The Pak Ou Caves in Luang Prabang, which are usually reached by riding upstream on a boat, contain a number of impressive rock formations, and miniture statues placed by the very first worshippers and preserved by their descendants. Our long-tail boat trip to the caves was interesting, sadly with the caves being the sortest part. Docking, our guide told us we’d have 30 minutes to spend exploring…and of course there would be the largest group of Chinese tourists arriving at the exact same time. We’d shuffle and contort our way behind the umbrella ridden crew on the most overcast of days. We’d be given a good half hour to visit the driver’s friend’s whiskey plantation on the way. We’d dock and were told we’d have to pay 10,000 kip each to visit. I had no problem supporting the local people, but when you pay the initial price for the Pak Ou Cave with whiskey tasting included it’s hard to resist the tear-jerking pout. Again – the tricky Laos at work. We would get ourselves a free tasting of some homebrewed lao lao whiskey.
Lao Lao is a rice whiskey made in Laos Various flavoured lao-laos are made by macerating such additives as honey, scorpions or snakes. Suckers for a good time, we grabbed a bottle. That bottle has since gone on to provide much in the way of entertainment and sanity on some very interesting bus rides through Laos.