Luang Prabang

After almost 12 hours flying, it was great to finally land in Bangkok and find our shuttle to the hotel. I was so tired that I couldn’t get it together to find the air conditioning controls, and as it was blowing  right on me I was cold all night. I slept pretty soundly nonetheless.

We had a brief walk down the road outside the hotel looking for somewhere interesting to eat breakfast, but apart from a couple of bars with people still drinking, nothing was open so we headed back out to the airport and enjoyed a tasty but expensive omelet in the departure area.

Our flight to Laos landed early this afternoon, so we dumped our bags at the hotel and set off to explore this World Heritage town. There are no high-rise buildings here, and most development seems fairly consistent with traditional architectural styles. The main part of Luang Prabang is on a peninsular at the confluence of the Nam Kham and Mekong rivers, and there are Buddhist temples everywhere so it is quite beautiful.

The juice bars are very welcome when you have been walking around in the sun, although both visits I enjoyed a local coffee to help convince my body that it isn’t the middle of the night. The winter temperature here is similar to what we would expect in a NZ summer.

As we walked down a side alley, we met a couple of small girls about 6 or 7 years old selling cheap trinkets from a basket. It’s basically a form of begging in my opinion, so I let them know I wasn’t interested. We were all passing a truck full of oranges, when one of the little girls looked at me and I could immediately  tell she was making a quick calculation that I wouldn’t bother to get involved as she stole a piece of fruit.

Our hotel receptionist had advised us to climb a hill in the centre  of town to a temple where we could enjoy the sunset over the Mekong. We dutifully did so and it was very enjoyable, although I have seen better sunsets out of our lounge window at home. Unfortunately, not long after I took the photograph, Judith realised that she had been sitting on the mouthpiece of her camel pack with the tap turned on so her long skirt was soaked with half a litre of water! Fortunately it dried fairly quickly.

By this time I was starving, but had to wait impatiently while Judith and Felicity checked out a night market that had sprung up in the main road while we were up the hill. Eventually we found a restaurant overlooking the river, and enjoyed a very tasty meal including several varieties of local mushrooms that we had seen in the market.

Now we are back at the hotel,  planning an early night with a possible dawn departure to watch a procession of monks collecting alms from the faithful. I have said I’ll see how I feel at 5am.

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