things to do in Laos
Luang Prabang, Laos
things to do in Laos Luang Prabang Reviews
Jul 11, 2007
OK this is just a quick overview of my trip to Laos and what to do there. First off, do not make Laos, your primary destination, rather use it as a country to do a visa run to while taking an extended trip in the much nicer(and more modern) Thailand. The ideal trip to Laos would be 1-2 weeks. I did 10 days. Starting in the north, I crossed the border at Chiang Kong on the Thai side and bought a trip down the Mekong River. There are 2 options here, a slow boat, which takes 2 days and you have to spend the night in a "Ghetto" village on the river with no real roads going in or out, or the dangerous speed boats that claim about 1 fatality a month. I took the slow boat. It is a very scenic trip, though somewhat cramped. For about $40 you get taken from the north to Luang Prabang, with a stop in Pak Beng. Accomodations are not included, but only cost about $5 there. Once you arrive in Luang Prabang, there are a wide range of accomodations available ranging from $3 a night to $100 a night. I splurged, and paid $20 a night(after bargaining, the normal price is $30) at the Merry Swiss Lao 2. The room was great, it had a couch, nice bed, television with Sat. TV(HBO and cinemax as well as all the normal channels, Mini Fridge, nice A/C and newly remodeled Bathroom. It was walking distance from the main strip, yet not close to any major traffic(on the opposite side of the phousi temple from the mong market). There are a variety of things to do in Luang Prababang. The Major attractions are:
-Temples - seems like there are hundreds of them here, I suggest renting a bicycle for a day for $1 and exploring them... The Phousi is the most prominent and has a cool view of the region. It also costs $1 to get to the top(you find out after getting half-way up).
-Waterfall- I suggest finding other travelers, the tuktuk wants $12 for the round trip... which is 45 minutes each way(and he waits for you while you enjoy yourself) you can fit 6 people in the back nicely so its only $2 a person).... the waterfall is amazing... and if you feel adventurous you can hike up to the top through a muddy steep trail(feels like climbing a ladder)... the view from the top definitely makes it worth it. In addition to the waterfall, there is also a Asian bear sanctuary here where you can see a few of these "midget" bears.
-Jungle Trek- See the hill tribes ... do some hiking. I am sure it is pretty cool, I just did not do it here because I already did it in north Thailand the previous year, instead I went rafting described below:
-White Water Rafting - Just $30, has up to class 4 rapids. The only downside is that there are not too many rapids, probably only 4 or 5 rapids the whole 2 hour rafting trip... plus you have to drive 2.5 hours to get to the spot... The drive is pretty cool though, through dirt roads and villages in the mountains. In addition, they include and awsome lunch of local flavors(various curry, pork, grilled fish, veggies)
_-Mong Market - Every night they come out on the main strip and sell various items ranging from tshirts to carvings to slippers - it is really cool, just make sure you can get everything you buy out of the country because postage will cost you an arm and a leg.
Where to eat/drink - well in terms of the resturants, the pizza luang prabang makes pretty good pizza, other than that, across the street from the merry swiss lao is a bar that offers a free lao lao shooter when you sit down, and happy hour 2 for 1 cocktails... in addition they sell a cool BBQ set for about $3.50 that is a thai style bbq (slanted grill with coals underneath and a soup at the bottom of the grill(so meat is grilled on the slant and veggies cook in the soup at the bottom) it is pretty damn good) other than that, for the most part i fed myself at the local markets... They sell grilled fish and pork as well as parts of a pig that was roasted whole and is really damn tasty (I think they baste it in coconut milk.In addition they have all sorts of noodles and vegitarian goodies and its much cheaper than any resturant(every meal cost me at most $1.50)... Lastly I highly recomend the indian resturant in Luang Prabang. It is very very good. Get the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Veggie Samosas with some flavored Naan and a Lassie.... Oh yeah lastly, cannot forget the smoothy lady that sells coffee drinks too. Laos has great coffee and this lady makes awesome ice coffee drinks that are perfectly sweet. they are about 50 cents each, while the fruit smoothies are 30 cents each. She has a little booth and store close to the pizza. She is the only one that sells coffee drinks. She usually sells the Iced ones not blended, I suggest you ask for a blended coffee drink, it is much better(though not commonly ordered by the look I got) anyhow that is about it for Luang Prabang. I suggest leaving on an airplane as taking the bus after such a long boat ride kinda sucks, but some people like to rough it more.
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