Forty one kilometers, one-way on two wheels just to reach Vat Phou, an ancient Angkorian Temple on Champasak Province, southern part of Laos.
We rented a motorbike from Miss Noy in Pakse (the rental shop is so famous you can ask around) at 60,000 Kip (US$ 7.43) per day and filled it up with petrol for 25,000 Kip (US$ 3.09). The guys from the rental company were so helpful that they gave us an overview of some sights to see around town with free maps. They also gave a few remindres on securing our bikes.
After getting acquainted with our new ride we rolled off; I was driving, my buddy navigating.
|Ready to roll|
After reaching a toll gate it went smoothly. The rural sceneries and breathtaking landscape made the butt-numbing 41-kilometer ride bearable. We owned the road passing by a few cars on the way. I loved the ride. It was so relaxing. I was on the verge of stopping by on the side of the road to just relish the moment. But we couldn’t do so for it was a freeway so we just settled on viewing while driving.
|Vat Phou ruins|
We parked our bike, secured it with chain and padlocks and went inside the Vat Phou Complex. After paying 50,000 Kip each (US$ 6.19) for the entrance fee, we hopped on a free shuttle going to the base of the temple complex.
|Levels after levels|
Like most of the Angkorian temples, Vat Phou is facing the east. It reminded me of the temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia. If you go to the museum inside the temple complex first, you would understand the historical evidences linking Vat Phou to the great temples or wats in Cambodia.
It was high noon and I was just recovering from our numbing bike ride and all I wanted was a breather. But my buddy was just too excited and explored the different levels of the temple complex right away, I followed his suit.
It wasn’t a busy day. Other than a handful of locals, we were the only ones uncovering the different stages of the vast temple complex. Evidences of restorations can be seen. But what's remarkable was that the restored pieces were noticeably replicates of the original ones. They didn't try to make it look like the original ones.
|Restored parts never meant to look like the original ones|
|Amazing view from the top|
Resting on a spot, we relished that moment of seclusion. We stayed there longer than we usually do when visiting temples. Maybe it was the cool weather or maybe it was the isolation we had at that moment. We found solace amidst the bustles of Pakse town.
|Ancient rock carvings|
We got lost looking for the freeway but ended up on a quiet community in Champasak near the Mekong. More than the breathtaking view on top of the temple, I love how we managed to travel on two wheels. It was challenging but rewarding on the other hand.