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(20-31 Jan 2012)

The land of golden flowers, Laos was the place where we had to study for a hydro plant as a source of energy for local community. Don Xom Island, situated in the middle of Mekong, with only 80 household and 2 hotels is a remote and peaceful place to be. The peacefulness was strange too, because the neighboring island was completely filled with tourist while this island had no tourist inflow. The people are friendly although they don’t understand foreign language. Thai is common language in Laos.

To get to one of these islands, you need to either travel from neighboring country (Thailand, Cambodia) or you can land at Vientein, the capital of this country and travel to these islands. The island lies in Champasak provenance. I had entered Laos from Thailand border at Ubon Ratachathani. They give tourist visa on arrival. The visa fee is about $20.

The movement of rock in geological times has created many beautiful falls along the region which has become the attraction of tourist. There is fall of about 12m along the Mekong River at this area.

IThere is a Buddhist monastery in this island which lies at the center of the village. The temple is covered with rusted roof and supported by wooden frames. Although monks are supposed to be ascetic and free from wordly preasure the monks of this island seems to be the most romantic. They own the largest music system, lives in concrete house and smoke the best cigarette. Sometimes wondering tourists come to this island without clothes and passes the house of monk. The monk also seemed to be the most innovative among the islanders. They have installed manual water pump which require a men to peddle a cycle to pump water from well.

I noticed that, Lao people have strange hobby to drink alcohol housed in a bottle along with some strange woods or animals. Yeh, I had a glass of that lousy drink too in an uninvited picnic. And I bought one with snake and scorpions at the border of Laos and Thailand.

Fish seemed to be plenty in this area and is the main source of food and income of this island. People sell sun-dried fish to a marketplace. As this island, they have to take fish in boat to market. All the river bank was littered with fisth to dry it in sun.

The cost of living seemed to be cheaper here than any other part of world, especially beers. A bottle of beer cost a dollar. And it’s really good beers which don’t give head ach even you consume liters of this stuff. The next good thing they prepare is ice coffee. This coffee was the best cold drink among all the foods these people prepared. And because the temperature is so hot, you have to drink this cold drink every hour. At $200, you can survive here for a month.

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Ubon Ratachathani Airport

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Statue of Pakse market

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Sunset at the Mekong

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With Andrew

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Ride on bike (Ajoy the rider)

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Preparing for the bath

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Typical Lao-dinner

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Family I lived with in Laos

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Our hotel

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Our office

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The Mekong fall

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The Lao girl

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Ajoy karki and Bibash Amatya

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Me on other island

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Bibash, helping the boat to move

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Super iced coffee

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Cobbler at Ubon

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Bikes at Ubon

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The rickshaw ride at Bangkok

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Subarnavumi Airport at Bangkok

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The smiling aeroplane

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