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Trekking in "Northern" Laos

Bike, Village, Hike, Village, Hike, Village, Boat

sunny 85 °F

After exploring Luang Prabang, we met Daniel and Sam from Holland and decided to do a two day trek to a hill tribe village. There are numerous two day treks that you can take, and obviously Kevin selected the one with the steepest, longest elevation gain. Our guides, Chou and Lea had great English and tons of historical knowledge and stories they told us along the way. We started from the heart of the city on mountain bikes and rode to the river bank where we shuttled across to the other side of the Mekong.

We then rode for 2 hours on an obstacle filled tractor road past numerous rice paddies, water buffalos and through a stream. We stopped at Ban Som (a Lao Loum village) for lunch and some Lao history from Chou.

We ditched the bikes here and filled up our bags with as much water as we could carry. We then started our four hour trek up the mountain. We thought the estimation was a scare tactic… but it wasn’t. We hiked for a solid 4 hours, almost all of which was uphill and along a ridge line with stunning views.

Eventually, we arrived at Ban Phuluang Tai, a Hmong village at the very top of the mountain.

The whole village was filled with kids playing next to chicks, piglets and puppies, but when we arrived they all went to fetch jugs of water to fill our guesthouse barrel, for a modest fee of 2,000 kips (25 cents) each. The games they played seemed to always require throwing or skipping flip flops at a target or watching our every move with wondering eyes; it didn’t matter if we were changing clothes or having dinner.

We spent the night in a traditional Hmong style guesthouse with beautiful night views of the lights of Luang Prabang in the distance. The guesthouse was a large wooden building with one big room sectioned into two sleeping areas and a place to build a cooking fire. The village has no running water or electricity and all of the water for the village is collected from a spring that is a 5 minute walk down a steep trail. Women and men shower here at the same time, but they keep their clothes (or sarong) on. We attempted to shower as the locals did, trying not to look as the forest filled with giggles. Lea cooked dinner while Chou gave us a culture lesson on the tribe and their way of life as we took a stroll around the village for the sunset.

The next day we trekked down the other side of the mountain into the Chomphet district. The views once again were stunning.

After 3.5 hours we stopped for lunch at Ban Houaypong (a Khamu Rok village) for some noodle soup and watched the local children riding the water buffalos. After trekking for another couple hours, we reached a river side village called Ban Moungkham where the locals specialized in making edible dried river weed paper (just like seaweed paper you would see wrapped around a roll of sushi).

It was an amazing trek and inside experience as to what it is like to live so remotely. The Lao countryside is stunning and we were lucky to have met Daniel and Sam to share it with.

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 02:42 Archived in Laos

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Very cool, and hard core! I would be SO SORE! By the way do you have to watch out for many bugs, poisonous plants, or snakes? I wondered about mosquitoes :) You guys look great!

by megandibiase

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