This is a second installment of a 4-part blog post of our Laos and Cambodia trip. If you haven’t read the first post, you may read it here [Exploring Laos and Cambodia (Part 1) — Boat ride on the Mekong River to Luang Prabang].

We left Luang Prabang in a van and drove through a winding mountain road to get to Vang Vieng. The road went through many hill-tribe villages. During lunch time, we saw students walked on the side of the road heading back home. According to our tour guide, most schools in the remote areas do not have lunch program. So, many students would walk home for lunch, hopefully not too far. Approximately six and a half hours after leaving Luang Prabang, we arrived in Vang Vieng.

Vang Vieng is a small town on the Nam Song River. It’s known for the karst mountain landscape and outdoor-oriented tourist activities. Unfortunately, we only stopped in town for a night, so there wasn’t enough time to do much exploration. I would like to come back some other time.

What a gorgeous sunset behind the karst mountains in Vang Vieng
Having Shabu Lao at the night market. One thing we noticed in Vang Vieng was that it has so many vendors selling roti, a fried bread cooked on a griddle. There are more roti sellers in this small town than I have seen anywhere.

The next day we continued our trip to Laos’ capital city of Vientiane. Speaking of the capital city, many visitors may have butchered the pronunciation of Vientiane or unsure about how to say its name. The name of the city is pronounced Wieng-Chan. We arrived in Vientiane in early afternoon. After checking into the hotel and having lunch, we had a city tour.

Patuxay Monument (Victory Gate)
Buddhas at Sisaket Temple
Pha That Luang Temple with a large stupa
Visited a local barbershop while in Vientiane
After Vientiane, we flew to Pakse in southern Laos. From Pakse, we took a 3-day-2-night river cruise down the Mekong River.
The cruise started in Champasak, outside of Pakse, and ended in the Four Thousand Islands region near the border of Laos and Cambodia.
Walking up ancient steps at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wat Phu (alternate spelling: Vat Phou) or “mountain temple” in the Laotian language
Stone carving at the Khmer ruins of Wat Phu. What a beautiful piece of ancient art work. This looked like a taste of what to come later when we visit the Angkor.
A stroll through villages along the Mekong River
A village house on the bank of the river
The tour guide stopped to let us observe classes in a local school.
Also, an opportunity of this young girl to observe us
Kids love having their photographs taken. Even better, when they could see photos of themselves instantly. I took several photos of this group of kids in the village. David asked me to show them their photos. This picture was their reaction.
On the last day of the river cruise, we arrived in the Four Thousand Islands.
As the Mekong River flows through the Four Thousand Islands area, it drops into a series of vast waterfalls near the border of Laos and Cambodia. The picture above was from Khone Phapheng Waterfalls.
After the cruise, we returned to Pakse and spend another day in town. The last evening in Pakse, we walked around to explore town and had a dinner at a local restaurant. The spicy papaya salad on the right was one of the best papaya salads we had.

We concluded our Laos adventure in Pakse. The next day we flew from Pakse to Siem Reap, Cambodia. It’s been many years since we visited Siem Reap, but I’m still eager to return to see whether the place had changed.

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