Day 8 - Nakhon Phanom

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Day 8 - Nakhon Phanom

A short two hour drive from Saweng Dan Din to Nakhon Phanom. A beautiful town on the Mekong with a good river walkway overlooking the karsts in Laos. 

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We walked the 1.7 km to Chelsea riverside restaurant owned by a couple who used to have a restaurant opposite Stamford Bridge, hence the name. A leisurely lunch of fish and Som Tam. 

 Were staying at chic-chidkong boutique hotel. A rather nice place by the Naga fountain 

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Had dinner at a cafe/bar on the riverfront.  

Barbecue ribs wun sen  

Barbecue ribs wun sen  

The Christmas tree is up.  

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A very relaxing day  

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Day 7 - Chiang Khan to Saweng Dan Din

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Day 7 - Chiang Khan to Saweng Dan Din

A long 5 hour drive to Saweng Dan Din today through the Issan countryside. It's fairly flat and not much traffic. Stopped by the police twice at roadblocks for licence checks. 

Arrived at Chuanthanapanya Resort at about 13:30 and downed some much needed beer and food  

Went into town in the afternoon to a local bar and met some expats who were chatty  

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Eat in the on site restaurant which was excellent

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Day 6 - Chiang Khan

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Day 6 - Chiang Khan

A lazy day in Chiang Khan, but that what holidays are about. Breakfast soon after sunrise (06:30) at Luk Pochana

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Lunch at no name restaurant 

Sweet and sour chicken  

Sweet and sour chicken  

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Pad krapow moo

Fish delivery 

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A beer at Joe bar

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Sunset on the Mekong  

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Day 5 - Chiang Khan

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Day 5 - Chiang Khan

We left Sangkhom for the two hour drive along the Mekong at about 10:00. It's an easy drive along the bank of the Mekong separating Thailand from Laos. 

Thailand now has the worst road fatality record in the world having just taken the unenviable record from Libya. We only saw two accidents today.  

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We arrived at Poonsawasdi guesthouse around 12:00 but couldn't check in until 14:00. 

Our room is just on the right of the Thai flag  

Our room is just on the right of the Thai flag  

Had a few Leo beers at Slinks and a couple of dishes at the restaurant at the top of our soi for 40 baht (about 90p). 

After checking in we took a walk along the boardwalk by the side of the river.  

Boardwalk

Boardwalk

Mekong

Mekong

In the evening we wandered around town an walking street and eat some good food at Mask

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Days 3 - 4 Nong Khai and Sangkhom

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Days 3 - 4 Nong Khai and Sangkhom

Sunday was spent doing very little in Nong Khai bar earing and drinking. We are starting to feel human again after the long haul flights and the internal one to Udon Thani.

The Rim Riverside is great.  

 View from the balcony  

 View from the balcony  

The  coffee is good too

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Eat lunch at Daeng the sugar cane prawns were great

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Of on the Monday morning about 10:00am to Sangkhom. It took about one and a half hours to get to Buoy Guesthouse.  

View from Buoy Guesthouse restaurant  

View from Buoy Guesthouse restaurant  

Once checked in we drove the 45 minutes to Wat Pha Phukon

Wat Pha Phukon

Wat Pha Phukon

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Back to Sangkhom for a quick visit to the night market and a relaxing evening eating and drinking in the restaurant overlooking the Mekong

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Days 1 and 2 - Bangkok to Nong Khai

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Days 1 and 2 - Bangkok to Nong Khai

We arrived in Bangkok at about 13:30, changed some money at Superrich at the airport rail link in the airport and purchased one month 10gb data package at True move for 800 baht. 

Went onto town via meter taxi,  for 500 baht, including tolls to the Chatrium Riverside Hotel on the 33rd floor. 

Stepped out and went to a local seafood restaurant

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Had an excellent night's sleep after 16 hours of travelling. 

Woke up early and eat some Khao Moo dang

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Off to Don Muang Airport to catch the 14:05 flight to Nong Khai which was delayed by an hour.  


