We left Pakse by boat and travelled the 1½ hours to Champassak which was a bit cramped but a very scenic way to go via the Mekong River. Champassak is a very sleepy town on the banks of the Mekong River and there is nothing to do in the town itself, everything is closed by 10 pm so that's when everyone goes to bed. We got up on the second day and hired a tuk tuk for a day for $8 each and went to Wat Phou the most impressive Khmer ruin in Laos where the first building actually pre-dates the temples of Angkor. The view alone is breath taking from the top and the stone carvings are extremely good. After lunch we went out to Ban Pathoumphone for an elephant trek. After waiting for 3 hours for 3 elephants to arrive we began a trek up a hill and to our surprise there was a pre-Angkor fort on the hill that dates back over 1000 years with incredible views over the Mekong flood plain. It cost $10 per elephant and lasted well over an hour which is better than anywhere else in SE Asia and the fort was worth it alone.
I have also decided not to do the 4000 islands this time and to head north as I need to be back in Thailand by the 10th. Also something else good has happened, I left my camera in Pakse and the guest house sent free of charge to me over 50 km away. The following day I took the bus back to Pakse which costs 50 cents and takes an hour.
Steve's Big Trip. Ayutthava. Start. • Chaing Mai • Koh Lanta • Koh Samui • Koh Yao Noi • Angkor Temples • Battambang • Phnom Penh • Siem Reap • Sihanoukville • Champassak • Luang Prabang • Pak Beng • Pakse • Savannakhet • Vang Vieng • Vientiane • Xepon • Disaster. End.