Thursday, 24 April 2014

Luang Prabang 07.02.2014 Pak Ou Caves

Luang Prabang 07.02.2014 Pak Ou Caves

There is one regular ferry to Buddha Caves / Pak Ou Caves (Thai: ถ้ำปากอู่, literally: caves at the mouth of Ou river) 8:30 in the morning, but it’s too early for me and I assume it will be full. But internet says you can hire a boat to take you there. (My landlord said you can go by bike or tuk-tuk, but then you would have to cross the river.) So I walk to the river shore, hoping to meet other tourists who want to share a boat. And indeed, I spot a group (French women) talking with a native and walk close to them so I can hear what they are talking about, and they ask me if I want to go to Buddha Cave. After some negotiations, we get to xxx per person (xxx for the boat). Internet says you can get the ride for xxx. I think our mistake was to take the first (coming from the south) instead of going further north on the peninsula, and maybe waiting for others to join.

A good example for mismanagement: I would prefer a regular service with fixed prices, but the way it is everyone has to look for a boat (they leave from a wide stretch of shore) and negotiate, which puts me off.

The ride is interesting.

There is the inevitable stop at a whisky village on the way (suggested by the captain), where you can buy clothes (probably made elsewhere) and whisky (made in the village as far as I can judge, I saw pots with rice for fermentation and distillation equipment).

Small bottle xxx Kip, large bottle xxx Kip. Disclaimer: ChristianPFC disapproves of killing animals for decoration or for non-FDA-approved medical use or mistreating animals for entertainment.

Continue the trip.

Finally arrive at the cave. Entry is 20 kKip. We have xxx minutes to explore the caves.

Lower cave is quite full, I wonder what it is like when even larger numbers of tourist come with the regular boat in the morning.

Climb to upper cave. In front of the cave, a woman is sitting who sells/lends flashlights and demonstratively points to a box for donations; short of jumping and waving her arms at me. 

more information about the caves:

----- Gold panning in the Mekong

On the web, I found information about gold panning in the Mekong River. ChristianPFC is very interested in gold. The website says it takes place during dry season, my landlord said it takes place all over the year. Dry season makes more sense to me. I didn’t see any gold panning during our ride and our captain didn’t take us to such a place (the French ladies were interested as well, so I asked the captain).

(end of post)

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