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Picked up the car at Avis which was very quick  

Arrived at the Rim Riverside Hotel at about 17:15 and immediately went out for some drinks at Brenda's and Nois and to Mackys riverside restaurant for some food  

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Early to bed with a quick Leo on the balcony overlooking the Mekong  

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A 26 day journey from the Mekong to the Andaman Coast

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A 26 day journey from the Mekong to the Andaman Coast

Just a week to go and we are off to Thailand.

The plan is  to fly to Bangkok on the 7th December and arrive on Cathy's birthday the next day.  We are staying at Chatrium Riverside on the Chao Phraya river which looks good

Bangkok

Bangkok

Then its off for a driving tour of Issan in the North East for ten days following the Mekong River and visiting Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Sangkhom, Chiang Khan, Nakhom Phanon, That Phanom and back to Udon 

Nakhon Phanom

Nakhon Phanom

After the road trip we are off to the island of Koh Phayam for 9  days for christmas and some relaxation

Koh Phayam

Koh Phayam

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Day 21 - Bangkok to Manchester

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Day 21 - Bangkok to Manchester

My last day before the 18:55 China Southern flight back home. Took a river boat over to the Thonburi side of the river and wandered around the markets. 

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20 baht con men in tuk tuks 

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Fed some fish

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Had the best meal. If the holiday at Steve's on the banks of the Chao Phraya

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It really has been a great trip. 

Took a taxi to the airport. 270 baht and waited for my flight back home. Just looked at the forecast 1 degree centigrade.  That's just nasty.  

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Day 20 - Ayutthaya

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Day 20 - Ayutthaya

Another place I've never made it to in previous visits. I took a train from Hualamphong railway station at a cost of fifteen baht,  about 30p. It took one hour and forty five minutes to get to Ayutthaya the former capital of Thailand. 

I hired a mountain bike and rode around the ruins in the historical park for about three hours. 

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Tree 

Tree 

It was a nice place

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Day 19 -  Luang Prabang to Bangkok

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Day 19 - Luang Prabang to Bangkok

The flight with Air Asia was at 15:50 so I had till just after lunchtime to wander around Luang Ptabang 

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The bamboo bridge I walked across yesterday was no more today, washed away by  the volume of water, I guess they opened a dam upstream 

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Visited a few of Luang Prabang s many wats

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More wandering 

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Bill very kindly gave me a lift to the airport. It was sad to be leaving Laos.  I fall in love with this country each time I visit. I'll be back. 

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Arrived in Bangkok and got a taxi to Tara Place. Atesome Pad Krapow Moo drank a couple of Leo beer and early to bed. 

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Day 18 - Luang Prabang

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Day 18 - Luang Prabang

Cycling around Luang Prabang today and was kindly offered a bicycle free of charge by Bill at Golden Lotus Place. 

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Luang Prabang is on a peninsula at the confluence of two rivers. It's pretty flat so riding is easy even in the 32 degrees heat. 

I crossed the bamboo bridge and had a Beer Lao.  

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Here are some of the things I saw. 

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An old Citroën Travant Avant 

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The bamboo bridge

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The river from the bamboo bridge

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Mount Phousi 

Went to L'Elephant which I has wanted to for years. It was great. Wonderful French food in a land of rice. 

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A good day. 

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Day 17 - Nong Khai to Luang Prabang

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Day 17 - Nong Khai to Luang Prabang

Back on the bus today. I decided to walk to the bus station it's a half hour stroll from my guesthouse. This time it's a big bus rather than a minivan and it's an old clapped out Chinese thing. It did the trip in three hours without a stop which is unusual. 

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After checking in at Golden Lotus Place I wandered round town all afternoon decided to have a couple of cocktails and dinner at Tangor. 

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A final Beer Laos on the banks of the river and early to bed. 

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Day 16 - Muang Ngoi Nuea back to Nong Khiaw

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Day 16 - Muang Ngoi Nuea back to Nong Khiaw

After a relaxing afternoon in the hammock it was hard to leave Muang Ngoi as it's such a beautiful place. 

