Through blogging and the blogosphere, writers have the power to truly take their followers anywhere in the world. Writers can take thousands on this journey of the digital and through building robust online connections can reach out to many. We as writers must go there in our minds and then transcend our readers there through words. We have to become a global voice, we must break news and add value, as we fear as writers we may lose meaning, and our words will become like liquid- gone unnoticed in an instant. We are blessed with digital technologies that extend us into time and space and allow us to paint unexplored worlds through images and writing which can reach people all across the globe. The blogosphere acts as a platform to bring to life under visited places and reveal foreign destinations with reviews on personal, cultural and culinary experiences. The beauty of blogging is that we can discover other people’s experiences whether they are positive or negative and form our own opinions. If someone cannot physically get to the destination then my words and photos can take them there emotionally and visually. Through photos we can take viewers on extremely insightful journeys. Pictures inspire me to explore new and foreign places and so I am going to take you on a journey through my personal pictures of Laos that were taken at the beginning of January 2012. Enjoy.
My first view of the Mekong Delta from a smal tradition Laos boat with an added motor.
The Pak Ou Caves also known as Tham Ting are situated down the Mekong Delta in Luang Prabang, Laos. The house thousands of mini statues of Buddha which pilgrims have been bringing there for over hundreds of years and one of the most revered holy sites in all of Laos. You can see the small opening to the caves from the river.
As well as the Caves the boat driver will take you to local villages to try the very potent home-made rice wine and buy traditional crafts. The early morning fresh off a 17 hour border crossing bus ride from Thailand was exhausting but the rice wine definitely woke me up!
I braved the cool waters of the Kuang Xi Waterfall famous for its crystal blue water that flows over unique rock formations.
Our truck/taxi driver, despite witnessing this incredible view of the rice fields every day, was in awe just like we were, and took pleasure in stopping five times on the way back to town to let us take some scenic shots.
We woke up at the crack of dawn to offer the monks rice. This takes place every day, with monks from fifteen temples coming down the main street of Luang Prabang to gather their offerings.
We had to be quick to gather up the little balls of rice because the monks walked past us very fast and there were a lot of people they had to make their way through. To think this image was captured with an iPhone 4s!
Tubing isnt the only activity to participate in in Vang Vieng. As well as kayaking, elephant bathing and rock climbing, caving is a tourist favourite. Our tour guide so thoughtful reminded us that if all of our head touches were to go out we would be lost in a cave that was 2km deep. The formations of the cave were hollow and if we ran our fingers along them the sound would echo throughout the whole cave.
Originally the owner of an Organic Farm on the banks of the river thought that tubing down this river would be a perfect way to soak up the views of the amazing mountain range surrounding it. What was once a peaceful way to absorb the natural landscape that Laos has to offer has been transformed into a boozing river for young travellers.
Unfortunately unlike the advancements in photography and video, the effects of technological progress aren’t always positive. Media outlets have exposed a very negative aspect of the Vang Vieng town where tourists flock to every year to take part in the attraction of tubing. Recently there has been a very negative stigma placed around the country of Laos as a result of the tragic deaths of three Australians during January of 2012. Unfortunately a small minority who choose to drink until oblivion and throw drugs in the mix, dampen the experience for other tourists who decide to holiday to Vang Vieng. Like many I had a very positive experience of tubing, I was sensible and used common sense. Water sports and alcohol don’t mix and if you keep them separate you can have a good time.
As you can see from my pictures Laos has such diverse scenery and beautiful people. There is so much more than drunken, dangerous tubing, ….Don’t allow bad press to taint your view of this spectacular country.
Travelling is certainly a leap of faith. I hope I have inspired you to take this leap.