Luang Prabang a lovely European Surprise
Luang Prabang Travel Blog› entry 12 of 16 › view all entries
After having two solid days sauntering down the Mekong, we were more than ready to set our feet on dry land and get back to doing some exploring. Luang Prabang was a real treat for both of us, we weren't expecting such a lovely place. The french influences were unmistakable and well preserved - Luang Prabang certainly justifies it's unesco status as a world heritage site.
Having checked into our hotel and freshening up, our first priority was food! Neil couldn't believe his luck watching waiters bringing out juicy looking steaks with chips and carrots - not a chile in sight! The meal was divine we even had some really decent wine to wash it all down - we hadn't realised how much we had been missing european food - or perhaps it was the introduction of a new taste - thai food, although lovely, does seem to taste all the same after a while - hot + sweet.
It was during our second day in Luang Prabang that we decided to make firm decisions on the direction of our trip - namely continue on to Oz or go back to the UK to explore our options for setting up life in Switzerland. Our decision was to give Switzerland a try whilst we still had plenty of funds to give us the best chance of success. Obviously missing out on Oz was a hard thing to turn down, but ultimately Oz was going to be a short term adventure and Switzerland was perhaps a life opportunity.
Very excited and nervous we set about making plans to come back to the UK for mid Jan - it took nearly 2 days on the internet to get sorted - unbelievable!! Mainly due to bad internet connections.
Well at least we managed to find somewhere to have our Xmas Dinner - turkey was even on the menu. They did a pretty good job actually - although they perhaps needed a few lessons on how to cook roasties!! But very good by all accounts.
Our third day in Luang Prabang and we finally started to explore a little more. We went to the most beautiful water falls I have ever seen. An idyllic location - how the US haven't found it and used it for a film set I'll never know!!! Hopefully there's some protection around it. Plenty of people were braving the cold water and having a swim - the water was beautifully clean and very inviting - but COLD brrrrrrr! As you can see we have plenty of photos - but one dratted woman seemed insistent of staying in the same spot with her camera and tripod much to N's annoyance!
After an afternoon at the water fall we headed back to town to walk up a very big hill and catch the views at sunset from the famed stupa housed right above Luang Prabang.
Having now decided the schedule of our trip to get back to the UK, we were keen to fit in as much as possible - we certainly couldn't leave SE Asia without at least one elephant ride! It was really memorable experience, particularly wadding through the waters fearing that we'd be in for a bit of a soaking at times!
Our last day in Luang Prabang was doing some last bits of shopping - mainly present shopping for the family back home from the night market and visiting the temples in the town. The temples in Luang Prabang were my favourite - probably the oldest we had seen on our trip and certainly the prettiest. Unlike the Thai temples the Loas Temples didn't have quite the same glitz about them. They featured lots of gold leaf but none of the cut glass, almost jewel like ornamentation - the overall effect was a calmer without theatre, or perhaps its just my european staid sensibility!!
After four lovely and memorable days in Luang Prabang we left early for Vang Vieng on the fifth day - I think we left both feeling a little sad to be leaving, but happy to be moving on once again.