Friday, June 15, 2012

Twilight in Pakse

Pakse, South Laos - The backpack crowd here mostly rest their heads in the area along Route 13 between Champasak Palace Hotel and north just before crossing Sedone River (Xe Don). See the Google map below. In this northern portion, amenities conglomerate: guesthouses, restaurants and coffee bars, ATM machines and foreign exchange counters, convenience stores, travel shops (mostly affiliated within a hotel or guesthouse). The closest market is at the backroads of Road 46 and 24 (see map) where several Chinese and Vietnamese Restaurants offer delectable dishes at dirt cheap rates. Imoun Homestay is located at the southern end of Thanon (road) 10 closer to the Mekong than Sedone River which is at the northern end. This makes Wat Luang a landmark because it straddles where Road 13 and Road 10 converge.

My night time sojourn starts from Champasak Palace Hotel, crossing Route 13 and heading west to the bowels of Pakse's dimly-lit sidestreets. I checked my mails at Clean Cafe just across the palace hotel (at 5,000 kip an hour) then walked leisurely around. I avoided those that had barking dogs thus this really dictated my unplanned itinerary.

Away from the hustle of Road 13, I noticed the influence of neighboring Vietnam - women in conical hats and Viet cuisine dot the fringes. With nothing particularly eye catching, I ventured into a restaurant with no English sign. I was the sole customer thus I was accommodated like royalty. I wanted to try local gastronomy and doing that at the more central area could diffuse the authenticity. It was Rattanasay Restaurant (I asked the waitress) - and ordered "Mee Kop Lad Na Moo". What is an exotic dish without its exotic name, right? But it's really Crispy Egg Noodle with Pork Dipped in Chinese Gravy (which is really more of a "sauce" than gravy). How much? A ridiculous 20,000 kip ($2.50)! I couldn't get a decent meal in Champasak and Don Khong for anything less than 80,000 kip ($10), yet here I was in Pakse feasting on what could be one of the most delicious noodle dishes in a restaurant where no one patronizes but me! Go figure!

I trudged along dark corners until I found the northern stretch of Route 13 - the backpack crowd gathers here. I found a modern shop called "Chickky - Icy Pooh" and ordered 5 pieces of chicken wings at 11,000 kip ($1.40) to take back to my room. The place subs as an ice cream parlor and reminds me of the glitzy fastfood restaurants and shops that pepper Manila.

I saw a Lao Development Bank ATM, Friendship Minimart (you won't miss this because it's bathed with lights); Royal Pakse Hotel which doesn't seem so royal; the Lankham Hotel - where from another blog I read, great pho could be had; Lankham Internet across Lankham Hotel; Bolaven Cafe, Easy Net Internet Shop, the eye-catching Sang Aroum Hotel, and the two restaurants offering Indian-Halal Food: Nazim Restaurant (beside Royal Pakse hotel) and Jasmin Restaurant (offers Indian and Malaysian entrees).

Every so often, a tuktuk driver would peddle their rides but my hotel is really just a 15-20 minute walk back south of Route 13. Back at my palace hotel, I scoured its eerie hallways and backyard. Not long after, I was in my room enjoying my chicken wings, a sugary bread, a bottle of coke and Andrew Lincoln saving humanity from the Walking Dead (Star Movies). I couldn't really ask for more on my last night in Pakse.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Champasak Palace Hotel

Road 46

Thanon 24 meets Road 46

Rattanasay Restaurant's "Mee Kop Lad Na Moo" or Crispy Egg Noodle with Pork in Chinese Gravy at 20,000 kip

Rattanasay Restaurant (Lattanasay, they'd say) at the corner of Roads 24 and 46.

A photography shop

Sang Aroum Hotel

Bolaven Restaurant

Lankham Hotel

Friendship Minimart (above and below)

Jasmin Restaurant

Nazim Restaurant

Wat Luang at night

Kafe Katuad - a nice comfy looking place really

Internet Cafe across Lankham

A massage place

Chickky and Icy Pooh

5-piece chicken wings at 11,000 kip

Ensaymada-like bread at 2,000 kip

Restaurant at Champasak Palace Hotel

Lobby at Champasak Palace Hotel

Backyard of Champasak Palace Hotel

Map of Pakse covering Route 13 area (courtesy of Google Maps)


Unknown said...

Breathtaking views!! Visiting your blog is always a feast to the eyes :)

eye in the sky said...

@ Mom:

Thanks. :)

NRIGirl said...

Ooh! What a walkthrough! Thank you @Eye!

eye in the sky said...

@ NRIGirl:

My pleasure. :)

MeMock said...

I like Pakse, a nice place to chill for a day or two. I think I stayed at the Sang Aroum Hotel which is locally known as the white house. I have also stayed at the pakse hotel which is very expensive but has a nice restaurant on the roof.

What was that girl doing in the internet cafe???

eye in the sky said...

@ MeMock:

I didn't know people referred to Sang Aroum as the "White House", but rightfully so. When you're passing by, it catches your attention every time.

Re: Internet girl. She was receiving a call from her mobile. Don't know why she had to stand up though. And yes, I like Pakse too. Enjoyed it more than I expected.

MeMock said...

I just went back and looked at that photo again of the internet cafe and whoops - it must have seen a strange one to ask! When I first saw it I thought she had one leg up on the table and was trying to climb up onto it! With a second glance I can see that isn't the case!

eye in the sky said...

@ MeMock:

I was actually curious what you were thinking she was doing. :)