Chiang Mai - Muang Sing (Boun That Xieng Teung festival) - Return.

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    DATES 25 - 30 November 2012.
    The weather - unfriendly unseasonable miserable wet light rain, low cloud cover.

    The Rider: David Unk alone.
    The bike: Kawasaki Versys 650.

    It was a usual late getaway with CK arrival time of 6.30PM.
    Dinner was with Jurgen & K Fai at Rin's place.
    Jurgen was in town for the Tai Lue Tod Kathin festival at Wat Sri Dornchai, previously mentioned in events November-December 2012 A Busy Time.

    The next day's masterplan was to cross over the Khong & ride onto Luang Namtha for a couple of nights, before popping out to Muang Sing for the festival.
    Everything was going as planned, until it came to get on the ferry & cross the Khong.
    But you could not get on the ferry.....there was a huge queue of trucks waiting to get on, & no one could get on until a certain 10-wheel truck, stuck in the mud half way on the ferry, got out of the way,

    285027=13713-khongferrymudtruck.

    maybe it doesn't look much

    285027=13714-khongtruckferry.
    but supposedly it had been stuck two hours & there was a huge backlog of trucks right up the main street of CK. Ho hum!

    Eventually they managed to get the truck on by jinking the ferry around, in & out, left & right, plus use a mickey mouse winch trying to pull the fully loaded truck onto the ferry. I found it pretty entertaining.

    On the Houei Xai side, customs was cleared fast & downtown it was to get my visa.

    The forms submitted promptly & then wait.......the boss was still out on an extended lunch break.
    At 2.30PM I was in the clear & then ready for a rush 3 hr ride into Luang Nam Tha.
    But I saw no need to rush, go in the morning & take your time.
    So check into the Keo Oudomphone 2 hotel for the night.

    I hung out in HX for the night.
    At dusk back at the port it was a ferry & truck frenzy trying to get all the vehicles over before dark.

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    I counted 8 ferries going for it back wards & forwards across the 'Khong with trucks & cars.

    Sunset came & it was a beauty.

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    the view upstream from the Pornvijit.

    Next morning I hung out a bit & got involved with the Tiger Rally 2012 for Classic Cars.

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    From Houei Xai - Luang Namtha I carried the female photographer for the caravan, but we got away much later (Women packing their gear & bags!) than the cars & really only played catch up all the way to Luang Namtha.
    15 kms out of LNT it started raining & it was a slower greasy run into LNT.
    My photographer pillion rejoined the Tiger Rally to go onto Oudom Xai & I stayed in LNT for the night.

    In LNT the Forest Retreat was my wine & dine venue for the night.

    285027=13719-img_4566.

    where I enjoyed one of their excellent "wood fired pizzas."

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    It was an early night - in bed by 8Pm - as Id received a tip off that I should be in Muang Sing as early as possible for the festival tomorrow.
    I was lucky getting this tip off as my orignal plan was to rock up in MS late morning & pick up on what I thought would the a parade & some local tribal dancing.
    Little did I know......

    I was up at 6AM & on the road by 6.45AM.

    The LNT - MS road

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    the scenery is still as good as ever & the road as bumpy as ever.

    I rocked up in MS at 8AM & managed to negotiate my way up the hill to the wat.

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    I could not believe the crowd gathering.

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    more to come....(& I'm 3 trips behind with reports & pix.)...
     
  2. Jurgen

    Jurgen Moderator

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    Thank you David, nice beginning... I am eager to read and watch the rest. However late you are... you are still a lot faster than me:).
     
  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    The crowds for the morning merit making ceremony.

    285039=13727-img_4606.

    it was cool & foggy:the fog never lifted until 10.30AM!

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    people patiently wait for the speeches & opening formalities, before the mad rush to make merit by giving alms to a group of seated monks.

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    preparing alms for the monks

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    Gaining merit by walking round the chedi 3 times.

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    Tai Lue beauties patiently waiting for their turn to make merit.

    285039=13735-img_4649.

    more to come..
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    With the opening speeches announcing huge donations to the temple done, the merit making alms giving got under way.

    285041=13742-img_4626.

    A huge crush of people developed, pushing & shoving in the desire to give to the monks asap.

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    The money poured in

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    and the sticky rice built up

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    the monks had big plastic bags under the table & when the mound of sticky rice got too great it was put into the plastic bags, along with the other items, underthe table.
    Later on I saw the monks carrying the goodies off into a small shed beside the chedi.
    All a bit surreal I thought.
     
