The bus from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang took 7.5 hours and again was just crazy winding, mountainous roads full of pot holes! It seems that is just the way Laos roads are ha! Again it was breathtaking scenery across the mountains, forests, roadside shacks etc.
Arrived at Luang Prabang bus station, which again was good few km out of the centre, as it was 7.30pm and dark I shared a tuk tuk with a few other people and got dropped off in the cnetre of town. I hadnt booked accomodation as turning up seems to be getting me better deals, so walked around for 30-35 mins until I found a cheapish place. 3.87 sterling a night again, right by the night market, double room to myself, 'Thalinh' guesthouse, opposite the Vat May temple. The night market in Luang Prabang is just stunning and they have a food market wher they sell a big plate of put on as much as you like for 10.000 Laos kip which is 77p. Amazing value and choice and great atmosphere eating down a bussling alley.
Sun 13th Nov am I got up early and headed out 8ish and found a new hostel tht is more sociable,the place last night was great but its more like a home stay so checked out and moved to 'Xayana' guesthouse which has dorm rooms that are really nice and a nice bar social area outside. Sunday 13th I fitted in loads of sights etc as I will be moving on again soon. So early am I got a boat across the Mekong River to the sleepy village of Xiang Men. Here you can walk through the village which i just loved as you can see all the people and say hello (Sabai Di) and they were all really friendly and welcoming. Saw some men using a 2 handed saw to cut along the length of a piece of wood, I think to make a boat possibly. Lots of people drying out chillies and goods on baskets sat on old machinery, on pavements etc. And of course lots of people cooking chicken feet and fish, as there is everyhwere in Laos and Vietnam! From this village you can climb up to a dis used monastry, 'Wat Chom Pet' which has fantastic views of the city. So I enjoyed that. After seeing arounf this little viallge I got the boat back across and had a good walk around the town, up along thr iver and to lots of the markets and temples that Luang Prabang has to offer. The streets here and lined with palm trees and beautiful buildings and you can see long tailed baots along the mekong river and people fishing etc. It is the sort of place you could walk around for hours and never get bored, the scenery and markets make this place a real find. It is set betwee =n 2 rivers and surrounded by green mountians and was designated a world heritage site in 1995. Robed monks walk around the streets, shopping in the markets as part of daily life.
Sunday 13th afternoon I headed off on a trip to the 'Kouang Si' waterfalls, about 45 mins drive away. Spent 2 hours at the falls;very picturesque multi level waterfall with 60metre tumbling water into crystal blue pools. I climbed to the top of the falls with a spanish couple, quite steep and wet at times but was good to see. On the bus journey back to the town we stopped at a traditional village where they speak a different language than that of the Lao people. Here men marry 2,3,4 women and have maybe aorund 30 kids darted around the village all with different wives! Different lifetysle. The people here farm for a living but also sell crafts etc to the tourists. Went to the night food market to meet some people for tea but I wasnt hungry so didnt eat anyhting, did enjoy a 'beer Lao' though!
Monday 14th Nov am I got up at 05.20am, to go to see the monks! They come out every morning around 5.45 / 6am and the locals and tourists come and see them and give them food, so amazing to see. So I bought some bananas and cracker biscuit things and when the line of monks came past me I kneeled and gave them the food. Got some good photos so you can check the photo bit fo that, will get them on soon. As I was done with this by just after 6am I had 2 hours before my bus was coming to take me further north again, so I used the time to climb uo to the top of the 'Sacred Hill' or 'Phou Si'. This hill is the geographical and spiritual centre of the city and from up there you can see fab panoramic views of the city. So at 6.15am this was pretty amazing to see!
8am my bus came to collect me, for the 9 hour jounrey north to 'Luang Namtha' which I am using a s night stop over point before heading to my final detsination in Laos, 'Muang Sing' which is north west and supposed to be a backpackers dream and fan for hill tribe trecking etc. So its goodbye Luang Prabang, the beautiful tranquil but equally bussling town.