Thursday, 29 August 2013

Our introduction to Luang Prabang

Expectations are always hard to be met when you’ve already heard so many great things about a place before you’ve even had a chance to walk the streets and sniff it out for yourself.

Luckily for us, we quickly learnt that Luang Prabang would never sell itself short and allow anyone to leave feeling disappointed.

After a long and eventful ride through primitive villages, past rice paddies, up and over mountainous terrain all guided by a driver who seemed too afraid of using the brake and a (female) passenger next to us who seemed to not care about using deodorant, 8 hours or something later we arrived at a dusty bus depot.

From there it was a 10-minute drive into the main centre of Luang Prabang.  It was about 4pm when we stepped off the Tuk Tuk and found ourselves standing in one of the busiest streets of this little city. The daily night markets were getting set up around us. Tourists lingered, ready to pounce for bargains and the locals followed their well-rehearsed routine of laying out what was for sale.

Standing there looking like two lost children, we attempted to gather some form of directions to our guesthouse from our Tuk Tuk driver. He seemed like he was perhaps in a rush to get somewhere else, or just talk to someone more exciting than ourselves as he absently responded to our questions with a wave of his arm into the direction that would take us right into the mouth of market mayhem.

I wouldn't recommend trying to walk through a surging crowd of tourists and tents that aren't constructed for tall below to walk through. We had little success in finding our guesthouse initially and failed to impress anyone who tried to pass two tall people with very wide loads on their backs. 

It felt like an hour later and we found our new home for the next few days. An old French Colonial guesthouse that overlooked the muddy waters of the Mekong River, the interior a dark glossy tweak wood and a very friendly young Laos guy smiling (or perhaps laughing) at us two sweaty tourists looking forward to getting their backpacks off. 

Toodle pip x 

The 'A' Team. Or is that those local Laos Tourist Celebrities?

Mekong River, Luang Prabang.

Rice Paddies.

Village out of Luang Prabang.

Who needs a car with a boot? All you need is ingenuity. 

At one of the stops on our bus journey Bear Paws where for sale. Hmm..

This wasn't our bus. Luckily.