We arrived just before Pi Mai in Pakse was ready to begin. It was around 3 pm on Thursday after taking a bus + ferry combination from 4000 Islands. First, we had to find an accommodation in Pakse. We could have booked one online beforehand like we usually do. Prices seem to be a half less if you go straight to the guest house and pay the accommodation in cash.
Since one of the most popular guesthouses in Pakse was full, we went ahead and booked a room at the place next door. After getting our stuff into the room, we visited an Indian restaurant nearby. At the same time Pi Mai in Pakse, Lao New Year, was ready to begin. Locals started to throw and shoot water all over the people and cars. We did get our own part of the water as well.
Pi Mai in Pakse is a huge part of Laotian culture. People in all age group celebrate it quite a similar way. Throwing water on people, drinking Beer Lao, and playing loud music are the main ways to do within the four-day public vacation. Even though it was very fun to take a part of the event, we wanted to do something else during the next day.
Escaping Pi Mai in Pakse to Wat Phou near Champasak
After celebrating one evening Pi Mai in Pakse, we rented a scooter in the Friday morning. We planned to go and see Wat Phou in Champasak around 30 kilometers south from Pakse. It’s was fairly difficult to find an available renting office because only small percentage of Laotians work during the New Year. Luckily one Frenchman was working in the morning and rented us a semi-automatic motorbike.
Wat Phou is over 700 years old Khmer temple area near Champasak village. It is older than the enormous Angkor Wat itself. The temple itself is located at the bottom of mountain Phu Kao.
Even though we had a pleasant morning ride there, all signs showed that it would be sizzling hot afternoon. We spent a couple hours in Wat Phou area by visiting a museum and taking 500 steps up to the temple itself. The hillside offered some great views over the Ancient City nearby.
When we began our ride back to Pi Mai in Pakse moods, the weather suddenly changed. A strong wind quickly brought a tropical storm over us. With that being said, the lovely motorbike ride turned into the survival fight against the mother nature.
Somehow we managed to drive slowly back to the town. Pi Mai in Pakse was still going strong. We got plenty of water countless times on us when driving back to our accommodation. It didn’t bother much since we were already completely wet.
During the evening we tried to find an open restaurant. Pi Mai in Pakse had its effect again. When we found one, we had to go in even though it was packed with other hungry tourists.
Leaving Steaming Hot Laos after four weeks
Pi Mai in Pakse had its power on Saturday morning, too. We needed to book a bus journey across the Thai border. All the usual Lao travel agencies along the main street were closed. The nice, motorbike renting Frenchman saved us again by being open (even though he appeared to be very much in hangover).
We managed to get ourselves into the 3.30 pm bus from Pakse to Ubon Ratchathani. The plan is to go all the way to Bangkok. Having said that, the Thai version of Pi Mai, Songkran, might put some barriers ahead of the plan. From the next blog post, you will find out how our border crossing from Laos to Thailand went.