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Archive for July, 2019

Explore Ngapali Beach – The most famous beach in Myanmar https://www.indochinavoyages.com/travel-blog/ngapali-nicest-beach-myanmar

Myanmar is worldwide known for thousands of temples and Buddist monuments in Bagan; or the unique fishermen in Inle Lake – the second largest lake in Myanmar. But it will only be a full experience of Burma once you travel to Ngapali; which has been told as a tropical paradise with pristine beaches and blue-mint turquoise water.

Ngapali beach in general

Located on the west coast of Myanmar – the Rakhine State, Ngapali Beach is about 300km northwest of Yangon.  The best and quickest way to Ngapali from Yangon is by plane; since there is an airport near to the beach which is called Thandwe. Averagely there are 3 flights operated a day by Myanmar National Airlines, Air KBZ and Hahn Air, mainly from morning to noon. Each direct flight will take about 50 minutes; then you will need 20 minutes more to get to Ngapali beach from Thandwe airport. So in general, quite a short journey! You can also take bus or private transfer from Yangon, however it will swallow more than 14 hours of yours. Not highly recommended but suitable for budgeted travelers.

 

Ngapali beach

Ngapali beach – Tropical paradise

About the weather, the dry season is between October to April with sunny days, warm temperature (30-32 degree Celsius) and blue sky. Other than that, rainy season is not an ideal time because travelers may suffer heavy rains and high winds, causing multiple flights to be cancelled. So it is quite a hit-or-miss experience. Besides, October to April is also a good time for exploring other parts of the country like watching sunset/sunrise or experiencing the hot air balloon.

Where to stay in Ngapali beach

There are plenty of accommodations in Ngapali have direct beach access and private swimming pools. Those are from 4 to 5-star standard. Some nice options for Ngapali accommodations are as below:

  1. Amazing Ngapali Resort (5*): Almost all villa and suites are with sea view, some beach front options are available
  2. Hilton Ngapali Resort & Spa (5*): The only international brand in this beach and also one of the most expensive. Surprisingly, it does not offer beach are with sand since it was built on the elevated land. However, a concrete wall is there to prevent the tidal waves, especially in the rainy season
  3. Amara Ocean Resort (4*): Offers bungalows with private terrace looking onto the beautiful beach

 

Amazing Ngapali Resort

Amazing Ngapali Resort with beach front view

If those beach accommodations are above your budget, there are options of guesthouses located two-three blocks away without direct beach access. Below are some suggestions with good reviews:

  1. May 18 Guesthouse
  2. Coconut Island Resort
  3. Ngapali Lodge

Things to do in Ngapali beach

Boat trip and snorkel

An interesting and refreshing adventure is taking a boat trip to visit the offshore islands of Ngapali. It is pretty easy to book a boat here since there are number of fisherman around the center area offer a tour on their boat.  The tour may include visiting islands, one of the fishing villages (Gyeiktaw for example) and to go fishing then have your catch back to the mainland to cook. Snorkeling is also a highlight here though it cannot be expected to have vibrant marine life here. One of the favorite places for travelers is around the Pearl Island which has clear and unpolluted water.

 

Pearl island

Snorkeling around Pearl island

Explore Ngapali by bicycle

Almost all hotels, resorts and guesthouses in Ngapali offer bicycles for rent at the price of US$3.5-4 per day. Ngapali is a quiet area plus the terrain is so flat, you can hop on the bike and go explore on a road that wraps around the coastline – about 10 km. Beside the fact that it is the cheapest way to discover the beaches, you can also have chance to witness the friendly local people conduct their lives here.

 

Biking in Ngapali beach

Hopping on the bike to go explore is a good experience

Visit Jade Taw fishing village

Just outside of Ngapali Beach is Jade Taw fishing Village which is a typical example of a traditional Rakhine village. This is one of the main seafood supplies in Ngapali Beach. You will need to get here early in the morning if you wish to see the fishermen unloading their catch. On a visit here also make sure to walk through the village where you will see small fish which are spread out on straw mats and left to dry under the sun before being made into local snacks.

