Laos is a green country of wonderful nature and persistent culture.
After 4 days of traveling along Mea Khong area and our route started from BKK-->Ubon Rachathani-->Chongmek, the door to Laos-->Pakse in Chumpasak, Laos --> Surin and BKK.
Day 1 -Exploring Ubon Rachathani city
We spent the night on the bus. First I must say that I took this trip with a tour company by purchasing a tour package from Ubon Rachathani to Chumpasak. In case you wish to avoid tour packages there are 3 ways to reach Ubon Rachathani: by train from Hua Lumpong , by bus from Mochit and by plane through Air Asia, Nok Air or Bangkok Airways. We arrived to Ubon Rachathani by bus in the morning. We had breakfast at a famous restaurant. We had Kai Ka Ta with bread filling, white pork sausage and sweet sausage which is a local dish. Then we took Sam Lor or tricycle to explore Ubon Rachathani city and visited parts with ancient temples and some museums to learn about the history of the northeast of Thailand. In the afternoon, after lunch by Mea Khong river, we visited Sampambok which is dubbed the Grand Canyon of Thailand. Sampan means 3 thousand and Bok means hollow. We spent the night in Laos at Chumpasak Grand Hotel at Pakse district in Champasak. Another choice , you can stay at Thai style hotel like Tohsang Khongjiam Resort and travel in Pakse in the morning.We entering Laos through Chongmek. Visa was not required, only Thai identity card and filling out some forms at the immigration office, Chong Mek. Traveling from Ubon to Pakse you can take a bus from Ubon Rachathani Bus terminal to Pakse 200 baht/way/pax.
Day 2 - Studying Khmer culture at Wat Phu Stone Castle or Prasat Hin Wat Phu
Prasart Hin Wat Phu
at Prasart hin WatPhu
To Prasat Hin Wat Phu, a Unesco heritage site, you can go by renting a motorcycle or a local van or by bus. If you have enough time and want to explore the atmosphere on the way to Wat Phu you can ride a bike. On full moon days in February or March, there is a special event at Wat Phu. The area around Prasart Hin Wat Phu is decorated in lights. You can stay at a hotel near that site. In the afternoon I headed to Khon Pa Peng waterfall and Don Khong, south of Pakse. Going to Don Khong you need to across Mea Khong River by using local long tail boat. From Prasart Hin Wat Phu to Don Khong you can take the bus from Dao Rueang Market. It will drop you off to the point from which you can take the long tail boat. It resembles Koh Kred in Nonthaburi Thailand. Don Khong is like a big island surrounded by Mae Khong river. It is very peaceful and there are many hotels for the tourists. In case you want to sightsee in Phnom Penh there are also day trips for the tourists at 500 baht/package. Our guide stressed that there are no burglars in town as apparent by the lack of bars on village houses. Exploring the island one can see villagers' lifestyle. Some people here are of Khmer race since Don Khong is near the Khmer border.
Day 3 - Discover Laos' nature at Tad E-Tu and Tad Pha Suam waterfall
Tad PhaSuam Waterfall
The restaurant at Tad Pha Suam Waterfall
In the early morning we went to see Laotian life at the local market. Our guide said most merchants here come from another side of Don Khon and some are from the Khmer area. They bring their agricultural products to sell. Thus, one can trust that their agricultural products are fresh. We had a chance to talk to the market owner who is Thai doing business by renting the area from the government and subletting it to Laotian merchants. He told us that Laotians consume many products and TV program from Thailand so everyone can understand and speak Thai. In the late morning we went from Don Khong to Tad Pha Suam waterfall. The waterfall here is very beautiful. It is separated into rooms, like its name says. Suam in Laotian means room or loft. By the waterfall there was a good restaurant owned by a Thai. Food was delicious. Another interesting thing of this place is that there are tribal villages populated by the original race of current Laotian people. After we went to Tad E-Tu waterfall. If you go to visit the waterfall you must walk down to see it. It was very high and gorgeous. There were special accommodations there provided for tourists. Here you also can see coffee tree garden. Coffee beans are the second export product of Laos. Tonight we stay at Laithong Hotel in Ubon Rachathani. We traveled from the waterfall to Ubon Rachathani City for about 2 hours. Before leaving Laos we visited Dao Reaung Duty Free for shopping.Last night in Ubon Rachathani , we stayed at Laithong Hotel.Its facilities are good and suitable for business trip and its location is convenient for the tourists who want to promenade in Ubon Rachathani city.
Day 4 - Studying elephant life and Thai silk history in Surin.
After about 3 hours' ride on the bus we arrived at the Elephant Village. We had a chance to see an important ancient ceremony before bringing an elephant from the forest. This ceremony is a about a whether it is a good time to catch the elephant or not. If you want to learn more about how to feed and treat elephants, how to clean them and if you want to spend time with them, you can stay with the villagers. They also provide a course and accommodations for tourists. Cuteness of those elephants will make you love them, I can guarantee. In the afternoon we visited Tha Sawang silk village. They will show you how to achieve natural silk color and how to dye it. I can say their folk wisdom is very amazing!
Recommendations : If you would like to travel in Ubon rachathani sufficeintly , you shouldn't miss Phateam to see pre-historical painting,Sao Chaliang, natural formation stone, Namtok Sangchan or Namtok Rongru , an unseen of Thailand.In addtition, around July , there is Candle Procession Parade ,a famous traditional of E-san people.
local Market in Laos
Prasart Hin Wat Phu
Buddha Image at Prasart hin WatPhu
at Prasart hin WatPhu