Today we snatched the chance to sleep in for a bit since we were going to see an ancient Khmer temple. The bus carrying the participants left the hotel at 0900 hours in the morning. Eleven cars, one representing each country, too joined the convoy for a photo-op.
Our destination was Vatphu, about 45km away. The drive down was fantastic, but the best was yet to come. To reach the temple, you have to climb a long and steep flight of stairs that would test a marathon runner. But the pain is worth the view of Laos from the top. The huge statue of the Buddha at Phu Kao on top is gorgeous. Unfortunately, we could not spend as much time as we liked there, since we had another 250km to go before we could call it a day. So we returned to the hotel for a quick lunch. There was chapati, dal and samosa on the menu, so those among us who were missing Indian food had a feast. We rolled out of the hotel at two in the afternoon for Savannakhet.
The drive was uneventful apart from one car getting a puncture. While the service crew changed the tyre, we walked across the road to a local stall. We discovered that amongst other fresh food on sale, were frogs. Available in different sizes, at different prices. Also on sale were snails. We reached Dao Savanh Hotel at 1800 hours. The CII team and the M&M team were staying at some other hotel. There was a dinner ceremony waiting for us, where everyone let their hair down and hit the dance floor. We were to leave at around six in the morning the next day.