The day we left Vang Vieng, we were thinking it had been a good choice to travel to Luang Prabang. It was pouring so, can you find a better day to travel by van and to feel like you are not losing the opportunity to enjoy other things? Well, yes and no. The journey was an adventure, we started two hours later (Lao time) and when we were finally falling asleep, the driver decided that it was time to have his lunch. So we had a snack.
We were in the van for 6 hours (it was suppose to be 4). Crossing foggy mountains, going really slowly because rocks could fall from the above, scared about deep cliffs and wondering about the rain. That it wasn’t like the idea that everyone had about monsoon rain. Later, we found out that it was the consequence about a typhoon that was whipping the Japan area.
From the begining and in spite of the bad weather, we could realize that it was a beautiful, picturesque and different city from the rest of the zones that we were exploring before. More than one surprise was waiting for us.
We bunked up at Frangipani Guesthouse for the following 4 nights. They served up the best breakfast we had so far. We shared the same every day: a huge banana pancake, an egg sandwich, fresh fruit, lemon water, banana shake and of course coffee. Yum!
We wanted to see the night market and to grab a bite. In the middle of the way, it started to rain, three seconds later, pouring. But really pouring! One minute after, we found what seemed like paradise to us, one street full of food stalls and while we were thinking what we could do, one beautiful girl asked us: “soup, would you like a soup?” We didn’t even have to look at each other because, of course we wanted it! It was delicious, hot, comforting, restorative and huge. We felt like queens enjoying the best hot soup ever despite being in the middle of the dilution covered by a plastic ceiling.
We decided to brave the weather and to visit the National Museum and some temples, which were really stunning with the contrast between the black stones and the colors of the flowers, monks’ dresses and our umbrellas and raincoats. The best for us was Wat Xiang Thong surrounding by millions of colorful little glasses that for sure, will make a festival of sunrises on a sunny day.
It’s been said that everyone can be an explorer and we found two amazing explorers from Spain, María and Leire. They had the same idea as us and had found an amazing place with amazing food but a step further, an amazing cook, Tao at Nang Tao. We tried more than once the perfectly tasting local food in her restaurant. She even gave us a bit of a cooking lesson!
And as no ones lives on bread alone, just in front of Tao’s place there was the fancy Frangipani Spa. For 12 dollars we choose the oil body massage. A bit of a splurge but…Simply fantastic.
When I started to learn English, one of the question was why? The answer is easy, it is a key that can open a lot of doors around the world. Laos children know it and you can find a place, named Big Brother Mouse where from 5 to 7 pm you can speak English with children who want to learn not only the language but also how the rest of the world is. It is an opportunity to learn about their traditions, customs, history and religion and at the same time it is the best way to open your mind and become a learner too.
The following day we wandered around in the rain. Going to temples and the museum at the Royal Palace. In the evening we went to storytelling at Garavek, another great recommendation from Chris and Val. They told stories about the people of Luang Prabang accompanied by the khaen.
Finally, the third day, the sun appeared. Right day for excursions. We rented a private van to go see the waterfalls, elephants and villages.
We arrived to the waterfall (Kuang Si) and before even seeing it, we were in the description of Eden, tall and huge trees and insects, million of types of greens, beautiful and colorful flowers, funny bears and for me, a passionate waterfall roaring and making that some brave trees had to support its onslaughts.
Our next step on the way was visiting a buffalo farm but it wasn’t an attractive idea, and in a moment I asked the driver about elephants. He told us that there was a place really close, named Luang Prabang Elephant Camp. For three of us it was the first time that we could see, touch and feed elephants face to face. We can’t describe the feeling, you must live it.
Last stop, village. Really, we felt that we were in the children’s village. The first eye to eye contact was serious, two seconds later, we were smiling face to face and they showed us their colorful dresses and decorations and the place where they are living. The girls went from just trying to eagerly sell bracelets to us, to giving us a tour around their village. They were running around and giggling. We’re really happy they gave us a chance to be more than just tourists visiting their village for 5 minutes. (Pictures were taken with permission from children and adults)
Coming back to the city, we visited Tao again for another exquisite meal.
Then home to shower, rest and to be ready to enjoy the first sunrise we’ve been able to catch with the weather. Just along the Mekong, savoring a BeerLao and a mixed fruit shake.
Bye for now
Time to pack!
Next destination: Siem Reap.