Where's Malcolm? travel blog

On the way to Vieng Xai in the back of a songthaew...

Inside one of the 'emergency rooms' at the caves, used when the...

Inside one of the rooms of the Vieng Xai caves used during...

The 'theatre cave' as its known, where the Lao freedom fighters were...


The 10 hour bone-jarring bus ride to Sam Neua was notable for one incident where I think the bus driver refused to pay a bribe at a bridge which resulted in some villager armed with a AK47 waving his gun angrily at the bus, but thankfully he didn't shoot. We arrived in the late evening, always a bad time to turn up, and elected for a damp-ridden hotel - no fun but at 10.00 pm we had little choice. I think we were the only guests, the staff had been helping themselves to a little to much lao-lao (the local fire-water) and could only just stand up. And it is sooooo cold up here in the hills at night with gloves and woolly hat being a necessity.

Jenny (a German I met on the bus) and I decided to make the trip to see the caves of Vieng Xai the next day where the Pathet Lao revolutionary army (i.e. communists) had their base during the Vietnam War and were subject to daily bombing from those trigger-happy Americans. The most striking thing is that there seemed to be so little damage around the caves despite the attempted decimation - there are the odd craters here and there but thats all. And then there is the setting in it must be said some beautiful limestone karst hills and woodlands which are a feature of northern Laos. The Lao government not surprisingly considers these caves an important historical site which stretches credibility in my opinion.



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