On our first day in Luang Prabang , we had a lay in after 3 early starts we took it easy. We found a delightful French style bakery for breakfast and began the job of sorting out somewhere else to stay as our accommodation was not up to standard. That proved relatively painless and we quickly installed ourselves. We decided to start our sightseeing in Luang Prabang with the former Royal Palace - now a National Museum - unfortunately it was after 11:00 and is was closed for lunch. Fran decided we should have a look at the shops on the main street instead. The place seemed full of little shops selling various kinds of handicrafts, silks and silver. We ended up at the end of the main street where the Mekong meets another river. We walked down to the rickety bamboo bridge - all very rustic and quaint. We strolled back to the museum only to find it still closed - apparently it closes all day on Tuesdays.
After this we decided to give up on sightseeing and have a late lunch and do email in a WiFi café. After this, we took a climb up to see Wat Phou Si - not for the temple but more for the view. It was a steep climb but the view was worth it. As it was getting late, we opted to stay up there to see the sun go down over the Mekong - definitely a Kodak moment.
We went for dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Mekong. Fran had been finding the food a bit bland recently so when asked if she wanted the green papaya salad 'western or Lao spiced', she opted for Lao. One mouthful in, she regretted it - it certainly wasn't bland. She spent the remainder of the meal gulping the beer down.
The next day, we had another slow start to the day - I can only put this down to the pace of life in Luang Prabang - it is definitely soporific. We decided to go out of town to see a waterfall about 25km out of town. We took a minibus there - not knowing that it stopped at a hill tribe village for a 'shopping opportunity'. Eventually we got there. The waterfalls themselves were very pretty - a large waterfall with a set of cascading blue pools below it. We opted to walk up to the top of the falls - it proved more of a climb than a walk and the view from the top wasn't that great - still it was good exercise. Also in the waterfall park, there was a bear rescue centre. It is for Asian brown bears who are at danger from poachers. The bears were quite cute although I would not want to get too close to them.After the trip, we came back just as the night market was starting and Fran was in serious shopping mood - she had found I had some space in my rucksack. Fortunately, she decided she couldn't buy too much after dark as she couldn't see the colours in the dark. Still, this is only a postponement until tomorrow.
The next day, we tried to catch up the sightseeing we had missed- starting with the museum. It dates from the 1890s so is relatively modern. You couldn't see this from the state rooms - they were all done out in red with gold with various scenes depicted on the wall. It looked very imposing and grand. The other parts of the palace were a bit more mundane - the furniture looked liked it was something my parents chucked out in the sixties. Next on the agenda was a couple of temples - unfortunately they were at opposite ends of town so it meant going via the length of the high street with Fran looking in the shops. The temples were quite impressive - lots of gold - but very tranquil.
Due to the need for me to do some shopping (repairing my shoes again!). we ended our sightseeing for the day and we got ready for our departure the next day.