VientianeCOPE. This impressive charity provides prosthetic and orthotic services to the many still falling victim to unexploded ordnance scattered throughout Laos, the most bombed country by population thanks to cluster bombs dropped by the US during the Vietnam War. The statistics laid out at the visitor centre were shocking and sobering.
Champassaktrip I had made solo in 2016. It was so good to have Karen with me this time around.
After some breakfast noodles here we took a songthaew to the little town of Champassak and were in our accommodation on the west shore of the Mekong by 9am. Temperatures had been rising since Vientiane and much of our three days here were spent in shady hammocks by the river. The views and great food made for a very pleasant stay.
|Blue Nawab Polyura schreiber
Si Phan Don (4000 Islands)
The journey to Don Khon involved a local boat transfer up river to the eastern dock of the Champassak ferry where a songthaew took us to the main road. A slightly nerve-wracking wait here in the middle of nowhere, but a bus duly turned up and took us the hour or so to Nakasong where we took the fabulous, scenic longtail boat to the island seeing a Shikra on the way. Door to door the journey took around 4 hours.
|Grass Yellow Eurema sp.
Li Phi Waterfall
|Yellow-spotted Keelback Fowlea flavipunctata
|Common Oakblue Arhopala micale
|Slender Skimmer Orthetrum sabina
|Dang's Cross Spider Argiope dang
On my previous trip I'd gone to see the Irrawaddy Dolphins from Kratie in Cambodia, so we thought we'd try for them here this time. It involved an early morning sidecar tuktuk along the old French railway line to the far south of Don Khon and the small port of Hang Khon. We then started looking around for a boat trip and bumped into the very same young woman we had helped in Vientiane a week before. She and her partner had hitched up with a Dutch couple and so we hired a boat between the six of us bringing the cost to less than a pound each!
We saw at least 3 (probably 5) River Dolphins including a mother and calf but not well enough to photograph. Views were better in Cambodia but this perhaps a more laid back experience and certainly not disturbing the dolphins much at all. The boat was out for about an hour.
|Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius philippensis
Our final day here was spent around the small town only adding a male philippensis Blue Rock Thrush to the bird list here, which finished on 49 species.
Indian Spot-billed Duck
Red Collared Dove
Asian Palm Swift
Chinese Pond Heron
Eastern Cattle Egret
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Blue Rock Thrush
Eurasian Tree Sparrow