Climb up Amata Mountain

This mountain is located near to Jade Taw fishing village, you can combine with this activity as it is quite convenient. It is famous for the large standing Buddha statue – the important Buddist place for local people in Ngapali Beach where they come to pray and thanks the Buddha for the protection. Situated on top of a hill right on the coastline, you can take the panorama view over the rest of Rakhine State.

 

Hot air balloon in Ngapali

Hot air balloon in Ngapali

Beside all of the above things, hot air balloon is quite new in the place. But you will definitely have a unforgettable experience here – 45 minutes to a hour on the ride watching the sun going up, passing through the main sightseeing of Ngapali, stretching your vision to the Bay of Bengal. The hot air balloon is allowed to operate from the late November to March due to the good weather.

>>Click here for Myanmar tour package to Ngapali beach: Essence Of Myanmar 12 Days

Some other suggestions for your Myanmar travel

In general, you can spend about 3 to 4 days/nights in Ngapali beach to truly relax and to put a wonderful end of your Myanmar tours.

 

Daniel Nguyen – Travel Specialist

#Indochinavoyages #Indochinatours #Timlee #Vietnamtours #Myanmartours #Cambodiatours #Laostours #Thailand tours

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Vietnam domestic flights – All you need to know https://www.indochinavoyages.com/travel-blog/vietnam-domestic-flights

If you are having a Vietnam itinerary 2 weeks or less, flying is the most convenient and time effective way to travel. Assuming that you start your trip in Hanoi, you can take a domestic flight to main touristy cities including Hue, Da Nang, Da Lat, Nha Trang, Saigon or Can Tho (Mekong Delta). Then, how to book flights in Vietnam is a common question that often crops up. Normally, you can book Vietnam domestic flights directly on airlines websites or book with a ticketing agent. The first choice may save some money, but in case you need to change names, date, duration or cancel, having the support of a ticketing agent will be super helpful.

 

Booking Vietnam domestic flights

Booking Vietnam domestic flights through Vietnam tour companies is recommended when you travel in a big group

Check-in

There are three ways to check-in your flights.

Airport check-in

I am an easygoing person who never minds the seat on the plane so I choose to do the check-in at the airport counter. For most airlines, they open the check-in counters for domestic flights 02 hours prior to your flight scheduled departure time and close them 40 minutes before. For most cities, you can transfer to the airport around two hours before your flight leaves (by private car, for bus option, an earlier departure is highly recommended). This way, you will not have to be rush for Vietnam domestic flight check-in time.

 

Airport check-in

You shoule be in the airport check-in area at least two hours before your departure

Online check-in/Web check-in

In case you prefer to select your seats in advance to ensure your comfort during the flight, online check-in is an option. Most airlines allow you to check-in online when your flights depart from three main airports Noi Bai, Da Nang, and Tan Son Nhat.

If you belong to below special cases, you need to check-in at the airport:

  • You travel with your infant.
  • Your group has more than 9 people.
  • Or you need special assistance.

Web check-in is available from 24 hours before your flight scheduled departure time. The sooner you do the web check-in, the better seats you are able to block for your trip. After doing the online check-in, passengers without checked baggage can go straight to the boarding gate. Else, remember to check your bags at the airport before the check-in closes.

Kiosk check-in

You are at the airport and it is super crowded, the line is too long and you are an anti-fan of queuing. Kiosk check-in is another choice and I highly recommend it for those who travel with carry-on baggage only. You just need to enter your reservation code and follow the steps, get your boarding pass printed and go straight to the boarding gate. Still, kiosk check-in has just been available at three main airports, Noi Bai, Da Nang, and Tan Son Nhat. If you fly with Vietnam Airlines, Cam Ranh (Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa) is also a place that has kiosk check-in.

 

Vietnam Airlines check-in kiosk

Vietnam Airlines check-in kiosk at Noi Bai airport

Baggage Allowance and Restriction

Vietnam Airlines is the only airlines that offer 20kg checked baggage for all fare types. For other budget airlines, including Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific and Bamboo Airways, the Eco tickets include only 7kg carry-on baggage; and you need to pay extra for checked baggage. If you smoke, just note that matches or lighters are not allowed on checked or cabin baggage. Beverages containing 70% or more alcohol are prohibited from Vietnam domestic flights liquids. For checked baggage, please remember not to pack these things: valuable items including cash and jewelry, your phone, laptop, and camera. This note is important as it is time consuming to unpack your bags and take these items when required by airlines staff. You may be stressful, especially when you are on a hurry.

