06.06.2012 - 09.06.2012 38 °C
Crossing the border to Laos has apparently slowed the earth’s rotations. Well that’s what it feels like in the extremely chilled out town of LP. The whole town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and introduced us to the laid back nature of the Lao people.
After getting in on the slow boat in the evening, there were some hostel representatives waiting at the boat landing (this is common throughout all of Asia) and we went with one that was cheap but looked good. Toon, the lady who was at the boat landing, drove us around to the guesthouse and pointed out the sites on the way. The location was great as we were on the peninsular between two rivers and close enough to be able to walk everywhere in the centre of town. It’s a popular destination in Laos thanks to UNESCO, the fact that it was once the capital of Laos and is still considered to be its cultural heart. However because of the tourist dollar floating around the town, food and services aren’t as cheap as we had expected.
We managed to catch some of the sunset over the Mekong River in the afternoon before walking along the main road and through the good night markets. Laos was under French rule for much of the early 20th century and the buildings around LP have a French feel. All of the public buildings also have Lao and French signs on them.
In the morning we planned to hire some bicycles to explore the town, although we figured everything that we wanted to see was in walking distance. So we decided to wait out the intense heat of the midday sun in the airconditioned comfort of the room before walking around the town and finishing up at the temple on the hill overlooking the Mekong for sunset. Unfortunately a lot of cloud rolled in just before sunset and we only just managed to make it back down the hill before the rain came down in typical monsoonal style.
We set the alarm for 5am on the final morning to make sure we were down at the main road for the giving of alms. This is a daily ritual where the local monks walk down the road to receive offerings of food from the locals. They silently walk along in single file receiving the offerings in their little pots dressed in orange. It was definitely a worthwhile thing to watch with monks of all ages receiving their alms.
Waiting for the monks
We got picked up from our guesthouse later on in the morning to head south through some winding roads over the mountains.
Daniel – Luang Prabang was a nice little stop, not much to do, just soak up the relaxed nature that the Lao people have.
Tanya – I might have said a few times before that this was a great stop to recharge the batteries, Asia has been like that and I’m getting all too used to it!