Luang Prabang

Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
Trip End Sep 19, 2011

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Monday, November 29, 2010

 We arrived in Luang Prabang ( LP ) at 8:30 AM after our overnight bus from Vientiane. We didn't get much sleep but on the whole it wasn't a bad journey. I had been speaking to a Korean guy on the bus the night before and he was telling me he worked for some Malaria charity in LP. Anyway the up shot was he told our Tuk Tuk driver where to take us and we were taken to a lovely little guest house right in the heart of town. We bagged a great room with a balcony over looking a beautiful lane at 15 a night. They could only give us the room for a couple of nights, so we would have to find another place for the remainder of our time in town. We took our bags to the room and fell straight to sleep.
  We woke up around 12 ish and went out for a wander. The town and yes you guessed it sits on the banks of the Mekong River. This is the last place we will see this river again until we get to it's Delta in Vietnam. Luang Prabang is a lovely little place, it has a certain charm about the place and Cathy and I decided to extend our stay right away. It was said to have been a very popular posting for French Civil servants and the like, and I could see why. The climate here is perfect, air quality here is perfect and the place is just so beautiful. As you can tell I really liked it here. I read that it took longer to reach Luang Prabang by boat from Saigon than it took to reach Saigon from Paris !!! It ain't called the mighty Mekong for nothing.
   There is a night market and if I'd been on a 2 week holiday I could have spent a fortune on souvenirs. But we have gotten used to not buying, you see when backpacking the more stuff you have the more you gotta carry!! We have both ditched all kinds of stuff since we set off. I have dumped my favorite jeans even.  But I have on the other hand gained quite a few new T- shirts and I must have 50 at home I never wear!!??
   We called into a travel agent as we needed to find out the easiest and cheapest way of getting to Chiang Mai in Thailand. We were told there was 2 options for budget travelers.
 1 The bus which takes 14 hours just to reach the boarder and God knows how long after that. 
 2 The slow boat on the Mekong which takes 2 days and is normally packed and if all the seats are taken you sit on the floor!!
 We left the shop to mull this over, bus or boat? bus or boat? bus or boat? OK so what did we do you ask? Well what any sane minded person would do.......................we walked over to the Lao Airlines office and booked two tickets!! It cost us 90 each but it was worth every penny to us. We paid up and skipped off down the road like Morcombe and Wise. Problem SOLVED.
   On our wanderings about town we found a fantastic little hotel down a quiet side street that would do us for our last few days in town. It was brand new and it was like a four star hotel room. We asked the price and were happy at the answer 16. So we booked 3 nights with them. 
 LP has a great Cafe scene and the choice of Restaurants is vast. We even dabbled in the street food, I had a great BBQ fish one day and they also did pork chunks on a stick that was really nice on a morning in a French stick. The French gave Indochina something at least and that was good bread.
  One thing I have yet to mention about our travels around Cambodia and Laos is the sight of Saffron clad Monks. You actually see them all the time and every time it thrills me. That's the most Asian sight of all in my eyes and I love to see them.
 On the day before we left we booked a trip to see some caves about 2 hours up the river. Our boat was a narrow long tailed boat and there was 6 of us on it. We set off and one and a half hours into the ride our boat breaks down. Luckily we were picked up by another boat 45 minutes later. We saw the caves and let me tell you I wouldn't have walked to the bottom of my garden to see them. I've seen better, a lot better. However the ride on the river was beautiful and that was worth the money we paid in its self.
 I am writing this on my last day in Chiang Mai, we are booked on the overnight sleeper train to Bangkok this afternoon and as soon as we get in we are jumping on a bus to Rayong to meet up with my Cousin James who is working out here at the moment. Aaah, back on the road again, its a good feeling.
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Andrew Boddy on

Great report's , I am sat at my desk reading this, its snowing outside and has been down to -7, cant wait until monday then its SE Asia for me as well!!!

trish and john on

wow good one , you v defiantly brought us sun shine and laughter to our cold night, marcome and wise ha cannot beet crusty white bread.

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