After about two days of boat trip along the enchanting Mekong river, I was getting
to the beautiful city of Luang Prabang. It is situated in the northwestern part of Laos and
it is a historical town. Circa the history: Luang Prabang was founded In the 14th
century by King Fa Ngum, the first Lao Kingdom, Lane Xang. Luang Prabang
remained the capital of Lane Xang until 1565 when the capital was moved to
Vientiane. It remained to serve as the country’s spiritual and religious centre.
I am really attracted by these towns hidden in the forest. When I arrived, it was
about ten o'clock a.m., it was slightly breezy and the gentle air caressed all my
body, the sky was cotton white and there was that unmistakable exotic ambiance
pervading the place.
The friendly and charming atmosphere of this small town with its numerous stands,
colourful clothes and exotic odours, that only in this part of the world can be
witnessed, are just unique. Long and narrow streets lined with fine colonial buildings,
restaurants, shops and local markets could be seen. In the market it is possible
find numerous products: hand-made artifacts, textiles, silk, paintings and a lot more.
Also food was glorious here: when I arrived, the scents of the local food was as a
magnet that beckoning me toward the delicious products of the day. A multitude of
colours blended each other of fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, powders and of
produces that I could not discern. I had a huge choice but, at the end, I trusted my
grilled fish with vegetables and some spices which I really recommend. Everything
someone may wish to eat is here.
After eating I went to the guesthouse, checked in and set off for some fine
exploration of the area. I was walking for only a few minutes when I encountered
some monks walking in a single line. I was getting curious and later on I informed
myself about that and these monks browse the streets in a cerimony carrying their
alms bowls to give laymen the opportunity to offer alms and gain merit. The
offerings by the people are usually comprised of sticky rice, fruit or simple traditional
snacks. This sacred cerimony is
known as “Binthabat” in Lao.
This area is also full of Buddhist temples, trails and of course stunning scenaries.
The temples are found within the historical city and outside of Luang Prabang
province. I am fascinated by their sharp and pointed roofs, lovely decorations and
Buddha statues, I stand still in awe and delighted by their beauty. Especially, I
appreciate the ones displaying a great array of small, dirty and dusty buddhist
sculptures and niches where tiny Buddha figurines are placed. Luang Prabang is not
too much modernised and I could see that the development signs were just in very
few places and so the beauty of this little village hidden in the forest and cut by the
mighty of the Mekong river was still safe, but for how long I wonder. I adored to
enjoy the evergreen forest while walking around this sublime place with only few
tourist around and that gave me the impression of being the only explorer.
I had to walk for about 2 hours through the hills and forest opposite the main town
to explore the old temple sites and wonderful environment.
Every corner of this
hidden place was really charming: the thick vegetation extended as far as the I
could see, the gentle twittering of the birds, the Mekong river making its way
through the forest like a giant snake and those striking views of the little village in
the background made me fell in love with this place.
I was also informed that there were beautiful waterfalls around the area just outside
of the main town that were called Tad Kwang Si Waterfalls and Tad Sae waterfalls.
I decided to head there and luckily I met a spanish guy, Ivan, that gave me a ride up
there. A very Likeable person with a great spitit for the travels and of good company
to chat about travels experiences. The falls were just great with crystal clear water
and terraced shape where the water gently spilling down from the top, it was simply
idyllic and well worth of spending a day.
I went back to the guesthouse really exhausted, I had a shower and I used my last
energies to go and see the lovely night market of Luang
It is magical with its lights and bustling ambiance of old times that it is found in the
alluring Asian world only. The night market is a cosmopolitan influence of different
Lao, Tai-Lue, Burmese, Chinese and Taui people. These markets are my favourite,
there is really everything the heart can wish, the scents of the incense, the old lady
weaving in the old style tradition, stacks of crates that make me wonder who knows
what is inside, the smells biting my nostril of the variety of food found here and
above all the Asian people who are genuinly kind and lovely.
When travelling in Asia, it is spontaneous to say "To understand such countries and
their people you have to evade from what is the advertised touristic area to truly
catch on them".
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