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Luang Prabang, Pearl of Indochina

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Now that the elephant business is out of the way, we spent the next two days visiting Luang Prabang, which is truly the Pearl of Indochina. It has everything: amazing temples, orange-dressed monks, superb colonial buildings, the Mekong and the Nam Kahn meeting at its tip, a slow laid back relaxed atmosphere... even the tourists look a bit more cool than everywhere else. We had lunch overlooking the Mekong, visited the Night Market, and the following day, we went to see another waterfall, we had another round of mud on our feet, Vero fumed once again a tiny bit (right!) and Matthias and Oscar concluded this amazing experience by going to the poo... uhm...no... playing chess!


Posted by AlainJacq 09:15 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Elephant Day

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The next morning, we took a long boat to Elephant Village, a camp where logging elephants are rescued and where you can also do elephant rides. While we waited for our turn, some of the guys in the camp decided to give a crash course of Mahout training to Matthias and Oscar. Could be useful in the future. We then went for an hour-long ride in the jungle and along the bank of the Nam Kahn river, it was quite amazing. In the afternoon, we went to the nearby Tad Sae waterfalls, where we found guess what? Elephants. Matthias and Oscar had the ultimate experience there, riding an elephant around the waterfall, bathing him, swimming next to him, it was unforgettable.


Posted by AlainJacq 11:11 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Trekking in the mud near Luang Prabang

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We left Siem Reap and Cambodia by plane and arrived in Luang Prabang, Laos, where Moon, the manager of our jungle resort was waiting for us. Our bungalow was huge, made in traditional Lao style, in the middle of the forest, about 18 km from the city... a real experience! Since we had not done much that day beside traveling, I managed to convince Vero to do a little "walk" to a nearby village, and told the kids we'd be passing by the Elephant Village (which was true). Our Lao guide from the resort told us the path was OK, with just a bit of water in one part. Classic example of cultural gap... in the Western part of the world, a more adequate statement would have been: the path is quite tough and completely covered with mud and water... but in the grand scheme of things, the Lao guide is probably right, at least that is what I was trying to tell Vero as she was fuming (again) her feet covered with mud... Matthias did not appreciate the mud either. But what we all appreciated was the shower with a view when we got back home! And Oscar spotted a elephant in the wild (well it's actually one of the elephants of the Elephant Village camp which can roam freely after mid-day... still it's quite a sight to see one of these big guys by himself).


Posted by AlainJacq 10:53 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

The Floating Villages of Lake Tonle Sap

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Matthias and Oscar had finally reached their limit in terms of enjoying Khmer temples, so we decided that the last day, we'll do something else and just go to an Angkor temple for sunset. First, we went to see a crocodile farm, which was OK, but got much more exciting when we started to throw some big fish to the crocs who went wild. After that, we went to see the floating villages on Lake Tonle Sap, about an hour away from Siem Reap. It was impressive. Matthias and Oscar were particularly interested in the floating school. On the way back, we stopped at Artisans of Angkor, a fine arts school where we could see stone carving, wood carving and other traditional crafts. In the afternoon, we went to see an amazing silk factory, Oscar still talks about it!


Posted by AlainJacq 10:39 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

The Temples of Angkor - Part 2

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After two days within the main Angkor site, we decided to rent a car for the day and go exploring the more remote site. We started with a real Indiana Jones adventure at Beng Mealea where the local guides showed us the way through stones and vegetation (I am glad we took the Malaria medicine!). After that, we went much farther to Kbal Spean, but we did not know that we had to climb a mountain, uphill for 1.5 kilometer. Veronique was fuming. The ruins are actually in the river bed, but the highlight was the waterfall. On the way back, we stopped at Banteay Srei, a small temple but absolutely gorgeous. We concluded the day with (of course) some swimming pool. The next day we finally went riding the famous Angkor Elephants. Matthias, Oscar and Vero went with the herd on their way back to their resting place, through the very famous Elephant Gate at Angkor Thom. Pretty amazing! After that, The Bayon, was also spectacular, and we explored through the rest of Angkor Thom (The City) until we reached our Tuk-tuk at the Terrace of the Elephants. Four days of temples, we are pushing these kids to their limit!


Posted by AlainJacq 10:22 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

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