First impressions of Laos.

Luang Prabang Travel Blog

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The muddy Mekong from the airplane.
Green! Judging by our flight over northern Laos today, the country is populated by: trees. And: more trees. Beautiful!

We landed at Luang Prabang and were the first ones in line for “Visa on arrival.” The fee is $30US, and you have to have the cash -- no credit cards, and no other currency. (We didn't have any dollars -- they were in my purse when it was stolen, so we had to convert Thai baht back to dollars in Chaing Mai). Steve forgot his photo for the visa in his luggage, which caused us a moment of panic, but they scanned his passport for a $1 fee (which kind of set a precedent … everything is $1 here).  

We were met by the hotel shuttle driver and shuttled off to The Grand Luang Prabang.
View from our balcony! (left side)
The hotel is beautifully situated on the Mekong River, but it is unfortunately located about 15 minutes drive from town. When we arrived we were given a full orientation on the hotel and the town. The reception clerk marked various points of interest on a village map for us. Then he asked us if we wanted the map. Well…yes, of course. So he charged us a dollar for it! That just seems so…petty.  

Our room has a balcony that looks out to the river, which is just stunning. It’s hot though, and the air is very still, so we didn’t spend a lot of time out there. Instead we took the shuttle bus into town to check things out.

This is definitely our most rural destination so far on this trip. The town is very small, rough and quaint at the same time. When we arrived, the night market was just setting up, The main street was blocked off to traffic and vendors were laying out some really nice stuff: jewelry boxes, textiles, handmade books, etc.
Good for sale.
We strolled through and decided we’ll have to get some t-shirts while we are here. The market was peaceful -- no aggressive salesmen to be found anywhere! Vendors smiled and nodded...what a pleasant change.

There were several outfitters selling trekking trips, rafting, “mahout” (elephant handler) training, and elephant camp visits. We signed up for an all-day kayaking trip on the Mekong tomorrow (we had planned to go white water rafting, but there is no white water to be found... the river is running slow.)  Then we were charged $6 to go back to the hotel in a tuk-tuk, which seemed pretty high.

Back at the hotel, we ate a complementary dinner (free dinner and free massages when you book 4 nights) at hotel’s otherwise empty restaurant. The place was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. Some music (or other guests) would have been nice. The food was great though. Our smiling server just kept bringing the food, and we just kept eating it. I think I will like Laos a lot :^)
stabber911 says:
Yes, Tamarind restaurant and Beer Lao, how can I forget that!!
Posted on: May 24, 2008
cmgervais says:
Yes, I had this green yesterday - it's like watercress, but a little different. I understand it's only here in Laos. Very yummy!

Larry - Tamarind, tonight! I will check out the group as well, thanks...
Posted on: May 24, 2008
lrecht says:
Welcome to Laos! Home of Beer Lao, best beer in SE Asia (a six pack of which a work friend actually just sent us for Memorial Day). There is a group on TB about Laos at http://www.travbuddy.com/groups_home.php?id=399 that might have some good info. Don't forget to check out Tamarind Restaurant (I think they may only be open for lunch..)

Larry and Cindy
Posted on: May 24, 2008
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The muddy Mekong from the airplane.
The muddy Mekong from the airplane.
View from our balcony! (left side)
View from our balcony! (left side)
Good for sale.
Good for sale.
Clouds over Laos.
Clouds over Laos.
Luang Prabang airport terminal.
Luang Prabang airport terminal.
Deboarding at Luang Prabang.
Deboarding at Luang Prabang.
Check in at Grand Luang Prabang Ho…
Check in at Grand Luang Prabang H…
Luang Prabang street scene. The ma…
Luang Prabang street scene. The m…
Luang Prabang vendors.
Luang Prabang vendors.
Luang Prabang.
Luang Prabang.
Setting up the market.
Setting up the market.
Handmade books for sale.
Handmade books for sale.
Luang Prabang restaurants.
Luang Prabang restaurants.
View from our balcony! (right side)
View from our balcony! (right side)
Yep, we had the place to ourselves.
Yep, we had the place to ourselves.
They kept bringing food, so we kep…
They kept bringing food, so we ke…
Luang Prabang
photo by: oxangu2