28.01.2012 - 30.01.2012 28 °C
I stayed in what I thought was the prettiest building on the High Street in the Bakery Guesthouse and I was lucky enough to have a balcony on the front so I had a great view up and down the street, I spent many hours sitting watching the steady stream of tourists with backpacks walking up and down to the market or hiring their bikes from the shop opposite me. Nights were fascinating because until about 10pm it's lively and full of tourists shoping in the night market, grabbing a fruit shake from one of the numerous stalls or eating in the restuarants but by 11pm it's like a ghost town, lights go off, shutters and doors are closed and everyone disappears like magic every night. Luang Prabang is definately a city that sleeps.
Luang Prabang is a UNESCO world heritage city and is centered around the High Street and the road that runs along the Mekong River. The town is full of small guesthouses, boutique hotels and tourist friendly restuarants and bars selling local Laos and western cuisine. The pace is very slow and most people just meandered around taking photo's and admiring the buildings which were a mix of tradional Laos wooden houses or French european style. Laos beer is very tasty I decided much better than Chang or Tiger from Thailand and after walking around exploring in the sunshine there were plenty of lovely spots along the river to have a beer break.
I spent a few hours one afternoon sat in a reclining wooden chair by the river with a bottle of Laos beer having a much needed Manicure, Pedicure and essential foot scrub all for the grand sum of 40,000 kip ( Just over 3pound) no chemicals were used just fruit such as limes rubbed over the nails to clean the mud off and it worked ! I'm not sure the finished result would meet Dubai standards but it was good to finally have clean, tidy, mud free nails again and it was sooooo relaxing.
My friend Pete was in town, Pete and I worked together in Dubai and are both travelling in Asia at the same time but slightly different routes so we arranged to meet for a catch up in the coconut garden. Such a good find with it's lush green garden and red chinese lanterns hanging on the trees. I had a western meal of pork ribs and they were delicous, the first hot meal I'd had for 3 days. Pete and the others had Laos cuisine such as sausage and deep fried morning glory which looked good too. we spent a few hours comparing slummin it stories, I think Pete is winning so far with smelly trains and gruesome rooms but we both agreed so far every minute has been worth it.
My final morning was supposed to be spent watching the traditional Alms ceremony at 5.30am but.....I overslept and missed it. I was disappointed as I'm told it really is an amazing sight to see and feel spiritually watching hundreds of monks in their orange robes pass in silence through the town collecting food such as rice and cookies from kneeling villagers in their bowls. Oh well a good reason to come back one day ...