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Luang Prabang Trip Report

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Luang Prabang Trip Report

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.

Boulder, Colorado
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1. Re: Luang Prabang Trip Report

Thanks again! YOU are determined to get these TR's out!

Gosh....we are planning to stay a week in Luang Prabang in November. Perhpas I should re-think that.

However, the literacy project is of interest. Hubby and I taught English in Guilin,China in 2006 and I know we'd like to participate in Luang Prabang.

Cheers, Ronnie

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2. Re: Luang Prabang Trip Report

LOL ... I haven't been writing like crazy today - I wrote all the posts in a WORD document on my laptop on some of our flights along the way and waited until we were home to publish them.

You could spend a week in LP as a base if you were planning on an overnight trek somewhere else but if you were thinking of just sightseeing in LP, I would say a week is too long.

uk
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3. Re: Luang Prabang Trip Report

Thank you for your TR, we are thinking of going in March 2012 so any information and tips are great to read.

sydney
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4. Re: Luang Prabang Trip Report

Sounds like you had fun. We had 4 days in LP and loved it. but we were not tryng to occupy a couple of teenagers.

I am however, sad to read that your guesthouse manager was selling 'packages' for people to partiipate in the morning alms. I find this quite awful - Tak Bat is a solemn ritual and I believe only those of Buddhst faith should participate. I wonder how many people would think it was OK to just join in on a Catholic communion? I watched from a distance, just as I would for any religious ceremony from another faith.

cheers

helen

Vientiane
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5. Re: Luang Prabang Trip Report

Nice comment, Helen, and very accurate. I also find it distasteful that people participate for the sake of participating. I suspect that most have no idea what a Tak Bat actually is. You are not feeding the monks, you are making merit for yourself or perhaps thanking Buddha for good fortune or asking for good fortune. Mind you, Buddhism is an extremely liberal religion, and if you were taking part for the right reasons no one cares.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Luang Prabang Trip Report

We stayed in LP in 2008 for 8 days, I never wanted to leave except the bed was way too hard. We stayed in a guest house across from the temple and watched the monks every morning from our balcony.

We ate at the great restaurants, strolled around everywhere talking to people and noting the sights, shopped in the bookshop and night markets.

We took a trip up river in a boat to the Buddah cave.

Then we discovered bicycles, and we were off everywhere every day somewhere different. We found the weaving villages - where we stayed for ages talking to the women and watching them work. We learned a lot about the weaving and its culture.

I hadn't realised I could ride a bike, last time was 40 years ago, so that was pretty exciting.

We left laden with pieces of weaving, and of course a doona cover from the markets.

We are planning to go back next year.

DG

London, United...
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7. Re: Luang Prabang Trip Report

Hi Darwingranny - we are going to LP in March. Any particular recommendations for Londongranny? Thanks

Hanoi, Vietnam
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8. Re: Luang Prabang Trip Report

I think everyone will view Luang Prabang a little differently, and I don't think a week there would be too long if you value relaxation and seeing one of Asia's true gems. It is true that there's quite a stark difference between LP and the outlying villages due to the general poverty in Laos. I have to agree with thmoore concerning the alms - I watched from across the street, myself.

9. Re: Luang Prabang Trip Report

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