If we thought our trip to Vang Vieng was tough, we were in for it on our minivan shuttle to Luang Prabang. First off, like a forgetful ditz, I misplaced our receipt which acts as the ticket at pick-up. I went running through town trying to locate the shop where we made the purchase. Luckily, we had joked enough with the salesman that he remembered us–otherwise we would have been forced to re-purchase them. UGH. So he threw me on the back of his moto and we raced to find the spot I had left Joshua at our riverside hotel (only $7/night). [Joshua later found the receipt nestled between a few kip, so I had been responsible enough to give it to him for safekeeping…just too safe!] We were the last to board the shuttle so we got half seats and it was a windy ride…so bad that our driver had to pull over to the side of the road to puke up his breakfast…as did several other passengers. Joshua and I had a menthol sniffer we picked up in Thailand that is a popular remedy for motion sickness. I put that thing so far up my nose to prevent myself from puking…then he would grab it and do the same in a puff puff pass type of way. Good thing we are getting married.
I thought we had found heaven in Luang Prabang.
The entire town is a world heritage site so a requirement is to maintain the old dark wood buildings in impeccable condition. The quaint alleys are filled with beautiful vines and flowers and the entire place has a peaceful charm where I could feel content sitting all day. We did spend several days relaxing, eating delicious sandwiches, drinking coffee and perusing the romantic night market in the evenings.
We explored the Kuang Si waterfall (recommended by Mrs. Adams’ class) and loved it.
The teal water (Joshua described as Gatorade Glacier Frost) was cool, the views were stunning and there were even those massage fish living at the bottom of the pools who would give our feet a nibble if we moved too slow.
Plus, Joshua loved the rope swing…like A LOT.
We climbed to the top of Mt. Phou si for sunset (with all of the other tourists) for a remarkable view of the town and its two adjacent rivers.
Luang Prabang’s uniqueness lays in its perfect blend of SE Asian/Buddhist and French cultures. We found cafes reminiscent of France beside market stalls serving up Laos specialties. We found croissants next door to the delicious Laos jeows (dipping sauces) and sticky rice. We had trouble choosing between $1.25 vegetarian buffets or a baguette sandwich. Tourists can stay at beautiful boutique hotels, but also witness the daily alms by the Buddhist monks in Luang Prabang who gather their food from the dedicated locals.
There were beautiful shops selling gorgeous silk clothing, as well as traditional and modernized prints at shops like Ock Pop Tok (East Meets West).
Most people wish they had spent more time here. There are amazing cooking classes, relaxing river cruises and lovely culture. Luang Prabang provides the perfect balance of everything.