 

Checked baggage

Remember not to put your laptop or camera in checked baggage

Airlines reviews

There are four airlines that provide domestic flights within Vietnam: Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific, and the newest member Bamboo Airways.

Vietnam Airlines is the 4* airlines so the quality is the best. Even its fares seem higher than other competitors, it includes 20kg checked baggage for the lowest fares – promo. Vietnam Airlines also serves dry snack on short flights during mid-hours and main meals like breakfast, lunch, and dinner complimentary.

Bamboo Airways ranked second, yet it is a new airline so some routes have not been operated yet.

 

Bamboo Airways

Vietnam welcomes a new airline – Bamboo Airways at the end of 2018

Vietjet Air and Jetstar Pacific are two budget airlines with good prices. Yet, your flights on budget airlines may be delayed or canceled for commercial reasons.

In case you have a short time to visit Vietnam, it worth to pay a little extra for Vietnam Airlines to make sure that your plan will not be changed sharply due to a flight delay. Saving some tens of dollars but wasting half a day at the airport is not a smart choice; only suggested in case time is not a priority and budget is a real concern.

Suggested Vietnam tours

 

With the above sharing, you can choose suitable airlines based on your time, your budget and your interests. Having your Vietnam domestic flights booked and ready for the great Vietnam tours filled with amazing experiences.

 

Huyen Nguyen – Travel Specialist

#Indochinavoyages #Indochinatours #Timlee #Vietnamtours #Myanmartours #Cambodiatours #Laostours #Thailand tours

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What to do in Hanoi in September https://www.indochinavoyages.com/travel-blog/what-to-do-in-hanoi-in-september

The beauty of autumn in Hanoi appears in many local songs and poems in a subtle way. It is no surprise that Hanoi in September can be such inspiration for an artist like that. Besides having a wonderful natural scenery, September also has a cool and comfortable temperature that is a feature of the transition between summer and autumn.

 

Hanoi in September

Hanoi has special and peaceful atmosphere in September

Weather in Hanoi in September

Indeed, the temperature background in Hanoi does not change much within a day which is between 26 and 31 degrees Celsius in September. September is the last month of the rainy season in Hanoi, but there will be some sudden rainy days. The low air humidity with a cool breeze, bright sunshine, and the clear blue sky make Hanoi so romantic. Taking a walk on yellow leafy streets with a camera is a great option for anyone who likes to explore Hanoi and record a great time in their journey. However, Hanoi weather is really unpredictable, thus you should bring water along and wear comfortable light clothes for a trip in Hanoi during September.

Special features when visiting Hanoi in September

The first day of September is also the start of milk flower season – the very type of the national capital. If you cross Nguyen Du, Quan Thanh or Quang Trung streets in this season, you will find how milk flowers can be such a unique feature of Hanoi with a special smell. Even though this smell is quite strong for some people, it is undeniable that this is one of the characteristics that makes the autumn in Hanoi different.

On September 2nd, as the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is celebrating Vietnam’s National Day with much special decoration as well as events organized around the city. Especially at the end of September, there is a fun Mid-Autumn Festival when you can enjoy Vietnamese moon cakes. Across the streets, especially the old town, are painted red with lanterns and children’s toys.

 

Beautiful and unique milk flowers in Hanoi September

Beautiful and unique milk flowers in Hanoi September

Top must-do activities in Hanoi in September

When the last summer rains poured into the city, September comes with the coolness, clarity in the air with many delicious autumn specialties. Now the question is which things to do in Hanoi in September.

Visit culture sites in Hanoi

As the cultural center of Vietnam, Hanoi has many culture tourist destination for you to discover. The first destination that you cannot miss to visit is Ba Dinh Square – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum; where the president of Vietnam first declaration of independence to form the country. A note for you is that The President’s Mausoleum is open 5 days a week; including Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.

 

Ba Dinh Square

Ba Dinh Square in the national independent day

No less interesting, Hanoi old quarter is considered to be a unique feature of the capital with houses and streets that look from the late nineteenth century. Moreover, in this destination, you can find many famous and delicious dishes of Vietnam at quite a low price.

