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Published: June 12th 2010
The city of Luang Prabang is a Unesco World Heritage site, and with good reason. It's bloody gorgeous. Spotless streets, lined with trees, flowers and French colonial architecture make this a tourist mecca. It's like no where else we've been so far in Asia. Although a city, it's more like a town in size and feel.
The first night wasn't so great. We went to a guesthouse recommended by the Lonely Plant guide (or the lying planet as many call it) called the Pathoumphone guesthouse. It was a bit of a dump, but we'd heard Luang Prabang was pricey and thought this was all we could afford. It was 70,000 kip a night (about £6) so we thought it was a bit of a bargain. Turns out it wasn't. The next day we found a fabulous place called Nam Sok, which was modern, spotlessly clean, had free internet, and with air con for 80,000 kip.
We spent a few days strolling around, checking out of few temples, etc. Luang Prabang is so pretty it's just a pleasure to stroll. There's an excellent night market selling great stuff, plus cheap eats. Some of the restaurants are
bit pricey, but now we've managed to find the better value ones. An average meal costs between 20-35,000 kip (£1.60-2.90). You can spend much more here if you wanted to. A big bottle of Beer Lao (the greatest lager in the world!) can be bought for 10,000kip (80p). Not bad for over a pint. You can also get fabulous freshly baked baguettes, fab coffee and nice wines - this is a former French colony after all.
So far in Laos I've been offered weed 6 times by various people. I'm going to keep count and provide a 'weed update' in each blog.
We're now in Vang Vieng. This town is like Magaluf in SE Asia. It's full of wired & wasted 18 year olds. It's the place where you can get 'happy pizza' (topped with either weed, magic mushies or even opium!!). We met a cool couple from Leeds and decided to go tubing the next day. Essentially tubing involves floating down the river in a massive inner tube, stopping at bars and getting wasted. And boy did we get wasted. The river is lined with bars, plus rope swings and slides into the river. The water is
Look at my big weapon!
pretty low so you'd be a fool to go on them. Many still do and Viang Veng is full of people with injuries - broken limbs and bandages are a common sight. The four of us met a Norwegian couple and the six of us got pretty messed up. The owner of one bar kept giving us free Lao Lao shots - the local moonshine whiskey. I think I had 5 or 6, plus lots of beer. I could barely see by the end! Cue sunburn, mega giggles and amazing scenery. We had a great day. The only shame was the lack of photos - cameras and water don't mix too well.
Lou was much worse than me, hilariously so - I think her friends can guess the state she was in!. Louise's Section
So I am writing this blog after 16 hours in bed. Chris very kindly left me curled up in bed covered with Savlon and some water and then he went out for a bit.
I was hesitant about the tubing to start with but mainly for safety reasons as I am not a good swimmer, it was all fine, the river
is not at it's lowest but you could touch the bottom on some sections.
The first bar was great but the devil man and his Lao Lao whiskey, even I had 3 maybe 4 shots, and he drinks too then goes and swims out to catch the next tuber floating by. So we now had a good group of people to tube further down with which made it more fun.
Onto the next stretch and we see a sign 'last bar' wondering is that true but decided not to miss our chance just in case. This led to poor Mike trying to catch me by stick as I had floated into some sort of bank with weeds, mud and washed up wood and could only paddle in circles. I think Chris may have helped but he was laughing too hard like me.
So in the last bar, all is fine, having another beer then came the only tubing accident related injury not from the river but from me trying to stand on the edge of the ceramic squat toilet on a foot high step with wet shoes and you guessed it... stacked over my own head, landed
upside down on the floor, thank god not in the squat, and covered in mud, water and probably wee!! Washed me self off and back to the bar warning any passers by the toilet is slippery. Chris didn't really register when I told him I had fell, finally hit him at the guest house when we got back that my shoulder looks like Predator has taken a swipe at me, my knee is huge and grazed and blue, my ankle is swollen and blue and the side of my right calf has a huge lump and is also blue and all from a friggin toilet injury again!!!
Apart from that the tubing was amazing, beautiful scenery and great company and was only slightly ruined by the accident and being caught by 4 kids at the end to get us into land who wanted 70,000 kip for their trouble and when I couldn't pay after checking my money situation they all took a different note and ran off!!
So today is rest day, no drinking but will hopefully be out later bout 11pm to watch England v USA till about 3am, me thinks a nap will be had before that. Maybe cycling may occur tomorrow but who knows.
Tot: 0.816s; Tpl: 0.043s; cc: 16; qc: 66; dbt: 0.0373s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb