Thanks for checking out Part II of our “To Houn and Back” series. Last week served as an introduction to the series as well as a short summary of our first day of travel.
The second day was quite an adventure! We ended up getting a late start out of Oudomxay because I couldn’t find my loupe (giant eyepiece). I used it during our temple filming the night before and we spent a chunk of the morning retracing our steps. I found it a week later in one of my mic boxes:) After that, we headed to the town of Houn and by the time we reached the district’s main village, it was time for lunch! We ate at one of Singkham’s favorite noodle shops and headed out.
We left Houn town to check out Ban Talae. This mountain top village is home to a newly discovered waterfall and we were told that it was a 45 minute drive from the main road and had some stunning vistas for us to take in. The reports were half right :)
We took off down a narrow dirt road and after about 20 minutes I gave up the wheel to a much better driver in Bruce! With the 4WD engaged, we headed up the mountain. I didn't get any pictures of this sketchy road because I was too focused on my slightly irrational fear of dying. The 45 minute trip turned into a three hour uphill adventure.
We passed through multiple villages that sat at the top of beautiful tree covered mountains. Each time, a local would tell us that Ban Talae was only 20 minutes away. We quickly realized that nobody had a watch and that it was DEFINITELY not 20 minutes away! Each time we crested another mountain, we failed to see Ban Talae, but were presented with another breathtaking view. The trip took much longer than expected, but it was a journey we’ll never forget.
Ban Talae is a village of the Khmu ethnic group and was full of beautiful and friendly people. They had never met a westerner and encouraged us to bring our friends and family the next time! They were thrilled that we had come to visit them and even sent some of their young people to guide us around the village and down to the waterfall. Bruce took this shot and you can check out more of Bruce's work Here.
Our time spent in the village came to an end as the sun started to set. Our new friends told us that we could actually shave few hours off the trip if we headed west down the other side of the mountain rather than returning the way we came. We said goodbye to Ban Talae and headed down the mountain. This leg was just as beautiful as our trip here. With just an 1/8 of a tank of gas left, we were happy about the mostly downhill drive.
We'll continue down the mountain and into our friend's village in Part III. Check back soon!!!