Intrepid trip notes: You can start the day with an independent visit to Vientiane's vibrant
and colourful morning market, before an included afternoon flight to
Luang Prabang. Once the heart and soul of the ancient Lao Kingdom (Lan
Xang) and designated a World Heritage site in 1995, Luang Prabang is
endowed with a legacy of historic red-roofed temples and
French-Indochinese architecture, not to mention some of the country's
most refined cuisine, a multi-ethnic population and rich culture. The
city and its people retain a refined, yet relaxed, air and it’s a
wonderful place to wander the side streets and dusty lanes and seemingly
step back into another era. In the late afternoon, you’ll visit the
National Museum at the former Royal Palace, a building that combines
French colonial and traditional Lao architecture. The collection of
treasures and artefacts reflects the richness of Lao culture, dating
from the days of the early kings right through to the last sovereign,
who was deposed in 1975. A large hill called Mt Phu Si dominates Luang
Prabang's skyline, topped by a glittering golden stupa. You’ll climb the
328 zig-zag steps up to the sacred gilded stupa and big drum of the Phu
Si Temple for a panoramic view of Luang Prabang and its surrounds at
Notes: Please note that the flight time today is subject to change, depending on availability
- Luang Prabang - Royal Palace Museum
- Luang Prabang - Mt Phu Si
I woke up after 4 am today. I tried to go back to sleep but then I realized I hadn't blogged yesterday so I got up and did that. We don't have much time this morning before being picked up at 10 am for the flight to Luang Prabang. I will go to breakfast, pack up and try to find the Jo Ma Bakery for another croissant before we leave. And maybe edit some photos from yesterday.
so I succeeded in putting up a bunch of photos from yesterday on facebook, walking to Jo Ma Cafe and buying a cappuccino and almond custard croissant quite unlike any I have eaten before, but very filling so that I certainly won't need lunch. I am pretty much packed except for squeezing a few last things into my daypack.
I made an entry prior to leaving for the airport this morning. After packing and repacking so that I could check my rolling duffle, I went downstairs early but everyone was already there waiting. I was still early. We went to the airport where our domestic terminal was in a temporary building. They had rows and rows of blue padded chairs. The boarding pass said boarding started at 11 am. I mentioned to Pip that boarding was scheduled for 11 because it was already 11:05 and seconds afterward, people began lining up
The flight was only a half hour. We got some water and a dried fruit mix packet. Most of the fruits tasted the same but it was still OK. We were met by our new guide Khien who is 64 years old. His English was sometimes hard to understand but he seemed quite knowledgeable. We only have him for the city tour today and he gave us an unsubtle message that he would like more time. We checked into our new hotel (MyLaoHome Boutique Hotel) and had time for lunch before meeting Khien at 2 pm for our city tour. I had a chance to eat the second of the Spanish cheeses for lunch. After the dried fruit mix and my croissant, I really didn't need anything more.
Our first stop on the tour was the former royal palace that is now a national museum. There was a sanctuary on the grounds of the royal palace which is situated on the banks of the Mekong so that the King could go down and fish
From the Royal Palace we walked east I guess and visited several temples. I have the name of the first two written down by Khien but never learned the name of the 3rd or the 4th which was on the lower slopes of the Mt Phu Si hill and housed a functioning monastery. Some of it looked rather wrecked. We crossed the main street and started climbing the 323 steps to the stupa on top of the hill. Khien said he would only climb half-way because he was old, but he did quite well. I trailed along behind him and Pip and Andrew...who was planning how he would run up the steps tomorrow morning. After Khien stopped, I told Andrew and Pip to go at their own paces because I would be slower. I stopped to take photos several times
We walked for awhile until we pretty much ran out of town and turned back. At this point we started to look for food. Pip and Andrew were also looking for a cooking class. We stopped to eat at the Bamboo Tree restaurant that ran a cooking class
When I got back to my room I found a puddle of water on the floor. Apparently the refrigerator had gotten unplugged and defrosted - thus creating the leak. One of the young men at reception fixed the problem. I unpacked my daypack and got out the netbook, phone charger because the phone was dead, and started to upload my photos. That is done. My blogging is pretty much done. I feel pretty sleepy and don't think I will get to editing the photos. Still no internet here.
Our guide today mentioned the five requisites of a temple: the sanctuary, drum tower, monk residence, stupa(s), not library but Buddha tree - the banyan.