My Aunt’s Flooded Rice Paddy in Laos

I received a phone call from my cousin yesterday morning, it was a pleasant surprise, all the way from Paksan, Laos. I mailed my Aunt some pictures and my cousin called to tell me that her mom received the package.  This was the second time that I sent her pictures, the postage costs around $30 and it takes about 2-3 weeks to get there.  This time I sent her a photo album so it’s a bit more heavier than the last time, but I think it’s well worth it since my dad can write the description of the photos.  She asked me when will I visit again?  I wish I could, but it doesn’t look like anytime soon, I do miss Laos already.

When I visited them last year, I was hoping to see their rice paddy.  I read about the flood in Vientiane back in August of last year, but didn’t know if it also flooded Paksan or not.  As you can see the two colors river where Nam Xan and Mekong River meet, my Aunt‘s rice paddy is right next to Nam Xan, the clear water side.

My Aunt leases part of her farm to her neighbor, this section was leased out, and their rice paddy survived the flood.

Sadly my Aunt’s rice paddy was flooded, no rice plant in sight.

When we got there in November, part of the rice paddy was still flooded, at first I thought it was a pond but she said that it was from the flood.  The last flood was the worst flood in 100 years, the Mekong river exceeded its highest recorded level of 12.38 meters in 1966 flood, I recalled my mom told me about it, but that was before my time.

My dad walking through the empty rice paddy, such a devastating sight.

It was a place for her neighbor’s cows to roam freely.

I saw colorful dragonflies, red and green.

As for my Aunt, she lost last year’s rice crops that her family had worked so hard for, but that didn’t deter them from this year planting, I’m sure there has been valuable lessons learned. But some of  her neighboring farmers didn’t do too bad, some were busy harvesting their rice crops when we were there.


  1. Nye, sorry to hear about your aunt’s flooded rice field. It seems like every year during the monsoon season, somewhere in Laos always get flooded. I called my aunt 2 weeks ago and asked her about the level of MeKong River. She had told me it is high but not anywhere near last year flooding. My aunt/grandpa live about 100 yards from the shore of MeKong River. This reminds me to go buy some phone cards today and call to check on my grandpa/aunt.

    Wow!! you send the whole photo album back to Laos? After I got home from my last trip, I developed bunch of pictures from Costco and send as is.

    “yu nai wat pern dai het tung wat am sim… puar pen sa tharn tee mien tol ga dook” 🙂

    • Hi seeharhed, good thing that this was not their only source of income. The farmland in that area is probably not worth a lot either, although I see it as a peaceful place to live, and she said that I could live there if I like. 🙂 Paksan is not too far from Vientiane.

      The first time I sent 500 photos (wedding and family photos) and it only cost $21 to sent, and this time it cost more, I guess the photo album is heavy, but I like it that my dad can write next to the photos, and they’re mostly photos that we took in Thailand and my Aunt didn’t get to come with us, her health didn’t permit her.

      I see you can read Pasa Lao, you read my dad’s writing. Not bad. 🙂 I didn’t know that my dad is poetic either.

  2. I thought it was just a comment describing the detail of the event in the picture.

    Seeharhed, is it poetry? it doesn’t sound poetic to me.

  3. Sorry to hear about the flood.

    At least the animals look healthy… and seem to enjoy being near people. I’ve never been around one before. They are cute too.

    • Cambree, thanks. I think they’re getting too old, and the children have other professions that most can’t help out much, so I’m not sure how long they’ll continue to do this.

      I was expecting to see mostly water buffaloes in Laos and Thailand, and was kind of surprised to see cows. But they’re cute, the day before we left Paksan my cousin had one tied up in the back of his pickup truck and he was going to kill it for our feast, that thing looked back at my dad and I and we asked him not to do that, so we had chicken instead.

  4. Nye, yes, I am Tai dam from Savannakhet, the reason I ran into your blog because I was looking for this song”kou- lap Paksan” and I found more than just the song!
    The last time I was in Laos 5/09. and on the way to visit a friend in Ban Palay-Thabok, I take a break at Paksan so I can have a close look of the two colors river.
    My english is very limit or I write more, but I like the gosh stories and the pictures of rice field.
    Sambaidee, San

    • san, Paksan must be pretty when you visit, I heard that the road construction that ran through my Aunt’s house was done. Last November was my first time visiting since I’ve been to the state and it felt like a dream when I was there. I didn’t know about the two colors river until my Aunt and Uncle took us that morning, it was a beautiful sight to see in person.

      Your comment is always welcome here, and I do translate many ghost stories, and also took lots of picture of the rice paddy in North Carolina as well, you might like to check out the pictures if you’ve not seen it already, it belongs to my Hmong neighbor.

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