Farewell Laos – Day 21

It’s an early morning start again as we want to see and photograph Tak Bat, the traditional daily event of monks collecting alms. Today I try a different approach in photographing this. The light is low, it’s early and overcast, so I deliberately drag the shutter to get some movement in my photos. Its trial and error but I have great fun doing it and I can’t wait to see the results when I download my photos back home.

We leave for Hanoi later today, so I decide to use the time during the rest of the morning to visit Phu Shi, a 100m high hill in the middle of the city, with great views all around. The climb is hard work, but well worth the effort. At the top is a beautiful, simple temple, painted in white and with very little decoration. It’s lovely in its simplicity. The walk down the hill is dotted with temples, buddha’s and a cave and temple which was built around Buddhas footprint. It’s a peaceful and interesting way to spend a couple of hours, interspersed with a chat with a novice monk who is interested in practicing his English and finding out more about where I come from.

I still have some time left to buy some gifts for loved ones and a souvenir or two for myself, and then to indulge in a foot massage before going off to the airport for our flight to Hanoi.

Our intention was to spend a little more time in Laos, but we are concerned about this eating too much into the time we have left, and our preference is to spend more time in Vietnam. Travel in Laos seems quite challenging, particularly in the northern regions which sees significantly less tourists. We would require ample time to be ale to work our way around without being rushed, and we just don’t have the luxury of the time required for this on this trip.

Laos is an interesting country with a rich diversity of people from different cultures. It has been greatly influenced by its neighbors Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, and it deserves a lot more time than the fleeting week we have spent here. It’s also a nature lovers paradise with many eco- trekking options in some amazing nature reserves.

I think a return visit will have to be planned!


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