Trip Start Mar 10, 2007
153Trip End Jan 01, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The trek itself was really interesting, and far more informative than the rest of the treks i have previously been on. Our local guide for the first day spent most of the time pointing out things that were and were not edible, and giving us to try those that were
So i have photos of numerous bugs, mushrooms and nuts that i saw along the way, which I'll put up when i remember my camera lead.
In the evening we had a traditional Baci ceremony, which is a ceremony that is performed in several occasions, notably; to welcome people into a house, at weddings and at funerals i believe. Before that though we were inevitably fed the customary shots of rice wine that you get meeting any Lao family. The baci ceremony consisted of each member of the family (from eldest to youngest) saying a short prayer/blessing to use before tying a white band round our wrist, whilst we held out an offering of food
Second day contained a lot less walking, but an early wake up to take part in an alms giving ceremony at the local temple. This is the ceremony Buddhist families take part in every day which involves going to the temple and giving an offering of food to the monks, in order for the monks to share their blessings with the people. It is believed that the monks earn these blessings by studying in the temple and observing the teachings of Buddha,and as such only monks in temples gain these blessings from Buddha. Hence for the people it is very important to take part in this ceremony in order to receive these blessings themselves. Also if they didn't the monks wouldn't be able to eat!
What it consisted of was us wearing these sash type things, then kneeling in front of the monks and performing a wai/bow three times, then walking forward on our knees and placing our food in the monks alms bowl, our food being a bizarre mix:- two balls of sticky rice and some strawberry wafer bars, then returning to the kneeling position whilst the monks shared their blessings with us by way of prayer. It was all very interesting, though since i have lost all muscle in my legs long ago i was concentrating more on not screaming sue to the pain in my knees:- i nearly fell over when we go up
Coffee and a mammoth breakfast followed (Yes), then a short walk around the village before walking to the 'old city'. This was where the villagers used to live before they moved to their current location and is now little more than a few piles of rubbish.
A little walking more before lunch at turtle lake, before we exited the Protected area and visited That Ing Ha, the second most important religious monument in Laos. Buddha is believed to have stopped here when he was sick during his 'wanderings' in BC times. They believed he rested by leaning (Ing) on a hang tree, hence the name. It is a multi tiered structure, the second tier being added in the 18th century, and the stupa itself is believed to contain a replica of Buddhas spine. Gross. Thats pretty much all that happened to me in Savannakhet. Once the trek was finished i got straight onto a bus for Tha Khaek, my base for an attempted visit to Kong Lor cave.