We got picked up at 10am from our Guesthouse by a bus with an excessively shiny interior.
This picked up various other people and then delivered us to the bus station, where we were transferred to a double decker bus! You could only sit on the top deck, and we headed for the backseats, which meant we got all 5 seats to ourselves for the journey. Hurrah!
However, this didn’t save us on this horrible journey. It was really hilly and bumpy the whole way, and although the scenery was beautiful, this didn’t quit e make up for it!
John fell asleep for a while which saved him, but Susie just felt iller and iller until we finally arrived at 4:30pm. Hurrah! The tuk-tuk driver at the bus station tried to charge us 70,000kip ($9) for the 3k journey into town, so we walked instead! A rather long but money saving walk later, we arrived at the Guesthouse we’d picked. It was too expensive though, so we went to the one across the road. This was cheap at only 40,000kip (£3.50, $5) per night, but did feel and look rather like a prison cell!
When we’d dumped our bags, we went for a wander through the pretty night market into town. We went and got dinner; Susie went western and had a burger, while John had a disappointing curry. We went for a walk along the river, and then went to bed.
The next day we got noodle soup for breakfast and then followed the walking tour that was in the Guidebook. It started with a fresh produce market that was really interesting and had lots of ridiculous things to buy!
Live frogs for dinner anyone??
Then we wandered along the river, where we saw some pretty boats.
After that, the walking tour mostly taught us that there are too any Wats (temples) in Luang Prabang!!
Susie in a Wat garden
An hour and 8 temples later, Susie started to feel ill so we headed back to our Guesthouse, where Susie had a nap and John read. At 12 we went to get lunch, and ended up at a rather posh (although not too expensive) restaurant where we had papaya salad and curry for lunch which was very tasty, if rather spicy!! The restaurant was outside and had a lovely pond and was so nice and peaceful that we sat there for 2 hours, reading and enjoying feeling upmarket(especially since it was still only $3 a head!!!
After that, we went up Phu Si, a hill in the centre of Luang Prabang. On the way up was a temple that had a “Buddha’s footprint”...didn’t look much like a person’s footprint to us though!
What do you think???
We continued our walk to the top, which had such lovely views that we sat down, got our books out, and spent another 2 hours reading and enjoying the view and peace and quiet.
Monument on the top of Phu Si
John reading...and yes, that is a fiction book!!
Until 5pm that is when all the tourist IN THE WORLD came to the top to watch the sun set. We mae our escape and went and booked bus tickets to go to Phonsavanh the next day. We went and enjoyed a beer by the river, and then went to try to find somewhere to eat. As we’ve said before, we are not fans of Lao food, and we thought we ought to be able to find something interesting to eat. However, when an hour walk had provided nothing but more of the same noodle/rice meals, we gave up and had curry. This wasn’t what we felt like, but it filled a hole! After dinner, Susie went for a walk around the night market and bought a few bits and bobs, and then we went to bed.
Overall, we like Luang Prabang, and we felt it is somewhere anyone could come and experience all the niceties of Asia, without any of the less desirable bits. Lots of winding streets, monks, temples, colourful markets, etc. But it all feels a little fake, and after all the other places we've been, we weren't completely taken with it. A lot of people rave about it, but we aren't quite that positive. Nice enough, but not all that!