Six hour drive. Crazy roads. Hangover. Cure to all three when combined…valium. This is how we entered Luang Prabang, relaxed. It is a highly respected place where public displays of affection are disrespectful, where monks roam the streets and where you must take off your shoes before entering any building.
First off we went to Kuang Si Waterfall, a casual 45 minute drive from the city. It is gorgeous. At the entrance of the waterfall there is a black bear enclosure, it isn’t cruel and these animals aren’t complaining. They were rescued from a life of chains and shows and they now roam the bush lazily.
We kept walking and found a pool of water, monks were half naked and smoking cigarettes. This must be where the monks let loose! We walked further up and found another swimming hole with a mini waterfall with low drooping trees and a rope swing. The jungle is so dense and the ambience of the place is light but intimidating. After being in a few different jungles on this trip I can now say that each one is somehow amazingly different but the same. This jungle is moist, with crazy fish that eat away at your wounds. My scraps from tubing were getting cleaned by a fish I could not see.
After dominating the rope swing we went toward the massive flow of water, about 5 minutes high in the forest. We saw horned spiders, tuataras and crazy big beautiful butterflies. The main waterfall was huge, spewing out water over a tall rocky cliff. LAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGEEEEEEEEE!!
We weren’t quite sure what to do with ourselves in Luang Prabang. We had heard of all these amazing things you can see and do but all we really wanted was water. Being inland for so long is a strange feeling. We went to the waterfall two days in a row, hiring scooters on the second day to find our own way there.
The night markets here were awesome. Every night the streets would be closed off and fairy lights would guide you through the stalls. There was one street dedicated to amazing lao food, we consumed it faster than a vaccum cleaner.
On our last day we ventured to the Pak Ou caves.These caves are an hours drive from the city and are 4000 years old. We hired a tuk tuk to take us there instead of going through a tour agency. It was sweeet, our driver loved flying down the road and hated being over taken. The caves are on the other side of the river from the road. The village that had the boats was dirty and small. Chickens roamed the lands like dogs, children chased each other on the dirt roads, men set up stalls selling crazy iinstruments that they had hand made and women sold beautiful colourful scarfs and jewerelly. We jumped on a local long tail boat and set sail across the Mekong River.
The caves are sacred, highly respected and quiet. There are thousands of buddhas everywhere, dusty, antique and in a way quite creepy. We bought flowers to place on the Buddha shrine and lit incence that surrounded the cave in a smell of beauty. Delicious to the nose.
We checked it out, dove into a dark cave where a shrine hid in the black hole. No lights, just darkness and a airy feeling as the shrine lit up with the flash of the camera, appearing out of nowhere like a predator down a gloomy alley.
After we took the boat back to the village we stopped at the whisky village for a sample of lethal local spirits. The first one was soothing, the second was like trying to swallow petrol, my body tingled as I passed down my oesophagus.
The next day was goodbye to laos and hello Thailand. We were told that the bus took us to the Thai-Lao boarder in eight hours. It took 16 and a half. The bus leaked and the driver spoke no English, it is safe to say we were completely f***ed.
The boarder crossing was simple, you get your passport stamped jump in a boat to the other side about 5 seconds away and now your in Thailand. How is this not a drug traffickers dream boarder?
Peace out Lao, ahoy Thailand.
Thank you- Kwahp Jai
The most chilled out country I have ever been in. The people are amazing and it is very undeveloped.
PDA (public displaces of affection) are frowned apon, very disrespectful!
It is also frowned apon for guests at guesthouses to sleep in the same bed if they are not married.
You must take your shoes off at every restaurant, the tables are surrounded by lying down platforms.