Cycling to the Wall of Giants
Thakhaek itself is a sleepy Mekong River town with a French colonial past, including some classic style buildings from that period in time.
It also boasts a lovely boulevard where in the early evenings lots of food stalls pop up, a great place to watch the sun go down while enjoying a beer Lao.
Renting bicycles is easy in Thakhaek and we left early the next morning, cycled through the town towards Route 13.
Despite this being main highway to Vientiane or Savannakhet, the traffic was light and cycling relatively easy as the road is in good condition.
Lao coffee has an acquired taste and is not everybody’s favourite cup of tea, so a stop at a Thai chain(!) gas station with coffee shop was welcome indeed.
After about 3 kilometers the first parts of Kampaeng Yak, the Wall of Giants, became visible on the left side of the road.
Legend has it that this ‘wall’ was erected in the 9th century during the ancient Sikhottabong Kingdom, but it is just imagination, only from a distance it looks man-made.
We made several stops, walked around and in 1 case on top where possible. Most parts of the ‘wall’ are heavily overgrown; despite this it certainly was impressive.
Cycling back we took a different route towards the Mekong River and pedaled along a charming countryside road, much nicer than Route 13!
When we reached the Mekong we got off our bikes, walked to the riverbank and found a kind of restaurant with floating rafts completely deserted. However in the evenings this could be quite popular.
Also interesting were 2 long boats lying nearby and in a temple opposite the road we discovered 3 more. During long boat racing this place should be really booming!
Further along cycling we passed a school, immediately 1 student ran out shouting ‘Farang! Sabaidee!!’ and was copied by most of his classmates, fun experience for us but perhaps not shared by their teachers.
Next we cycled through an area with some brick ‘factories’ using old style kilns, using scrap wood for the fires.
And a little later we were back in town, all in all a very worthwhile 3-hour trip!