Wat Hopping

Luang Prabang Travel Blog

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The full name of the country is Laos PDR, which many people says stands for "please don't rush" and that's exactly the best way to enjoy the country and this town. Besides the numerous wats located in the town itself and just outside in the nearby countryside, there isn't much to do besides sitting at a cafe or restaurant, whether along the main streets or along one of the two rivers.

There are several activities to do outside the town, including visiting waterfalls or a cave, trekking, elephant riding and kayaking. I decided to only see the waterfall and spend the rest of my time doing pretty much nothing. It has been a good couple days, although I am getting restless and am ready to leave tomorrow morning.

I spent a couple hours walking along the many streets and side streets, stopping to look at the many wats.
At most of them, there were monks hanging out, what they were doing exactly, I'm not entirely sure. I did see a European man at one of them speaking with a group of them in English. Many of the younger monks are from the countryside without access to school. Their parents send them to the monasteries for sometimes as long as six years where they learn, read and speak English. I found this out after mentioning to someone that some of the monks are very young, such as 10 or 11 years old. Of course there are older monks who chose to stay in the monasteries but the majority you see walking around town are quite young.

One of the more famous wats, Wat Xieng Thong, was built in 1593. It was definitely a popular spot in town, with many of the other wats having only a couple of visitors at a time.
It also charged a fee of 20,000 kip to enter, but there was access inside the temple to see the many artifacts inside. Also nearby, there is another wat-type building where there was a giant boat structure and a wall full of buddah statues.

While stopping on the main street for a mango and coconut crepe (Yum!!) i ran into one of the guys I had drank with in Vang Vieng. We decided to go to Utopia, a restaurant / bar, with a very interesting setup, including a large seating area made out of bamboo, with lounging seating facing the Nam Ghan river. It's definitely a sweet spot for some chilling out, although it was so relaxing I almost fell asleep.

For dinner I tried the food market, which runs along one of the side streets inside the street market. It works "buffet" style. You pay for either a small (7,000 kip) or large (10,000 kip) plate and then you fill it up with various noodle and rice dishes. For an extra fee you can also buy barbecued fish, chicken and what I call "miscellaneous" meat.

On one end there were the "buffets" catering to foreigners and then closer to the main road were the more authentic dishes, most of which I couldn't decipher. For instance, one was a greenish pasty goo. I went with the fareng dishes.
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mmmmm coconut and mango crepe :D
mmmmm coconut and mango crepe :D
Luang Prabang
photo by: oxangu2