Luang Prabang – Laos – Truly delightful

English: Monks collecting alms (in the form of...

English: Monks collecting alms (in the form of sticky rice), at dawn, in Luang Prabang, north Laos. Français : Moines recueillant l’aumône à l’aube (sous la forme de riz gluant), à Luang Prabang, au nord du Laos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A view of the Mekong River at Luang P...

English: A view of the Mekong River at Luang Prabang in Laos. (late August 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Kuang Si waterfalls, in the south of ...

English: Kuang Si waterfalls, in the south of Luang Prabang, Laos. This panorama is made from 13 shots and has a 246° field of view. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lao noodle, Luang Prabang, Laos

Lao noodle, Luang Prabang, Laos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A procession of Buddhist monks walks ...

English: A procession of Buddhist monks walks through downtown Luang Prabang in Laos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Buddhist monk in the streets of Luang Prabang

Buddhist monk in the streets of Luang Prabang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luang Prabang, Laos, was truly delightful and perhaps one of the loveliest places that we have ever visited!

We arrived at the airport, that was  small but unusual with  its exterior  resembling that of  a temple. We had flown in from Siem Reap, Cambodia, on a turbo-prop plane.

We arrived at our hotel, that was really nice and was on the river. Our room had a beautiful view of the river and surrounding hillside.

Our  first day here was just chilling out and getting to know this charming town, with its age-old buildings and delightful shops, restaurants, temples and monasteries and the fun markets.

We walked along by the river and found a travel agency where we booked some trips for the next couple of days. Our first trip was a visit to a lovely village and some elephant trekking. The village was one street filled with stalls selling local crafts, including the local fire water which we were invited to try – Alf  had a swig and  after he started coughing Marilyn said “no thank you”!  There was a temple at the end of the road with a monk collecting donations and blessing those that made any small contribution.  We did a bit of shopping here and were next off on our elephant trek. We were a little nervous as the mahouts (elephant handlers) did look a bit young and we were concerned as their skills. However, our guy sat on the neck and took us through some pretty rough terrain and up and down hill, plus through  jungle area, he was a bit of a joker and jumped on and off the elephant, but it was all actually really lovely and our beautiful elephant gave us a bird’s eye view of the area.

The next day, we took a long-boat and guide on the Mekong River.  The scenery was spectacular. We stopped at five villages and visited them. Some of these villages were inhabited by ethnic minorities and it was so nice to see them dressed in their national costume. Some were farming minorities and some had weaving and carpentry industries. The last village we visited was a bit of a shock to us, as our guide told us about the upside of this village and how prosperous it had become and then he explained that this was where Leprosy sufferers, from all over Laos are brought to live out their days –  they live in an isolated part of the village.  It was a wonderful day on the Mekong River.

Unfortunately the next day Alf had “traveler’s tummy”  and so we had to abandon our planned trek. Marilyn took the opportunity for some shopping and town-gazing.

The next morning Marilyn was out before breakfast at 6.45 am to see the most amazing true-life spectacle,  watching the monks collecting their daily food rations from the local people. Hundreds of Lao people line the street, sitting on  cushions and low stools, that are laid out before the start of the daily ritual and collected later. The monks walk by in a colorful line, each with a large shinning metal bowl and are each given offerings by local devout Buddhists. The monks walk the line and by  the time they reach the end of the line that is about a half a mile long, their bowl is full with rice, bananas, vegetables and the tourists drop small notes in. Lao people are quite poor, however, they are generous enough to share their food with the monks each day, and be blessed. It was a  touching and humbling sight and one that will not be forgotten. What a wonderful way to end our five days in Luang Prabang!

We left Luang Prabang by another turbo-prop plane for our one hour flight to Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. The plane followed the Mekong River, with spectacular scenery. Originally, we had planned to take the two-day boat trip up the Mekong to Thailand but having seen the style and safety of these boats, we were rather glad that we changed our plan!

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8 responses

  1. Pingback: Beautiful days in Chiang Mai Province Thailand – Part 1 « Discover the Orient

  2. Pingback: Beautiful days in Chiang Mai Province Thailand – Part 2 « Discover the Orient

  3. Pingback: Children of Thailand and Laos | Fabulous 50's

  4. Pingback: Chocolate Banana Pancakes in Luang Prabang | Fabulous 50's

  5. Pingback: Luang Prabang, and all its beauties « Ricky Wallace

  6. Pingback: Luang Prabang, and all its beauties | Adventurousity

  7. Pingback: Luang Prabang – Laos – Three years later – Still truly delightful but very different « Discover the Orient

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