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Asia » Laos
September 10th 2007
Published: October 15th 2007EDIT THIS ENTRY

Carnival AtmosphereCarnival AtmosphereCarnival Atmosphere

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang


I only had a few days to spend in Laos, but I still had time to have a good look round the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site of Luang Prabang, enjoying the excellent food, including my first delicious taste of bacon in a few months, in the French colonial restaurants along with one or two glasses of Beer Lao and the odd two-for-one mojito with some friends I hadn´t seen since Rishikesh.

Monks


I was woken every morning at 4AM by the monks in the temple opposite the immaculate Villa Sokxai, another colonial building with rooms decorated in a surprisingly simple, yet luxurious, European style, getting themselves ready to collect early morning alms from the townspeople.

Boat Race


For once, I was in the right place at the right time as it turned out that today was the annual Luang Prabang boat race. Ten or so teams from villages all over Laos competed hard all day to win the cup. I was plied with beer, whiskey and goat meat by the villagers here to support, what turned out to be, the winning team, while local kids ran round shooting caps from replica hand guns and a boat
Lunch at the boat festivalLunch at the boat festivalLunch at the boat festival

Goat, beer and whisky with some Scottish travellers.
load of drunk transvestites entertained the spectators between races. It was all good fun and by the time the sun set we wobbled off for another delicious dinner and some games of pool.

White-water rafting


I discovered that a day out white-water rafting isn´t the best cure for a hangover, especially when there´s a two hour bus journey over, what felt to me, some of the bumpiest roads in SE Asia to get to the start point. However, I soon forgot all about my headache as our team of ten oarsmen and women successfully tackled some terrifying rapids. We ended the day in a riverside village, with smiling locals and playful kids.

Trekking


Trekking into the hills of Laos was next on the agenda with stops at the timeless minority villages of Khmer and Mong tribes. We crossed several refreshingly cool rivers as we walked through the lush, rolling hills and rice fields of northern Laos, sweating profusely in the humid heat.

We spent the night in a large village, sleeping on the floor of the only shop in town having been amusingly serenaded by some local kids and plied with the lethal, local moonshine. The next
Rock n rollRock n rollRock n roll

Luang Prabang
morning at just before sunrise all the roosters in the village decided everyone had had enough sleep. Bleary eyed, I went for a wash in the nearby spring returning to find an unexpectedly civilised breakfast of scrambled eggs, warm croissants and tea. Marvellous!

We were glad to set off early as it was already getting hot. We only had a few hours to walk until we reached the starting point for the afternoon's white-water kayaking that proved to be a much gentler experience than the rafting and, thankfully, involved a lot more drifting than paddling as we enjoyed views of the spectacular hills and jungle that lined the river.

Back in Luang Prabang the trekkers enjoyed a Laos barbecue, where you cook your own noodles, soup and meat over coals in the centre of the table. It was delicious and goes down especially well with an ice-cool bottle of Beer Lao.

As in Cambodia, I felt there was a lot more to see in Laos, but tomorrow I'd fly to Thailand to meet my brother.




Additional photos below
Photos: 32, Displayed: 24


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Novice monksNovice monks
Novice monks

Luang Prabang
Now we´re trekking!Now we´re trekking!
Now we´re trekking!

Patrick crosses a river somewhere in Laos
Thumbs Up!Thumbs Up!
Thumbs Up!

Villager gives seal of approval to trekking route.
Home for the nightHome for the night
Home for the night

House we slept in during trek
More cute kidsMore cute kids
More cute kids

Village in the middle of nowhere, Laos.
Local kidsLocal kids
Local kids

Turned out we were staying in the village´s only shop. This lot bought a load of sweets then sang a few songs for us.
Trekking guideTrekking guide
Trekking guide

An ex-monk.
Warming upWarming up
Warming up

Getting ready for the boat race, Luang Prabang
Race preparationRace preparation
Race preparation

Luang Prabang
OarsmenOarsmen
Oarsmen

Luang Prabang
SpectatorsSpectators
Spectators

Luang Prabang


16th October 2007

Amazing!
Yo Boothy! I've been following your trip with interested, if not jealous eyes! I can honestly say every blog you put up gets better and better, you're really sounding like you've got into the swing of travelling! Fantastic, enjoy the rest of your trip, and look forward to the next episode!! All the Best, Dazza....x
From Blog: Laos
18th October 2007

Cheers Dazza
From Blog: Laos
22nd October 2007

Wow!
Wow very very jealous - everything sounds amazing and it makes me to long to be back on the road again....sigh... Sorry for not being in touch - have had a massive, long - mostly horrible - summer of work and have found it hard adjusting again but feeling much more settled now! Loving your pics! Keep enjoying! Pxxx
From Blog: Laos

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