●Trails of Indochina – 10/8 Phan Dinh Giot Street (Ho Chi Minh City, Tan Binh District); 011-84-8-3844-1005; trailsofindochina.com.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Plain of Jars
– Phonsavan (4 hours from Luang Prabang, 6 from Vientiane); plainofjars.net; giant stone jars of unknown ancient origin scattered over 100s sq kms; mystery what civilization created them; fashioned from solid stone & date from 500 BCE to 200CE.
●Si Phan Don (4000 Islands)
– Champasak Province (southern Laos); riverine archipelago located in Mekong River, characterized by numerous islands, half of which are submerged when Mekong River in flood; principal islands are Don Khong (largest), and Don Det & Don Khon; key features include: fresh-water, Irrawaddy dolphins (pakha), viewed by boat off Don Khong island (highly endangered); Khone Phapheng Falls, succession of impassable raging rapids; and 1st railway, Don Det-Don Khong narrow gauge railway, built by French to bypass Khone Phapheng Falls; best place to stay is Sala Done Khong [salalaoboutique.com].