"Wat" Ever You Want

Luang Prabang Travel Blog

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Wat Xiang Thong

I should not have written that Ventiane was town filled with Wats before I came to Luang Prabang as this REALLY is a town packed with temples.  In the centre of town it seems as if almost every other street has a different Wat and of course there are monks everywhere.  It is quite amusing to see the monks, rather than tourists filling the internet cafes in the early evening. 

Luang Prabang is a long bus ride from Ventiane, 10 hours along a very winding road, not recommended for anyone who is easily travel sick as some of our fellow passengers discovered.  The town has an upmarket feel to it; the streets are clean and there are plenty of good restuarants as well of plenty of well healed tourists many of them in the 50's and older as well as the usual collection of travellers.

The Mekong
  Overall it is a very pleasant place to stay for a few days, though, unless you are crazy about temples there is not actually that much to do in the town. 

Our guest house is at the top end of town (literally rather than in price) and is almost opposite the Wat Xieng Thong, which is reckoned to be the best of the 42 Wats.  We look around and then head up to Phosi hill for a view over the town.  It is a good viewpoint, but the air is hazy so not spectacular.  I find in the Lonely Planet a comment about slash and burn being common at this time of year ... seems like a recurring theme for our trip so far.  The museum in the old royal palace is interesting and I am pleased that the government has maintained this as a relic of their past rather than consigning it to the same fate as the monachy.

View over Luang Prabang
  The final room of the palace contains a number of gifts presented to the king, including a model of Apollo 11, a Laos flag that was carried to the moon and a fragment of moon rock courtesy of Richard Nixon.

There are 2 popular half day trips from Luang Prabang.  One is to the Kuang Si waterfall about 30km south of the town and the other to the caves at Pak Ou north on the Mekong.  We go to the waterfall on Sunday afternoon and it makes for a relaxing way to cool off after a hard morning sightseeing; the water is refreshing and cool and there are a few good pools to soak.  The walk to the top of the waterfall is a steep 10 minute scramble and apart from the exercise not really worth the effort.  Better is the Asian Black Bear sanctuary at the bottom, though the tiger which is also meant to be there appears to have gone missing.  I'm not quite sure where it could have gone as it is not that easy to take a tiger out for a day trip but maybe it is only a cub.

It is good here but I really want to see some more of the country so we decide that it is time to head further north to Muang Ngoi.  

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Wat Xiang Thong
Wat Xiang Thong
The Mekong
The Mekong
View over Luang Prabang
View over Luang Prabang
Tree of Life
Tree of Life
Kuang Si waterfall
Kuang Si waterfall
The tree of Life
The tree of Life
Luang Prabang
photo by: oxangu2