As we woke up we realized we were already late for some starting-early tours but we had decided that we wouldn’t go with the suggested 180 USD tour regardless. We instead popped over to the place next doors which had some drivers offering tours, some version of Easy Rider, original or not was hard to tell. We spoke with an older guy, Truöng, who sketched up a pretty nice day tour for the price of 20USD each. He said he could of course take us to Lak Lake but it would be more or less 5-6 hours straight drive so we decided we would settle for the suggested tour which included a Silk centre. We quickly prepared our bags and had a record fast breakfast before hitting the road on proper motorcycles, with working speed meters this time.
We stopped at a flower plantation and had a look, the guides (and drivers), Truöng and Tam, were very knowledgable as well as almost fluent in English which was great. Next stop was a minority village, Koha, and this was a real surprise. I expected begging children and a stream of tourists but we were the only tourists there, we learned about their culture, chatted with some of the children and it felt really genuine. The guide picked out a puppy he would collect for his kids later, normally they feed the puppies for one month and then they are either sold or eaten. We said our goodbyes and headed towards Elephant Falls which was the most impressive waterfall so far. There was also a pagoda and a huge Buddha which we of course photographed.
We then headed to off for lunch at some local place where we also were offered some strong foul liquor they kept dead animals in – great for a range of reason they assured us. We drank it fast and smiled. Next up was the silk centre, this was really interesting and I am sure my mom could have spent days in there looking at their weaving equipment. I really liked the mechanical/computer hybrid weaver with cards with punched holes for the cloth design.
The good thing with private guides was that we could spend a considerable time here (Mona also just happened to spot a lovely Silk Kimono) and getting detailed explanations while we for instance at the next stop (basket weaving) only spent a few minutes. There was more foul spirits to be drank though, we stopped at a rice wine distillery – and by wine they mean strong moonshine made in equipment that would impress most people familiar with the process. It burned well and fine, but I smiled while drinking it. Now we were heading back, just stopping by the road at a place with nice overview of the lands. The skies started to darken now and we just made it back before the first raindrops.
Mona went to get a haircut while yours truly would take a shower, as I got out I realized it was pouring down so I thought I would bring Mona’s waterproof jacket but met her in the stairs, wet like a mermaid. After changing clothes we went out for dinner and thought we would try to find some Gyoza this time. After a considerable number of queries to locals we found the restaurant Ichi we had been looking for. They were, of course, out of Gyoza. We skipped the Shochu and I had a nice rainbow roll, Mona’s teriyaki was not properly done so she had to wait for them to make new ones. Japanese is always nice but this wasn’t really worth returning to. After a long and really great day we headed back to our hotel.