Luang Prabang - charming city
Trip Start Sep 19, 2007
71Trip End Jan 19, 2008
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We are finally in Luang Prabang, we took the bus early in the morning, and even though it left on time we have arrived here about 9 hours after. The bus ride is quite beautiful, the place is full of limestone mountains, and step mountains, and the road is quite good. I would say even better than in some parts of china now. On the way every time the people in the bus saw something edible through the windows the driver stopped a little while so the passengers could buy food from their window seats, or they could buy stuff directly from the street stalls. Usually this stops were used to relieve yourself over some bushes. The items that were more popular were dead animals with lots of hair, squirrels, bush rats, sort of big cats with long tails, something similar to a porcupine, with really hard spikes, and other delicatessen, that unfortunately i can't fully appreciate just yet
I was quite ready to get off the bus. We read on the guide that Luang Prabang was pricey and it was difficult to find good value for money accommodation in the centre of town. But anyway we took a rickshaw and drove to the centre of town and started to look for a guesthouse.
What i realise here is that the city hasn't changed much but they seemed to have more guesthouses and more posh restaurants, and also more villas, and most of the guesthouses charge about 30 dollars per double room. Usually you can find good rooms for about 10 dollars per night and sometimes under. I think that the government wants to attract an upper kind of tourism, not just backpackers, because probably they make lots of noise and pay little money.
The city is full of nice looking restaurants with western food, art galleries, massages parlours and travel agencies, and organised rickshaw drivers. Unlike other asian places, here the tuk tuk prices are almost non negotiable, because all the drivers have agreed on the prices to be charged for all the tourist destinations. In a way is quite good, but it is a bit pricey.
I think the government is in this way trying to make more money out of tourism but also is trying to protect the environment by monitoring closely tourists, and also by launching and promoting eco- tourism activities to help projects in the area, like trekkings, rafting or any other activity
Chiel did not like the city too much, as all we could see were tourist everywhere and restaurants, and guesthouses, and internet places, and little markets for tourist and so on. But finally after asking in many guesthouses we found one with paper walls and warmish water. chiel felt sleep really early but I was awake and heard the neighbours doing lots of weird noises. We had dinner at a touristic restaurant and decided to go to look for another hotel the following day.
We woke up quite early and were looking for a decent place for quite a while, after two hours i think that both of us were loosing our patience with one another. But finally we found a nice place a bit outside the main tourist street, and after moving our staff here we decided to go for breakfast, well actually almost lunch.
We found the best noodle meat soup in town
The city is really beautiful and even though it does receive many tourist the city remains quite charming and also keeps the feeling of a small village but the city is quite big. I went to have a traditional lao massage, the masseur was using all the strength in her body to stretch mine. It felt good. Chiel did not feel like massages and decided to go to visit another temple, quite pretty he told me.
In the evening we did not do much, had dinner at an Indian place and I think we tried to watch a movie in the guesthouse but fall sleep trying.
In the morning we decided to have another nice soup for breakfast before visiting the Orient Express hotel here. Our idea was to rent bicycles to visit the Kuang Si Water falls or since this place is about 35 km from Luang Prabang, maybe go with the bicycles somewhere else
We were both really glad we went, cause the place is quite beautiful. In this place the government has a Bear Rescue Centre, and a Tiger Rescue area, as well as a swimming areas and a massive waterfall. I was swimming in the swimming area, and i think that you can find water snakes, and water rats, and other animals here. I did not mind one bit cause i was really happy to be able to swim in such beautiful and natural surroundings.
After the little swim we went all the way around the water fall, we had to walk quite a bit inside the river. It was adventurous. Specially for me since i am a bit clumsy when it comes to walk in difficult path in particular going down. But this time i did it all sort of ok, and when I was waiting for Chiel in a completely flat area i fall on the floor, ( i still don't know what happened) and bend my ankle. Luckily i did not get an sprain ankle.
The rickshaw driver was waiting for us sleeping on a hammock, which was hanged on the back side of the rickshaw. I asked him to please leave on, since i wanted to go back lying on the hammock
In the evening we went to visit the Hmong market, also the food market and finally had dinner in a touristic restaurant, and there was this little baby doing the typical lao greeting with the two hands together like in a praying position and saying sabadeee ( the lao word for hello). The baby was learning to do this, and he was doing it to chiel. What a sweetheart. I think that in the end Chiel made him cry by doing funny faces.
Tomorrow we are leaving Luang Prabang, but I am really happy that we have been able to do plenty of stuff here so Chiel does not leave thinking that these place is just a tourist trap.
Good night to everybody/