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    With the alms giving done, it was time for the cultural show & dancing from various Tai Lue & ethnic villages.
    And it was still considerably foggy when it got under way at 9.45AM.....

    285045=13745-img_4696.

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    It was an incredible colour extravaganza

    285045=13747-img_4726.

    and then the power went of. Yep a power failure - no electric = no PA system & no music. No announcements to call up the villagers & next dance troupe.
    The big wigs may not have been so amused, but what the heck, this was rural up-country Laos on the China border & I'm sure they'd experienced it before.
    The power was off for a considerable amount of time, at least 45 -60 minutes.

    However Lao innovation came through & a group of ladies started singing playing the drums...

    285045=13748-img_4705.

    Then another group of ladies got together, put out a mat & provided another dance performance sitting down.

    285045=13749-img_4715.

    then came some nationalistic fervour with flag waving got everyone excited.

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    Laos ladies you rock.

    The power stayed off & unknown to most of the crowd the monks were away chanting with their blessing.

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    but you could hardly hear them.

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    it was a bit like being in a silent movie. No sound system & no announcements, just a few people knew what was going on.

    A few spectators& participants..

    Tai Dam

    285045=13753-img_4690.

    Akha

    285045=13754-img_4643.
    exchanging phone nos maybe?

    285045=13755-img_4661.

    Eventually power was restored & the show got back underway.

    Tai Lue

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    Tai Dam

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    Tai Lue

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    285045=13764-img_4815.

    Hmong

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    285045=13766-img_4795.

    Mien (Yao)

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    285045=13768-img_4802.

    Striped Hmong

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    285045=13770-img_4752.

    Akha

    285045=13771-img_4746.

    285045=13772-img_4745.

    285045=13773-img_4821.

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    285045=13775-img_4828.

    just a few more to come....
     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Almost the end..

    285079=13778-img_4645_0.
    285079=13779-img_4665_0.

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    For me the show wrapped up around 1PM. I'd had enough, having been there since early morning, was hot & hungry & thirsty. It was time for a break...
    Accommodation & eats that night were in Muang Sing at the Phou Lu Guesthouse.

    There was a sensational full moon rise over Muang Sing that night.

    285079=13784-img_4879.

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    the colour & warmth in the sky might be indicating not much cool air & indeed it started raining late that night & rained all night, plus most of the next day. Where's the cold season gone?

    Up at 6am again the next morning with a masterplan to hit the morning market but it was dull & wet. Cancel that. Lets hit the road & Luang Namtha it was for brekky.

    Muang Sing - Luang Namtha

    285079=13786-img_4888.

    285079=13787-img_4889.
    still a crappy bumpy asphalt road.

    In LNT brekky down it was still dull & wet. Time to get out of here & head home.

    R3 Luang Namtha - Houei Xai was damp / wet most of the way out. Ho Hum.. you can't win them all, but the festival in Muang Sing was an absolute winner = I'll be back in 2013.

    Some R3 happy snaps for some newbies to get an idea of the brilliant road surface.

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    You can have fun on R3 HX - LNT

    285079=13793-img_4901.

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    but you do need to take care of the container trucks.

    285079=13794-img_4917.

    Muang Sing, what where's that?
    Some snippets of MS History.

    THE XIENG TEUNG STUPA
    I hope you enjoyed the show. I certainly did & plan to be back in 2013. Muang Sing rocks at Boun That Xieng Teung festival time.
     
  7. Jurgen

    Jurgen Moderator

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    Enticing and colorful report, asalways, David. Great pictures of Muang Sing ethnic groups in theirannual main festival. It's so attractive that I cannot resist thedrive for a visit next month … but unfortunately, I will miss thenice dresses that you depicted so well.

    GT-Rider readers for sure appreciateyour permanent quest for great driving destinations and festivals.
     
  8. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

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    Wow! Didn't realize such colorful cultural festivities happening there in Muang Sing. I gave this destination a miss on our recent Laos ride. Maybe next year I will visit just to witness such a local festival.

    By the way David, now I know why I didn't get to meet up with you while I was in Chiang Mai despite camping at the Kafe for 2 nights. Haha!
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Sorry Rob, next time. But the Kafe is alright to hang out at eh? A nice cool mellow spot in Cnx.
     
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Bump for 2017 it should be a big one.
     

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