Luang Prabang

Trip Start Mar 27, 2007
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Trip End Mar 27, 2008


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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Monday the 3rd of Sept: I slept in late after my long boat trip. Luang Prabang city since 1995 has been placed on the world heritage list. It has a population of 28,000. There are may french colonial architecture building with Buddhist Wat/ temples dotted around and the whole place is surrounded by green mountains. I went for a long walk through the town but took wrong turn and ended up somewhere where there was not much to see. I did manage to find a foreign exchange, which I think was a post office, when I left I was a millionaire, well 1 million kip. I had to walk back quickly because I needed to use the bathroom. It was the start of a 2 day pain in my stomach. :-) I read somewhere that 50% of travelers to south east Asia get diarrhoea after 2 weeks, I joined that statistic. But in fact nearly everyone I had met suffered from this. Luckily I did return to my guesthouse because it rained all afternoon, in fact it rained the 4 days I was in Luang Prabang, which put a downer on my stay there. I finished my book (another one) False Impressions by Geoffrey Archer. A good book, I would recommend it, in sort its about a woman's escape from the twin tower's at the same time a Van Gogh painting it stolen and there is a murder in England.
That night I had dinner at a different restaurant than yesterday along the river (Mekong that is). While there I talked to a friendly waiter, I asked him is there any good bar in town, he told me that the Hive bar is probably the best. We decided to met at 10pm and go together. He was not at the place where we agreed to meet, so I got a tuk-tuk there myself. It was a really nice bar, all the foreigners were sitting outside and the Laos people were sitting inside. So I sat inside at the bar. There was a DJ spinning decks in the corner, playing some good tunes. I had 3 beer Lao to drink. A Lao man talked to me,, well he tried. I think he fancied me. Anyway I mostly talked to one of the boys/ man behind the bar. He told me that his aim was to talk to many foreigners and try to stay in contact with them. They stoped serving drink at 11:30pm and the bar closed at 12 o'clock. I got a tuk-tuk home.  

Tuesday the 4th. I had lunch in an Indian restaurant, chicken tika masla, lovely, $3. I then rented a bike as I was determined to see this town. I was also on on the look out to do a tour, with elephants and some trekking involved. But once again I took a wrong turn :-) and ended up near the football stadium. It wasn't all bad I guess, I may have seen parts of the city/ town that no other tourist has seen. I went and booked my tour and my VIP bus ticket to Vientiane for Thursday. After that it started to rain very heavy again, so I went back to the guesthouse. I tried another restaurant along the river for dinner, I guess I just love the view over looking the river and what a great view it was. I talked to another waiter who was studying economics and was hoping to work for a large company, but he wasn't hopeful.  

Wednesday the 5th and I was up at 7:50am since I was been collected at 8:30am for my elephant and trekking tour. There was only 3 of us on the tour, a Japanese couple and I. I was collected in a 4X4 jeep and brought to the lodge. We got a small boat across the Nam Khan river and walked to the elephant camp. They had 5 elephants in total, all of them female, since they are easier to control. :-) The elephant ride lasted 1 hour through a semi jungle. It was great, I even got a chance to sit on the elephants neck and guide him along the way, I had to speak Lao in order for the elephant to understand. I have to say I did not even know they had elephants in Laos. Anyway back at the elephant camp we fed the elephants some bananas for a job well done. We then went back to the lodge and had lunch. After lunch we crossed the Nam Khan river again and started our 3 hour trekking through some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen.
We passed by and through many paddy (rice) fields, and crossed over a bamboo bridge with green and green everywhere and the clouds touching the mountain tops, just beautiful. On the way we stopped at the Khanu village to visit the Khmer people (people from Cambodia). Basically they life in shacks /sheds, with animals (chickens, dogs and pigs) living underneath the shack. It was funny and quite moving to see the kids working in the village,, 2 kids of no more then 3 and 5 years old sawing wood for the fire. We then walked to the Tad Sae waterfall, but on the way the heaven's opened, a massive down pour of rain. Even my rain cold could not keep out the rain. In no time at all, the water was up to our knees, but we kept going until we got to the water fall. And it did not disappoint, it was beautiful,, the most beautiful water fall I have ever seen. Better then the water falls in OZ :-). It has many different levels/ steps in it and it seemed to go on for ever. See photo. You could also swim in one part of it, but we did not, as we (Japanese and I) were too wet from the rain. We crossed the river again and headed back to the lodge, where they drove us back our accommodation. 
That night I went to the the same restaurant I went on my second night in Luang Prabang and was severed by the same friendly waiter (Touy). I asked him where he was the night we arranged to met, he told me he had finished early and so went to bed. I had dinner there and we agreed to to meet later and have a drink. This time he was there,, he drove both of us to the Hive bar on his scooter, his friend also joined us later. While there we met and talked to a group of people, one from Ireland, Germany and Italy. We left the Hive bar, with 3 of us on the scooter through the streets of Luang Prabang to go to the local disco. It was strange to hear American rap music in Lao :-). We had only one drink here, since it was closing at 12 o'clock. We then went to a late bar for one last drink,, there were lots of gay people at this bar. We did not stay very long here, as I was getting tired and I had a long bus journey tomorrow. Touy then drove me home and we said out good byes. What a great day.
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