Sunset Over the Mekong
13.01.2011 - 13.01.2011
After the short 1 hour 15 minute flight from Luang Prabang over the mountainous terrain of Laos, we touched down in Pakse, the provincial capital of Champasak Province. The mountains across Laos seemed like moulds of plasticine that had been pinched thousands of times by a child’s fingers. Simply incredible!
At first Pakse seems to be a very quiet, dusty town that has a constant churn of vehicular traffic roving around the town. However, upon walking around the town it’s delightful to be in a real living town that hasn’t been overrun by tourists and tourist services. I saw Petanque played in other towns but I saw it more so here - the locals really seem to enjoy a good game! Children played happily in playgrounds and around their homes. Badminton is played with a competitive spirit on the pavement. I saw another wedding being set up – it really is the season.
Pakse’s Wat Luang is a rather striking wat located near the centre of the town. Further afield, the new market is a massive area full of just about anything you could want.
There is even one section just selling rice, stall after stall with barrels of rice for sale!
The best place for sunset is to head south of the town towards the Mekong River and watch the warm, rich orange sun fade behind the clouds and slip down behind the mountains. As I sat and ate my poorly ordered dinner, every time I looked back at the sunset, the clouds had shifted more dramatically and the colours became warmer. It was like the two swallows dancing about the sky nearby were constantly weaving new images into the sunset. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, with fishing boats silhouetted on the river and cheesy romantic Lao pop music playing in the background. This area is shoulder to shoulder of bars and restaurants on both sides of the road. I picked the one full of locals (the name was in Lao too!), unfortunately I didn’t know how to order food like a local and regretted my choice of fried beef and rice.
I’m looking forward to exploring the Bolaven plains and waterfalls tomorrow.