Luang Prabang

It’s been a long long time since I last posted, I’m getting snowed under with places I need to write about – I’m only about halfway into the Southeast Asia trip with this one and now there’s China waiting for some attention! Time to get on with it, let’s resume with Luang Prabang then!

Luang Prabang was the only place we visited in Laos, we had to cram a lot into 9 weeks and it seemed like the place you could not miss in the country. LP is a pretty little city, as per for this part of the world it was full of beautiful colours that we’d never see back home. Considering Laos is apparently the poorest country we visited I thought things were quite expensive here compared to Thailand etc. Perhaps LP is just so popular with westerners they know they can overcharge.

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The influence of the old French rule could still be found in LP, baguettes were popular snacks – I managed to get my fix of avocado in one(5 vegetarian points to me!). There was also a great bakery full of cakes and tarts that looked like they should belong in Europe not this little corner of Asia.

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Luang Prabang or Lyon?

For me the highlight of LP was the waterfall just a tuk-tuk ride outside the city, it was stunning. It started off impressive and somehow kept getting better and better the higher you walked. I’d never swam in a waterfall before, it had to be done! I thought as this was Asia where the temperature never seems to drop below 30 it’d be pleasantly warm in there, how wrong. It was freezing. We tip-toed our way in reluctantly until a weird biting sensation kept coming and going, the little fish had decided it was lunch time and our legs were looking tasty. Avoiding the fish took our minds off the water so after a while it wasn’t quite so cold – we were able to enjoy bobbing about in the pool. Consider swimming in a waterfall ticked off the bucket list!

The influence of Buddhism is big across Southeast Asia but it seemed particularly noticeable in LP. One of the recommended things to do is see the Buddhist monks wake up very early and come out to receive donations from local people and tourists, they are given their food for the day. We set our alarm and got out to see them take over the city’s streets. There was such a big range in the ages, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say the youngest monks looked about 9 or 10 years old. Clearly at that age I don’t think they’re ready to make such a big decision, dedicating their life to Buddha before they’ve even reached puberty seems a bit suspicious. Pushy parenting?

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In the centre of LP there is a big hill that we climbed up ready for sunset, of course hundreds of others had the same idea so finding a decent spot was hard but we managed to get some good photos eventually. Two rivers run through LP and there were hills in the distance, I’ve seen worse scenery!

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