In the nearby location, you can find Hoan Kiem Lake that is considered as a “flower basket” in the heart of Hanoi and associated with the history of the nation. Coming here, you can enjoy walking around the lake to breathe the fresh air of Hanoi in September; or taking an ice cream of Trang Tien or Thuy Ta; and sitting on the side of this lake to see the hustle life of local people at different time in a day. All the these activities must be the great experiences for you.

 

Hoan Kiem lake

Beautiful and peaceful Hoan Kiem lake in autumn

And one of the most famous destinations on the journey discovering the history of Vietnam you cannot miss is Long Bien Bridge. Long Bien Bridge or also so-called the Paul Doumer bridge, was built from September 1898 to 1902 under Poul Domer construction. The bridge is the second greatest construction of the architect who designed the French Eiffel Tower. This was the most massive bridge in Indochina at that time. Up to now, this work of the Indochina colonization duration has been more than one hundred years old.

 

Long Bien Bridge

Long Bien Bridge – the historic cantilever bridge across the Red River

>> Click here for Hanoi tour suggestion: Hanoi Cycling Tour

Street food in Hanoi in September

When mentioning September in Hanoi, people who have visited Hanoi for once will come up with not only the smell of the milk flower scent, the cool air but also recall of the best dishes here. Let’s find out the best dishes that you must try on the journey to Hanoi in September.

Try to eat green rice

Referring to the gift of September in Hanoi, we must first mention nuggets – a dish that is considered the souls of Hanoi autumn. On all the streets of Hanoi old quarter in September, it is not difficult to see a woman with a bamboo basket selling nuggets. When you buy these green rice, or “Com” as the Vietnamese call it, the seller will wrap it in a lotus leaf into a square shape. That is the reason why when eating green rice, besides the aroma of the young rice, you can smell the elegant and unforgettable fragrance from lotus leaves.

 

Green rice

Green rice is one of the most unique specialty of Hanoi in September

Enjoy the Dracontomelon

As a special fruit that only finds in Southern China and Vietnam, Dracontomelon or so-called “Sau” is a specialty that you can enjoy in the journey in Hanoi. If the hot summer offers you with a sweet and sour cup of green Sau juice, the autumn of Hanoi will please you with a ripen Sau. Ripen Sau being dotted with salt or sugar with some paprika is a great dishes for you to try out. This snack is very “addictive” in the autumn of Hanoi.

 

Ripen Sau

Ripen Sau – the addicted street food vendor

Take a cup of beer or “bia hoi”

Hanoi in the afternoon is covered with the golden sunlight felling like the lemon wine of the autumn. At this time, you can see Hanoi people head to the lakeside or sidewalks restaurants to enjoy a cup of cool beer. Try to drink a cup of Bia Hoi in the sidewalk and see the hurried life of local people on the street; you can feel the enjoyment of slowly life and beauty of the old city. Apart from that, in this beer shop, you can also find out the beer drinking culture of Hanoi. People can drink with their friends or even stranger and talk about any topic; whether it is politics or entertainment news, you can find it all in this shop. Interesting, right?

 

A beer corner

A beer corner in Hanoi Old Quarter

>> Click here for Hanoi tour suggestion: Hanoi Street Food Tour

Some more suggested Hanoi tours

Let’s plan your Vietnam tours then getting to Hanoi in September and see what your experience might be. It is for sure one of your greatest ever.

 

Phuong Dao – Travel Lover

#Indochinavoyages #Indochinatours #Timlee #Vietnamtours #Myanmartours #Cambodiatours #Laostours #Thailand tours

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Top 7 places & activities for your exceptional and memorable Myanmar travel https://www.indochinavoyages.com/travel-blog/top-7-places-activities-myanmar-travel

Opened to the rest of the world almost a decade, Myanmar had first branded up its name to many bespoke travelers; and soon becoming the world’s top 10 must go destinations in 2013. Since then, still,  some political conflicts between the army and the democratic Aung San Suu Kyi or some scattered fighting at India borders; plus the least develop of infrastructure hasn’t yet brought Myanmar travel industry to its fullest play.

