Arriving in Thakhek today was a bit of a culture shock. I was thinking maybe a small village with a main street and a few businesses, a local restaurant or two and so on……..boy was I so wrong! Thakhek is a bustling town with its 5km main street disappearing into the mighty Mekong River at one end and the other end leading to meet the highway to Vietnam.
We caught a Tuk-tuk from Nakhon Phnom to the border and then bus to Thakhek. At the bus terminal (don’t get any idea of a fancy bus terminal) it was a cement block with dodgy looking markets all around it and a couple of food merchants for good measure. I thought to myself…..hmmm me no know Laotian……and we need a ride to our accommodation. Fortunately we were with Mario and his wife Kaew (pronounced Kay Oh). We had met them on Koh Yao Noi. Kaew was from northern Thailand and she spoke Laotian too………BONUS!!!
We were all starving after our early start and we headed for a street vendor for a cheap feed of whatever we could find. Today was the day I would try grilled frog for the first time. Yes trendsetters I did and it was really really good! A little like eating a tough version of chicken. I also ate the chicken and it was pretty tough too, but it was food and sorely needed given the length of time that had passed between breakfast and lunch.
We arrived at the travel lodge in town to settle into our room for the night. We sorted Mario and Kaew out with a room as they hadn’t booked any accommodation. So they took our standard room and we upgraded to the “Villa”. The price was right and it was very nice indeed. We located our other Koh Yao buddies Maurice and Ingrid who were also meeting up with us here. So great to be hanging out with “good humans” again!
Maurice and Ingrid were also so excited to be telling us about the climbing here and how good the routes were and Karine and I were super excited to be in this amazing and developing country that is Laos. We couldn’t wait to go climbing here and it was also where Karine first climbed.
Mario, Karine and I headed down to the main street in search of the cheapest scooter rental we could find, while my brain was still freaking out about paying for things in the thousands. One Aussie dollar was worth approx. 5770 Laotian Kip. We found the most expensive scooter rental in town without insurance. We politely declined filling in the rent forms and settled into a beer and watched the sunset over the Mekong river. What an amazing sunset it was too.
Cheers everyone 🙂