18th – 19th April 2012
Reading my guidebook on the Slowboat to Luang Prabang, it was mentioned that the place is the most romantic in SE Asia. Naturally I scoffed at this and more than often, my guidebook and I had various disagreements in opinions. So I wasn’t really expecting to massively agree with a huge nod of my head.
As the sun set as we arrived, my eyes feasted on the slowly appearing Luang Prabang and it’s hard not to see that they have a fantastic backdrop and a beautiful waterside scenery.
Finding a guesthouse for our stay, the 10 of us settled in for a quick change and we all went out for dinner to taste proper Lao food. Everyone was totally jealous of my dessert – sticky rice with mango and coconut milk. Alannah asked for a taste and I was slightly worried for her as she really really REALLY appreciated it with her noises. I loved it, but not as much as her…
We saw there was a night market going on at the bottom of the street next to the Museum, so we thought to check it out. It’s full of stuff you really need such as hippy pants that’s loose and airy, and full of things you don’t need such as knick knacks etc and finally full of things you would like to need such as snake whiskey!
My mind kept flickering back to why Luang Prabang is so romantic and why is it so appealing?
I soon found out the next day when the sun was up highlighting and accentuating the appeal of the sleepy town. The architecture and how fastidiously clean it is.
The architecture is in the style of old French Colonial and it must be in planning that each new building must conform to this style. Take my guesthouse for example. Wooden boards with gold writing. It can be found over shop fronts, signs etc but the place is absolutely beautiful.
Also, I’m amazed by how clean Luang Prabang is. It’s not uncommon to find people everywhere in SE Asia sweeping outside their residences or businesses even if it’s blowing a gale outside. But here in Luang Prabang, they did it stealthily. I never saw anyone sweeping yet the place is ultra clean. I was liking this place already and ready for some romance to get the old Hollywood film style vibes (think Casablanca).
Thinking Luang Prabang was beautiful enough, I was totally unprepared and stunned at the natural beauty around the town. Especially the waterfalls.
Booking a day trip to Kuang Si falls, as many backpackers and travel bloggers recommended me to go, the 10 of us were bowled over by the beauty of the place. Normally, it is extremely hard for me to go speechless and just stop and stare but in this case, I was won over in a heartbeat. Check them out.
I had some great pictures of the falls downstream but unfortunately my memory card decided to wipe itself out the next day (to my extreme annoyance) so I’m using John’s pics instead (thanks mate!)
At the main falls, there was a sign saying no entry. But there was a great pool at the bottom of that fall and naturally, we skipped the barrier and went swimming and jumping in that pool. Only John, Muriel, Justin and I were there and it was a secret for us haha. We absolutely loved it and the force of the waterfall is definitely powerful!
It was one of the best days of travelling ( I know I keep saying that in every post). Here I was in the beauty of Kuang Si falls, to which I’m definitely coming back here again, and within range of the most romantic place I’ve set my eyes on. I was content, chilled, smiling and definitely happy. What a stunning place.
We found some rope swings downstream so Justin, Muriel and I had a go!
Regretfully, we couldn’t really stay there forever so we had to go back to Luang Prabang. Buying a couple of vests along the way(yellow one with beer Lao and purple one with Laos written on it), I hit up another restaurant with John, Muriel and Justin for some of that amazing Lao food.
On the way back, the sun was about to set, so we thoug to climb up the hill in the centre of Lusng Prabang in which a Wat rested upon and we stared in the horizon for the sun to set majestically on the most beautiful town of SE Asia. Alannah and Leonie blessed their prayers by lighting some incense sticks in front of the Buddha while Lauren released a bird from a cage as a blessing also.
But the sunset was the main highlight. It was absolutely beautiful.
I actually think Lao food is better than Thai food. Thai food has all the spices and Lao food has all the herbs. With that, I think Lao food is more tasty and you can appreciate the flavours more rather with Thai food you’re constantly tasting the heat of the spices that may obliterate your tastebuds.
Shockingly, I had yet to buy any hippy pants. Muriel marched me to the night market (she would make a great teacher) and in her Belgian sass picked out many trousers but I had a problem. My legs are too long by a couple of inches. The Lao traders seem to think that a trouser with added length would be 50,000 kip extra (nearly 5 pounds). I bartered and haggled so much and it wasn’t until we got to the last stall when I managed to find a pair for 35,000 kip (3 pounds). Yay, I could go templing the next day!
Meanwhile, we all wanted to sample the nightlife and the only place open after 10pm? The bowling alley oh yes. It seemed that all Slowboat people had the same idea so we all had a great catch up. Beer was in plentiful supply to encourage competitive spirits between teams and individuals. Naturally, I won. By a huge margin. (sorry guys!) it was pretty funny teaching Lauren and Alannah how to bowl especially with handling the ball (which led to smutty talk) and Justin’s bowl throw was certainly…interesting. That’s Canada for you.
Meanwhile, both John and Alex taught me some Americanisms of the English Language and it seemed to be mostly swearing and a gung ho attitude to which I failed to master to their amusement.
Then it was time for bed for us tired people and we all got into a tuk tuk to take us back home. Unfortunately, there was a slight mix up in the price and the driver taking offence started pulling down his trousers, took off his shirt and was about to pull down his underpants before we stopped him. I think he was trying to tell us we were ‘taking the shirt off his back’ but no, I think he was trying to get us to give him more money, which he didn’t. The money was offered to him and he sped off never to be seen again. What a night!
Meanwhile, Luang Prabang has captured my romantic heart and I was certainly looking forward to cycling around the town the next day.
Luang Prabang…..will you marry me?