Luang Prabang My Village

Trip Start Dec 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 03, 2011

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Where I stayed
Oudomphong Guesthouse

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

There was morning light by 6am. We passed several villages with vernacular houses on stilts. It was a buzz watching the activities of a local ethnic market along the route. The makeshift stalls had to clear the way for our bus to get through, causing abit of commotion. It was a 8am arrival at the northern bus station. Everyone seemed to be on the move, either people moving people or people getting moved. Another cattle class on a songthiaew that took me to Luang Prabang city centre. The lonely planet map was hopeless but I managed to track down Oudomphong Guesthouse and checked in. The room was basic with paper thin bamboo walls and shared toilets but the hospitality was warm and welcoming.
At first glance, Luang Prabang was a charming village town hugged by Mekong River from the west and featured an historical main street that served as the spine. Along the Mekong riverbanks, one will discover bars and restaurants offering local dishes with global prices. Sisavangvong street as the town's hub was packed with food stalls, local tour offices and more bars. Phu Si hill took centrestage right in the middle of town and you can even spot the hilltop temple from street level. The almost vertical steps leading up looked daunting but that did not deter anyone from a massive thigh and calf workout everyday.
The afternoon stroll took me along the Mekong, stopping at various piers and temples before wandering back to Sisavangvong street. By evening, this stretch of road was transformed into a tranquil night market with endless handicraft stalls. If you look interested enough, you might get offered 3 rounds of Lao Lao at the rice whiskey tents. The first one will be smooth. Show your "my livers swam in alcohol" face and you will get a second shot. Now act cool and the third shot comes along. Down this one, you do not have to pretend to cough. Immediate evaporization and you exclaim "wow! good shot!" "50 percent!" comes the reply. One small potion for US$1. Politely decline and walk to the next tent and repeat. I really cannot drink a will degrease my liver.
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