Phonsavan & The Plain of Jars, Laos

Pick up a pillow, this first bit is going to bore you senseless. Stick with me.

I chuck a 7h North East detour from the Northern road from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang to visit the Plain of Jars. Described by lonely planet as ‘enegmatic’ which is a euphemism if ever I read one. The jars are….zzz no I can’t do it. Click here if you even want to know. The short version? They are a bit like Stonehenge.

However you know how they say it’s ‘the journey not the destination?’ For once this was actually true.

Site 1 of The Jars is located 10km out-of-town. It’s a $30,000 bike ride, which we deemed to expensive. Yes that’s $4 dollars but in Don Det/Vang Vieng bikes were $10k. Or even more extortionate it’s a $150,000 day tour or $50,000 tuk tuk.

There are 5 of us girls, including two blond, scantily clad Swedish girls. I’d like to pretend this wasn’t integral to the story but I suspect it is. You’ll see why this is important in 2 seconds. Not really willing to ride a bike or pay a whole $7, we are debating our options on the pavement of our guesthouse when some Lao character who is minding his own business agree’s to take us for free in his truck. This pleases us grately. He just has a few ‘erronds’ to run first. These seem to be ‘cruising all over town delivering packages’ (“the first rule of being a transporter is to NEVER open the package/ask what’s in the package”) That and driving to weird places like the Forest Fommission to show a gaggle of Western girls off to his mates. It’s sunny and this only takes 20 mins or so, so we don’t mind too much.

Then the fun starts. We get about 5km down the road and he pulls over, says he’s too busy to go to the Jars but we can get a tuk tuk. Rolling our jaded eyes we jump out, muttering that we knew it was too good to be true etc.

What happens next is just shocking. He only goes and redeems our faith in random acts of kindness by apologising to us profusely and actually paying for our tuk tuk ride the rest of the way!? No catch.

We see the jars. (I’ll edit the whole 10 mins it took out of this story) and have to head back 2.6km walk along a dirt track to the main road. The drivers aren’t officially allowed to pass this way, it’s all monopolised by the tour touts, and taxis get fined by the police. Therefore if you arrive with no transport, you leave the same way, as there’s no one waiting. Spurred on by our earlier luck however we are bad little feminists and flag down the next passing vehicle, which happens to be a nice Lao couple, in a massive shiney 4×4. She smiles and ushers us in. We gesture to the end of the 2.6 dirt track but then she throws out the words ‘Phonsavan?’ and we all nod and say why ‘Cop Chi Li Li’ (thank you very much). Now pretty as the Swedish girls are, and grateful their blondness has gotten us this far, they are not the smallest of girls which means 5 of us squeezed on each other’s laps on the back seat. We giggle and laugh away saying we’ll have no chance if the police come, when the Lao lady laughs back at the word ‘police’ and repeats it back to us. Oh. We all go quiet. We take a second look at her husband at the wheel, and for the first time spot his blue uniform.

Now kids, don’t hitchhike, it’s dangerous. But if you are going to hitchhike do it in style with The Laos People’s Democratic Republic police squad!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

January 2012
« Dec   Feb »

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 185 other followers

%d bloggers like this: