Travel Report Luang Prabang, Laos

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Travel Report Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang, Laos
one stop on Wendy's & Joe's world tour 2004/05

Luang Prabang
 

 

 
Kind of travel: Travelling alone
Year of this voyage: 2004
Author's age: 30-45 years
 

 
Journal Update 16th June 2004 / Luang Prabang, Laos
Safe Arrival in Laos

Ooooh Laos

We have arrived in Luang Prabang after possibly one of the most spectacular plane rides ever over the Mekong River. Oh this place is BEAUTIFUL and our guest house is wonderful too (an old French mansion) with 4.8 m high ceilings and a big bath!

This place feels culturally very far away from Thailand and many miles away from home, very like what I remember of New Orleans with an Asian feel of course. Joe said he feels like a 19th century missionary here, everyone rides around on bikes and everyone smiles and waves. We are opposite a monastery and this afternoon I sat and watched the young monks reading on the balcony while the monsoon rain streamed down. This is the place you dream about when you think about travelling in Asia. Our passport has been stamped for a full month so maybe we will be staying a little longer.
 

Journal Update 17 Jun 2004 / Luang Prabang
I have just left Joe reading the paper in an old French cafe just up the road after a hearty breakfast of croissant with home made jam, hot chocolate and eggs. There is a light sprinkling of rain which makes everything look very misty here.

I haven't slept very much because it is currently a festival for Buddha which means the monks get up very early about 4.00 am and bang a big drum walking around the street asking for alms. Yesterday we sat outside the temple and listened to them singing which was very hypnotic. It is still very atmospheric and beautiful here. I imagine this was what Thailand must have been like maybe 100 years ago.

We have moved from the old French mansion to an ancient Chinese shop house called Heritage House down the road which is only 5 dollars a night between us. We are planning on going to see the caves tomorrow which will involve a boat trip down the Mekong.

 
All is well although got bitten by the mozzies last night so hopefully won't get Dengue Fever just yet. Joe is convinced he has Malaria (but you know what a hypochondriac he is!).

Journal Update 18 Jun 2004 / Up the Mekong, Luang Prabang, Laos
Joe is still getting the shivers and shakes and swears he has a dose of the Malaria but I think it might be too much of the Laos Beer or Mekong whisky that is giving him the DTs.

Today we travelled up the Mekong River by boat to a cave which is kind of a shrine to Buddha where the Luang Prabang people make their yearly pilgrimage. The scenery along the Mekong is breath taking though the river is full of silt so looks very dirty and muddy though it is probably okay. Loads of kids were swimming butt naked in the water as well as water buffalo wallowing so I guess it isn't too bad. On the way we stopped off at a Whisky Still and sampled the local brews which culminated in a 45% proof which only Joe would try! Now he has very red eyes and is swearing like how's your father so it has had an effect.
By the way the internet cafes here are way cool as I am surrounded by little monks in their saffron robes looking at Gangsta Rap websites. We got a great picture yesterday of a couple of hard teenage monks outside their temple having a crafty fag and a spit up. We don't normally take pictures of the monks as it seems a bit invasive but it was so funny and too good an opportunity not to miss!

We had a delicious 3 course meal yesterday in a French Bistro for a fiver each which included - Joes which was the local Laos food, water buffalo sausage, Mekong river fish cake, sticky rice, tofu, seaweed with sesame seeds, and lightly sautéed oyster sauce veggies. Mine was French cuisine and included baked egg plant with cheese, watercress soup and créme caramel. Who would have thought you could dine so well in the jungle!
We are going to stay one more day then head up on the bus to Vieng Vang which is further in to the interior and then on to Vientaine from there we will fly over to Hanoi. Though at the moment not sure as to which airline is the worst for safety records (I think Laos has had quite a few air crashes recently as they relay only on site navigation to land instead of instruments and they keep f...ing up! So hopefully it will not be too much of a trauma.
That's that - we are off to chill with the monks -.
 

Laos, Luang Prabang
Laos, Luang Prabang

 

Laos, Vang Vieng
Laos, Vang Ving

 
Journal Update 19 June 04 / Luang Prabang, Laos
So this is our last night in Luang Prabang as tomorrow at 9.00am we will set out for Vang Vieng which a 5 hour bus journey. We are feeling very sad to leave this place even though it is such a small town it is probably the best experience both of us have ever had (and we will come back one day!). We will be up at 5.00 am tomorrow as we will be out on the streets to see the monks getting their food from the people of the town. Today Joe checked out the palace of the old king who was deposed in 1975 when the Phoet Loas took over the country. No one says what happened to the king and family but reading between the lines it looks like they were sent for re-education in a remote part of Northern Loas and haven't been heard from since.

We also went across the Mekong to see Wat Thong which holds the remnants of a past Laos kings. As we climbed up the stairs we were puffing and panting and were joined by 3 kids who were about 3-6 years old.
 

Joseph Brilus
Joseph Brilus

Wendy Brierley
Wendy Brierley

 

We decided to blow the deposit for a house on a grand world tour through 2004. We booked through STA travel and put together a brief itinerary including the Far East, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. As it turned out we experienced China, Bali, Fiji and many more places in between.

We decided to end the trip with a wedding in Las Vegas (which was very memorable!) As a wedding present my brother put together an on-line travel blog for us which was a great tool for documenting our journey. This experience truly changed our lives and we encountered many fantastic people through out the world. I hope you enjoy reading some highlights of our journal!

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They ran up the hill passed us and when we got to the top cajoled us in to several games of noughts and crosses with a bit of old roof tile that was lying around at the foot of the temple steps. Then they were playing at swinging each other around and were elated when Joe offered to give them a whirl around. It was really touching to see kids having such an ace time with really nothing but each others company and a bit of chalk!

Joe went with a guide deep in to the depths of the cave to see a stone carving of an eagle that dates from the 17th century. He was so hot when he came out it looked like someone had poured water over him! We also went to see the temple at the top of Mount Phousi and as the sun went down had a great chat with the teenage monks who like to practice their English on the tourists. Any where else in the world you would be intimidated by a bunch shaven headed teenagers but I have to say chatting with an 18 year old monks it is one of the coolest feelings I have ever had. People talk about a spiritual encounter and this place has that aura. Anyway don't worry we haven't turned into hippies - just yet anyway.
Off now for a night cap - Beer Loas for Joe and a Kir for me.

Wendy Brierley

a further stop on Wendy's & Joe's world tour 2004/05
 

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Travel Report Luang Prabang, Laos