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I had lunch at Alex Restaurant when I arrived back at Nong Khiaw and and later in the hammock at Sunset bungalows until it was time for happy hour at Q Bar. The Passion Khiaw here are great, a mix of Lao Lao and passion fruit. Dinner was Chilli chicken, roti and a Mango Lassi 

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Day 15 - Muang Khua back to Muang Ngoi Nuea

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Day 15 - Muang Khua back to Muang Ngoi Nuea

Really dull Laos town is Muang Khua. Poor choice of guesthouses and to be perfectly honest I couldn't wait to get back to Muang Ngoi. The boat was at 09:30 and cost 100,000 kip to my dismay no seats on this one just a plank 5 inches of the floor 

Muang Khua boat dock

Muang Khua boat dock

The scenery is worth it though and we passed some Vietnamese Heath Robinson boats dredging for gold

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Arrived back in Muang Ngoi at 12:45 and went back to Nicksa's Place for Beer Laos and cocktails to watch the sunset from my hammock 

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Up the Nam Ou to Muang Khua

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Up the Nam Ou to Muang Khua

It's a four hour boat journey. This boat has car seats attached and I get one.  This makes the journey much less back breaking than the ones with planks. 

The views of the mountains for the first hour are amazing

Leaving Muang Ngoi 

Leaving Muang Ngoi 

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We stopped on the way several times to drop off things and buy some fish

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Muang Khua is nothing to rate about, I think I'll only stay one night and start making my way back to Luang Prabang slowly. 

Muang Khua

Muang Khua

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Day 13 - Muang Ngoi Nuea

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Day 13 - Muang Ngoi Nuea

Today I did absolutely nothing. 

 

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I swung around in the hammock looking at the scenery and reading. I took a stroll to a nearby Hong village, ate Papaya salad and Khao Soy a d that was about it.

A very relaxing day in beautiful countryside  

Gecko Bar

Gecko Bar

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Day 12 - Nong Khiaw to Muang Ngoi Neua

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Day 12 - Nong Khiaw to Muang Ngoi Neua

Rose early again and had a wander around town in order to find some breakfast. Had a very good egg baguette by the boat dock. 

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I caught the 11:00 boat to Muang Ngoi Nuea which was 25,000 kip and took about an hour up the Nam Ou. 

 

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Muang Ngoi is in a fantastic location on the banks of the Nam Ou surrounded by towering line stone karsts. It's only got one road about 400 metres long.  That's it

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Spent the afternoon in the hammock reading and taking in the views. 

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Day 11 - Nong Khiaw

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Day 11 - Nong Khiaw

This really is a wonderful part of the world. Had an egg but tie for breakfast and decided to go to the viewpoint overlooking Nong Khiaw. I left about 08:45 to avoid the sun, it was a good idea. It took one hour and a half to reach the summit but boy was it worth it. 

Looking down on Nong Khiaw 

Looking down on Nong Khiaw 

Everything was shrouded in mist but soon cleared.  It was special. 

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Went for a post climb beer across the bridge at about midday. 

My bungalow is the third from the right of the ones overlooking the river

My bungalow is the third from the right of the ones overlooking the river

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Day 10 - Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw

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Day 10 - Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw

Civilised start at 08:30 from Luang Prabang for the four hour minivan journey to Nong Khiaw.  Noodle soup for breakfast and a tuk tuk to the bus station 

 

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Four hour minivan was the slowest ever. Soon cottoned on he was a learner driver being instructed by the other guy in the front seat. 

Nong Khiaw is stunning.  

 

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This was why I travelled all this way the next week is going to be amazing. 

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Day 9 - Kayaking down the Nam Ou

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Day 9 - Kayaking down the Nam Ou

I decided to book an all day Kayaking trip for five hours down the Nam Out river. We took a tuk tuk for about an hour to the launching point. There were four of us in two double kayaks a French man a Canadian man the guide and me 

 

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The scenery was absolutely stunning. The river was quite low but there was plenty of water. 

After about two hours we stopped at Pakistan Out where there are thousands of buddha statues.  

We had lunch here of tilapia and sticky rice and spicy bamboo shoot 

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Three more hours Kayaking in the now scorching sun through dramatic limestone scenery and a short tuk tuk ride to Luang Prabang. I spent the evening eating tom yam and barbecued chicken on the banks of the Mekong washed down with the obligatory Beer Laos

Earliervin the day I visited the morning market just outside my guesthouse  

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