Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang Travel Blog

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That Pathum.

"So you better go back to your bars, your temples, your message parlours ..."

One Night in Bangkok - Murray Head

It may sound strange on a 24 day holidays but today we had a 'day-off', meaning we'd have no planned activities today. It also meant that we could sleep late today. However, even after drinking half a liter of water I woke up a bit early with a slight headache. Paul would later calculate that we'd had 14 liters of beer the previous day, which sort of explained this. Fortunately, an extra hour of sleep and a painkiller made it all disappear.

We decided to shift gear to 'Lao speed' today, taking things nice and slow. I'd found a walking tour in the Lonely Planet which included some things we hadn't seen yet and after having breakfast we decided to give it a go at 10 o'clock.

Wat Visoun.
This resulted in a very relaxed day in which we had some drinks at the bank of the Mekong river (among which a thirst-quenching coconut), had a splendid lunch at Joma Bakery (my mango crumb pie, cinnamon bun and iced caramel coffee were to die for!), caught up on our e-mails and visited some more of Luang Prabang's numerous temples. It was a very hot day today and we awed at the temple's sims (main halls) from the shades. We saw Wat Visoun (the oldest operating temple, with Khmer style gratings in the windows, like we'd seen at Angkor), watermelon shaped That Pathum, Wat Ho Siang (with scary murals depicting the results of not following the five buddhist precepts), Wat That (another temple with a marvellous gilded front), Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham (with a five tiered roof and front veranda), Wat Choumkhong (with a lovely surrounding garden and Chinese warriors standing in front) and Wat Xien Muan (where the monks are trained in artistic skills needed for preservation of Luang Prabang's temples) before the old temple-fatigue kicked in.
Re-millionarizing ourselves at the currency exchange. ;-)

Now it was time to do something good for the Lao people. We made our way to Big Brother Mouse, an organisation that brings books and literacy to small hill tribe villages by selling children books to tourists to hand out to the kids. They also hold book parties for small towns. We bought a pack of books and added another generous donation on top for their good work.
We gained more good karma by taking a much needed massage at the Lao Red Cross. The good things about this is that the profits of these massages go straight to Red Cross causes (imagine, a one hour massage only costs 3,50 Euro). What's more, you can be sure that there's no hanky panky going on. Still, there's something very awkward about being taken into a backroom with a mattress by a young Asian girl.

Coconut and Lonely Planet, what else do you need ?
I need not have worried though because it was all descent to the extreme and I received a wonderful leg, back, arms and head massage. Tt also reminded me how frail and tiny these people are when she massaged my hand and I noticed how small her hands were compared to mine. A relaxing experience worthwhile remembering.

One of the funniest moments of the day had been when Paul and I walked back from a cybercafe and a van stopped in front of us. You can't imagine the look of surprise on my face when Keo jumped out. He was doing a one day tour with two Americans and had just had lunch at the Joma Bakery with Ad and Mieke ! He asked us to call him that evening and so it came to be that after we'd had dinner at the Hive Bar Keo walked in for one final night of drinking together.

Ingenious streetlamp.
I had brought my last bottle of Drambuie which I'd promised to let him taste. We ended up playing games for the rest of the evening. First I'd show Keo a picture I'd taken in the past week and asked trivia questions about it. No matter how difficult I made these, he nearly always gave the correct answer.

Then Keo started another game in which everybody had to finish the sentence 'I never ..'. This resulted in many revelations but Paul's answer 'I never can turn back time' inspired a whole conversation that was inspiring and moving at the same time. Keo and I shared the Buddhist perspective on this feeling and Paul and I would continue talking about it until half past two.
When the Hive Bar closed at 23:30 curfew I jumped on the back of Keo's motorbike while the rest took the remaining bottles of Beerlao back to the hotel in a tuk tuk.

Many headed naga (including Paul's).
Here we shared our final glasses with Keo. It's really an enormous shame to have to say goodbye. And the biggest compliment - and a totally honest and heartfelt one - was that in all his years as a guide he had never met a group like us and would really, really miss us when we'd go the next day.

paaltjes says:
i remember the bakery joma, it is owned by a American lady, they know how to bake tasty pie's. yummies. nice blog
Posted on: Apr 30, 2010
livelovelaugh87 says:
You're giving me so many great ideas of where to go with this blog :) Thanks!
Posted on: Jan 04, 2010
Biedjee says:
Yup, temple fatigue. That is how I remember Luang Prabang as well
Posted on: Nov 17, 2009
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That Pathum.
That Pathum.
Wat Visoun.
Wat Visoun.
Re-millionarizing ourselves at the…
Re-millionarizing ourselves at th…
Coconut and Lonely Planet, what el…
Coconut and Lonely Planet, what e…
Ingenious streetlamp.
Ingenious streetlamp.
Many headed naga (including Pauls…
Many headed naga (including Paul'…
Wat Ho Siang.
Wat Ho Siang.
Wat Ho Siang murals.
Wat Ho Siang murals.
Wat That.
Wat That.
Even the Buddhas are hot today.
Even the Buddha's are hot today.
Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham.
Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham.
Food stall.
Food stall.
Wat Choumkhong.
Wat Choumkhong.
Wat Xien Muan
Wat Xien Muan
Restored Buddha at Wat Xien Muan.
Restored Buddha at Wat Xien Muan.
Dropping by Big Brother Mouse.
Dropping by Big Brother Mouse.
Huge moth !
Huge moth !
Fried Meking weed with sesame and …
Fried Meking weed with sesame and…
Keo calling and drinking at the sa…
Keo calling and drinking at the s…
Keo tries his first Drambuie.
Keo tries his first Drambuie.
Born to be wild. ;-)
Born to be wild. ;-)
Same same ... but different.
Same same ... but different.
Luang Prabang Hotels & Accommodations review
Cramped rooms but nice breakfast.
The Mahasok villa is located at a short walk from the center of Luang Prabang. Disadvantages of the hotel are the rather cramped rooms, the noise that… read entire review
Luang Prabang
photo by: oxangu2