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Phonsavan - Muang Khoun - Vang Vieng

Over, along and inside the mountain.

sunny 27 °C
View Footloose in Laos 2012 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Muang Khoun
Our only reason for visiting Muang Khoun, the former provincial capital and now a sleepy little town, was to see the Wat Phiawat. Known as the Chief of Temples, it was constructed in 1322 to house the first Buddhist statue brought here from Burma. Despite the temple being destroyed and Buddha's left arm cut off in 1375 by invading Chinese, as well as being razed to ground in 1953 during war with France and destroyed late 1962 by US bombing, the Buddha itself survived, and is highly revered by the Lao people. I can see why as it has a magical feel about it, very serene and peaceful. Also in town is the ruins of the old 16th century Royal Palace and an overgrown Khmer stupa in Sri Lanka style.

Muang_Khoun_1.jpg
Moang Khoun Temple

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Royal Palace

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Tat Phoun Stupa

Retracing our steps all the way back to Phou Khoun along the same winding road with the same stunning views, we turned off towards Vang Vieng and stopped for lunch at an amazing viewpoint overlooking the Pho Phatang karst mountain range.

Phatang_Mountains.jpg

Despite our visit to the MAG office yesterday where we heard all about their ongoing work to clear the Lao countryside of remains of cluster bombs, it was quite a reality check to see teams of bomb clearing experts along the side of the road, detonating unexploded ordnance on the hillsides.

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Arriving in Vang Vieng, we made a stop just outside town at the Tham Jang Caves. Two large bus loads of Thai tourists were just leaving as we entered, and after that we had the 4 km long caves to ourselves. Stalactites and stalagmites beautifully lit with different coloured bulbs and walkways snaking amongst the overhanging rocks, there are many legends surrounding this cave.

The sun was just dropping behind the jagged rocks as we arrived at our hotel, casting a beautiful glow over the Nam Song River as we enjoyed a sundowner on our private riverside terrace.

Sunset.jpg

Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng is a happy place, but restaurant menu items preceded by the word 'happy' has nothing to do with the state of your emotional well-being and everything to do with the illegal substances added to your food and drink. As alcohol is my drug of choice, we were grateful for a hotel away from the main backpacker strip and the happy bars full of the young and not-so-young happy travellers, high as kites.

Posted by Grete Howard 04:53 Archived in Laos

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