At the same time, dramatically changes from the internet invasion, the flooding in of mass tourism from neighboring Asia has made the young tourism of Myanmar derailed here and there. Some of the travel sites that were beautifully heard 10 years ago have been now becoming very popular and touristy destination. Travel to Myanmar today can’t bring you enough emotions as of 10 years ago if you are a kind of traveler who is looking for more authentic, local touched experience.

 

Myanmar travel

You should plan an exceptional travel to Myanmar soon

Don’t know where to plan and start your most memorable Myanmar tours?  No worry, the top 7 places and activities below should be triggered at your plan and highly recommended to follow. Let’s do it soon and sooner before the country making its change very fast, along with the surge coming of internet to this once sleepy and exotic destination.

Sunrise in Bagan, how to get it

Located in the central of Myanmar and dotted itself with over 2000 ancient temples, Bagan is a really special travel attraction. When Bagan welcomes its new day, you will have the chance to see 2000 temples which are gradually and slowly appeared as the sun rising. Though, according to the new regulation since 2015, travelers are not allowed to climb up any temple for the lookout as before but some regulated areas are still, generally a hilly mount of land to offer the vantage point for sunrise moment.

Another costing but life time experience way is to book your balloon flight in advance. The reliable Balloon operator as www.balloonsoverbagan.com is now offering 2 packages to any traveler; flight only and combo flight & breakfast at the cost of US$350 and US$400 respectively. If you are a loyal customer to a powerful Myanmar travel agency, it is best to check from them for a possible discount price package. It is often that a detailed table of sunrise hours is shown at your hotel or guesthouse for your reference from the night before, to pick the best time for the best sunrise moment.

 

sunrise in Bagan

Legendary Bagan is appearing as the sun goes high

>> Click here for Bagan sunrise tour: Highlights Of Myanmar 8 Days

Is this worth visiting the Nyaung U market

Known as the biggest market in Bagan, Nyaung U market preserves its aged old custom of an outdoor buy & sell area like many others in Asia. All kind of live stocks, fruits, food, vegetables and necessities were brought here for people to trade. Every corner inside and outside the market can be the highlight of the visit; where you will enjoy the way people place their products; the way they scale (weight) it; the way the women go shopping and bring stuffs home.

The crowded ambiance plus the fresh smell of the market will easily make you feel like a photographer and memory recorder. Depend on how you interact with the visit, it generally takes 1.5 to 2 hours to absorb the charm and the discovery of this market to the best possible.  

 

Nyang U market

Nyang U market

>> Suggested Bagan tour: A day venture ot at Bagan

Why Sittwe Myanmar and its most fascinating fish market

Sittwe hasn’t yet a well-known place of travel in Myanmar travel map. This township belongs to Rakhine State; and lies to the West of Myanmar while bordering with India & Sri Lanka by the Bay of Bengal.

When traveling to Sittwe, most people consider it as a buffer zone for one night stay before getting to the remote Mrauk U. But some people rarely know that this coastal town will reward the stay a lot, generally the charm of this small town feel with its interesting fish market. At the market outdoor area, the seller, who come right from the bank of water will dock all his fishes on the floor and shout out loud like an auction sales. Who bid higher will get the deal. Inside the market, there are huge piles of dried shrimps, dried fish hanging next to the old-fashioned scale; making the exhibitions of the product so tempting and interesting to look at. The smell of fish, both from fresh stock and drying ground will make the market hours unforgettable.

 

Sittwe fish market

Sittwe fish market

Exploring the ancient temples in Mrauk U

Known as the capital and trading port town of Rakhine State in the 15 and 16th century, Mrauk U boasts a selection of untouched temples and pagodas. Beside a larger ruined area that made Mrauk U known as an archeological site, remind the today world travelers the gone glorious days of the Rakhine State.

Highlighted Mrauk U temples to see are the Koethaoung and Sitthaoung; which located in the lower lands and surrounded by the dense vegetation. The town is not stretching too far. A day venturing around will enhance your understanding of the once powerful Rakhine state; and why the local people took their pride in their olden days. For the best added value to your visit of these sacred temples, let arrange the visit during the monsoon season to get the best appearance; when the beauty of these ancient temples are found in their green cover.

