The mountainous (and seriously twisty) journey between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang is meant to be amazing, however with torrential rain and cloud covering most of the hills there was little to be seen. The setting is fantastic with tree covered hills on all sides and the town set within a meander of the Mekong River. First impressions were again how noticeable the french influence has been, from the architecture to the cafe's.
Before leaving Laos we thought we'd better try a Laos style table top barbeque. The coals are put in the middle of the table with a kind of meat pyramid over the top, you then pour in stock around the outside (a sort of 'moat') to cook the vegetables and noodles and grill the meat in the middle. Very nice, but Hannah still prefers sticky rice. The next day we saw the sights and ate and drank at the pituresque riverside restaurants followed by a walk through the night market. The market must surely be the most tranquil and quiet buying experience in Asia, nobody shouts for business and it's all very laid back, lit by fairy lights and eerily quiet. I'm sure this makes for more sales to us westerners and Hannah was no exception. Scarf's...wallets...bags...
Luang Prabang has a cuisine all of it's own and so we stumped for an all out local meal. Deep-fried rivermoss to start (like Chinese Seaweed) followed by Deer and Aubergine Stew with Watercress Salad and of course, sticky rice. Our last day was spent at one of the most picturesque waterfalls we've visited, we were able to swim around at the bottom and laugh at the bears who were play fighting on hind legs in the sanctuary where they were seized from poachers.
Next stop Vietnam and the choice between a 2 day bus ride or 'buy 1 get 1 free' on flights...we're flying...