It’s with a heavy heart that I say farewell to Cambodia as we board our flight to Pakse in Laos. I could have spent months in this amazing country. In fact, we spoke of buying a couple of tuk-tuks and driving ourselves around the country on them. Now that would be an adventure!
In order to experience one thing we have to let go of another, and even though I am sad to say goodbye to Cambodia, I am excited for the days ahead in Laos. Initially we only planned on traveling through Vietnam and Cambodia, but Laos stood so “right in the middle” of these two, that we felt we couldn’t ignore her and just walk on by. We have managed to squeeze a week or so of Laos into our itinerary. Not enough, I’m sure, but enough to possibly whet the appetite for more at a later stage.
I know very little to nothing about Laos and I devour the Lonely Planet guide to try get an inkling as to what to expect. Our first stop is an overnight stay in Pakse, which is the closest town where we can transfer to Si Phan Don (4000 islands) on the Mekong. We are hoping to catch sightings of the critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin.
After check-in at our small but adequate hotel, we walk around town to catch the best of the late afternoon light. Pakse sits on the confluence of the Se Dong and the Mekong rivers and was once the French capital of Southern Laos. This is evident in the beautiful French architecture with brightly painted shutters. This really is a quaint, sleepy town and its evident that we have arrived in laid back Laos. This is a good thing as we are both in need of a couple of days relaxing after traipsing up and down the ancient cities of the Khmer Empire.