 

Mrauk U temples

Visiting Mrauk U temples is like a whole new experience

How to get boat from Sittwe to Mrauk U

Daily local boat departs the Sittwe habour at 14 pm; and it takes roughly 5 hours to get there. Price is US$ 20 and can be varied a bit due to the local Kyat exchange. Morning public boat can be on daily basis or every two days, based on the season. Let’s check out more from your hostel or hotel. Another option is local bus, expected a bit bumpy ride, at the cost of US$25. It’s best to do the first ride by boat and the return one by bus, to gain a comprehensive travel experience of yours.

Discovering the hidden Chin Village

From Mrauk U, a 40 minute pumping drive will get you to a boat pier; then you will be transferred in a 2 hours boat ride along the Lay Mio River to access to the Chin Village, the unique village where some of the old women to be found with tattoo on their face. It’s said that the Chin girls were forced with facial tattoo at their childhood; so they will look less appealing or charming to the men who invading their territory. Along with the opening to the rest of the world, the practice has recently no longer existed. The facial tattoo ladies you found at the village might be the last generation of this custom.

 

The facial tattoo ladies in Myanmar

The ethnic minority ladies are well-known for their remarkable facial tattoos

The trip is enriched with some daily activities of the locals who live by the bank of the Lay Mio River, as well as chances to witness some traditional games played by the villages’ children along the village walk. A car or tuk tuk should be booked for your travel from town to the boat pier. Car is recommended though it might not be a decent and comfy one. Remember, you are at the very poor and remote area of Myanmar.

Taking a boat ride on Inle lake

Also locating in the central area of Myanmar, Inle Lake is 45 minute drive from Heho Airport, surrounded by the rugged mountain of Southwestern Shan State. The lake is huge and serene most of the time; and will be very scenic in a clear day with blue sky, moderate sun, dotted with villages on stills and floating gardens. This is the homeland, occupied by the majority of Intha people and other minority of Pa-o people who lived upon tending the floating garden and fishing with single-leg rowing technique.

Generally, you can arrange your boat time by mid-afternoon (roughly 3pm) to have more chances for daily activities of the local people when they are finishing their day from the garden or on the way home. Sunset moment to be likely happened, promising ton of photos to be taken. Beside the beauty of the Lake and its surrounding, interacting with Intha fishermen on the lake is really a highlight during your Burma travel.

 

The Inle Lake fishermen

The Inle Lake fishermen fishing with single-leg rowing technique

>> Here is a suggested Myanmar itinerary to admire the most surprising way of single leg rowing by local Intha fishermen at Inle Lake: Manmar Adventure 10 Days

Meditating by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda

Known as a collection of fainted houses and history – stained streets that once under the colonialism of the Bristish, Yangon has a lot to show in a day or two with some famous sites. You might hear from some as Sule Temple, the Parliament House, Chinese town, Scot Marke, etc. But above those, the famed Shwedagon Pagoda, which is located right in the central of Yangon, can’t be missed. Its large and stretching construction scales has made it the main and crowded relic sight to locals and popular tour spot for foreign travelers. The Pagoda is said to be constructed more than 2500 years ago and under the most serious preservation work by the Burmese people and its government.

 

Shwedagon Pagoda

Just close your eyes, enjoy the evening breeze and fall deep into your meditation

Once check in and after a nice walk around, the sacred and belief-driven ambiance, the splendid setting of the pagoda plus its spacious area will easily inspire you to sit down at a corner and do a short meditation. Regardless other visitors or prayers who are walking by, just close your eyes, enjoy the evening breeze and fall deep into your meditation at the most impressive pagoda in Myanmar. It can for sure enrich your lifetime experiences in this part of the world. Isn’t it special?

Other suggestions for Myanmar tours

 

Tim Lee – Travel Specialist

#Indochinavoyages #Indochinatours #Timlee #Vietnamtours #Myanmartours #Cambodiatours #Laostours #Thailand tours

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Pak Ou Caves – A highlight of Luang Prabang Laos https://www.indochinavoyages.com/travel-blog/pak-ou-caves-luang-prabang-laos

Luang Prabang has been a tourist hub of Laos and the Southeast Asia thanks to its well – preserved architecture, rich culture and lovely nature. Situating next to the Mekong River, Luang Prabang Laos has a lot to offer to its visitors besides the Old town, the ancient shrines and temples. When making a visit to this city, make sure you put Pak Ou Caves into your bucket list.

