16.03.2008 - 20.03.2008
Our next stop was at the Northern city of Luang Prabang. This is the ancient capital of Laos. Now its a world heritage sight.
Luang Prabang left us with a very different feeling than we had at Vientiane. It has all the quaintness and charm that Vientiane lacked. There's a main street with the standard selection of ok restaurants, tour agencies, shops etc. Along that street, a nightly bazaar takes place. There you get all the touristy junk anyone could want (surprisingly, none of the fake watches, purses – instead supposedly hand made fabrics and woven stuff that look alarmingly like haight-ashbury chatscke.) The part of town you visit has rivers on either side (its a small peninsula). One of the rivers is the Mekong and the other a tributary. There are handful of “wats” or buddhist temples throughout town.
Scenes in the city streets and its Wats:
An amazing daily event is the "saffron trail" in the early morning when the monks receive rice from the locals.
Do they really eat peanuts?
There are a range of small day tours to do outside of town. Several are of the outdoors adventuring type. However, we chose to visit an elephant camp. Both of us absolutely loved our time with the elephants. We traveled on elephant back. Drove the elephants (kind of), fed them and washed them. While it was silly, the whole thing was quite a hoot. Hands down one of the funner days of the trip.
Getting to Luang Prabang:
We chose to fly from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. There's a 10-12 hour bus option as well. However, we read fairly negative things about the bus (shootings, terribly windy and bumpy route, did I mention shootings?) so we opted to fly. Once in Luang Prabang, we spoke with a handful of travelers (of the young variety) who bussed. It seems that the bus isn't all that bad. But, as I wrote earlier, busing isn't our thing.