My two kids (aged 15 and 18) and I visited here on the fourth leg of our three-week trip. I thought this would be a good place to chill out and recharge after our sight-seeing in the other locations. We were here for four days/three nights. I think I had initially planned for shorter but had had trouble getting the flights I wanted. With hindsight, shorter would have been better.
LP seems to be a stepping off point for lots of treks, like visiting hill tribes and elephant rides. Since we had these arranged for our next leg, I didn’t want to do them here and duplicate the activities. We visited Kwang Si Falls which was worth doing (don’t be fooled into thinking the café is end of the trail – keep going to see the real beauty of the falls). We took a tuk-tuk which was about a 40 minute ride.
My son and I also visited Phousi Mount (also referred by our guesthouse manager as a mountain) which offers an enjoyable view over LP. Don't be put off by "mount" or "mountain" - it’s just 344 steps. We bought two small birds to release at the top which is supposed to bring us good fortune.
My son and I also visited the Royal Palace Museum – they apply the same dress code here as in temples – I had to rent a shirt and skirt. There’s an audio tour that two people can share and that was well worth it. I was interested to hear about the history of the royal family although the commentary was light on details about the changeover from a monarchy to a republic.
We did get up early one morning to see the monks walk and alms giving. Our guesthouse manager offered us three levels of alms giving - we chose the basic one which was just sticky rice - we had one for each of us. That worked out well because it was quite hard to give something to each monk as they don't don't stop walking. I think if we had bought a higher level package which included some sweets then we would have only bought one and shared it between the three of us to give out. Another guest had bought the higher package and she had lots left over, probably because she couldn't hand out fast enough. The guesthouse manager (Villa Laodeum) thoughtfully spread a blanket on the sidewalk for us to sit on and also provided us with scarves which we looped diagonally over one shoulder which I gathered is to symbolize body control and that we wouldn't touch the monks.
I didn't know at the time that there is a literacy project here and we could have met with locals to talk English - this would have been something we'd have enjoyed.
As we've been traveling through Thailand, Cambodia and Laos I've been disappointed by the amount of litter and trash around and I was particularly sad to see it here, at this World Heritage site. We took a boat ride across the Mekong and first thing one of the local passengers did when she got in was to throw her plastic bags into the river.
My kids have enjoyed the night markets at each of our stops and enjoyed this one too – the goods here are slightly different from elsewhere: lots of quilted designs and some slippers that were just too comfortable for my kids to resist. They also bought them as gifts for their father and uncle.
This was our only stop in Laos so I was trying to avoid changing too much money into Kip - there were plenty of money exchanges which meant I had no trouble changing money as needed. No one was accepting US dollars.