 

Pak Ou cave

Pak Ou caves – one of the most treasured religious symbols of Luang Prabang

Pak Ou Caves facts

In the west of Luang Prabang, Pak Ou caves is 25 kilometers outside of the city. What makes this cave special is that there are thousands of Buddha statues insides, on the rocky cliff with faces overlooking to the Mekong river. The cave is actually combines of 2 smaller caves: lower and upper one. The lower cave is called Tham Ting and closer to water level; while the upper one, called Tham Theung, is reached by climbing up some stone steps.

 

Buddha statues inside Pak Ou Cave

Thousands of Buddha statues inside Pak Ou Caves

Tham Ting is the place for local people burn offerings; hence you will feel more of untouched vibe when going deeper to Tham Theung. In this lower cave, nature light is in good condition and there is no difficulty in going around. The Buddha icons, mostly wooden, are scattered on almost all shelves and clefts. The second cave is dark and it is necessary that you bring a torch along with you while climbing and exploring it. In order to get inside, you will need to climb for about 10 minutes.

 

Tham Theung

The entrance to upper cave Tham Theung

It is said that there are approximately 4000 Buddha statues existing inside Pak Ou caves. Those Buddha images follow various of positions such as meditation, peace and nirvana. The inhabitants of Luang Prabang have a strong belief that the statues have been left in the cave for hundreds of years. Most of the statues were made of wood; and the rest of them were made of resin and even earthenware and animal bones. Then, they are painted in red or black and covered with gold.

How to get to Pak Ou Caves

There are 3 main ways for you to see Pak Ou Caves: tuk tuk, boat cruise or group tour. Tuk tuk is everywhere to be seen in Luang Prabang; thus it is such a piece of cake to catch one from the main streets to get to Pak Ou Caves. Tuk tuk driver will take you to the nearest town and from there, you will need to get on a ferry across the river.

 

Pak Ou Cave Tuk tuk

Tuk tuk is used to get to Pak Ou Caves from Luang Prabang

Also, getting a boat cruise on Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves is probably the most desirable and charming way for a major number of travelers. If you are looking for reducing the cost, you can join in a boat cruise with other people; please note that time schedule is inflexible in this case. Besides, some people are into a more private space; so they would hire a boat for themselves only. You can expect the boat trip lasts for 2 hours and 1 more hour on the way back.

 

Boats to Pak Ou cave

Boats’ owners are waiting for their guests to visit Pak Ou caves

The third way to get to Pak Ou caves is joining in a group tour of half day or full day from Luang Prabang city center. The tour will provides pick up and drop off from your hotel; so we cannot deny the convenience.

Visiting Whiskey Village near Pak Ou Caves

The name of Whiskey Village is Ban Xieng Hai and it is on the way to Pak Ou caves. In here, you can find the traditionally homemade whiskey by the local people. Lao Lao is how local people call their type of liquor. It is produced from rice on open fire and distilled in earthen jars.

 

Wine production village

Ban Xieng Hai wine production village

Best time to visit Pak Ou Caves

Pak Ou caves is originally a spiritual as well as worth to visit; it is nowadays gets very touristy. Almost all tours depart for Pak Ou in the morning; that is the reason why the best time to visit Pak Ou is advisable in the afternoon. If you can book a boat trip in the late afternoon, you can witness a nice sunset on Mekong River on the way coming back. During the year, Pak Ou caves welcomes the biggest number of travelers in April; as known as the Laos New Year.

Suggested Luang Prabang tours

After all, are you already impressed by thousands of Buddha statues here? Do not hesitate to contact us – Indochina Voyages for your Indochina tours to Laos. Hopefully, you will find useful information in this article to visit one of the must-see place in Luang Prabang Laos, Pak Ou Caves.

 

Minh Vu – Travel Specialist

 

#Indochinavoyages #Indochinatours #Timlee #Vietnamtours #Myanmartours #Cambodiatours #Laostours #Thailand tours

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