1st - 4th December 2014Everything has positives and negatives and backpacking is no exception and the main curse of travel is making friends, wandering as a group and then just as abruptly waving goodbye and wishing them a safe journey. It's been a regular feature since leaving the UK and sadly Vang Vieng was where we said farewell to Will "the beard" Dadson (if you ever take up professional darts you can keep the name). We'll see ya in OZ mate and Jono will get a few beers in.
As Will turned back south towards Cambodia we pressed on North to rejoin the Mekong at Luang Prabang. The ride was a little cramped but the scenery was spectacular. The winding mountain roads act like artificial arteries through the rough terrain and increasingly thicker vegetation. Every so often we would pass an isolated village or glimpse an awesome valley view.
|Luang Prabangs Royal Palace|
We arrived in Luang Prabang around mid afternoon and were immediately met by the hustle and bustle of a popular tourist destination. Our first priority as always was to find a place to stay. There are an overwhelming number of guesthouses in Luang Prabang for the size of the place and thankfully for us one of our fellow passengers Garbie helped narrow down our search. Our friendly Australian guide had visited the town before and kindly led us to "Sisombath House". A short walk from the centre Sisombath housed cozy dorm rooms with warm showers and breakfast included for 40,000 kip (£3.50) per night. The guesthouse also had a cool chill out area although the wifi is naff.
Luang Prabang is a lovely town with history, culture and wonderful natural sights and vibrant markets all rolled into a small area. Despite being very touristic the place still retains a chilled atmosphere synonymous with Laos. All the sights in town are located in the centre. Visit the royal palace during the day, climb mount Phousi for the sunset and grab a cheap meal in the night market in the evening (all you can eat buffet for 15,000 kip that's £1.20).
The drinking scene is laid back with he bars closing at 11:30pm leaving the bowling alley as the only late night venue with alcohol available late into the night. Check out "Utopia Bar" on the banks of a tributary to the Mekong. It's a little pricey but with a volleyball court, table football and early evening yoga classes it's a great place to kick back and relax with a beer whilst having a laugh watching attractive women fart as they stretch into a "half moon" or "dead parrot" stance.......or something like that.
|A great day for photography at Kuang Si Falls|
After a relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable stay Jono and I parted ways with Ed and Dora as they went trekking further North and arranged to catch the two day slow boat to the Thai-Laos border town of Huay Xai.