Hien, Julia and Hoai at Tat Kuang Si waterfall
People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia), Hien (Vietnam), Hoai (Vietnam)
Julia, Hien, Hoai and I arrived into Luang Prabang pretty tired after a rather smelly 7 hour journey from Phonsovan. We had caught the 'deluxe' VIP bus, which meant it came fitted with a toilet, located right next to where we had to sit on the back seat. As it turned out, it was actually used as an extra baggage storage area, so we thought that it would not be used throughout the journey. At first Julia's bag had been placed in there, but just to be safe we took it out and put it behind a seat.
It was probably a good move, as after a few hours and a lunch stop, a Laos man went into the toilet.
A moon bear at Tat Kuang Si
A couple of minutes later, a smell that wouldn't have been out of place in a farmyard began to seep through the door. The smell worsened and reached its peak after 15 minutes, when the guy eventually emerged with a sweat on his brow, from his obvious battle and torment that he had been suffering! All the windows had already been opened as people gasped for air, but the opening of the door had sent 2 Laos guys desperately trying to open the sun roof! As the smell drifted to the front of the bus the attendant rushed up to help wedge the roof open. I'm not sure if the toilet wouldn't flush, or that the smell had just clung to the walls, but the next 2 hours were filled with unpleasant wafts drifting throughout the bus.
We spent our first evening walking through the pretty streets and night market.
A view over Luang Prabang and the Nam Khan river from Phu Si
The following day, we took a 32km trip by tuk tuk to Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls. The site was beautiful with many tumbling cascades and areas to swim and relax. There were also some animals on site that had been rescued from poachers including a tiger and several Moon Bears. Back in Luang Prabang and Julia and I went out for an evening meal at the night market, where $0.80 (40p) bought you a vegetarian buffet. Afterwards we met up with Hien and Hoai and had a few beers. It was interesting to talk with 2 people currently living in a Communist country and 1 who used to, to hear their thoughts on life and if there's really any difference from living in a 'democratic' country.
On Friday the girls departed for Vientiane and Julia and I went to visit some nearby wats and walk the pretty streets of the UNESCO listed city. We went to see the Royal Palace Museum, Wat Xieng Thong and climbed Phu Si for some lovely panoramic views over the city. At night we visited the night market again and bought a delicious barbequed fish and a couple of pieces of chicken and pigged out back in our room. It was good enough to wish i would be staying one more night in the city!