2nd November – Xieng Lom

5 Nov

After a slow start in Luang Prabang and breakfast in the JoMa Bakery, we drove out to the Tat Kuang Si falls which are about 32km south west. It was a warm morning and were looking forward to a swim in the pools below the falls.

 

 

The woods were nice and shady and although the water felt cool it was nothing like the cold rivers of Dartmoor!

 

 

 

There is a good path that follows along the course of the pools. The shade allows you to take some long exposure pictures. Interesting but it makes it look like a Chinese postcard!

 

 

All along the trail are tropical plants and the moisture from the waterfalls attracts the butterflies.

 

 

 

 

 

At the top of the main path you get to the biggest fall. It must be really dramatic in the wet season.

 

 

 

There is also a trail to take you up to the top of the falls, but there is no viewing point that we could find and so could not really see much. It was good exercise in the heat and humidity though.

 

On the way back we passed the bear enclosure where they have rescued bears. A lot had been kept as pets in tiny cages or some used to perform. This has been virtually stopped now and the problem that the bears face is being kept and used to supply bear bile to the Chinese for medicine.

 

 

 

We then drove back to Luang Prabang before heading south towards Vientiane.  On the way we saw a sign to the Elephant Village, which was 5km off the main road on a dirt track. It was a rescue centre where elephants that retire from logging go to do light work giving tourists rides and splashing around in the river whilst be scrubbed with brushes … they seem to enjoy it. Sometimes they get elephants that have been injured by UXO (unexploded ordinance) left over from the Vietnam war. For some reason they say that 30% of the bombs dropped on Laos did not explode, leaving nasty little booby traps all over the country.

The camp is a nice place to relax and does offer accommodation that looks out over the river. We stayed in the carpark which was free, but we left a donation for work with the elephants instead.

 

 

 

We went to sleep to the sound of thousands of frogs in the pond next to the carpark and woke up to the sound of almost as many cockerels! It was a nice spot though.

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