"Laos 2008 - Luang Prabang" Luang Prabang by ytanay
Luang Prabang Travel Guide: 1,075 reviews and 2,741 photos
I was in Laos in 2007 and the people and place so captured me that I had to return. This time the main destination was Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
I had an itinerary planned out prior to leaving, which I'd followed up until the Elephant camp. Every step was carefully planned out because I'd read that there were so many things to see and do. For example, there's the sunset from Mt. Phousi, the night markets, Kuangsi waterfall, Pak Ou caves, Tad Sae waterfalls, the museum. I was to have 5 days in Luang Prabang and I wanted to do it all. The first day was just travelling from Vientiane to LP by bus (10 hours). Second and third days were reserved for the Elephant camp, located 15km outside LP. So that meant I had another 2 days left to see the waterfalls, the caves, the temples and the museum.
Luang Prabang is a place full of tourists and rightly so. Tourists come and go, they're always on the move to see the next place of interest. Locals are found mostly in the shops or at the stalls on the streets. They're gentle, laid back and friendly. Many speak only a few words of English but they smile a lot and they smile even wider if you try to speak a few words of Lao. So, after my experience at the elephant camp, instead of rushing off to see the waterfalls or cave, I decided to stay back in town and just enjoy the local atmosphere. I walked around mostly without a map ( the place is not that big anyway) and it was interesting getting lost. You tend to find and see things that may not be in any guidebooks.
It turned out that I spent my 2 days in LP wondering along the riverbank, meeting locals, crossing the river to another village (i'm not sure if that's listed in any guidebooks because I didn't use one thereafter but I didn't see many tourists. There were only a handful and they didn't come in groups.), visiting random temples and just plain walking around. And because I walked so much, I also went for massages, at least once each day. Sad to say, I didn;t find any good massage place in LP. The best one I've had so far is in Vientiane, across from the Mali Namphu guesthouse.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience. My only gripe is that I'd gone to Tamarind restaurant a day too late and so didn;t have a chance to join their cooking class. I was to leave the next day.
But I shall return.
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