After visiting some major cities in the past few weeks, Mitch really wanted to get off the beaten path. We’d read about Buoy Guest House from the wonderful travel blog Heart My Backpack and headed straight for these bungalows immediately after Vientiane. We were in paradise! Bouy Guest House is in a small town called Sangkhom, situated right on the Mekong River. Check this out: after checking in at the common area, we would walk across this rickety yet charming bridge to the riverside bungalows.
The bungalows were each a stone’s throw away from the Mekong, providing us with the most idyllic view from our porch, which boasted a hammock for all my simultaneous river-viewing/blogging pleasures.
We truly felt like we were secluded in a jungle paradise. Our bungalow was one, small room with a double bed and mosquito net. We had a tiny little bathroom with a small shower and non-flushing western style toilet (raised, not squat — this is a huge plus). To flush, we poured water into the toilet using a bucket and our water spigot (pretty typical for non-fancy Southeast Asia wash closets). Lastly, we didn’t have a sink, just the aforementioned water spigot. Honestly though, we had everything we needed and more, and it was wonderful.
We spent a day exploring some wats, caves, and waterfalls around Sangkhom on motorbike and had a blast exploring on two wheels, as usual. Wat Pa Tak Sua was one of my favorite modern temples in Thailand. It’s new, very clean and not insanely ornate. There was also a beautiful, gold-leaf covered little Buddha statue inside I particularly admired. For some reason, the gold-leaf fluttering in the breeze really drew me to the figure. Lastly, the wat is situated on top of a large hill, so we saw spectacular views of the Mekong (despite the overcast day).
Next, we headed towards some caves that we knew little about but that sounded intriguing just because they were caves. Well, apparently, the draw is a little shrine inside the cave, but it required going with a guide and heading underground through waterways with extremely narrow and low cave walls (as in, you had to sort of army crawl through the passageways). I’m not a fan of being in very confined spaces and not being able to quickly escape in case of an emergency, so I sat this adventure out while Mitch ventured ahead. He came out muddy and wet but had a fun cave crawl.
We also managed to stop by Than Thip Waterfall, which was, of course, beautiful and peaceful. Despite the solitude, there was a park keeper at the entrance who was very excited to see us. He showed us over 300 photos of different tourists who stopped by the falls dating from three years ago and telling us which country each group was from, haha! We obliged and looked through all the photos (on his phone and on his camera) before he asked to take one with us. Despite the walk to the falls being quite short and easy, we found ourselves alone in the forest and took full advantage of the solitude by taking our time to enjoy the truly idyllic surroundings.
Our stay in quiet Sangkhom provided the perfect respite from big city life that we had been craving. We were ready for our next stop in Khon Kaen, the capital of Khon Kaen Province in north eastern Thailand.