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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

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RIVER TAXI ON THE MEKONG

Luang Prabang, Laos

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Established on the banks of the Mekong, in Luang Prabang, river travel is the norm. At any time of any day, large boats, loaded with cargo, or smaller river taxi can be seen running on the river.

Our choice was to hire a boat and driver to take us twenty kilometers up river, to the Pak Ou Caves, stopping at a couple of local villages on our return.

Our driver, Batung, was both confident and steady as he navigated our long wooden boat past the many rocky hazards and eddy pools towards our destination. Due to the strong current, our up stream trip took a little over one hour.

OUR BOAT AND "EL CAPITAN"

 

Safely arriving at the caves, a sense of “something special” was perceptible. Pak Ou Caves for centuries had been a gathering place for the Laos to come and gain merit by ritually bathing the many broken images of Buddha, especially on their New Year’s. This practice was halted in 1975 for approximately 15 years when the Communists took control of Laos, and banned Buddhism.  

PAK OU CAVES

Upon entering the grotto like lower limestone cave, it was overwhelming to see the 4000 or so Buddha figures placed there. It easily had enough light to visually enjoy the displayed pieces.

The upper cave, was certainly not to be missed. Here, it’s as if Indiana Jones had just discovered the place. Eerie, mysterious and not well lit, flashlights were available for a small rental fee. This larger cave had more Buddha images, dusty and covered with spider webs, the antiquity was easily felt. The effect; awesome.

After spending a couple of hours here, we felt we gave the caves their due respect.

 

Back on the river, now heading down stream, we could see many villagers doing their daily routines along the banks. It wasn’t long when Batung guided our craft ashore to what’s called “Whiskey Village”. Here is where the famous Lao Lao whiskey is made. This rice concoction, cooked in old oil drums with water directly pumped from the Mekong, was then siphoned off into handmade clay pots. From there it moved to the bottling line; no more than a small Lao girl filling glass bottles by hand which already had giant scorpions or baby cobras inside! ( The Mexican Tequila worm seemed a bit ridiculous compared to this.)

COOKIN' THE WHISKEY

We sampled the products, both red and white rice wine, and the Lao whiskey, and lived to write about it. Each bottle was selling for $1 USD, a fair price, but we declined the offer to buy.

 

Boarding our little river boat to return to Luang Prabang and our Guest House, we had a steady trip back, with memories of village life, Buddha images and the calm river all intermingling. 

The sun began to set over this mighty waterway and all who take their sustenance from it. Daily routines continued in the age old, undisturbed style of Laos.

Cost was $5 each to hire the boat and driver, for this half day adventure.

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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