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07 June 2010


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This post developed a shape of its own accord. I didn't dare change it. So criticism or praise is totally undeserved in this respect. Feel free on any other grounds, of course.


Lawrence, fascinating, my knowledge of the history of this part of the world is sadly lacking. Some great photographs make the commentary complete.

Sounds like it might have been the sort of tourist adventure I enjoy.

Michael Hare

Great post Lawrence. I hope to make my way up there one day. You say it takes 8 hours from Phonsavanh to Vieng Xai. Are there petrol service stations enroute or did you have to take gallon containers in the back of your Kia?


Great photos Lawrence. I particularly enjoyed the one looking north and those of Vieng Xai. Interesting post.
Thanks for this.

All the best, Boonsong


Mike, Thanks for your comment. I certainly enjoyed this trip. There are still a couple more parts of Laos I would like to visit. Next year, maybe.


Thanks, Michael. No, we didn't have a petrol can, but although on a couple of occasions we made long journeys in one day, finding petrol wasn't a problem. On this trip I think we filled up at Ban Noen, where all the buses (well, the FEW buses) and minivans pull in at the market place. Had lunch there too. Muang Kham and Sam Neua also had petrol. The main problem was agreeing with some fairly sleepy pump attendants exactly what fuel we needed. Essence, I think is what we generally settled for. But they seemed to use different terms in different places.
Actually we spent the night in Sam Nuea, so that was 8 hours, then about 45 minutes further on to Vieng Xai next day.


Boonsong, thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the post.


Hi Lawrence,

Excellent post, so far I was only able to visit Vientaine on a days visit with my family and her Thai friends, which I enjoyed a lot.

Lao Beer is one of the ebtter beers around in these parts of the world!

Interestingly enough, I'm just reading a book about the Ravens for the 2nd or 3rd time, which is about the secret war that went on in Laos just before you seemd to have lived there. Nice to see pix of the PDJ.


Camille, thanks very much for your complimentary comment. I love Beer Lao, too, and always come back with as much as I can carry (plenty, in the car).

You remind me of a little story of one of the Ravens who telephoned me one day (he had the wrong number, in fact). The initial conversation went like this:
HIM: Larry.
ME: Some people call me that. Most people call me Lawrence or Lawrie.
HIM: Rats!
ME: What? What do you mean, rats?

Take a look at pages 343-346 and 386 and you'll know who was calling. I got to know him a bit later and he was a really nice guy, though I don't like what he had been doing down in South Laos. I don't think he liked it either, at least in retrospect, because he stayed on to work with refugees and war-wounded civilians.

I'll put some PDJ pics on my next Laos post (coming soon). Cheers.


Hi Lawrence,

Those pages are coming up, I'm at page 300 something right now but figured it out, let's do the coke test ;-)

Looking forward to seeing more pix of the PDJ and what are those jars anyway, can you post a picture of them, love to see some.

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