We arrived in the Unesco world heritage site of Luang Prabang fresh as daisies from Thailand at 6am on the penultimate day of Songkran……which happily goes on for an extra day in Laos — thus extending our enjoyment of the festival (FYI this festival sucks when you are trying to lug your whole life around without getting it destroyed).
Luckily, because our bus got into town (well, 5km from it anyway) at the cheery hour of 6am we were able to roam the streets water violence free. We were shattered and only went to 3 different guesthouses before giving up….shameful, I know. We ended up at Kinnaly guesthouse which is (inexplicably) highly rated on trip advisor and seemed fairly reasonable at 100,000 kip/£8 for a fan double (that’s not reasonable by the way, we were just lazy). It was nice and clean and had wi-fi too.
The mighty Mekong
We watched a parade of monks, amongst other things, for Pii Mai (New Year)
The first thing you’ll notice about Luang Prabang is how pretty it is in the old quarter. It’s stunningly colonial, and there are trees and flowers blooming everywhere. It also has 2 rivers — the Mekong, and the Nam Kha. The second thing you’ll notice, is that it’s super expensive! We were not prepared for how much we would have to spend here and it was a driver behind us leaving after 2 nights. So, as such, we didn’t actually do an awful lot……but I thought it might be useful to write a post on the alternative things that you can do in Luang Prabang on the cheap (ish)…….
Eating at the Baguette stands at the end of the main road — you can get an authentically delicious filled baguette for 10,000 kip (80p) and a yummy fresh juice for around 8,000 kip (60p).
cheap breakfast at Tamarind Tree restaurant by the Mekong.
with Big Brother Mouse , a charity dedicated to helping Lao people read more. You can volunteer between 9-11am or 5-7pm, and read children books….what could be more fun than doing scary voices and hanging out with cute Lao kids?!
3) Get up early:
and watch the Monks collecting alms from the locals. Even better, kill 2 birds with one stone and catch it when you hop off your early morning bus.
4) Drink Beerlao:
….down at Utopia bar (by the Nam Kha river). It’s quite nice, and not too expensive (£1 a beer during happy hour).
5) Go to the library:
and challenge a local Lao kid to a game of chess. They are pretty good.
6) Walk along the Mekong:
and find the crazily busy buffet restaurant next to Voulez Vous cafe….it’s 60,000 kip and it’s all you can eat. But it’s no ordinary buffet…..you cook the meat yourselves. Amazing. And they have fresh fruit and ice cream for dessert….best £5 we ever spent.
7) Leave on a minivan to Vang Vieng:
for a stunning 5 hour ride through stunning scenery and nice cheap guesthouses.