Laos, Laos Trip, Travel

Laos Memory Lane: Southern Laos

Continue from Laos Memory Lane: Luang Prabang.  The accent in this region of Laos is very close to my own accent, Tai Tai.  But I think the local can pickup that we’re not from the Pakse area.  My family were from Muang Kao, right across the Mekong River from Pakse. We spent the last part of our trip in Pakse running errands and visiting with relatives.

Southern Laos is known for its beautiful waterfalls.  This is a video by by Rafael Amador which I have posted before.  The most beautiful waterfalls is at Khone Papen, then Tad Fane, Tad Lo (elephant), and in the end of the video is Tad Sua.

We visited Tad Yuang, a post from my trip.

Also Tad E-Tou waterfalls, a post from my trip.

I wanted to visit a coffee plantation in Paksong but time was not on our side.  If you’re in the area and have the time, check out this place, Paksong.info, the owner was kind enough to send me some photos to post for my Paksong Lao Coffee post.

I also want to visit Wat Phu but I was told that the only way to get there is by a ferry and there is a cut off time to come back.  If we were to miss the ferry, then we would have to spend the night there. We didn’t have that much time and couldn’t take the chance so we didn’t get to visit. What is so fascinating to me about Wat Phu is the story that I’ve heard over the years, it’s the legend of the human sacrifice.  I want to see this for myself.

Photo source.

Wat Phu is a ruined temple complex in Champasak, southern Laos. It is known for its Boun, also know as Wat Phu Festival and usually takes place on the full moon of the third lunar month (usually in early February for 3 days). Pilgrims from near and far come for Boun Wat Phu, and the festivities include elephant races, water buffalo & cock fighting, boxing, music and dances. Wat Phu was designated a World Heritage Site in 2001.

Photo source.

I think there is definitely a legend of human sacrifice at Wat Phu Champasak, but there are different versions out there, and the one known to the locals which was a story about Wat Phu and how the pond or the lake would take one life per year and no more.

Photo source.

After looking more into this, it appears that there is another version, at the top of the temple site are a number of carved rocks, resembling a crocodile, a naga (cobra), and an elephant.  It is believed that these rocks were used for human sacrifice.

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Photo source.

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The crocodile stone however has acquired some notoriety as being possibly the site of an annual human sacrifice. It has been suggested that this crocodile stone was used during the Chenla period (6th to 8th century) to make human sacrifice (you understand better the deep holes in the stone that would be filled with blood). However, this was never scientifically proved (source.)

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I think both legends are interesting, I’m wondering if there are more out there. If you do get to visit Wat Phu, do look for these stones.

We also visited Talat Dao Heuang Pakse new market, a post from my trip.

I hope you have a safe trip and don’t forget to take lots of photos to share. Bon voyage!  🙂

18 thoughts on “Laos Memory Lane: Southern Laos”

  1. Wow, wow, wow!

    Great pics and commentary Nye!

    You know, I would love to have you and others contribute to my Laos blog. It is so easy, all I have to do is add you as an author and then give you a password. You can upload music, videos, and so on. Right now I can add one more author, but next month when I upgrade to Deluxe I can add more. I think it would be cool to have you and others post some Lao food recipes, customs and so on.

    We have walked the same path to enlightenment at Wat Phou.

    1. Jeffrey, thanks. 🙂

      I would have loved to contribute but I don’t know how much time I would have to blog at your site. The video blogging has taken a lot of my time and I’m still so much behind in translating ghost stories. There is so much to do and so little time.

  2. Nye – Awesome pictures and stories. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to visit Wat Phu due to the time. I would have to spend 2 extra nights in Southern Provence. Perhaps the next trip back home I’ll get to visit those sites.

    1. seeharhed, I think a week in the Southern Provence would be ideal. On my next trip, I will visit all places that I had missed on my last trip.

  3. Sadly, my memory of Laos comes from watching the evening news back in the last 60’s of war and bombings. Have been seeing many photos from this part of the world showing its natural beauty and its people. Thank you for adding more beauty and knowledge to help me form a truer picture of what it looks like today.

    1. Scott, it is still a communist country but I’m glad that they allow tourists and those that fled the country during wartime to go back and visit. They also welcome any that want to go back and live. Laos is a beautiful country and I think everything looks more beautiful through the lens. 🙂

  4. great post:) Yeah, those stone carving are amazing. I remember how steep and hot it was going up those step. Guess, I might do it again this September if the rain ain’t too bad.

    1. Hi bassak, I’ve never gone there, only heard my older sisters talked about attending Boun Wat Phu back in the early 70s, and my mom told me the story about the 8 feet people that built the temple. You’re so lucky to get to visit Laos so often.

    1. Hi Kirk, thanks for taking the time to comment and visit my blog, I know how busy your with your blog. Wat Phu is also on the list for my next trip. 🙂

  5. Great find on the video. With the background music, I thought this was native Brazilians living along the Amazon! But it’s really in southern Laos.

    I’ve heard Laos was beautiful country and I’m glad to see it’s natural beauty is still intact. There are also many neat historic sites and places that I would love to see someday too.

    1. Cambree, it’s ashamed that we live so far, over 20 hours for most of us to travel to Laos. It would be nice for you to go back and visit with your family, there are so many interesting places to explore.

  6. Ginger! Love this post. The legend of human sacrifices at Wat Phu sounds fascinating. I am surprise my mom neglected to tell me this legend.

    Reading your posts and viewing your photos…makes me want to just pack my bags and go. When I do plan my trip, I am coming to you for travel advice!

    1. Hi nangmeta, just shoot me an email when you’re ready to go. I think most Lao parents only tell if you asked. I’m sure your mom has many fascinating stories to share. 🙂

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