Luang Prabang: Frenchie rules ok
Trip Start Jan 18, 2011
74Trip End Dec 01, 2011
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With our various visa requirements, it's time to make a fair bit of headway in the next month. We've about 4 weeks to see Laos and the bits of Vietnam we'd missed before we have to be out of the country.
Anyway.. long story short, we've got roughly 3/4 weeks to make it down to Ho Chi Minh City where we'll nip up to Hong Kong. Entering China from there will mean that we have an entry left - our return flight from Japan (already booked) and no faffing needed in the Chinese embassy in Tokyo.
So.. with that in mind we embarked on the epic 3 day trip to the so-called jewell of South-east asia, Luang Prabang.
From Pai, yet another minibus took us to a guesthouse on the Laos border and the next morning we crossed the border and took a ferry over the Mekong to catch the larger boat. Thailand instantly felt a long way away as we tried to figure out where to go in one of the world's poorest countries. That is to say, organisation is slow, Laos seemingly operates a no-rush policy and Lisa only figured out which boat to get by bumping into the travel agent on the high street after a lengthy wait!
Another full day of river travel (reached last level of Angry Birds!) and we finally arrived at Luang Prabang, a pretty little colonial town that has been given heritage status by UNESCO due to the french architecture and impressive temples that are all over the place.
like Paraty back in January, a UNESCO badge seems to boost the cost of most things, but it was all still pretty cheap, plus it seemed like this was the place for tourism in Laos. Cue.. western style bakeries with air con. Not that we were complaining! The mercury seemed to have risen a fair few notches and we were glad that we'd booked a guesthouse room with air con. Walking around the town exploring temples was enjoable but an all-together sweaty experience in this humid climate. What better way to cool down that to go for a sauna! Lisa's new favoured pronounciation that would rhyme with 'out of towner.'
It was in fact highly refreshing. The salon or whatever you call the place was very tastefully done and it was crazy to exit the sauna and actually feel chilly in the 32 degree heat outside!
Jewell of Asia - not sure about that! Worth a look though.
Onto Vang Vieng for less civilized pursuits!