Published: August 26th 2012August 12th 2012 Video Playlist:
After the horror of Vang Vieng and the very scary bus ride, we were even more excited about our next stop at Luang Prabang.
We'd heard a bit of what it was like, most great reviews, however, we'd also read that it might not be as authentic as other destinations in Laos. Well if LP isn't authentic I really don't care, it is a charming, quaint and beautiful place. It's laid back, the streets lined with enormous trees and wats are relatively clean (by se Asia standards), the locals are friendly, plenty of cheap street food, two rivers surrounding the place, it is blissful and rightly so a UNESCO world heritage site. The reviews I read about it being like Disney land seem to be very inaccurate. Yes the place is geared up for tourists, there are plenty of western eateries (easily avoided), the night market that sprawls through the main street is undoubtedly aimed more at tourists rather than locals, but, if the locals are making a living from tourism then it's as much an authentic destination as visiting any other working town/city. You can't even compare this place to Vang Vieng; it's less full of morons in vests
and embarrassingly short skirts and filled more with travellers that appear to appreciate the beauty of the place rather than looking for a special mushroom shake.
Paul did some googling before we arrived and booked us in at a b&b which felt more like a boutique hotel: wooden floorboards, crisp white linen (oh the luxury) balcony with comfy chairs, complimentary cups of tea (that actually taste like proper tea!). A bargain at 8 quid a night, all the other accommodation of this standard was 25 quid plus! Well done Paulo :)
We slept in every day until 11, the Lao love to sleep, drink beer Lao and eat and we found ourselves right at home! We had equally lazy afternoons meandering around the quiet streets, stopping daily for baguette sarnies from the same lovely smiley lady who knew our order. We wandered by the river and back to our room for a cuppa and rest before going out later for dinner. We spent our nights sharing a veg curry or at the veggie buffet, fill your plate with as much pumpkin, bean sprouts, tofu, noodles, bamboo, green beans, rice, aubergine etc. and then heated up in
Laos people love to sleep!
a wok and washed down with beer Lao for fifty pence each!
On the few days we exerted ourselves we spent an afternoon at Ky Si falls, which was beautiful albeit a bit crowded! Paul had fun on the swing rope pretending to be Mowgli and we passed the brown Bear sanctuary where we saw the rescued bears happy as Larry swinging on ropes and walking on two feet, great to watch!
We visited the National museum, once the palace which passed a few hours although we weren't too enthralled by it! One morning we got up at five to watch the alms giving to the monks. We tried to be as respectful as possible sitting quietly out the way whilst observing the custom only to see a handful of tosspots taking pictures close up with flashes on. If I'd been one of those monks I'd have found it hard not to smack them one.
We visited Big Brother Mouse, a great non-profit organisation that was set up by an American dude, they publish books and support literacy in Laos. Unfortunately the day we went there were no children to read with, so we bought a
book and will give it to a child before we leave Laos. That's about it, oh and I bought a silver belt, its gorg! We had a well relaxing time in LP and will really miss Laos.
There are more photos below