Blogs from Luang Prabang, West, Laos, Asia - page 4

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Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang August 16th 2016

I was up with the dawn, ie around 5.00am to watch the tak bat, the morning round of alms giving where locals line the road to give sticky rice to the monks as they file past. This morning there were around 250 monks lined up. It is quite a moving site to see some of the very old people who get up every morning at dawn to give to the monks and have done so for most of their lives, perhaps with a break of a few years when the Pathet Lao first came to power and religion was banned. I then did my final lap of the town before going back to the Saffron restaurant to sample their French toast with coconut and mango. You gotta love Lao food, especially the French influence. Organised to ... read more
UXO centre
Phra bang temple
Royal residence

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang August 15th 2016

24 hours consuming nothing but bread and water seemed to cure whatever ailed me so I stopped in at a nice place on the main street for scrambled eggs, a baguette and a pot of English breakfast tea. Gave the pho a miss this morning just in case. The weather had even rained itself out over night. I was supposed to head off to see the elephants at 8.30 but apparently everyone sleeps late around here as I was the only one booked so they asked could I move it to 10.30. Given they had agreed to the delay yesterday I figured another couple of hours wouldn't hurt and took the opportunity to do my regular lap of the main street and back along the Mekong river bank with a stop for a coconut milkshake at ... read more
Just call me Clive of India
Kuang si waterfalls
If the towel slips you mignt well moon the night

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang August 13th 2016

Took a leisurely stroll through the historic heart of Luang Prabang and walked down to the banks of the Mekong. It is still the majestic river it was when I saw it in Cambodia and still very much the same chocolate colour. My first stop was cafe Saffron on the road that runs along the river. Had my first flat white in two months and I can safely say these guys really know their coffee. The beans are sourced from up country and they have a fair trade policy in place which I really like. And did i forget to mention that the gingerbread pancakes were to die for. Definitely a place worth visiting. From there I took a walk toward the end end the Peninsula, Luang Prabang sits on a Peninsula formed by the confluence ... read more
Confluence of Mekong river & Nam Khan
Night market stall
Another night market stall

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang August 12th 2016

At 7.00am I was picked up by a slightly larger version of a tuktuk, but smaller than a songteau, the trucks that double as taxis. The rain that had promised for the last two days had arrived in the night. Not the thunderous, heavy downpours you get in the southern parts, more like the gentle rain that droppeth from heaven that we are used to, with apologies to Billy Shakespeare. The tuktuk picked up a number of passengers for the Luang Prabang bus and deposited us all at the Northern bus terminal about 7km out of town. The bus was a bright yellow double decker with the driver and luggage on the ground floor and passengers on the upper deck. We departed precisely at 8.00am for what was billed as an 8 hour trip. We weren't ... read more
Bus stop cafe

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 21st 2016

Today was mostly about getting stuff done and stuff sorted prior to moving on again. I popped out mid morning to buy our seats on a minibus going to Vang Vieng tomorrow and opted for speed (4 hrs) over luxury (6 hrs). We sent Ed to reception with all our laundry, so that we have everything clean in our bags before we head to China in a few days. When I got back, the room smelt lovely and Ed and Hat had set up 'Lemongrass' which did massages and beauty treatments. Cas was almost asleep as Hat ran through her post treatment feedback form. I made an 'appointment' and was treated to a very professional head, hand and foot massage and I took the optional hair cut and shave. Very relaxing. For lunch we wndered down ... read more
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Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 20th 2016

We spent the day on a rice farm called Living Land, a hands-on go at all fourteen stages of rice production. From ploughing a paddy field with a water buffalo (Hat initially thought it was a big pink pig because it was pink and had piggy ears), to planting the young shoots, to harvesting with a sickle to threshing, carrying and dehusking and winnowing. It was a proper practical farming experience and it was amazing to hear that 20% of the rice in Laos is still made in this traditional labour intensive way. We all wore paddy hats and were given a bamboo pole to help our balance as we walked along the thin and very slippery mud banks that enclosed each paddy field. As you can imagine, we all got very muddy and this was ... read more
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Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 20th 2016

We all took a shower to get rid of the mud on our arms and legs and then had some chill out time which included a nice bottle of red wine for Cas and I on our terrace. Cas found two great restaurants and the hotel provided what can only be described as an electric golf buggy to transport us there. It was very pretty as the tables were surrounded by a lily pad pond. Except...there was nothing on the menu suitable for Ed and Hat - so we politely left. A 15 minute walk along the main road, through the many stalls being set up for the night market and we and reached a bamboo bridge which took us across the river to the second restaurant. It was a really good decision because we had ... read more
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Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 19th 2016

We got up early, as we wanted to go for a day out, and headed for breakfast. The monsoon rains were in full flow and we were very grateful for the umbrellas someone had left by our door. As Hat and I helped ourselves to cereal there was the most almighty thunder strike on the other side of the river, it really made us all jump. It really put meaning to the phrase 'thunder crack', an unbelievably loud tearing sound and a sonic pressure wave that gave everything a bit of a shake. Cas said that the flash was so bright that she was momentarily blinded. We opted for a tuk tuk to take us the 40 minutes to the start of a waterfall walk at Tat Kuang Si. The path was polished earth and very ... read more
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Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 19th 2016

On the way back from our waterfall walk we asked our driver to stop at the Luang Prabang Elephant Camp. For £1.75 we all got to feed a herd of elephants with banana leaves and stalks. Ed and Hat were really delighted and neither Cas or I had ever been this close to one before. They were Asian jungle elephants, with much smaller ears than their African cousins. Their trunks are incredibly dexterous and can rolls the food in all directions before placing a wad in their mouths. There were a couple of young ones, about 2 years old, and these were a bit more playful in taking the food. Ed gave many of them names and went up and down chatting to them and dishing out food.... read more
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Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang May 19th 2016

Back in town we jumped out of the tuk tuk at a restaurant which had been recommended. The food was well prepared, but the taste was lacking. Not sure if this is a Laotian or a restaurant thing. Ed didn't eat, so we headed to a French cafe that served freshly warmed baguettes, oh, and a chocolate eclair for the ladies to share... There is still a French community in Luang Prabang and we spotted a French Bakery that who's display of pastries would have done a Boulangerie in Provence proud. On the way back to our hotel we spotted a Buddhist temple that had huge, and I'm really talking huge, drums hung on chains, and a gold statue of Buddha that towered over Ed and Hat.... read more
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