Two lazy days in Luang Prabang

For the past three nights we’ve been staying in Luang Prabang which is a pretty popular tourist spot in Laos. Although we’ve had a few days here we’ve done very little, but it’s definitely what we needed after so much travel over the past few weeks.

Our journey here was a difficult ride in a minivan, over very bumpy roads winding through the mountains. For a good four hours I struggled with motion sickness and by the time we got to Luang Prabang we felt like our bones were vibrating. The journey wasn’t so bad though thanks to some friendly people on the bus who kept us entertained along the way.

We were dropped off about 20 minutes out from where we wanted to stay, but the walk was a nice way to get back to normal and stop vibrating. Annoyingly the first hostel we tried only had one bed left but we used their WiFi to find another just 5 minutes walk down the road. Once we’d dropped our bags and checked in it was 9:30pm and around 8 hours since we’d eaten, so we decided to catch the last 20 minutes of the night market before our stomachs ate themselves.

When we arrived at the market it was starting to close down, but we found a bunch of places down a little alleyway serving buffet food for 15,000 kip, or roughly £1.40. We overfilled our bowls with the most random mix of foods due to our lack of self control and sat down with two guys from Taiwan who we’d shared the bus ride over with. The other people who’d been on the bus were nearby and afterwards we went for a beer with two Bavarians who we happened to bump into a few times over the next two days.

The next morning we got up slowly and had breakfast with some other guests from the hostel. It’s been a while since we’ve stayed in a sociable hostel so it’s been really good making new friends again. For the first time since we left home we were surrounded by British people which was weird, but also nice to joke about our own cultural quirks.

Our plan for Luang Prabang had been to get another scooter and go see the surrounding areas, but Vang Vieng had been tough on the scooter and we were ready for a lazy day. We decided instead to get a minibus to the bigger waterfall which was a fun way to fill a few hours without having to use our brains much. Mark had a swim at the bottom of the waterfall while we were there but I’m trying to prevent a cold from taking over my body so I opted to just sit at the side instead. That evening we had some more cheap buffet food and another drink with the Bavarians from the minibus, Dani and Martin.

After another sleep on the hardest mattress I’ve ever experienced, we woke for another breakfast with the Brits. Our morning was slow, as was our afternoon, though we did make it out to send some postcards and souvenirs home. We also bumped into Dani and Martin again so we hung out with them and some sleepy cats at a cafe before they had to leave for their bus out of town. Not much else happened until the evening when we decided to visit Sakura Bar for free whiskey, where we played Jenga and had a few drinks with some of our hostel neighbours. At one point I ordered a whiskey with ice and the inexperienced barmaid just gave me a full glass of whiskey, which pretty much set me up for the night.

The evening ended on a slightly dramatic note when one of the guys got into an argument with our taxi driver over being short changed. He was sure he’d given two notes but the driver was adamant he hadn’t. In the end the driver got so angry he tore up the money in his hands and stormed off. There was a brief moment when it looked like it could escalate as he got back out of his vehicle, but I quickly ushered the lads involved in the argument back into the hostel.

I can’t say much about Luang Prabang as we really didn’t see much of it, but it’s been nice having a day off from trying to see everything every day. We’re currently on a slow boat towards Pak Beng, so now I’m going to try and remember as much of the past three weeks as possible and get this blog up to date.

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