Today is our last day in Laos - and just 1 week left of our trip. Tomorrow we fly to Siem Reap in Cambodia
We've had a brilliant time here. Luang Prabang is very well developed and the lack of noise has really helped us to relax before we head to Cambodia. We've felt like we haven't done very much over the last 4 or 5 days but we still seem to have fit a lot in!
On Sunday we went on an elephant ride. Eco-tourism seems to be quite a big thing here and several companies offer trips to elephant sanctuaries where elephants have been rescued - usually from logging. They're well kept and the money from the ride helps to support the local village as well as the elephants. The ride was good and we even got to clean the elephants in the river! Needless to say we felt good about ourselves until we discovered that the money we paid could have put 12 kids through a year of school!
Monday was a lazy day of not doing very much at all! On Tuesday morning we got up at 5:15am to see the local monks accepting alms from the locals. Unfortunately it's been allowed to turn into a bit of a tourist circus. It looked like the paparazzi following the novices down the road. There is information everywhere asking tourists to respect the religious aspect of the ceremony but it seems to be largely ignored. Maybe they should learn from Disneyland and put everyone behind barriers like they do for the parade!?
Later in the morning we visited the nearby caves on a boat trip up the river. It was a nice cruise (if slightly cramped - the seats were so small it felt like going back to primary school!) but the caves are overrated. The sight of lots of budda images in the caves was unique but not worth the three hour boat ride
That afternoon we visited the waterfalls. They were beautiful. Amanda likened it to the Jehovah Witness' idea of heaven. There were gorgeous green pools which we could swim in - even if the water was freezing!
In the evening we bumped into Lindsey & Dave from Hanoi so caught up with them over a beer
This morning we went to a Laos Cooking School. There were eight of us and we picked six dishes to make between us. According to the certificate we received we're now capable of "preparing Laos dishes for the pleasure and delight of our friends and family" so enjoy!!!
They took us to the local market where they showed us different ingredients including herbs, spices, oxtails, etc!!! We then came back and helped chop the veggies and herbs; learned how to create decorations from tomatoes and cucumbers and then helped to prepare and cook the dishes. After that they sat us down in front of a mountain of food for lunch!!
We've heard about the fabulous weather in the UK while we've been here so we hope you've all enjoyed a long weekend?!