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Published: January 15th 2013
From Luang Nam Tha the bus ride was long and windy but truly beautiful. The mountains were covered in green jungle with villages poking out once in a while in between the trees. Our stop for lunch was on a perfect viewpoint that showcased the many mountains we had come through and what we could expect from the rest of the ride.
This blog is being written more than a week after our visit. Sorry for the brief recap, it's hard to remember details of each day when we've had so many in between. However, we really loved Luang Prabang and hope that shows!
Finding a hotel in Luang Prabang was more difficult than we had anticipated. With Tyler's foot not yet in full working order, Paul and Rebecca went off in separate directions enquiring at different places and bargaining for acceptable prices before we settled in at a nice guesthouse in an alley just off the Mekong River.
We stayed in Luang Prabang for three nights. Every evening we found ourselves wandering the handicraft night market buying souvenirs and t-shirts. The streets of Luang Prabang are unbelievably quaint. The narrow streets are lined with European architecture. The
age of the city is evident when you see the giant trees so big they create a canopy overhead to shade you from the sun. There is a temple on almost every other block that stands out with its reaching gold spires and spiritualism from the monks draped in orange cloaks. There are always long-tailed boats cruising along the Mekong carrying tourists, the catch of the day, or ingredients for dinner. Luang Prabang was a magical place.
We found a couple of lovely places to eat. The first was in an alley just off Th Sisavangvong where a few make-shift restaurants have set up tables and chairs along the narrow road and serve up some delicious local dishes and fruit shakes. Our other favourite restaurant was down by the river where we could watch the boats float by and enjoy a bit of silence away from the noisy streets. A popular place to eat or drink is called Utopia. We popped in their one night for a drink and fell in love with it's relaxing riverside vibe. Utopia is on the Nam Kahn river and is a bit difficult to find; the signs that start near Hike Bar always
say 10m with an arrow down another alley, and while the distance isn't all that accurate once you find it you feel like your in another world. We unfortunately found this spot on our last night in Luang Prabang. You can guarantee if we were there for another night we would have been joining in on the beach volleyball.
Our days were full of wandering. Paul had booked an elephant trek for himself one day which gave us some alone time. It was then that we fell in love with the feeling that the city emanated. That evening we climbed up to Wat That Chomsi (a temple) on Phu Si hill in the middle of town to watch the sunset. As the sun fell behind the mountains in the distance that wonderful red colour exploded all over the sky. While the sun dipped even more the evening haze crept in to give each mountain it's own colour of redish-dark-grey to add depth to our spectacular view. It would have been wonderful to stay longer and explore every crevice of it's charming and inviting alleys but we had to move on. Next stop, the former party capital of Laos, Vang
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