The road from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang is extremely scenic, but also extremely twisty-turny and I spent most of the time with my head in my hands going “wurrrrrrr…..” before the travel sickness pill kicked in and knocked me out for the rest of the journey.
While in Luang Prabang, it will be Mr Beet’s and my ten-year anniversary, so we tried to check into a smart hotel as a treat. We tried a few places, but they had no rooms. Call me paranoid, but I can’t help thinking that the fact that we were just off the bus with dirty backpacks and our tubing numbers still written on our arms in felt-tip pen may have had something to do with their lack of availability. We ended up at a fine-but-nothing-special guesthouse, which is good for the budget at least.
Luang Prabang is home to Asia’s most civilised market. The market sets up on the main street every evening, and it’s a completely different experience to any other market we visited in Asia. In Chinese, Vietnamese or Cambodian markets you are constantly hailed with exhortations to buy; “Hey lady…you buy…cheap cheap…one dollar…ok two for one dollar…ok three for one dollar“. In Laos, they are so relaxed that you can actually browse and even openly admire things with nothing more than a cheerful “Sabaidee!” and no hard sell whatsoever. Even the tuk-tuk drivers in Laos will take no for an answer.
So our first day in Laos is taken up with chores, unsuccessfuly trying to find a travel book on India and successfully trying to get the photos from our corrupted memory card recovered. Even though it’s been only a couple of days since we were in luxurious Vientiane, we still take advantage of the nice cafes and restaurants.
On our anniversary itself, we spend the day sightseeing, strolling along the riverside and having a nice dinner in one of the riverfront restaurants.
As you can see from the photos, Luang Prabang is very beautiful, full of very nice shops and restaurants and a lovely place to go on holiday. The whole town is a World Heritage site. It’s a nice place to spend a few days, but in a way it feels a bit too much like a tourist attraction and not enough like a real city.
More photos of Luang Prabang are on Mr Beet’s flickr page.