Luang Prabang

March 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Posted in Laos | Leave a comment

Even though we were ready to get out of vietnam, I wasn’t really prepared for the journey into laos. The trip took 3 days, involved 5 buses and two nights in shithole towns – I thought we’d never make it to Luang Prabang. After packing into yet another crappy minibus, delegated to the very back corner, hudson and I took bets on how long until the first local got carsick inside the van. I won with a bet of 17 minutes.

The first eight hour journey was actually beautiful – amazing views as we were winding our way around mountains.

Unfortunately the ride took ages because of what I guess you could call the dirt roads – they were so narrow and uneven, I’m surprised our little minibus survived.

After forging several creeks in the minibus, we were finally made to get out and take this ferry. seemed kind of a scam because the minibus went across on the same ferry, except when we were on it the ferry stopped in the middle of the river and we had to hop in these little banan leaf type boats for the last twenty feet.

After a strange altercation involving some lazy laotians and an irate french man, we realized we’d have to get a tuktuk to the next bus station. they kept insisting on strapping our luggage to the roof; turns out this was so the luggage space and aisle space could be used for random commodities like used truck wheels, 5000 bushels of onions, and local people.

i like to keep my hood up on these journeys. it makes me feel like the germs can’t get me.

one ride involved cramming 22 people into a 12 passenger van (we were in the back again), during which my neighbor, a random vietnemese, kept sleeping on me and putting his gigantic child’s head and feet in my lap for 7 hours. we also stayed in two $5 hotels, but at least in one of the towns we found a bar to eat in; i had a cold and was too ill to really eat so i just polished off my cough medicine bottle.
finally we made it to luang prabang; after our crazy journey, i wasn’t too confident about laos. however, the beautiful city changed my mind.

 the pic above is a view of the city from atop Phu si, a large hill with shrines, a cave and buddhas.

inside the cave was a beautiful shrine with burning candles and incense.

luang prabang is a world heritage site and was so lovely, especially after vietnam. from our hotel to the market, we meandered through little streets full of beautiful wats (buddhist temples); the architecture was gorgeous and monks lived on many of the wats. every morning the monks walk through the city collecting alms and food; the monks here seemed so much happier than the ones in bangkok who were barefoot and sad. there were even baby monks – i guess children as young as seven can start training and living in wats.

 

the markets were one of our favorites part of luang prabang. they had such delicious fruit and huge sandwiches for just a dollar.

at the night market there was even more food stalls and we ate there everynight. laos fish, grilled meats, noodles – so tasty. this fish tasted a lot better than it looked.

the night markets also had blocks and blocks of beautiful textiles, scarves, bags and other stuff. i was dying to buy a duvet, but i couldn’t really tote it around in my backpack.

one day we went to this waterfall. we didn’t know what to expect, but the waterfall was awesome.

The water was so blue and there were so many levels we couldn’t even see the top of the falls.

we climbed this bitch of a hill straight up – basically on our hands and knees – and i thought it might not be worth it, but the view was amazing. we could see all the way down into pools and more falls.

you could literally hang over the falls from a pool and look straight down.

to get to this pool, we walked through pools and some jungle where i nearly stepped on a snake. we couldn’t figure out how to get back up to this pool until we saw a couple kids climbing up a falls. it was crazy to climb up a bunch of water and rocks, but it made the pool really secluded.

hudson makes an awkward jump.

randomly there was also a black bear conservatory near the falls.

i was so sad to leave luang prabang. such a nice town to walk around and such friendly people.

we stayed in a lovely hotel along the river.

the lady who owned our hotel had this cute little dog, Babydog. see below for cuteness. hudson temporarily kidnapped him so we could play with him in our room.

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