Saturday, January 05, 2013

Taking in the Sunrise on Phu Tok

Loei, An unexpected Journey Part III

Sunrise at Phu Tok
Because of the IQ test previously encountered, we arrived late on Phu Tok in Chiang Khan. I was once on this peak two years back watching sunset. This peak is where one must go for Sunrise I realized. Be early before the sun breaks horizon at about 6.45 am in December to observe the transition. We however, arrived much later than that, near 8. It was all too late. At the foot of this hill, one would find the many operators of 4x4 trucks. And for a small fee paid at the counter, one joins the hordes of mad visitors clad in winter clothing crammed shoulders to shoulders. We held onto railings in awkward positions as the vehicle ascent and corner the hill at speeds. I wondered was the paid ride a necessity. Yes the incline was steep but it’s all tarmac and normal vehicles should have been able to overcome the challenge. We went up in our own minivan two years back without issues. I did not see any other visitors going up in their own cars this time round. Trickery of the local business opportunist at work?

The View
Phu Tok overlooked the Mekong river. Misty fog engulfed the entire landscape below. The tallest of tress exposed their pointed silhouette and stood out against the enchanting sea of grayish white. Dark lords of mountains towered high above the horizon, the sun hovered behind glowed an incandescent mighty yellow. The Mekong attempted her reflections through gloomy blanket of fog, the cold we breathed, fresh and dense. Mass orgy of people, endless clicks of the shutter heard. A communication tower stood within a large enclosed compound, around her a walkway for one to take in the vista from all angles on the peak. We had missed the timing for the panoramic birth of dawn, but still the spectacle scored an impressive notch. When it was later, we all formed a queue to board the cycle of trucks on the descend. Our eyes were full, but our stomachs were protesting in hunger. Breakfast at the foothills, a timber lodge served out hot delicious porridge. The roads along lined with peddlers of fresh fruits and other convenient cooked meals. I had the hot coffee brewed from kettle on the charcoal fired pits.

4x4 Taxi Operators
Breakfast in the Cold

Coal fired Kettle

Restaurant at the Foot of Phu Tok

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