Thursday 8th July 2010
After our everlasting boat tour, we arrived in Luang Prabang in the late afternoon. After a nice tourist pointed us towards the area where most Guesthouses were located, we soon found one that was much better than expected. Not that we wanted a shabby place but we are travelers on a budget after all. The front garden was also the family's living room and if we had nothing to do it was just great to hang out and watch the kids or to play with the kittens. Friday 9th July 2010
This was our lazy day. We spend ages finding a good company to do our Elephant Tour with, walked around the city, visited the National Museum including the King's car exhibition, wandered around the night market and read our books
. Nothing much to tell apart from that we kept bumping into people we had met on the boat and that Luang Prabang turned out to be a place full of good surprises. Lovely, helpful people; great mix between city life and nature; it simply had a great atmosphere to it. Saturday 10th July 2010
We were met by our tour guide around 10am and started our journey to the Elephant Camp. We were also joined by three other women from Austria, Netherlands and Australia. The elephant camp was about one hour north of Luang Prabang. The two elephants, 30 and 32 years old, had been logging elephants in southern Laos for most of their lives and were transported to their present home together with 2 others 2 years ago. After we had met the elephants and fed them many bananas, we went for a one hour ride through the Jungle. I quickly volunteered to sit on it's neck which was much less comfortable than expected but my knees where safe from insect bites closely tucked behind her ears. She also trumpeted twice, once at a dog and once at something we probably don't want to know. Back at the camp, the elephants went for some water and food around the river banks whilst we took a speed boat across the Mekong to visit the Pak Ou Caves. The lower Cave was filled with Buddhas and interesting but nothing special
. The steep climb up to the upper Cave was more worth it. There were bats hanging of the ceiling and the Cave itself was much more impressive. Then it was lunchtime. The children from the local village where hanging out around the camp, their 3 month summer holidays had just started.When we had finished they scooped up our leftovers. After lunch, the Mahouts, or otherwise known as elephant trainers, taught us some commands and we were allowed to get onto the elephant from the ground and to feed it bananas from the neck.Then came the best part of the day, we took the elephants for a bath in the Mekong. We must have been in the water for at least one hour. The elephants disappeared under the surface beneath us, splashed us with water, jokingly threw us into the Mekong and and and. We were all laughing and it was great to see how much fun the Mahouts had as well and how much they loved their animals. Even our guide and all the kids joined us in the river. We almost fell off the elephants afterwards, we were absolutely exhausted. On our way back to Luang Prabang we stopped by a village that made rice wine and whiskey. The whiskey bottles were all filled not only with whiskey but also with some sort of creature, be it a snake, scorpion or gheko-very fascinating!!! Sunday 11th July 2010
On Saturday we decided that Sunday was going to be our last day in Luang Prabang and hence we needed to fit quite a lot into the day
. We had bumped into a family from Portsmouth the previous evening who we also had met on the Boat and decided to share a Tuk Tuk (an open air taxi on either 3 or 4 wheels) to visit the local waterfalls the following day. Pick-up 10am. Hence, the alarm went off at 6.30 and by 7.30 we were packed and out of the house. It was lovely to walk along the empty streets and being swet-free for once. We visited one of the temples and walked back through the old town. Punctually, as we obviously are, and to our surprise the Laos Tuk Tuk driver also seemed to be on time, we started our 32km journey to the Tat Kuang Si waterfalls. On the entrance of the waterfalls was a sanctuary of moon bears rescued from poachers. We spent an hour or so watching the bears play and search for food after their keepers had been hiding it. We then moved on to see the waterfalls. They were of an amazing turquoise colour. unfortunately the place was hieving with tourists. 20 minutes or so later we arrived at the end of the pathway which also housed the biggest waterfall of them all. There were people climbing around at the top and soon we discovered that there was another path leading up to the top of the waterfall. So we started up the many stairs which sooned turned into a narrow path and then there was nothing apart from a amall waterfall but we had only reached about 3/4 of the bigger one. After a 5 minute freak out, we ignored the strong voice that asked for an answer of how to get back down, and started climbing up within the warerfall. Then, past the DANGER sign we finally reached the top and it was more than worth it. We seemed to be on top of the world, looking over the trees and fields. It didn't matter that we were soaking wet. In addition, the way back down was actually not that bad after all and obviously, I am still alive - haha. On our way back, we spent an hour or so enjoying a swim in the cool water (well at least I did), a lovely afternnoon. On our way back to Luang Prabang, we stopped again by a village. The little kids were running after us trying to sell us friendship bands. Just before we reached the car, a little boy came up to me and pointed at my water bottle. He walked away with the biggest grin on his face and my waterbottle in his hands.