined by a few stragglers we picked up on the way

 

Trees laden with wild orchids
Trees laden with wild orchids

From here we moved on to Pakse, via Thakaek, with trips to the Boloven Plateau, UNESCO World Heritage Wat Phu and some elephant trekking at Kietngong Village.

Our 'bubbly' South Lao guide, Sone, at Wat Phu
Our ‘bubbly’ South Lao guide, Sone, at Wat Phu

 

....and Anne meeting the locals
….and Anne meeting the locals

Side effect of our group travelling extensively in Laos was that the majority of them (even those who ‘didn’t drink coffee’), became seriously addicted to iced Lao coffee so breaks to top up on the Lao rocket fuel were pretty frequent!

Local coffee shop stop in Nakasan port en-route for Don Khone
Local coffee shop stop in Nakasan port en-route for Don Khone

Kayaking down the Mekong to see the Irrawaddy dolphins entailed a fun trip in a tok-tok – what the Laos call an ‘iron buffalo’ or we’d call a ‘kind of tractor’. Travellers’ comfort is obviously always of vital importance on an All Points East trips!

Travelling in style
Travelling in style

 

and the return to Don Khone with bottom row L to R: Anne, Lys, Middle; Barbara, Jo,
and the return to Don Khone with bottom row R to L: Anne, Lys, Middle; James, Jo, Barbara & rear Sheila and Jim

More pix and posts from our trip soon but sunset and a Beer Lao call!

Sunset over Don Daet
Sunset over Don Daet

Cheers!