Sekong, Naphon, Savannakhet Week 6 2nd - 4th June 2011
A nice translation of convenience store? A shop in Paksong, the center of the Bolaven Plateau.
We think coffee. If only we knew what it looked like, or were here when the little red berries are ready.
Our campsite at Sekong. Just outside town.

Made very welcome after a couple of refusals in town.

We got the impression there was quite a bit of immigration into the area. The helpful people were the new arrivals.

The Thai man that ran the fuel station has a day job high up on transmission lines from a hydro scheme.

There seems to be a lot of development occurring.

  From Sekong we headed sort of NNW.

Somewhere in the next 100km it would meet an EW road from the border with Vietnam and the main road alongside the Mekong.

We found ourselves on a very new road.

The villages were no longer strip developments alongside the road, they were organised around "town squares".

It really was a very plush road.
Still being built. This is part of the technique for casting culverts.
Presumably they'll fill in the gaps with the next pour.
The further from Sekong we reached the more basic the villages looked.

Mostly thatched with the occasional tin roof.

We had to start wondering what effect the road would have on the people.

The road works changed from seal to dirt being prepared for seal.
Some quite large villages.

Not too far after this we met the end of the road works.

Beyond that was a cart track. Passable - just that it started raining.

Without support we turned round.

Shortly after that we went for a skate on the very greasy surface. Engaged 4wd and proceeded slowly back to the tar seal.


We quite liked the villages.
Having returned to Sekong we headed West, towards the Mekong.

A very rough dirt road with this fine bridge partway along.

The sign advised that vehicles were not permitted across the bridge if the guides weren't visible.

On the far side (left) of the bridge is the pontoon used when the river is high.

Just off the main road North we visited Heuin Hin.

This was touted as a 7th century ruin, predating Angkor.

It looked a bit odd to us. We were a bit suspicious as to its age.

This is one of the corner pieces from the roof, carefully relaid at a corner of the ruin.

Not as fine detail as Angkor, so perhaps older.

The ruin is on the bank of the Mekong.

Not sure if this tractor is being imported from Thailand. The river forms the border.

This is most odd to us. The lintel is mitred.

Either side of the uprights is lots of stone. Presumably to hold it all together.

At Angkor all the lintels are square, just laid on top of the side stones.

The ruin was being surveyed by the Department of Culture (?). These two had to make a bamboo ladder before they could start the real work.
We had a wonderful conversation with the chief conservator.

We learned of the Hindu Yoni and Lingu, the preparation of holy water (the drain wasn't for blood), and a bit about the layout of the temple. Helped put Angkor Wat in a bit more perspective.

Most temples face East. This one however faces West. Reason unknown.

He reckoned the ruin was 12th century and judging by the lack of detail on lintels it was unfinished.

The aim is to do some restoration and have the government list it for preservation.

We also discussed the building techniques.

He led us to what looked like a method for keying two stones together, and drew a diagram to show us.

He also explained all the holes in the stones. A stick with animal skin wrapped around is pushed into the hole. Water poured in so it swells. Then the sticks can be used to carry the stones. Easy really!

Savannakhet provided a Saturday lunch stop.

Spicy salmon with rice at a Thai restaurant in the old quarter.

This is a secondary school.

A bit reminiscent of French colonial architecture.

Just as well it was Saturday and lots of places closed. Tardis negotiated the streets with little problem.

Savannakhet is on the bank of the Mekong (isn't everything?).

This couple of shanties were in paddocks of corn.

Just below a very palatial viewing point.

A huge contrast.

The old people ferry across the river.
And the new "friendship bridge".

Connecting Laos and Thailand.

Headed towards the museum and old hospital in Savannakhet.

Perhaps it was because it was Saturday, perhaps because we needed a stop. Perhaps because we weren't pestered to buy something when we walked past stalls. Perhaps the food which was excellent. Perhaps watching Fedderer beat Jokavich on local tv.

Whatever, there was something about Savannakhet that we liked.

We cound a camp a bit outside town.

A very untidy camp, but a friendly one. And we topped up with water and diesel.

Nakai to Kong Lor, Laos Week 7 5th - 6th June 2011

Kaylan Mon, 11 Jul 11 20:34:54 +1000
Great post with lots of impotarnt stuff.

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