Bowled Over

Trip Start Jun 27, 2011
Trip End Jun 22, 2012

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our boat trip ended in Luang Prabang, the old capital of Laos, in time to see a beautiful sunset over the Mekong.  The old town is on a small peninsular surrounded by the river and its centre is a Buddhist temple at the top of a hill with views around the town and surrounding area.  The town is home to many temples where young Laotians come to study Buddhism so when walking around the streets we often saw trainee monks strolling around in their orange robes. 

Since my previous visit, tourism had continued to increase and we learned that the rental prices had gone up by 1500% in 3 years!  Unsurprisingly this meant that the prices of food and accomodation had gone up and also that the town centre is now a really upmarket place with plush boutique hotels, a range of continental and local restaurants and as many holidaymakers as backpackers. 

We spent three nights in the town with our friends from the boat trip, Frank and Jose and also Sander and his two other Dutch friends, Bram and Yuri, and went out to the main bar in town where we also met up with some other backpackers including two brothers from Essex called Ricky and Bobby

On the second night we went out for a Lao Barbeque, a really fun and social meal to go out for where you are given plates of raw meat, vegetables and noodles, and stock, sauce and spices, and create your own stirfry on a kind of upside down wok over a coal flame. 

The bars in town all close up at about 11.30 so we decided to head out to the only place in town still open which was, strangely enough, a bowling alley!  We had no idea what to expect but arrived with Sander, Yuri and an Aussie guy they knew, to find that nearly all the backpackers on Luang Prabang had descended upon the place in search of more Beer Lao. 

What followed was an evening high on entertainment and exceptionally low on good quality bowling, the state of which descended so badly that by the last game (at about 3am), the winning score was a pathetic 67!  Bowling when unable to walk straight proved quite challenging for all the participants. 

On our final day in town, we visited some temples and also took a daytrip up to the waterfalls on the outskirts of town.  The falls are certainly amongst the best in southeast asia and the water from them flows out into 3 beautiful turqouise pools which would have been good for swimming in had the weather been better.  We also saw some bears which are kept in a small reserve in the park including one who was relaxing in a hammock - even the animals are chilled out in Laos!

On our last evening we ate some spicy noodle salad and sesame riverweed at a street market and then went out for a dinner with Frank, Jose, Bram and Yuri in a modern Lao restaurant and ate Luang Prabang chicken casserole and Lemongrass Pork before deciding to get an early night ahead of our bus ride tomorrow.  

We had wanted to go north but don't have time to see everywhere in this part of our trip so are instead going south with the Dutch boys to Vang Vieng, the backpacking and party capital of the country.
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