Sunday, July 7, 2013

Luang Prabang, UNESCO town

Luang Prabang is by far the most touristy part of Lao, for a lot of people who do the usual Cambodia, Vietnam, Lao in 2 weeks, it's actually the only stop! For us it was a bit longer, we spent 4 nights there in a nice hotel where the pool was so hot that it couldn't really cool us down... (Special thought for YM and the air conditioned Qatari swimming pool!)

First day, we are on a temple mission, there are indeed a lot of them, and they are particularly beautiful and well maintained. The Lonely Planet addicts will recognize the cover of the Lao guide in the pink-ish small temple.

Apart from the temples, the town is dominated by its 2 rivers, the wide Mekong on one side which can only be crossed by boat and the other one (I'm not even sure I have ever known its name) which has some really interesting bridges...

Finally to conclude the day, we climb the unique hill where the view gives a rather good idea of the low industrialization of the country, it's green in all directions!

Second day, back on the bike (that's the super expensive 15$ a day bike that I had mentioned previously in Lao intro), we are heading for some water falls on the advice of little sister. Tat Kuang Si is a great place for a little swim and a little hike to the top of the fall. Water is incredibly clear and the locals seem to enjoy it as a picnic destination.

There's also a bear centre where animals who have been taken away from people for trafficking, mal nutrition are kept. When we arrive, it's feeding time followed by nap time and life doesn't seem to be too hard any more for these cute little sunbears!

Final day in LB, we are off to Pak Ou cave, let's be honest, it's just an excuse for a cruise on the Mekong as the cave itself is not exceptional apart from being full of Buddhas!

The Mekong itself is quite cool, first it takes some skills to navigate it, our small boat tend to stick to the side but not always the same one, sometimes we go though the mangrove, sometimes it's more like small rapids, no way a big boat can navigate these waters!

On the side, we see buffaloes, gold diggers, elephants, construction yard (a pinch different from the ones I'm used to in Korea and Singapore...) and finally the cave!

It's a lovely quiet day to finish our trip in LP, the day after we are flying down to Pakse, south of the country.

PS: people who have been to LP may notice that I haven't mentioned at all the famous alms with the monks in the morning and it's normal, we haven't seen them.

The truth is that we tried... But apparently the monks alarm clock went off earlier than ours! (For my defense, we got up at 5.45am as I thought it was at 6am but apparently summer time had changed that...)


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