Luang Prabang

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January 24th 2012
Published: February 3rd 2012
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24th Jan ’12 Luang Prabang

Today we moved to a different guest house as ours was full and ended up in the Villa Merry Laos III, which was in another part of town and near the river. The family running it are lovely and the daughter speaks excellent English and suggested various things we might like to see and do.

We walked into the old town, potched about a few shops and stalls, had a wonderful fruit shake from a market stall and checked out various trip options for the next day. It was mega hot today so we didn’t do a lot until the sun went down when we ventured back into the market area – Howard had read there were lots of food stalls down near the night market. Indeed there were, it was a kind of covered alleyway with several buffet stalls and lots of benches and tables to eat at. A guy from one of the stalls explained the process, you picked what chicken or fish you wanted to eat and they then heated it up again on the fire and then you helped yourself to the buffet table which was covered in various rices,
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Do not eat here no matter how tempted you may be!!
noodles, salads, spring rolls, prawn crackers etc. All of which cost about £2! Beer and soft drinks were in a big cooler so we were sorted. Plenty of people were eating there so we tucked in, the chicken was delicious as was the fish so we really enjoyed it.

We booked seats on a minibus going to Nong Khiaw day after tomorrow and also booked on a ½ day tour Elephant riding, visiting a cave and some village for tomorrow.

We then perused the Night Market, bought a doughnut, talked ourselves out of buying a picture and made our way back to the guest house. Oh yes I should point our Laos has a 12pm curfew and EVERYONE has to be back in their gh or hotel by then at the latest or the police will get you and you do not want that!

25th Jan ’12 Luang Prabang

Oh dear Oh dear when did I stop paying attention? It must have been when the guy said and we re- heat the chicken and fish on the fire, or was it the bowls of food lying open on the buffet for who knows how long? Whatever it was let’s just say my cast iron stomach is no longer cast iron and as Holly would say – it was the worst thing ever!

However we had a trip to go on and elephants to ride, so I dosed myself up with various things and went down to try and drink a cup of tea before we got picked up, but even that was not to be as the tour guy arrived 30 minutes early!

The trip involved being driven to a place out of town where we got off and were told to wait, 30 minutes later a minibus arrived and on we got. We were then driven to a village (with market stalls) where we went to see them making LaoLao whiskey – some sort of fermented rice stuff, by now I’m stumbling along in a kind of daze, thinking it’s only half a day you can do it. We then got taken by a different minibus to the elephant place, where there were only 2 elephants and so we couldn’t go on them then but were told we would ride them after we visited the cave. We were then packed into yet another minibus and driven down to the river where we got on a longtail boat and crossed to the cave. At this point the words Piss up and Brewery sprang to mind, as there wasn’t enough room for everyone on the boat but rather than get 2 they made some get out so they could float the boat off then they had to splash through the water, jump in and squat down on the floor!

So when we arrived at the other side we had to climb out onto a kind of floating walkway of rushes in order to get onto dry land. Before we could walk along though there was a big shout and we had to wait while a guy killed a scorpion that had worked its way up through the rushes!!!

We then climbed up about a million steps to get into the first Buddha cave which was full of lots of little Buddhas perched on rock ledges all over the place, along with lots of offerings and things. So by now I am feeling really rough and just had to perch on a bench while Howard went off to see the other cave.

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The elephants we never rode
we repeat the boat farce and get into yet another minibus and go back to the elephant place where the 2 elephants are now waiting but the guy who I think was organising insisted I should eat something first (as by now it’s obvious I’m not well), one whiff of food and I’m off to the loo throwing up. I had already decided I can’t face riding elephants now – could have done first thing or even second but definitely not now. It was also about 2 by this point, so I just said its ok just take us back to L P instead. Oh no that couldn’t happen until the 3 girls, who had obviously paid for it, had had their go at bathing the elephants in the river. Another couple were kicking off as they had a plane to catch and had been told they would be back for 1 (we were an hours drive away). In the end the elephants got their fastest bath ever, the girls didn’t look happy, the couple must have missed their flight and I managed not to be sick again and we finally got back at about 3.30!

The rest of the night is a kind of blur, Howard went out and got our minibus tickets changed, our guest house very kindly agreed we could keep the room for another night (even though it was fully booked) and the wife of the owner made me a bowl of steamed rice which she insisted would make me better, while the owner gave Howard the biggest glass of whisky which nearly made him sick!!

26th Jan ’12 Luang Prabang

What can I say, had lots of stomach cramps, felt sick but wasn’t, laid about dozing and reading, ventured out for a cup of black tea and some chicken noodle soup, went to sleep.

Back in Luang Prabang (29th Jan '12)

Once we were back in Luang Prabang again we had to find another guesthouse and luckily Howard had sussed a few places out while I was busy being sick, so we soon found one. It was in a beautiful old wooden house with lovely wide verandahs and flowers in the garden. The room was gorgeous with a tiny balcony and the whole of one wall was a great mural of Lao country life. The bed was soft and the shower over a bath so the room didn’t flood – heaven!

That night we ate in a small restaurant which was supposed to have steak at a reasonable price but we were told it had finished by the time we got there! We did end up having a good chat with a man from South Africa and his daughter who were on a table next to ours. As I told him, he was not doing a good job of selling South Africa to me! In fact he really put us off going there and told us to go to Swaziland or Namibia instead. He did give us lots of advice on places not to go to, either as they were not safe or just too expensive.

30th Jan ’12 Luang Prabang

We got a great night’s sleep and got up to have our breakfast outside in the garden – how lovely. We then sorted out our transport to Phonsavan for the next day and then set off to do the Lonely Planet’s walking tour of Luang Prabang. This was pretty good as it lead us through the old original houses of LP and up the hill to the Wat. It was a steep, hot climb but with amazing views once we got there. We had a look in the creepy cave – which had a really life like figure sat in it along with a few buddhas, we went to view the Buddha’s footprint which was housed in a little white hut, if that was his footprint he must have been the size of a Bronatsaurus!!

The trail led us down, through the monk’s school and then down little streets to the river and back along past all the main Wats and the Museum.

That night we tried another restaurant for reasonably priced steak and half an hour after ordering the waiter came back to say they had no beef at all!!! Grrrrrr why do they not tell you from the start?? It cannot be a surprise!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


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Overlooking the town from the Wat on the hill
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The view from our guest house window

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