Cruisin' along the Mekong (Nyt myos suomeksi!)

Trip Start Nov 03, 2008
1
9
24
Trip End Feb 20, 2009


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Champasak,
Thursday, November 27, 2008

We got up early to catch a minibus to our next destination, Champasak. The lady who sold us tickets had conveniently forgotten to tell us that getting there involved a lift in a local's pick-up truck with glorious Thai pop pumping through the speakers and a dodgy crossing of the Mekong. It was a very windy day and the 'port' we were dropped off at seemed to only have rowing boats the size of a match box (you get the idea). Luckily we found out there was another port with ferries made of a couple of rowing boats and planks of wood. Since these were good enough for a local tuk-tuk and even a Land Rover, we decided it should be safe enough for us, however the ferry still broke down half way across. Fortunately there was a little island where a quick spot of repair work took place. Things seemed to improve after this as we got to the other side in one piece and even managed to get a free tuk tuk ride to a guesthouse of our choice, run by a happy old man who just could not stop laughing no matter what you said to him. The guesthouse was pretty basic but the riverside location and complimentary gecko living in the bin in our room made it well worth the price (USD2.50 each).
 
The town itself did not have much to offer - a couple of little shops selling diesel in Pepsi bottles, school and a bank. Our visit to the bank turned out to be quite an experience - exchanging traveller's cheques into kip was a major process involving four bank officers completing and signing numerous forms and quadruple signing of each form by the staff!
 
The rest of the day we took it easy, reading books on our guesthouse's veranda overlooking the river and having a dinner and a couple of drinks with a nice English/Dutch couple we met earlier on the day.
 
The plan was to get a good night's sleep to be fully recharged and ready for the next day's adventure to the nearby temple, but the rooster living practically under our window decided otherwise and woke us up first around 4.30am...
 
On Thursday we hired bicycles and set off to cycle the pot-holed, bum numbing 8km through the rice paddies and small villages to Wat Phu Champasak, an amazing ancient temple which pre-dates the Khmer era. The bicycles were super old and had definitely seen better days - the chain came off every now and again and even riding on a straight flat road was hard work! During one of the 'chain incidents' a local farmer stopped his diesel tractor to offer us a ride, shake hands and have a chat in laos/sign language - rather friendly folks it seems!
 
The actual temple and surrounding area was a pretty amazing site and it must have been even more impressive back in the day (see photos as we are too lazy to describe any more!).
 
Later on we had a well-earned slap up meal in a local establishment and a group of friendly locals at the table next to us gave us a few free shots of homebrewed whiskey.
 
- - - -
Ja suurinpiirtein sama suomeksi (tasta taisi tosin tulla pidennetty versio):
 
Torstaiaamuna matkamme jatkui Champasakiin, ehka noin Suodenniemen kokoiseen kylaan vahan Paksea etelampana. Olimme ostaneet bussiliput edeltavana paivana, joskin virkailija oli "unohtanut" mainita etta osa matkasta taittuisi paikallisessa parempia paivia nahneessa pakettiautossa ja sen jalkeen omatoimisesti joen yli. Saa oli tavallista tuulisempi joten paikallisten huippuhalvalla tarjoama soutuvenekyyti ei kelvannut - onneksi kavi ilmi etta pienen kavelymatkan paassa oli toinen satama mista Mekongin voisi ylittaa autolautalla (mika oli rakennettu muutamasta soutuveneesta, tyhjista tynnyreista ja laudoista). Lauttaan lastattiin mm. tuktuk, Land Rover seka tietenkin kasapain paikallisia seka muita reissaajia. Joen puolivalissa pysahdyttiin pienen saaren kohdalla vahan korjaamaan moottoria, jonka jalkeen loppumatka taittui onneksi ilman sen kummempia mutkia.
 
Champasakiin saavuttuamme onnistuimme saamaan ilmaisen tuktuk-kyydin hostelliin mihin majoituimme seuraavaksi kahdeksi yoksi - sangen vaatimaton paikka, mutta taydellinen sijainti keskella kylaa joen varrella ja halpa kuin mika, noin USD2.50 per paa.
 
Champasak itsessaan ei ollut kovin kummoinen paikka - kylatien varrelta loytyi muutama vaatimaton koju (joissa myytiin mm. dieselia lasisissa pepsi-pulloissa), koulu, posti, pari temppelia seka pankki, jossa matkashekkien vaihtoon paikalliseen rahayksikkoon tarvittiin yhteensa nelja virkailijaa, jotka kukin vuorollaan taytti ja allekirjoitti 3 kaavaketta kummallekin meista.
 
Seuraavana paivana vuokrasimme pyorat ja pyorailimme riisipeltojen ja pikku kylien halki 9km paassa olevaan Wat Phu Champasak-temppeliin. Pyorat oli todella vanhat ja ramisevat mummopyorat, joista ketjut lahti paikoiltaan vahan valia, vaan onneksi ei mitaan sen pahempaa. Kerran yksi paikallinen miekkonen pysahtyi diesel-traktorillaan tarkastamaan tilanteen ja tarjosi kyytia, ja kun ketjut saatiin takaisin paikoilleen, se jai hieromaan tuttavuutta lahinna laosin kielella seka viittomalla, ennen kuin huristeli pois paikalta iloisesti virnistellen. Myos moni muu meidat ohittava / meidan ohittama paikallinen huuteli peraan tervehdyksia joko laosiksi tai englanniksi (hello, good morning, thank you), tulipa muutama jopa sanomaan kasipaivaa J
 
Vuoren juureen rakennettu Wat Phu Champasak -temppelialue oli todella upea; vanhimmat temppelit oli peraisin 900-luvulta joten paikka suorastaan huokui historiaa.
 
Vuorenjuurella kiipeily ja helle tekivat tehtavansa joten temppeleilta palattuamme nukuimme parin tunnin paivaunet - mina olisin nukkunut varmaan koko loppupaivan mutta kaytannossa ikkunamme alla asusteleva ja tauotta kiekuva kukko piti huolen siita etta olimme hereilla ennen auringonlaskua (seka valtaosan kummastakin yosta).  Suuntasimme illalliselle ravintolaan jossa naytti olevan meneillaan jonkin sortin kestit - poydat oli pullollaan paikallisia joista osa oli tuonut mukanaan kotonatehtya lao lao-viskia (meillekin tarjottiin maistiaisia, tulista tavaraa!).
 
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: