At the time, I thought that my visit to Wat Phu Champasak was a complete washout, ruined by the rain. But looking at these pictures again today, I quite like the way the ruined Khmer temple looks in the wet.
Pictures of temples and monks in Laos are something of a cliche, but to avoid photographing them would be pointlessly contrary. So here are a few more monk portraits and wat details, taken in Savannakhet and Pakse in southern Laos.
I nearly missed this temple altogether. I was wandering the streets of Nakhon Phanom in northern Thailand with no clear plan in mind, with one eye on the threatening clouds overhead and half a mind to stop walking and take shelter somewhere with a cold beer. Instead, I walked on for another block, and came across Wat Srithep. An hour or so later, I left with some of my favourite pictures from this trip so far.
I was only in Thailand for three days. After leaving Vientiane, I continued south, spending an uneventful couple of days in Tha Khaek (that rain again), before crossing the Mekong into Thailand and the border town of Nakhon Phanom. My Lao visa was about to expire, and although I could have had it extended without leaving the country, it seemed like a good opportunity to see the other side of the river for a couple of days. I’m now back in Laos, in Savannakhet, which is lovely, and this blog, which has been lagging behind my movements for weeks, is now almost up-to-date.
I knew that travelling in south-east Asia in the wet season would be awkward at times, and that was certainly the case for the few days I spent in and around Vientiane. The capital city of Laos, not the most picturesque place to begin with, wasn’t done any favours by the rain. It wasn’t even dramatic-tropical-downpour rain, but persistent-drizzle-under-grey-skies rain, the kind of rain I left England to get away from.
Vientiane looks and feels very different to other places in northern Laos. The French influence is much more apparent, in the street names, food, architecture and general ambience. It hardly rivals Paris or London as one of the great capitals of the world, but it’s still a city, albeit a small, low-key one, and that makes it distinctly different to Luang Prabang or Luang Namtha.
Above and below are views of and from Patuxai, Vientiane’s Arc de Triomphe.
Wat Sisaket is home to hundreds of buddhas, big and small.
Khou Din market seems to have escaped the mallification, if that’s a word, which has made nearby Talat Sao market not very interesting.
I spent a lot of my time in Hue looking for patterns, details, textures and colours. I’ve put all these pictures together here because I wanted to do something a little different to my usual portrait dominated posts (though there will be some more Hue portraits coming soon).