Where's James

Don Khon

The trip from Vientiane to Don Khon is over 700km so I made a brief stop in Pakse on the way, though still a full day by bus. The 12-hour bus was due in Pakse at 9pm, but after two delays and a breakdown it ended up being 3am. With an Austrian backpacker we managed to find somewhere that would open up reception at that time. Photos from Pakse and a day trip to Wat Phou are on Flickr.


For a capital city Vientiane is relatively small and quiet compared to other Asian capitals, even rush hour wasn’t that bad on the way from the bus station into town. After finding somewhere to stay I went down to the riverfront, with the main road closed in an evening and some open spaces it’s crowed every night. There’s a night market, food stalls, exercise/dance classes and lots of locals running, cycling and occasionally roller blading.


After Luang Prabang I took a minibus seven hours to Phonsavan, a small town best known for its Plain of Jars. Plain of Jars The Plain of Jars are a collection of sites across a large plain. Each site has a number of ancient stone jars, believed to be used for burial and later on, as urns. Three sites are visited by tourists with a few more open to viewing, but in total there are over 50.

Luang Prabang

A three hour minibus ride away from Nong Khiaw is Luang Prabang, the first capital of Laos and a UNESCO World Heritage city. There are still many French colonial buildings and most have been converted into fancy restaurants, cafes and bakeries. In combination with the Lao buildings and a lot of temples, it’s a very nice city to walk around. With an early start it’s possible to see the almsgiving ceremony with tens if not hundreds of monks collecting gifts of sticky rice from kneeling worshippers.

Nong Khiaw

After leaving Luang Namtha I made my way south to Nong Khiaw, a small town by the Nam Ou river. There aren’t any busses directly between the two towns so I stopped overnight in Udomxai on the way. There isn’t a whole lot to do in Udomxai but it’s a reasonable place to stop. The highlight for me was Phu That Pagoda which overlooks the town and is a good place to watch the sunset.