Thursday, March 10, 2011

Luang Prabang

Arriving in Luang Prabang we could instantly notice the change of pace on the roads. Everyone was just putting along in no hurry compared to Thailand. We at our accommodation, Sopha guesthouse right on the Nam Kahn River, nice spot, rooms clean and staff were helpful. Only stayed the one night as we found another place which was 60,000 kip cheaper p/night. Our new place was almost right on the Mekong River. Great location, rooms didn't seem very clean and we soon realised it was very noisy, not from other guests but from the family that lived there and they woke up at 6:00am every morning!
The boy that lived there had a bit of a thing for Luke and said he had beautiful skin and was very handsome.
During our stay we watched the sun set over the Mekong river which was kinda special. We went out for a nice meal on valentines day. Alot of amazing restaurants here and expensive accommodation as well. Alot of older people rich people come to visit and everything closes around 11:30pm. We visited named Wat Xieng Thong, it was built in 1560 by King Setthathirat and had lots of impressive mosaics throughout the temple. There is also a Royal funeral chapel within the gates. Inside the chapel is a very large 12m high funeral chariot with carved dragons on it. We also visited Pak Ou caves about an hr drive north in a tuk tuk, it is right on the Mekong and at the mouth of the Nam On river. The caves are set into limestone cliffs and are filled with hundreds of Buddha statues. On our way up the steep steps to the upper level cave I heard something in the bushes, stopped for a second then went to continue up the steps when all of a sudden this 2m long snake literally comes flying through the air from a nearby branch and lands right in front of us. Luckily it raced off away from us but was pretty quick. Not sure what type it was?

About an hour south of Luang Prabang by tuk tuk we visited Tat Kuang Si Falls and also Kuang Si rescue centre for moon and sun bears.( ) Most of the bears have been rescued from bile farms and poachers. It was absolutely beautiful to see them interact with each other as most had been kept in a cage the size of a coffin their whole life and never met another bear or climbed a tree or felt grass under their feet.
The falls were truly magical, the water was turquoise blue, surrounded by ancient trees surrounding the pools with their twisted roots and there was a swing to swing from into the water. We spent a few hours here and found it hard to leave. Tomorrow we head to Vang Vieng by mini bus.

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